I played in my first piano recital when I was seven. in the fourteen years since, there have been 31 more recitals, 13 competitions, 6 seniors' home concerts, 3 church performances, one exam and one graduation. that makes 56. so by now, I should be an expert at performing in public.
right. that's 56 times I have sat at the keyboard in a cold sweat with shaking hands, deciding whether to play or run or vomit. sometimes I forget to breathe. recital #33 is sunday afternoon. it's only wednesday and the butterflies have started already. by sunday, there may be a whole herd of raging bulls in there. my teacher says I'm ridiculous. my parents say I make them nervous. my friends say to imagine the audience in their underwear. I say hey, it doesn't count towards my GPA so it doesn't matter. unfortunately, none of this gets through to my stress hormones, who are ultimately in charge of the situation.
maybe this time I won't get nervous. my fingers won't go numb and my hands won't shake. gonna ambush that steinway like rachmoninoff with a god-complex. after all, what's the worst that could happen? I draw a blank and can't remember a note, puke on the piano keys, run shrieking from the room and am remembered for all eternity as that poor girl who, despite years of lessons and thousands of hours spent practicing, fell victim to stage fright and is doomed to a life of plunking out brahms on secluded basement pianos and thinking of what might have been. and that's not so bad, is it?