Little Lost Pieces of Soul

I’m home.

Things haven’t been easy to return to. That’s for more than a few reasons. I had a lot of thoughts on my trip, and I think I’ll post twice today just to get my thoughts more organized and less like one really long entry.

Where to begin. I suppose I should start at the beginning. When I was in sixth grade, I started two new subjects. I began the school orchestra. I played the trumpet. By played, I mean that generally, I could hold it to my mouth and press buttons. But I couldn’t swear to what noise would come out, and I never had any formal lessons.

I also began a class in French. My teacher, a sprightly aged blond woman with far too much enthusiasm for shouting in French told me that I had lovely pronounciation, the best in my class. I was going to do so well.

My relationship with these two attempts at learning has been a process that recently went from stalemate to extremely tumultuous. First, I spent about fourteen years thinking that I was “instrumentally retarded” and that I was unable to learn a language. I even thought they were related. I thought I couldn’t “manage” another language, that my brain wasn’t made for thinking in another mode of speech, be it musical or verbal. I can sing, I can write, I can turn a phrase that will make people cry and force them to feel what I felt, but for many years, I was convinced that I was just wrong in the head in this regard. I was just broken.

Some things happened on my trip. I met someone who plays guitar beautifully, and I watched. I watched his fingers move, and I understood the theory. I got it. You do this, and this, and then this sound happens. I certainly don’t play. I’m not some savant. But now I get the theory. And it made me think, what if I could play guitar?

Then I was in a choir. It was a choir of about fifty people at one of the festivals I was at. We were singing “Hinunter is der Sonnen Schein”, which is essentially a version of the Lord’s prayer before sleep. The two women near me told me that my pronounciation was absolutely spot on, and this woman three seats ahead of me turned and started excitedly babbling at me in German, thinking that I would understand her because I sounded so accurate. I stared back blanky and informed her that I didn’t speak German. She said, “Oh, hon. You totally should.” I’ve loved German for a long time; there are bands I listen to that sing in German, and I like the sound of it. It made me think, what if I could speak German?

Those two things, the guitar and the German language, led me back to sixth grade. I sighed to myself and said, you know, if those teachers tried to teach me how to sing and speak and failed miserably, well, then I’m probably hopeless. Then I paused, and thought back. I learned to read music in high school. But I don’t remember a single note from sixth grade. I don’t remember the band director teaching me what a half note meant, or what a rest was. I couldn’t remember ever finding out what the fuck “to conjugate” meant, or why we were supposed to repeat all of these words with slightly different variations.

I was so angry. These stupid teachers. How the fuck did they think they could get me to do something without ever teaching me. How did they have their teaching licenses?! Who the hell do they think they are, teaching and sucking at it so badly?

The next bit of logic hit me, and I felt like I’d been punched. All the other kids learned how to play. All the other kids learned how to conjugate. Why hadn’t I? Was I instrumentally retarded? Was I broken? Maybe it was just me. I searched my memory lying in bed in my tent, trying to recall any reference to these classes, maybe make more sense of them sixteen years later.

A sort of chill came over me. I realized that I don’t remember any of that. Then I realized why. I was eleven in sixth grade. It was the year I was molested, for the second time.

Maybe I tried so hard to forget what he was doing that I forgot school. I blocked out learning. I tried not to listen to things, not to remember them. I don’t remember how to conjugate and I couldn’t play a note on the trumpet without just guessing at what would come out. I didn’t know how to read music until high school, and now I know why I threw up after my first three classes of advanced choir trying to figure out half notes.

The scary thing about being violated as a child, for me, is that I’m still discovering what he took from me. I had no idea until I went on this summer trip that I had been affected by him in this way; that I had given up whole possibilities of my life because what he did to me convinced me that I was broken, retarded, unable.

I’m learning German.

I’m learning to play the guitar.

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~ by oniongirl13 on August 15, 2009.

5 Responses to “Little Lost Pieces of Soul”

  1. welcome back. I’ve been reading your blog over the past couple of weeks and want to thank you for having the courage to post the things that you have.

    C

    • Hi there, C.

      Thank you for starting your own journey. I stopped in; you had some powerful things to say. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I am so very sorry that you were molested as a child!!!! This angers me! Thank you for sharing your blog and post and being transparent. Do learn to play the guitar, I do.

  3. Welcome back. We’ve missed you. I’m so sorry these things happened to you, but in an odd way, I’m pleased that you are seeing all the things that were taken from you. What he did to you was wrong – you were never the “broken, retarded, unable” one. He was. I’m learning from my own journey that these realisations are so important for healing, so well done!

  4. Onion Girl, so wonderful to have you back. I missed you. This post really resonated with me. The year my brother molested me, I almost failed out of grade school. After my father molested me, I failed so much that I had to go to summer school in order to continue in high school. I figured I was just stupid. It wasn’t until much later that I put it all together and realized I wasn’t stupid, I was reacting to a shitty situation.

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