Friday, May 14, 2010

I need to RANT.

right now or else I'm going to die from suffocation and just all the emotions burning up inside.

My life a week ago was stressful. Last saturday was the only day the weight on my shoulders was released. and now, things are back to being stressful again.

My life a week ago was totally different than how it is now.

Right now, I have way too much going on. Or maybe it's because of the queasy feeling that's overwhelming me, completely.

I got invited to play at the Korean Youth Music Performance on June 6th, and then I have the performance this 22nd and I might even be on TV, then I have a piano recital sometime around June, school orchestra concerts (but that's not as stressful compared to other events), and then I have a whole bunch of other crap to do, I can't think straight right now.

What hit me the most was the Korean Youth Music Performance. Now that annual performance is a BIG DEAL. Hundreds of people gather to see advanced, qualified, young artists perform.

For me, I honestly feel like I fall short from all the majority of performers who are upperclassmen. The performance day is on JUNE 6th and I have a recital that month too, and then I have 2 school concerts.

Then tomorrow I have a Korean Children's Choir Competition that I did NOT want to participate in (my korean school teacher made me) and now, I'm wasting HOURS of precious time on a saturday when I could be doing homework and practicing for the future performance dates.

People need to give me space sometimes. I'm getting aggravated. at first, I was flattered to be invited to perform on June 6th but now that I think of how much I have to do already and how much I have to practice even for just that one concert... it makes me sick to the stomach.

Call me a pessimist. but I've been holding this in for way too long.

I need to blow up. I'm fine if I lose sleep. I can manage. But still, let me live my life.

I work hard everyday already and it's hard enough to keep up with the fast pace everyone's pushing me to go at. I'm not a robot. I already have so much to do with music. I'm being pulled at different directions and being asked or requested to do this or that. I'd be happy to help, but if it's obvious it's not the right time to be asking, then don't ask.

I'm going to be selfish and straight forward right now. I'm doing me, and that's it. I don't care about you, what you say, about anyone else, or anything. I'm way too concerned on my own stress and frustration right now. I can't even calm down. My heart is beating like crazy, like I'm on stage about to perform in front of thousands of people.

I wish life was simple. I've got BIG events ahead, that I need to prepare. The expectations are high, and to keep up with those expectations, I've got to practice. And yes, I'll be one of the youngest at the performance on June 6th, so I'll have to be up to par with the other upperclassmen who are advanced, experienced musicians. Yeah, can I do that in 3 -4 ish weeks? I don't know let's see.

For now, I just want to build my confidence, focus on myself instead of getting nervous, and just calming DOWN.

My rant is not finished, but I cannot waste time getting everything off my chest because I have to go to bed soon for the darn choir competition tomorrow. Great. I don't even know why I feel so hot-headed and passionate to express myself right now. Shouldn't I actually be happy? Or should I be nervous and be practicing like a mad dog? Whatever.

My life is so different, but who knew everything could come flying at me all at once like this? After that competition, performances and invitations have been coming in, and it's only been a few days after!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Too much to thank for. Too much on my mind, i cannot fall asleep.

I'm so grateful. This whole week has been working out so nicely. God listened to my family's humble prayers. I'm so thankful.

I get teary-eyed thinking about saturday. Rather than feeling superior, I feel immensely grateful and shocked. This competition was basically my last chance to prove whether or not I should continue to seriously enter piano competitions. My family decided that I should either focus mainly on one instrument (violin) if the other one (piano) didn't work out as well because I had more experience with violin. I was so fearful, stressed, and panicked because I knew the opportunities for piano would be jeopardized. Even though my parents had told me they would always support me for what I have full confidence and passion for, I knew they experienced my pain, feelings of discouragement with their own share of dissapointment they hid deep inside so that I wouldn't feel any less confident, from the results of the competitions. When I was nervous, my parents were more nervous, and praying harder and harder everyday. When my fingers were blistered, rough, and wet from sweat, when my back ached from sitting in the same position for hours, my parents ached even more. When I was frustrated, when I was exhausted and tired, they were right by my side. They wanted me to release all the negative emotions, but I feared I would only pass the trouble and stress to them, I kept it all inside acting like nothing was wrong. My parents - they were the ones suffering, not me. They were the ones in the background, doing all the work. All I had to do was my best - practice. I'm so thankful to have my dad and mom as my parents. I say it a million times and I sound like a spoiled, conceited kid, but this isn't for you to read. It's for me to express my love for the people who were willing to sacrifice everything they possessed just for their family.

I'm so thankful for this outcome. I never expected this much. I never knew I could play and touch the hearts of the judges. All I know was that the moment I went on stage, I prayed sitting on the piano chair before I played, I closed my eyes, allow my face muscles and body to move as it wanted. I played with my heart and soul, not giving a care about the world. I didn't give a care if I looked constipated, full of anger, sad, or unusually happy with my strange facial expressions. I was totally myself. I was honest. And because I didn't suffocate myself and released all my hidden emotions I kept inside for years and the hidden feelings I kept from my parents so they wouldn't feel any more troubled or stressed.... I told my life story through music. Through the notes, the melody, the rhythym..... I honestly expressed to the judges my pain, sadness, anger, failures, loss, happiness, triumph, and bliss. I told it all.

and it felt amazing.

That moment was the first time in my life, where I didn't care a single bit of what people thought of me. I couldn't see, hear, or notice anyone or anything around me. It was just me, God, and the music. We were all communicating. It was an incredible moment. I believe the most amazing, worth-while moments can be experienced only once, for people to treasure and cherish. And this.... was one of those valuale moments.

Have you ever felt that way? Living in a world, or at least in a moment with no distractions. Even when there are eyes watching you to fall, hinder, sharp eyes that are waiting to critique and judge.... you are able to completely ignore all the pressure and believe in yourself for that moment?

That moment was when I realized how deeply I could get into music to the point where nothing mattered in the world. Without having to force my mind to concentrate, without having to work myself to death..... I just flowed effortlessly with the passion in my heart. I guess that day, I experienced a defining moment.

That day, the door opened for me. The door to my heart. I was able to learn more about myself.

I'm way too excited and not in my state of my mind, my words are getting repetitve, over-used, and there are errors everywhere in this blog. and probably in the last blog before this one as well.

Music will always be a part of me. I'm forever grateful. For music, for my parents, for this blessing, and most importantly... God. And although I am filled with joy and yearn to share this happiness, I do not ever intend to boast or look down on others just for one single achievement I have made. Because everyone has their own set of talents, interests, hobbies, and because everyone is their own individual, I have no right to feel that I'm any better or superior than anyone.

All I can say right now is thank you.

and I can never say that enough.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another Blessing.

I have a lot to say in this blog. This is going to be very long. I have a lot of thanks to express as well.

Today was the big day. One of the most important, crucial, and memorable days of my sophomore year, and probably will be throughout my high school career and my whole life.

Today was the day I competed at the Washington State Youth Music Competition.

And I'm so blessed and thankful to God for everything he has done for me. For everything he has provided when I was at my worst, when I lacked confidence, skill, constantly repeating failures and dissapointments. He was the one that lifted me up from these heavy feelings that would drown me and keep me to the ground. I'm forever thankful.

Today, I became state champion 1st place for the piano players in the state competition. In May 22nd, all first place musicians for the competition will receive their trophy award and have a concert either at the UW performance hall or the KOAM radio station's hall. I'm grateful for being able to go to state the 2nd time in high school, the first time being in freshman year with my beloved Rosamunde String Quartet. I hope today's memorable day will be one of the best Mother's Day presents for my mom and grandma. The proud look on my mom's face said it all. I'm glad my mom is my mom. She's my bestfriend.

After hours of practice, frustration, sweat, exhaustion..... my hard work did pay off. I did it. I still can't believe it. I don't know how I got here so quick. I remember last week during 5th, Richard or Patrek told me that I would never know if I'd get 1st place at state, after I told them I was nervous and feeling stressed out. I just cut them off and said there would be no way I would get 1st place. Pretty ironic, looking at how things turned out huh? haha, wow.

Honestly, I thought I would have never ranked in state because I found out about the music competiton a month and a half ago, and I had to prepare 2 big pieces in that amount of time. Having to come home and practice from 3:30 until 9 or at the latest 11 PM was not the kind of life style I was planning to have in my sophomore year but to do my best, that's what I went through.

And I have no regrets of my sacrifice, and undying faith and belief in God, my beloved parents, my supporters, and myself.

I always doubted and thought as a sophomore, I would never be able to rank in a music state competition because in the majority of music competitions, the rankings only go up to 3rd place unlike sports where are they are scoreboards that show rankings up to even 10th - 20th place. Looking back, I remember so many times I dissapointed myself from not getting the results I wanted at competitions, concerts, recitals, and etc. Around the beginning of this school year, there was another big piano competition I entered and the unnecessary mistakes I made (from being nervous/sudden stage fright) during my performance just ruined my chance of placing top in the competition). I felt so wronged, and the results just hit me so hard I cried because for all those months, all those hours of daily practice, sacrifice, and even crying from dissapointment was such a tiring, repetitive process I lived through just to do well at the competition. And I didn't. The best my piano teacher saw me during lessons and practice was not what I presented at the competition performance. and that is what killed me inside. See, there were times where I literally thought I would never reach my musical goals, that I would never be good enough. It wasn't just in sophomore year but freshman year. I had another piano competition at the start of freshman year but I never got the results or played the best I could, due to my nervousness. I started music competitions back in middle school, and even then... I dissapointed myself over and over again. I failed so many times.

People questioned my skill, my dedication, my performance numerous times. People would say, "you have more experience with violin. Do more violin competitions, than piano" but knowing that piano was my greater passion, I set aside their words and continued to my best. Although at times I did feel that violin would make it easier for me to get good results at competitions when comparing my experience and skill for both piano and violin, I knew deep inside my number one musical passion was piano. I'm grateful my parents never gave up on me, and supported me through thick and thin, regardless of how hard it was to manage everything.

For all these years, when people said no.... I said yes. And today is the day I can say I overcame the biggest obstacle - I believe it was my perseverance and trust in God that he would plan what is best for me, was what kept me going. And that is one thing I'm proud about myself till this day. Regardless of what happened, I never questioned God. I never questioned why this or that happened. If I was sad, depressed or angry, I made the effort to never blame it on God, because things happened for a reason. And now, I understand why I went through all those experiences - to make me stronger. And it is now, where I can advance and go even faster and faster in music. This is the start.

Today, proved all my doubts wrong. Even though I am not perfect or as advanced or experienced in a wide circle of musicians, one thing that will make me unique will be my undying stubborness - the unwillingness to stop until I feel satisfied with my work and practice. And I believe it was this attitude that got me through all the failures I experienced, bringing me back to my feet and finally having my shining moment. I have realized just because you fail once, twice, or even a hundred times... you should never give up on something you love to do, because one day... you'll reach your goals. You will. You just got to have faith and patience.

Right now, I'm too grateful and have too much on my mind to express how I'm feeling.

Today has been a long, joyful day. I got home not too long ago, around 11:28 PM-ish. Today was a day celebrating the cultivation of all my hard work for the past month and a half, Mother's day, my grandmother's moving-away, Korean BBQ, and a stroll down Seattle downtown. Today has been amazing. It couldn't have been any better.

I will explain more about the competition and it's details later, if I remember to edit this.

But for now, I'm tired and have said my share of words.

Thank you for those who supported and believed me in me, when I didn't. And most of all,

thank you God. If it weren't for you and my strong belief in you.... I would have been so lonely, hopeless, and nowhere near where I am today.

Today is not a day fully dedicated to me, regardless of what I overcame, accomplished, and how I feel. Instead, today is a day dedicated and centered on God and my supporters, especially my parents. Because truthfully, without the support and extra push for all these opportunities, I would have never found another musical passion in my life - piano.

Thank you so much. I'm so very grateful. Thank you so much. I really have no other way to put it. My parents years of support and meticulous planning are slowly paying off. I promise to make them proud and do my best in return of all their sacrifices.

I'm so very blessed, Lord.

Oh, and happy Mother's day. Love you, mom. Always and forever