I began playing piano at three years old, and though I have gotten frustrated, injured, and disappointed through practice, I continue to embark on my journey to musical success.

The Dissonance of Pessimism

While I attempt to grace the ivory keys at my first state piano competition, I hear a voice in my head scream loudly at me: “Why did you miss that last note?” it yells, “You are so gonna lose!” This pessimistic voice manifests at every major competition, as if my brain turns on a switch, and I detested its mere existence. Just knowing it was inside of my head, I performed with less energy, emotion, and spirit. Just knowing that I could embarrass myself, I flinched at every vulnerability in my performance. Just knowing that I could mess up, I felt my hands tremble with the magnitude of an earthquake.

That voice has become a part of my practice and performance routine, reprimanding me on my mistakes and somewhat falsely informing me that I am doomed to fail. But I know that each time it hurts me, I increase my knowledge on my weaknesses or what triggers its unrestrained response.

I know that just by acknowledging the detriments of which it warns me, I am one step closer to cutting its power and finding my potential for growth. I know that it is very possible to control the inner pessimist inside of me; I guess I just have to find the off switch.

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