At the end and beginning of each year, my twitter feed is twice beaten over by hashtags marking the creation and progress of New Year's Resolutions. As if being trapped inside during the winter wasn't bad enough, now people feel the need to impress upon the world every boring gluten-free calorie they intake and photos of every weather-neglecting, frivolous outfit they appropriated in their quest to look like Zooey Deschanel. You get my drift. By April, most of the design-a-day blogs are abandoned and I have been annoyed by these pursuits of nothing for nothing.
If you google searched every phrase I've ever uttered, "I'm perfect" will deliver "Did you mean: 'well-intentioned'?". I have failed to stay with the time-suck that was flat-track derby. Ten pounds were gained this year, instead of lost (see: quitting derby). My long-distance boyfriend and I are still a year-long blinking contest: who will move first? There were minor goals that failed as well like finding an image for the 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language. And my journey to an exclusively plant-based, whole foods diet is resembling more a plight.
At the end of 2010, there were a lot of articles being passed around about the "social reality" in relation to the goals or resolutions we make. We achieve enough satisfaction by informing others of our dreams that we feel less committed to actually finishing them. Derek Sivers talked about it on TED (here's his write up):
Around the same time, I had an idea and I was determined not to tell a single person until it was accomplished. This goal was to play in front of a crowd.
Play what, Jordan? The Sims for an audience? You're going to have to put in a lot more effort than not telling anyone.
Shut up, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-tip. I know that. And I ignored that until the end of July when I purchased my mandolin. In mid-August, I started picking away at Keep on the Sunnyside and Down in the Valley with Brianna Lane. In October, she sheepishly smiled at me and asked if I wanted to join the Fall Recital being held by Twin Town Guitars. It was being held at the Whiskey Junction and I would be able to enjoy whiskey, children's performances and the ukulele group as well. My secret New Year's Resolution had its opportunity. Yes. I would play a recital despite not having the excuse of being eight years-old should I mess up.
Saturday evening, I arrived at the venue to find that the children I'd be following were very, very adorable and talented. As the youngin's portion of the program ended, they filtered out with their parents to be replaced by genuine Whiskey Junction clientele. Not what I exactly signed up for. Where were the parents who were going to sympathize with me? I'm in my mid-twenties and trying something new here! I need low expectations.
Oh well, Melissa Lo documented my travels through the many stages (get it) of stage fright.
While we were waiting, I showed off how I now have to cut my left hand's nails extremely short to be able to capture the best tone on the mandolin. I am constantly and unnecessarily pointing this detail out to avoid people assuming I'm like Curley of Of Mice and Men. Everyone's mind travels to subversive sexual details mentioned in Steinbeck novels from 1937, right? (I am not missing a digit either, this photo was just caught funny.)
These are the eyes of a woman who is not used to doing this. In this picture, I'm secretly plotting to throw the music stand into the nice man here, jump the four feet from the stage to the ground and then exit without cracking my mandolin on the skull of one of the few remaining children.
The shadow of this stand conveniently hides how I have wet my stretch pants.
Oh no, I'm smiling like a ten year-old who knows someone's taking a photo of them.
The beginning was awful. I don't even know what song I was singing. The words were coming out but probably in a tune closer to Barney's I Love You versus Will the Circle be Unbroken. Brianna looks rightfully afraid.
I found if I closed my eyes firmly, I could only feel the dead pan stare of 150 middle-aged motor cyclists.
It's over! No one boo'd and I was greeted with encouraging praise despite missing most of the chord changes and barely meeting the remedial vocal requirements to perform this little diddy. Will I do it again? Yes. And better.
I would like to thank Jared A. May and Melissa Lo for showing up and taking photos and video of this whole ordeal. The video? That will be sent to no one other than Sanden Totten, another I would like to thank. He's been a great support in helping me accomplish all these crazy dreams of mine, even from a couple thousand miles away. Forest Taylor, Arlie and Etta have tolerated my endless practicing over the last few months like champs. And I'd like to thank Brianna Lane, who is an excellent and creative teacher.