Monday, November 12, 2007

A surprising shock of my life

Well, the shock has worn off a bit since yesterday---some anyway.

In my last post, I told you that I had band practice, and that it was very likely not going to go well and end up being my fault, and it was. It isn't that I wasn't right on the money with my drumming, because I was--I think we're finding out that the drumming setting that I chose for a certain particular tune just isn't a good FIT--it doesn't really "sound" like it goes with the tunes we're playing. So now, I have to come up with something new.

This happens after 2 years of play, when the setting seemed to go along just it's having tempo problems. Again, it could have just been the day.

But the shock came at the business meeting we had.

The Drum Sergeant chose me to be Drum Corporal. Now keep in mind that I was HOPING beyond hope for Drum Sergeant, but knew that didn't happen at the Annual General Meeting last week--and realized that the Pipe Major didn't pick me again this year--even though I'm the one taking care of the drums, writing down the settings for the drummers, teaching the new people AND just starting running the website. I'm in this thing up to my neck from a drumming aspect, and since that's the consumate position of the Drum Sergeant, I figure that I've been doing it I should own it. But alas, such was not to be.

Even so Drum Corporal never occurred to me because the DS is so much "friendlier" with one of the other drummers in the corps--so it shocked me when she picked me. Even so, I suppose that loyalties exist, whether there are positions or not, right?

And so, this effectively puts me in charge when the DS can't make it (say to practice or a performance), and I get a pair of STRIPES for my uniform. I'm tickled, but I seriously have this "low in my belly" need to be DS.

Now it's got nothing to do with being the center of attention. It has EVERYTHING to do with my ex-husband (oh here we go again). How you ask?

Well, after he left me and got kicked out of the band we were in, I worked my collective off trying to get DS in that band. They wouldn't let me--thinking that I'm a control freak...which is true, but not so much that I'm hard to get along with (only my son will tell you differently)--but the Pipe Major (PM) wouldn't give it to me. His excuse was that I had a weak left hand...which was true enough--so I worked my left hand control on my sticking for months, and he still wouldn't give it to me, so I finally left the band--I was, after all, leading 2 bands at the time, and working hard, spending twice the time and effort on middle and west side of Michigan--while the DS for the west side band rarely ever made it to practice--and so I was working with these guys basically for no compensation whatsoever. After while, it got to me, and I resigned.

A few years later, I decided that I wanted to get back into the band, but they were loathe to do that (for obvious reasons, since I had taught the current DS how and what to play) they had enough drummers...oh, but the band on the west side of the state needs drummers--I don't think they have any at all.

And so I became a drummer for the Grand Rapids and District Pipe Band.

Now, all during this life travel of MINE, my ex moves to Kalamazoo, joins the Kalamazoo pipe band, tells them a boat-load of lies, about how he's been DS in 3 different bands, played competition with the Denver Police etc etc, when he was never even lead drummer!!! Well, they made him DS, and all the corps resigned. He ended up playing by himself. Eventually, the PM removed him from his office, and now they have a corps of drummers most of whom I would bet my last dollar, came BACK from resigning under my ex-husband's rule.

What have I learned from this?

That my ex was a pompous pile of sheep dip---which reallly gives sheep dip a bad name, and that he has only ever wanted to be the center of attention, and didn't care if he was the only drummer in the corps. He was DS!!! He finally had the stripes....but you know, what good does it do to be "in charge" if you've got nobody to be "in charge of"?

And so I want those stripes..I want to come by them honestly--to be deserving of them--and I work my off to make sure that I'm next in line to get em. I want to be able to shove them in my ex's face, and say "SEE? I EARNED THESE. Not because I lied my way into them, not because I needed them because I feel so inferior without them or because I want to be the center of attention, but because I earned them. I have been working for something like 20 years for them, and by golly, I've got them--so eat sheep dip and die!"

Somehow, just saying all that here, feels really good. It makes me think that by accomplishing this feat, I will somehow be able to extract my ex from my thoughts and my life for good and for good riddance. I will finally take back the joy that I once knew when he and I were together in the band. When I have those stripes, and he finds out about it, he will be jealous--because he knows that he got his dishonestly, and he lost the position because of that...and because he chased the rest of the drummers out so that he could be the only one. It might be something akin to "keeping up with the Jones family", but the feeling only occurs when I'm actually THINKING about it. The rest of the time, I really don't care so much--I care more about whether the band sounds good or not as a collective.

And that might be why the DS chose me for DC--it could also mean that she wants to keep me from screwing it all up chasing after my heart's desire, but I can't think about that right now. If I were REALLY PARANOID...I could think another way. But at the moment, I need to feel happy that I'm DC, pleased (but pressured) that somebody chose me to be Treasurer--even though I didn't get the job and didn't expect to...knowing that Ray nominated me for the position. He believes that "he who controls the checkbook has the power in the band..." My answer to that is that yes there are some bands like that, but GR&DPB isn't like that.

So all that said, I see myself working toward a goal--sometimes it seems more like a rainbow. The goal isn't just my own goal, but the goal of the band. If I can succeed in my own goals, can I bring the band's goals to fruition at the same time? I'm a talented person, but do I have what it takes to go the extra mile to WIN IT ALL? Or is it supposed to be enough to own the talent, to be confident in that talent, and make it go well enough to make it count. Should I even be putting that much pressure on myself...might I buckle under the strain? Do I have what it takes to be a leader?

Tough questions. For now, I have to change a drum head.

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