When I was a senior in high school I was the 3rd chair flute in our school’s audition band. The 2nd chair flutist was a junior I’ll call “Kayla”. Kayla and I were friends… to a point. She actually drove me crazy. The worst was that whenever she made a a mistake during rehearsal she would turn to me and tell me what to fix. “That was a B flat”, she would say in what I heard as a sickly sweet voice with a simpering smile. Blech! I sat next to her and could hear that she was the one who played B natural instead of B flat. Not I. I played to correct note. I hated being “corrected” for something I never did wrong.
In the spring we both auditioned for and made an all-region honor band. It just so happened that I actually made second chair and she made third chair. In the middle of sight-reading a piece, I made a mistake on a note. I couldn’t help myself. I turned to Kayla and said, “That was an F sharp, not an F natural” and gave her a big, fake grin. She gasped, “Oh my gosh! You’re right!” and quickly marked her music. She never made that mistake. Just me. But I wanted to get back at her. Not my finest moment.
Last night I got an email asking me not to do something. I can’t really go into the details here, but it was from a family member and it was asking me (with several other family members) to specifically not do something to one of my siblings. I felt like I was being admonished and chastised for something I have never done and would never do. If anything, I felt that this family member treated this sibling much the way I was being asked not to. It reminded me of sitting next to Kayla in band again. I bristled at the email, but the more I thought about it, the less angry I got.
You see, we all make mistakes. We all know that. It’s part of being human. However, it is often just so hard to admit when we have made mistakes. Sometimes it’s harder to admit the small mistakes than the big ones. So we point it out in others, perhaps to take the attention off ourselves. Perhaps to make us feel better about our mistakes. Perhaps because we assume that if we’re making these little mistakes, others must be, too. Sometimes we may honestly be blind to the fact that we make those mistakes and we really do want to help others that we see making those mistakes. I don’t know, honestly. I just know that I am going to try not to let the admonitions of others bother me anymore. They are not telling me something because they hate me. And maybe I am blind to the fact that I really am making those mistakes.
Here’s to me, recognizing my mistakes and striving to be better. That’s all we can do, right?