Sunday, February 13, 2011

last night.

I can't really explain it.  {Although I will try.} The way it feels.  In fact, I was sitting across from my friends last night and I tried to explain to them that it's the time when I feel the most like me.  The most real.  The most authentic.  The most right with the world.  My heart swells into a shape and size bigger than the crevice in which it sits.  My mind feels focused.  My spirit is centered.

I almost became a concert pianist.  Years ago.  When I was at that pivotal point in my life when I was finishing up study halls, storing my belongings in metal lockers, and considering advanced degrees.  The moment when I had the freedom to start something that was for me.  Something that was mine.  Something that was born out of the spirit that God created within in me.  I remember the day I came home from tennis practice, and my mother was crouched down behind a brand-new grand piano in our living room, camera in her hand, smile on her face. 

The grand piano.  That my parents remortgaged the house to afford.  That everyone in the family knew was coming into our lives but me.  That was a surprise for my soul...and future career.  That would hold my hands upon it while I pounded out Grieg and Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky and Gershwin, my heart bursting out of my chest from the I was experiencing, from the simple touch of my fingers to the keys.

That grand piano.

But I loved it too much.  Too much to turn it into a career, to make music perfect (technically and acoustically) for someone else, to sit in a practice room for 12 hours a day.  And so I didn't audition for Juilliard.  Although I wanted to.  Just to see.

And so last night, as I sat seven rows from the stage at Heinz Hall listening to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, my heart swelled again.  That piece?  My parents heard it on their very first date.  My dad can conduct it with his eyes closed.  It's a part of our family, I guess you could say.  It's a part of me.  I know that for sure.  The last movement is enough to bring me to tears.  Afterward, as I sat at the Backstage Bar with Sonja, her husband Tom, and my sweet Norm, I told them that the time I feel the most alive, the most like The Real Laura, is when I'm at the symphony, sitting in those red velvet seats, counting the beats, tapping in time with the timpani, anticipating the swell that I know comes in the next three measures.  My spirit is the strongest in those two hours I spend feeling that music sweeping in and through my every cell.  That authenticity is something I can't explain any better than what I'm spilling out here.

And so, in an effort to reclaim The Real Laura, which I feel has been a little lost (or in hiding, at least), I think I might just play the piano more often.  And take the cello up again, which I used to play.  Hang out at Volkwein's in a practice room.  Listen to the music within me.

But I wonder...what makes you feel the most authentic?  The most alive?  The most like The Real You?  And what will you do (or are you already doing) that will ensure it never leaves your spirit?

with love from Pittsburgh,

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