25. July 2007 · Comments Off on I Am Not My Oboe · Categories: Ramble

… nor is being an oboist the all of what I am. I’m not even “just” (I don’t mean this in the “bad just” way but in the “only” way so I suppose I should have written only, eh?) a musician. This is not the all of me. This shouldn’t be the all of anyone.

Some of you might wonder about that; why do I mainly blog “all thing oboe and music?” Well … duh … this is my oboe blog! And I do know a bit about oboe and performing. Besides, as much as it isn’t the all of me, it is certainly a part.

Would I die if it were taken away?

In a word, NO.

I would hate to live without performing, but I know that I could. And I occasionally think about the possibility that it could be taken away, either by accident (one can’t play oboe if certain things are taken away. Say, for instance, a finger.) or by loss of talent (which also might be an accidental thing. Or not.) or by the loss of jobs I’m hired for (certainly this has already happened with musical theatre, as those jobs are becoming fewer, due to so many changes in that genre) or just by the failure of the performing groups I’m in. I have experienced the death of an orchestra once and I’d hate to deal with that sorrow again, but always, lurking in the back of my mind, is that possibility.

But I could live without the oboe if I had to. I know that.

I really appreciated what Soho the Dog had to write about this profession:

Coming up is the best lesson I ever learned. I’ll even put it in boldface, I think it’s so important. There may be a lot of things I miss, a lot of things I don’t know—but I do know this:

What you do is not who you are.

This is a hard concept for a lot of people to bend their mind around, particularly in America, with its Protestant work ethic and rampant capitalism. But again: the mere fact of success or failure at a particular activity says nothing—nothing—about one’s worth as a human being. If you’re pursuing an evil activity, sure, that probably makes you evil. But if you fail to achieve a worthy goal, all that says is that you failed. And failure is probably the most common human condition there is.

So it’s not just about music. And musicians aren’t the only ones who sometimes think, “I’ll die if I don’t succeed.” It happens to a lot of people. In a lot of different professions.

(Note: Yes, StD was writing his post in response to the death of Jerry Hadley. I can’t go there, as I am not familiar with his story in any complete way, and I also believe that depression such as I would guess he had takes away all this logical “I am not my profession” stuff. Untreated depression is a beast. When that beast has taken over one’s brain and, thus, the “all of a person” I think all this chatter becomes meaningless.)

I remind myself of this frequently. I guess it’s a matter of self-preservation. Having experienced the death of San Jose Symphony (RIP) I want to be sure I always keep this in mind.

I am many things. Yes, I’m a musician. And a wife and mother. I’m a daughter. I’m a Christian. I’m a wanna-be-poet who has faced the “wanna-be” as a permanent status. I’m a little girl in a 50 year old body. I’m a goof. I’m a success and a failure all mixed together.

Mostly I’m “just me” and that part of me will always stick around, no matter what.

I wish I could write all of this more poetically. I wish I were Jeremy Denk-like or something at times. But then again … heck, this bit ‘o bones is who I am. And even without my oboe I would still be me. Just a little less whiney.