On Resilience

Family Selfie
From Mother’s Day 2018: Megan, myself, our sister Lindsey and mom.

Be Resilient.

It’s the fourth term I recommend musicians carry along with them; and as creative, sometimes emotional types, it might be one of the most difficult to grasp.

Resilience means to recover quickly; toughness, maybe even grit. Honestly, I think of those in sales fields as being resilient. They have no choice but to get used to being told “no” so often – they’ve learned to bounce back and be ready for the next potential sale, on the off chance it might be a “yes.”

As young musicians it is critical to be resilient. At every lesson you have with a teacher, you are there to receive feedback. If you are truly working with a teacher who will assist in getting you better, it is not always going to be “nice” feedback. That is one of many wonderful reasons why I think private music instruction at a young age is advantageous – resilience is learned. Whether it’s through instruction time or through recitals/other performances – good experience or bad, life skills are being absorbed.

Down the line, auditions are also where resilience is necessary. Music can be competitive. Even after you’ve prepared your patootie off, are excited and hopeful for the desired result, maybe have told family and friends how much you want this role – you may not get the gig. What now?

There are not many ways you can work on practicing resilience without putting yourself in scenarios where, guess what – you will fail. And that’s OK. Try, try, again. I hate to sound cliché, but it’s so true: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And likely, ultimately, successful.

I’m the oldest of three sisters in my family. My youngest sister Megan is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, who’s been sober now since 2016. If you are a close friend or family member who knew me in those years leading into 2016, you knew what kind of emotional turbulence and strain this was putting on my family. Drove her car into a lake, a little fun in jail, bouncin’ around with various no-good dudes (some of whom are now dead from their own addictions), stealing money and booze left and right, lying to family constantly, the list goes on. Years and years of this. I’d once called the police on her. My parents had changed the locks on their house. In and out of rehabs.

HOWEVER, eventually, she found the path to sober living – knock on wood. Megan knows it’s a constant battle and continues to work through her recovery program. And as she’s fully willing to acknowledge that, she’s fully willing to tell her story (or, in this case, allow me to).

In the last few years, she’s gone from being completely unemployable to becoming a certified CNA and Behavioral Health Technician now working at a rehabilitation center herself. This morning she was sending me pictures of what she was planning to wear to work for orientation, because they’d told her “business casual” and she wanted to make sure she was doing it right. 🙂

It’s an extreme example of resilience, but it is one, nonetheless. Would she ever have gotten better if she hadn’t been allowed to fail – and hit that real, ugly, rock bottom?

Throughout this process, she has learned incredible lessons. So many more possibilities in life actually await her now, because of what she’s already been able to accomplish. I’m a very proud big sister.

1 Comment

  1. Trudy Schmalz

    Thanks for sharing this! Yes to resilience! 💜

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