Earlier tonight, I was listening to my new YoYo Ma CD that my E bought for me when he visited last. It wasn’t some compilation with him and other musicians (although I got one of those as well). No, this was just Ma playing his beautiful Cello and letting that instrument sing into so many different levels of my soul.
The Cello is a fascinating instrument, at times so deep and rich and at other times the pitch is just slightly high, just to that point of being a viola or a violin. It’s a meaningful instrument, with the sounds carrying so much weight behind them, so much strength and depth. The cello can be both in the background of many orchestral pieces. There are duets and trios and sonatas and minuets and symphonies and everything in between written for a cello. Most times, most times the cello is in the background, that subtle support that holds everything all together.
The flutes trill their high notes like birds flitting after the autumn bugs, the violins waft their lilting notes through the air like a pile of dried and dead leaves upon the ground, and the woodwinds just plod along on their own little duck feet getting ready to head south for the winter to come. But the deep melody, the one that is just below the surface, like the wind that carries the leaves, the updrafts that lift the birds, and the bite in the air that lets the ducks know that it’s autumn. That, that is the cello.
It’s autumn here, and that’s probably why I used those specific phrases. But still, it’s the truth. Listen to any orchestral piece of music and if you listen carefully enough between the gaps, you’ll hear the cello, that low sweet sound in the background, supporting everything else around it by those dulcet tones, and the haunting melody as the bow draws across the strings.
Now, you’re probably reading this and wondering what the hell I’m going on about with cellos and duck feet and music and what? So, with my full lack of brevity, I shall try to explain.
A cello is a complex instrument. It has many facets, many faces, and many sides. It can play the supporting role or it can be the star of the show. There is a range to a cello that is so amazing to realize that when you finally do grasp it, it’s difficult to not try and compare it to other things.
And that’s where I was at today. Listening to YoYo Ma and his brilliant playing of an instrument that strikes deeper into my soul than any other. And while doing so, I started to think about myself. I am a complex person. I mean, we all are in our own ways, nobody is the same as they were when they were a child, but I wasn’t thinking about everybody, I was thinking about me.
Selfish, I know.
I have spent a good portion of my life in the background, in the supporting role. I have been the autumn air that rustles through a pile of leaves and sends them swirling through the air and across the freshly raked lawn. I have been the strong hands behind another person, holding them up for all the world to see and never once worrying about what my life would bring with it.
I have been the loving daughter, the loving girlfriend, and sister for most of my life, always supporting, always backstage, but never starring. And I’ve never once complained about it. I never needed to or wanted to, really. In the Theatre, I could never go on stage, the mere thought terrified me to the point of being frozen in place with the shakes. I liked being backstage and making other people look good. They always knew just who to thank.
But lately, I’ve managed to somehow turn this background strength of mine into a weakness. The desire to go unnoticed by the spotlight had led me to being terrified of everything. My shadow, driving, even going out to see my friends. And that was not what I wanted for my life. Not at all. But I had gotten so bad, so deep into the rabbit hole that I was having a hard time finding my way back out again.
And then, I got lucky. And somebody finally wrote a duet just for me. I found a man who brought out the best in me and will not let me simply stand behind him and support him from the shadows. He wants to pull me out to his side, perhaps even in front, and let me shine on my own merits.
I am no longer the supporting cast, the instrument that you hear in the background when everything else slowly fades away. I am not just the wind that picks up your leaves and scatters them about so that you have need to rake them all back up again. I am the crisp feel in the air, I am the scent of cinnamon and spices from the kitchen.
I have not lost touch with who I am, nor have i made a complete renaissance of myself that I will never be in a supporting role again. No, I still love the backstage, and I still love being that never ending strength and support for my friends and family that they know will always be there. But I am also going to become that which I have always wanted to become, but have never quite known how.
I will become my own woman, my own self. I will stand in the spotlight and be recognized as who I am, be counted as somebody that matters and somebody worth knowing and somebody worth loving. That is who I am, that is where I want to be. I am going to get there. It will be a long road still, with lots more work ahead of me.
But I am like that beautiful cello, I am both in the background and in the foreground. This is my world and my time. I will always be the strength you need, and the hand you can hold onto. But I want to shine. I want to play my own tune and have people listen.
Listen up, World! It’s time for my Solo.