July 7, 2013

Stars and Sequins

“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!

Join the conversation!

  1. Success is indeed the sweetest revenge! I hate people who not only parade your temporary failure in addition show no sympathy along the way...yeah show them Lily! Big slap of success in their faces, I applause you <3

  2. Success after failure is the best! And awesome revenge :) That lady was really such a bitch, that's not how a teacher or instructor or whatever should act. Props to you!

    Mili from call me, Maeby

  3. it's always so interesting to read about those true stories from your life. and to see how you learn from all those stories - even better! I also think your strong shiny ensemble goes really well with the story since both are about success and shine ;)

    Maikeni blogi - part of me

  4. great shorts !


  5. love the shorts! so pretty xx

  6. Gosh dangit, Lily, I just love your writing. You write so good. SO GOOD! Please keep on doing that. I could point out a dozen little phrases that ebbed and flowed so soundlessly into my mind, but I'll spare you.

    I'm so proud of you for doing amazing on your violin audition--seriously, so proud!! You're awesome, okay? You can do anything. If you can do something THAT amazing, driving will be no problem for you. Just think how great it would be if you could get that same old lady and show her, yeah? Kick butt, Lily!

    Though I'm sorry that you weren't able to pass your driving test, I know you'll get it next time, or the time after that. I'd have cried, too. "Failure is arguably the fiercest, most compelling impetus."--I really love that. That's my favorite part from this entire post. It's so true and though it sucks big hairy balls, it really does push us to go father, do better, stretch our minds further.

    YOU ARE LOVELY AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. If anything, I believe that in you. You not only show the ability to stretch and learn in your writing and posting, but also in all that you do outside of that, like with your violin and real life situations. You've got this!! I loooove you! (sends a big internet hug)

  7. I realized I never commented on your outfit... it's cute, duh. I really love those shoes. *___* Strappy and fun!

  8. Lily, I can't stop saying it, but you keep hitting us with these inspiring posts! I love your attitude and wish I knew you in real life...your determination to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals is powerful. I'm sure you'll get whatever you work towards with that strong mentality. Go girl! Way to get what you want and for passing your driving test :)
    Oh, right, and your outfit - CUTE. Enough said. I want those shorts <3

    Enter to win a Snoozer Loser pendant!
    Trendy Teal

  9. AWE TURDBUCKETS I did misread that. How did I do that? Now I'm all flustered lol lol BUT OKAY CONGRATS!! ON COMPLETING!! YOUR LICENSE YAYAYAY DRIVER LILY


    Had to fix that error. Thanks for pointing it out to meeeee. ;)

  10. Lily great post!!
    And lovely outfit!
    from La Dolce Moda

  11. Oh wow! Sequin shorts, I think I just fell in love. You're looking super cute.

    Congrats on the drivers license.

    I remember back in school everyone sort of thought I wouldn't get anywhere in life cause all I concentrated on was art but now I'm doing super well at uni combining art and psychology and most of them are doing nothing with their lives. I win.

    Wardrobe Quarry

  12. Really nice way to wear sequins casually. And aw, you make me miss playing the violin! Even though I haven't played in over 5 years...


    P.S. I've got a giveaway on the blog.

  13. thank you very much for visiting me, would you like to follow each other? ;)

  14. Oh my goodness, you are just the cutest thing! These sequined shorts are so adorable! And I love your story about the driving instructor... Congrats on finally passing your test and proving that you could do it! Can't wait to follow along with your blog :)

    Xo, Hannah


  15. This is so true! I feel like I always did better in classes where I got a lousy mark at first, which made me try even harder.

    Love your sequin shorts, they're so cute!

    Would you like to follow each other on Bloglovin'?

    Sophisticated Lace

  16. What a great story of success!!! Go you!
    Cute look, too...


  17. amazing style!

    would you like to follow each other?



  18. Hi Dear friend Nice Pix Share Online.My pray with you Dear Friend......Got more Success Blessings in the name of GLORY.
    Join our Platform Part our Work.
    Behandling av kviser
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    Brystløft Stavanger
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  19. Hi Dear friend Nice Pix Share Online.My pray with you Dear Friend......Got more Success Blessings in the name of GLORY.
    Join our Platform Part our Work.
    Behandling av kviser
    Restylane Sandnes
    Brystløft Stavanger
    Massasje Stavanger
    Elixir Cosmeceuticals


  20. I am so glad you passed Lily, I know what you mean about failure. I had a really hard time in high school with test taking and my fear of failure made multiple choice questions tests nearly impossible for me. I was that kid raising my hand every five minutes to ask ANOTHER question, haha! But glad you triumphed in the end, you are a really smart girl Lily, I knew you could do it! Congrats :)

    xo, Alyssa

  21. Looove the shorts and shoes babe! Congrats on your pass!

    Blog | Cocochic
    Bloglovin | http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/1823055/

  22. This was so inspiring, and well-written! Congrats on passing your test! I hope that driving teacher finds out about it haha
    Also, your heels are adorable :D

  23. You're certainly a star, Lily. You're a star that shines and sparkles beautifully. Which is the same thing I can say for you in this outfit. The laceless neon sneakers offer a more casual and more comfortable feel to this outfit, but the wedge sandals appeal better to me with this outfit.

    As for your musings and stories, I wish you nothing but success. Your positive and motivational material makes a huge difference in this online space we all are a part of. Remain strong!


  24. You look so adorable, I love those sparkly shorts! And I'm so glad you did well... success is definitely the best revenge! :)

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  25. I love it, do you want to follow each other?

    Nice blog between, i really like it :)

    Here are my pages:


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