Sometimes when I think of where else I could be right now, and what else I could be doing, I want to laugh and cry and bang my head against the wall, all at the same time.
Quite frankly, I don't think I've ever had any talents besides music. Music, which I devoted the first half of my life to, being called a 13-year-old jazz prodigy and then eventually giving it all up before I graduated high school. It's actually rather painful to recall. Not that I miss the competition and feuds between us young musicians, nor the 6-8 hour-a-day practices and drills, nor my lips that would split open and bleed into my mouthpiece from being overworked. Yes, this was the stress that made trumpet no longer fun for me.
I do miss, however, the extreme rush and embarrassment of performing improv solos in front of hundreds of people, recording studios, having crushes on the cute senior boys in our bands, and of course, I miss being the best at something.
No, really. I was good. Fucking good. I was offered a music scholarship at the local university by the time I was 12, but insisted that I would go to Julliard instead. I can't even count the numerous all-city and all-state honor bands I participated in, (and was first chair). I still blush when I hear myself play a solo on the first CD our jazz group produced. The years are fuzzy, but I believe I was 11.
I felt like I was destined for greatness. I would continue my path to stardom and eventually be first chair in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. I'd be a professional musician like My Dad; I'd be famous and rich and doing something I loved.
It could have happened, who knows? Either way, by the time I was 14 I was already experiencing some kind of adolescent-professional crisis, and decided that music was not the path for me. Regardless I still continued to play piano at home and trumpet in school, eventually becoming the marching band's drum major (conductor) my Junior year. Then something even more profound happened: I went to Russia.
After that it was Russia, all Russia. Only Russia. I quit the band so that I could work 37 hours a week as a dishwasher. For Russia. I sold my trumpet on Ebay so that I could buy my plane tickets to St. Petersburg.
And here I am now. In Russia. No instruments in sight. I should be studying for the State Russian exam now, but something doesn't feel right.
Oh yes, that's it - I know I'm not talented in Russian, or anything else that I busy myself with, for that matter.
Oh well. The past is the past, and the future is.. not what I expected it to be. It's pretty pathetic to think that as a preteen I was more successful than I am now, but then again, at 17 I suppose I still have a few more years of youth left in me. A few more years to fuck up and learn the hard way, living in one of the most tarnished and beautiful countries in the world, Russia. This is what's called enjoying my experience for what it's worth. Life isn't perfect here, but in the end, it's gotta pay off somehow - otherwise my name's not Aimee Rae Friedland, directionless child-prodigy!