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?

5 responses to “Mistakes

  1. What great introspection. I really admire you for being able to take that chastisement and look inside instead of being mad. I would have probably just stayed mad. Another thing for me to look up to you on!

  2. Wow, I feel like this happens *so* often to me. I like to call it “negative reinforcement”, and it usually happens to in a group setting. As in, call the entire college marching band together and then yell at everyone for ________ (my favorite example here was a particularly curse-laden diatribe by the band director about poor conduct while in uniform and his main issue was all the cussing he heard. Hello pot.). At least, that was my experience with the marching band in college and was one of the main reasons I stopped participating in music in college after my sophomore year. It also seems to happen a lot at work, and while I KNOW I’m not the person they are trying to talk to and I KNOW they are talking to my co-worker, Bob, he walks away and doesn’t change or even think it could have been directed at him and I walk away worried they think I’m doing a bad job. Crazy. I actually just spent some time trying to think about these kind of things in my life and figure out a strategy to stay more even-keeled and be less rocked by the waves of life. The one thing that struck me the most was how much my own internal dialog was affecting me. Something like that would happen, and my internal worry-wart would turn on, reinforcing bad and scary thoughts that would freak me out. I am *SO* going to try to stop that and instead think positive, affirming things over and over instead. Things like, “Life loves me. Life loves me. Life loves me. I am safe. All is well. My life is so blessed.” I have noticed when I can do that, my life truly is blessed.

    I love you; Life loves you. *hugs*

  3. This is a really great post. I’ve reread it a few times. I don’t have anything special to say about it except that it’s going to make me think for a long time. I hope I learn to stop taking offense at corrections, as I learned in conference and am also learning from you. Thank you.

  4. Personally, I would have told them to man up (mistake), to shove it (mistake) and to look at their own freaking actions before writing such a stupid email (mistake). It would have made me feel much better but still, would have not been nice. Your post is much nicer. But just so you know the fact that someone blamed you for doing something they probably do themselves makes me really mad on your behalf and makes me think less of whomever sent it to you. But then, I’m a little cranky and looking for a fight. 😉 K.

  5. Yeah, we talked about the email on the phone. I felt much the same way about it, but didn’t really think beyond my irritation. So good for you!

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