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The Insanity, Interests, & Intensities of OLO 2022

It has only been a month since my last post but it feels almost like a year. The last two months have pushed me beyond the limits I thought I had and shown me more weaknesses and self flaws that I had managed to keep hidden or at the very least, minimized.

Throughout the last two months there were many wonderful moments!

One I can not put a picture of here is the opening of Mock Marriage. Sometimes the show goes so well it seems to fill your body till your hair stands on end and your heart erupts with such joy and pleasure. Even the hall can not contain it all and through the darkness of the lights, the perfection of the sound bursts through every wall and ceiling, to fill every part seen and unseen.

For many mornings throughout the summer, numerous orchestra members kept me motivated and pushed me to get out of bed, exhausted, to be the Insanity leader. Even when I developed sciatica pain and was unable to do any cardio, they stuck with me through recovery after recovery workout. This Insanity helped keep me sane!

Unfortunately I did, literally overnight, develop severe sciatica pain. I was barely able to walk. I did physical therapy exercises, borrowed a heavy duty massager, did stretches, had several acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. Each part helped, but one side of my foot and leg is still mostly numb even though I have most (but not all) of my movement back. X-rays and scans showed nothing for a source of the pain, so who knows if I'll ever get my feeling back or not.

While I was initially suffering from the sciatica pain, nearly the entire orchestra went to a local restaurant, Matsos, and played for their supper. I could not go because standing, walking, and sitting all hurt. Unbeknownst to me, the owner, Spiro, created a doggy bag for some of the members to bring back to me. He kindly and freely fed me for 4 evenings even though I didn't play.

On July 4th, the orchestra places a free pops concert in the city square. This year was no exception. A large crowd showed up, but by far my favorite part of the concert was the Maestro's sequined red jacket!

Covid was a part of the summer and with musicians, conductors, and singers all leaving at various intervals, things got hectic and extremely stressful at times. At one point, two days of shows had to be cancelled. So I decided to call my adopted dad Cliff, and he drove up to make use of the extra time.

We drove around northern Ohio to see three museums and lots of cornfields!

The first day, we went to the Neal Armstrong museum. I thought it was a nice hour and a half. Of course, Cliff could have given the tour and then some, but I had a nice time reading and learning about some semi-recent history! One of my favorite parts of the museum was the infinity walk simulating being in space with nothing but darkness and stars. It was pretty trippy and I walked it a few times :)

The next day we went to Canton to the McKinley library. That can barely be called a presidential library since it's actually a county library with a room for the president. There's also a planetarium with a host that is very excited about his job, and a dinosaur exhibit. Strangest presidential library I've ever been to!

I did enjoy the one room of McKinley artifacts and info, but my favorite part of the museum was the walk back in time where there was a recreation of the town when it was first built. It reminded me a little bit of a Disney park in that way. I really enjoyed it!

There was even a firepole to slide down, which of course I did, even in a mini skirt!

The McKinley monument is just outside the museum though, and it is breathtaking. It has 89 steps last I counted, but it's worth the climb!

The last day, we went to the Rutherford Museum. It was very strange initially. It started in the basement with posters on makeshift walls while people's footsteps overhead echoed above. It was difficult to become engaged, but by the time I moved from the basement to the 1st floor, I was very engaged and far behind Cliff, absorbed in all the details of each and every plaque on the wall to read and study.

The grounds also have the original house with its extensions built on, the burial site, as well as walking trails and rare trees. It was a beautiful and lovely afternoon to spend learning and relaxing.

The last thing we got to do when we got back from the museum, was go see the latest Top Gun movie. It was wonderful and I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. While we were in the movie a huge thunderstorm passed by. When we walked out the clouds were incredible and the air was tingly with all the energy still present. I couldn't help but take a photo to remember and share.

One fine day off for the company, a carload of us enjoyed a day in Canton, winding up at the botanical gardens where we played away on floor chimes and smelled the herbs and flowers. It was healing to the soul.

The summer was full of sex, drugs, and alcohol: none of those in a positive light. Musicians were fired, musicians quit, and musicians subs came and went. It was a comedy of errors that didn't turn out so funny after all. It was a first at OLO to have any of these things happen, let alone all of them in the same year, and all of them affecting me to such great extent.

It tested my emotional, mental, and physical stamina and strength to the point of collapse. By summers end I felt I had nothing left. I was a mere facade of a human that would have crumbled into shards of failures and tears if I was but tested once more.

Life gives you lessons. You learn. You think you learn. Then life test you again. And again you fail.

This summer showed me I am not as strong as I'd thought. I'm not as patient. I'm not as kind. I'm not as talented. I'm not as capable.

This summer pushed me and pulled me until I came apart. I was not strong enough on my own to maintain the emotional, mental, and even strength necessary to my sustain myself to my standards. The isolation and inadequacy I felt, grew stronger and heavier with each passing day.

Yes, there were people that kept telling me thank you and good job. I heard, but I couldn't believe. I watched the strength, stamina, and patience of others and began to realize how unworthy I was of the position I held. I truly love and respect the people I look up to there, so every failure, no matter how small, seemingly proved my inadequacy.

The internal fight was vigorous and relentless. If you don't fight though, you will never win. Anyone who knows me even a little, knows I'm a fighter. I fought with everything I had this summer and I won. It wasn't pretty. I'm hurt. I'm damaged. But I'm alive and I've learned a lot.

Luckily, nearly every day for two months, I could make my way into the orchestra pit, tuck the violin under my chin, and bare my soul with all its fear, love, anger, incredulity, and hurt. The notes could float into the room and lift the singers and caress the listeners; if I could just let my mind go and let my fingers play.

I performed through my physical pain, my emotional pain, my mental pain; not for myself. The music was and always is for others. When it's made for others, the joy touches the player too, and that's when the real magic happens :)

One evening, I took a walk around the campus and soaked in the pleasures of the beauty of the colors, the architecture, and the squirrels!

Yup, that squirrel really is black with a brown tail!

I did find those beautiful moments tucked away in the trials. I've questioned and analyzed how I failed and how I can do better. I've got a few days now to rest and heal and start the process to build back better and stronger, before I will be forced back into a harsher reality once again.


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