From the moment IT all started (and changed the world and daily life as we knew it) until now, I have docilely complied, obeyed and kept low profile. I had nothing to complain about, was fortunate to be able to continue teaching (albeit online), had no worries about money and even managed a couple of small gigs. Fortunate, I feel, to be not one of the hundreds, thousands of people who lost a lot. And those who lost all. As perhaps many do in times of distress, I thought about me and the closest of circles of people around me. I simply could not do (or, yes, care) less about anything outside that circle. I kept comparing it to those flight-safety-instructions (in case of pressure loss in the cabin) … “First put the mask on yourself, before you help others.” (besides the fact that the air you would breath through that mask is not really air … more on that later – if I ever get there).
In order to be able to help others, you need (to know how) to help yourself. It makes sense, I guess. But it has not ever made real sense to me. Until IT happened. While the world was locked up in itself, I experienced the insatiable urge to think and care about just my inner circle and myself. And, while that might be a normal survival instinct, the insight of how our ‘freedom as people’ is actually so obviously (and, more scary, easily) regulated by our governments, has changed my feeling of well-being. And I am afraid it has done so for good. For I am no longer feeling free. I know, rationally, that I shouldn’t whine – for with me, it concerns everybody and I have really nothing to complain about, when it comes to daily life. I have a wonderful job and family, I am not in debt, not a prisoner … but I can shake it away anymore. I do not feel so grand anymore as I used to feel. I do not enjoy making plans and look forward to things, as I used to. And I don’t know if I ever will, again.
Of course they say, IT will one day pass and all will be back to normal. As it used to be. But I do not believe that anymore. And even if IT all really goes away, it will never be the same again. At least, not for me. After all that happened, and geez … what all happened! … I just can’t see life becoming normal again. For it will not. It has nothing to do with wearing a facemask, or social distancing, or being vaccinated, or tested, or quarantined … those measures will disappear, sooner or later. But what will NOT change, is that fact that IT happened. IT will always have happened. IT has disolved all the dusty clouds that governments have created between them and its ‘subjects’. IT has shown the real faces of those who we were supposed to believe had our best interests at heart. Those people turned out to be just … people. People like everyone else. People with no fucking clue. Don’t get me wrong … I am not blaming the people in (our) government … for I would have no idea either, how to handle IT. I am actually no blaming anybody … I just lost an illusion. The biggest one I had. Totally. Completely. Like a kid, when it finds out that uncle Bob didn’t really pull the quarter out of its ear. Like finding out that magicians are actually illusionists and that all those magical moments are just the results of hard work and practice. Like finding out that nothing you have ever seen, done or experienced, is unique. Like learning that your parents indeed knew better, and that you, as a parent are, in fact, making the same mistakes. And then you find out, that you are not as free as you were always told. It’s an open door, I know and I am not suprised. But I never expected it to hit me as hard as it did.
A few years ago, a new piano student starting taking lessons with me. A bright kid, who taught himself to play a couple of tunes. He had musical talent and after a couple of lessons, he told me he wanted to learn to play a song. He said: ‘Can you teach me how to play this song? I love it so much. If I can ever play this, I will be very happy.’ I didn’t know the song, but we listened to it and it was one of those modern day four-chord monsters. I told him I would gladly tell him how to play the song, and also told him that he would probably be able to play it before the lesson was over. His eyes bulged in disbelief, but true enough, he left the studio, knowing how to play the song. I never saw him again.
At the time, I didn’t quite realise why he quit the lessons, but now I do. I simply took away a dream. Thinking I was doing him a favour, by telling and showing him how to play the song he most loved, I unravelled the magic that this song was for him. But what else should I have done? Should I have told him that this was out of his league? Or keep him ignorant? No, and I still stand behind it. And continue to do so, when a similar situation arises. But it did make me realise, that when you are young, new to music, and it is (still) all a beautiful mystery, it’s hard to see it all in a matter-of-fact manner. So many facets are being skipped and it seems that, when something as before mentioned, happens, it is all just a trick. Which, of course, it is not. But still … how could I explain all of this in a mere few lessons? Instead of making that eight-year old happy, I might have robbed him from a piece of his favourite candy, that he was saving for later.
Right now, I feel like that kid must have felt. I believed in that freedom, a right to live the life I thought I was granted to live. I feel that I was living in that golden cage. A life I enjoyed very much, until I realised that there is actually an entity that holds an actual key. I am still in that cage and it’s still golden, but it’s not my cage anymore. The trick of feeling free, has been exposed. And I am battered by that realisation.
Without commenting or criticizing on all measures that have been taking upon beating IT, I have learned that freedom is an actual illusion and that it can be taken away from you at the blink of an eye. By people, that are not more learned, but authorized. And that scares the living daylights out of me. It makes life difficult and I feel that I am just in ‘survival mode’ now. Wake up and make sure I get through the day. Without making plans, without (alas) dreams and goals. I am fucking battered.
Wishing I could just fuck off and live in a forest, eat berries and wait for the sun to set. To wake up, drink water from a creek, shit with my back against a tree and wipe myself with moss (or gently scrub clean with bendy twigs). But it’s not like that, and there is no forest. There is only now and today. And I don’t like it anymore.
I will not succumb to this feeling of woe, however. For I love life too much and I do celebrate every second of it. But IT, and all IT has brought with it, casted a pitch dark shadow over the life I enjoyed living. I feel I need a reset. To start over. Start over, with the same joy and love for all around me … and realize that this is it, now. IT will not go away. IT will always be here (and there will be more ITS). I hope that indeed I will ever taste again, that sweet feeling of magical freedom. A life wherein I am the one who decides where to go, what to do. And how.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have posted this. Then again, I did.