My grandmother bought me a piano at five.
I had a natural ability for it and played by ear.
The natural course of progression, of course, was for my Mother to be encouraged to engage me in lessons.
Ross would rock up every Monday night after school at 4:30 pm on the dot.
I’d already be at the piano, playing what I wanted to play.
He’d ask had I practised and I’d answer Yes.
I’d play the song as he turned the pages.
I’d look at the music, no idea where we were up to.
I was playing by ear.
I only had to hear the song a couple of times to be able to belt it out by memory.
Sometimes he wouldn’t know.
Sometimes he would.
I played in pubs and clubs at 14, performed at concerts and talent shows.
I played at mass for school, won awards and was invited to study piano in Germany at 17.
Always with the music in front of me.
Always by ear.
Everybody had big dreams for me.
It was all received as a threat, a demand, as giving up control by my brain.
I wanted so bad to pursue it all.
I hated letting everyone down.
But demand avoidance has its own agenda and I didn’t have a say.
I can read music.
I taught myself.
It’s difficult for families, I know.
It’s at times, more difficult for those of us who have no choice but to accept it because there is no fight.
I still enjoy the piano.
It fills me with joy.
No pressure; no demand.