Sunday, June 4, 2017

Transformations

Today being Pentecost, the last day of the Easter season, I thought I'd look back at how much has changed for me since February 12, the first day of Carnivale (the season ending in Mardi Gras, just before Lent).



On February 12, I hadn't yet begun my trumpet lessons, and I hadn't yet stopped with my guitar lessons.  (I don't remember if we'd gotten in touch with my current trumpet instructor yet.)  Now, as of June 4, I'm doing chromatic scales and reaching nearly a fifth above the low octave--which my trumpet instructor says is a good range and opens up several tunes for me to be able to play.

On February 12, I wasn't considering singing as predominantly as I am now, or as I was considering playing the trumpet (or at least brass of some kind)--and I hadn't yet registered at the Byzantine parish I've been attending.  Now, as of June 4, I am registered and have spoken to the head cantor about my cantoring at that parish.

On February 12, I hadn't even been to McDonald's in years--although by that time I had seen the movie The Founder, had discovered a McDonald's within walking distance of my house, and was seriously considering going back (as a customer only).  I hadn't even considered working there.  Now, as of June 4, I am seriously considering working there, and have learned so much about it and am enthusiastic about the idea.

On February 12, I had been blocked on my mythos-in-the-making for literally months, although I had decided that, with how much I loved the trumpet and wanted lessons, it was okay for me to take a break from it.  Now, as of June 4, I've seriously rethought that mythos in ways that I think will make it better, and have ordered some books that I think will help me even further once I've read them, so that I can finally rewrite what I hope will be the final form of this mythos.



On February 12, I hadn't quite integrated my life in my head--that is, seen it as a cohesive whole with a point.  And even though I had already concluded by then that drawing cartoons and writing stories were not my primary passions, I hadn't quite seen that this had been the case all my life, even when I had thought otherwise.  Now, as of June 4, not only does my life feel less like individual jigsaw puzzle pieces, but I'm starting to have a clear plan for my life, and to become more proactive and less afraid.  I hope by mid-summer, if the Lord wills it, to have made considerable visible progress.



In sum, on February 12, I'd had my trumpet for 1 1/2 months, and was enthusiastic about playing it (the only times I didn't practice it were times when I had a legitimate excuse as to why)--and I was seriously considering going back to college this coming fall and majoring in Music with an emphasis in the trumpet.  At least, I wanted to try other brass instruments to be sure that this was the one I wanted, before I tackled such a big project as going back to school (again).  And at minimum, I wanted to wait until the second half of August this year (closer to when the semester begins, but still before it begins), to see where I was at and where the world was at, and so to see if that was still what I wanted to do.

Now, as of June 4, I'm seriously considering entering the workforce first, at McDonald's, and worrying about college later, if at all.  And even if I do go back to college, and even if I major in Music, I no longer think I need to emphasize it in trumpet.  Aside from the fact that I'm planning on cantoring as well, that fact plus the fact that I already have a trumpet teacher seems to me to preclude the need for private lessons in the same thing--suggesting that I might in that event look to a different musical instrument instead.  And that's if I majored in Music at all, as I'm thinking of other possibilities now too--but I want to talk to someone, and I now know that McDonald's has "Archways to Opportunity", so maybe I can ask for some advice in that regard.



It may not be as dramatic a change as things have gotten since December of last year, but it's still a major change for me.  And I've had more dramatic changes years before, in 2012 and especially in 2010.  I never would have predicted that I would become who I am now.

And yet, for all that, I still recognize myself as the same person I was at each stage of my life that I can remember (and I can remember back to when I was about three years old, give or take a few months).  I haven't lost myself; I'm finding myself, I think, and it's a lovely feeling.  I wanted to share that on this day, the anniversary of the founding of the Church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles for the first time.



Oh, good grief!  Now I'm seriously thinking of something else: one thing that I was considering earlier today was learning new languages, and perhaps having that be my major if I went back to college....

...and today, Pentecost, is the day that the Apostles spoke in tongues, so that all could understand what they were saying no matter what languages those people understood!



Lately I have seriously been considering languages, for a number of reasons:

First, a lot of my main interests and skills (outside of visual designs and manipulation of mechanical and electronic objects) seem to be in two major categories: ideas (philosophy and history--true and fictional) and sounds (music), especially as I'm an auditory learner with a strong memory.  And those two things combine in words, in language.

Second, I'm coming to recognize certain etymological roots in languages, to where I can guess at the history of the word--and be right very often.  That's true both of real languages and now also of J. R. R. Tolkien's Elvish languages.  And that's probably how he was able to get a mythology out of his artificial languages.

Third, I've been interested in languages before.  I took four years of Spanish and one year of French, and I thought that those were the exception to one major unfortunate trend I was noticing in higher education: classes weren't as fun as they'd been in elementary school.  But with language classes it was like being in elementary school again, fun and all, the only difference being that it was a different language than English.

Fourth, I've come to the conclusion that if I can know more than one way to say something, I truly understand the underlying concepts, rather than just relying on one way to say it and repeating that, as I might for a script or a song.  And the biggest way to know more than one way to say something is to say it in different languages.

Fifth, related to this, that might make it easier for me to communicate with other people, not just in terms of understanding what the words mean, but in terms of how they understand concepts differently from a native English speaker--so that I could use different ideas, not just different words, to communicate my meaning.  Different philosophical concepts, different metaphors, different story parables, etc.

Sixth, related to the above, I consider language and music to be particular ways in which to make historical cultures come to life for me, because they aren't static (like still visual arts), nor are they merely simulated (like dramatic arts).

Seventh, I used to think that my interest was in making up stories in different media (I thought that back before I had any college degrees).  Well, different media are translations of the same story being told, just as much as different languages are.  Different media are nonverbal languages, after a fashion.

Eighth, I'd already concluded as early as the fall of 2015 that some of the things that matter most to me are communication and logic--so that if either seems to fail, I get frustrated and upset.  And I already have a logical/mathematical/spatial mind (that even applies to my drawings), but I don't know as many languages as I might.



So maybe I could consider that as a possibility.  Certainly being multilingual would help me in any kind of service job where I'd have to interact verbally with someone--and I know from experience that even now I've been able to keep up a conversation in Spanish with someone I didn't even know.

Plus, of course, each language has its own folk music and folklore, so I could communicate that way as well, singing in different languages and maybe telling folktales in different cultures.

Only God knows for sure.



Thank you for reading, and have a happy and blessed Pentecost!

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