“And to be honest, I don’t think you’re going to pass.”
The rudely frank sentence was the final stinging blow. I bit my lip, mentally chastising myself as the salty tears started streaming down my cheeks.
“Look at you, now you’re drifting! We’re getting off the highway,” my driving instructor said in disgust, jolting me from my sulky thoughts.
You can’t let her see you cry, Lily. I thought as I steered towards the right. You can’t give her that satisfaction.
It was no use. I was tired of her condescending tone. I was tired of being confused—being told to turn right while she pointed left, following her very directions after making a mistake then being reprimanded for it. I was done. Silent tears turned to bitter sobs. But I kept driving; I refused to stop, my eyes still focused on the winding road ahead.
I hadn’t cried in months. I vaguely recall the last time, in late November, after intense frustration from a practice SAT got the best of me. And then the time before, in early October, when I missed a cross country race after a dragged-out, very official standardized test.
You’re stronger than that, Lily. You can’t let mean ol' in car ladies get to you.
I vented to the cross country girls. I vented to my friends.
Wow…that was a bitch thing to say, my guy friend sympathized so eloquently, you know what to do now—pass so you can rub it in her face!
Oh, you know it. That’s what I was planning to do, I typed back with a grateful smile on my face.
Failure is arguably the fiercest, most compelling impetus.
I still remember how deeply wounded I was when my sophomore year orchestra seating audition results were less than appealing to me. I had never been seated in the back in school orchestra before; it sharply stung my pride.
That level of pride is something I now remember with much chagrin. I’ve slowly learned to let go—isn’t really the music itself, the passion that truly matters? But then, my deep disappointment compelled me to practice harder, to pour my soul into the regional orchestra music so that I could achieve a favorable seat and finally prove myself to my orchestra teachers.
I listened intently to professional recordings of the audition pieces, familiarizing myself with the mysterious, passionate, intense, joyous music. I devotedly practiced, striving to mirror the same passion as my callused fingertips flew, at first awkwardly, then nimbly.
The audition day came, and with a stroke of luck, a hint of determination, I gave my best audition to this date.
Our orchestra teacher looked at the five of us with a poker face as we gathered in the small ensemble room to hear the results she had been sent earlier that morning.
“You all made it,” a hint of a smile appeared on her face, "And Lily, as ninth chair, you’re the all-state alternate.”
My jaw dropped. The soaring feeling of elation didn’t wear off until the next day. I had done the best out of all the violinists who had auditioned, event though I was seated behind them at school.
I showed them, I thought with a genuine smile.
I remember bouncing giddily in my uncomfortable metal chair the first rehearsal. I had been so excited the night before that I had been unable to fall asleep, but nothing could pose as a barrier to my enthusiasm at that point, not even missing state orchestra by one chair; I let go of my pride, content to simply be part of such a fulfilling experience. My heart soared as the first notes escaped from our nimble fingers—it was the like the recordings come to life, distinctly more flawed, but nonetheless beautiful. The music was a spell of joy that only lost its magic when the conductor’s hands finally ceased; playing simply suspended time. The two-hour late night rehearsal might have dragged on for years had I been doing something else, but my undisguised ebullience made it feel like a mere fifteen minutes.
Long story short, success after failure is the most delicious feeling. Perhaps it’s not the healthiest to pursue goals with greater fervor to solely prove yourself to the people who said you couldn’t. But it’s that rebellious streak in me. That determined desire to do what they implied, or even said was impossible.
Top, thrifted ($6)// Shorts, Kohl's ($3)// Necklace, Target ($5)// Heels, Target ($7)// Glasses, prescription Ray Ban// Neon Shoes, Target ($4)
I’m happy to say that I did indeed pass my driver’s test yesterday. On the first time, the day before my leaner’s permit expired, at that...with a ninety percent on the drive and a hundred percent on maneuverability! Guess I showed her, huh? It’s a smug feeling of statisfaction. The extent of my independent driving yesterday was comprised of driving the car twenty feet into the garage, but it’s a beautiful thing to be able to take yourself places on a whim, or bring your friends out instead of mooching rides for once.
Did they tell you that something was too hard? That you couldn’t possibly do it? Did they discourage you, make you sad, make you want to give up? Well, I dare you to go show them. To throw all your effort into proving them wrong. To do it anyway.
Go, my friends, and tell me all about your wildest dreams and adventures.
P.S. I am quite behind on responding to your lovely little notes--as soon as I return from my college visit down South, I'll hop right to it! Have a beautiful week in the meantime!