Today is MY WAY DAY!!! It’s a day to disregard anybody else’s way of doing anything and forging ahead in your own unique style. Stop laughing – it’ll be okay! If I want to write at 2am and sleep until 10am the next morning, I will. How do you like them apples???
Two popular artists recorded a song called My Way – the first was Frank Sinatra in 1969.
That’s the recording my mom liked best. She was a fan of ol’ blue eyes. The recording I like best was done by Elvis a few years later, in 1977.
I tried to play My Way at a talent show in 1975 at my junior high school. I practiced and was as ready as could be, but the brilliant mind who put the program together put the most gifted pianist in the whole school right before me. His name is David and he played The Entertainer with no music. He wowed everyone, including me. I wanted to run away. In retrospect, I easily could have bowed out – but at that age, you don’t realize you have those kinds of choices.
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. – Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name
I went ahead. I followed the most awesome pianist in the school onto the stage, put my book up on the piano and with trembling fingers, I played My Way.
It was a flop! I was humiliated – they booed me off and I cried as I exited the stage. Kids are cruel – really cruel. But I’d love to tell the person or persons who scheduled me behind the best pianist in the school just how STUPID that was! It was like someone wanted to set me up for failure. It made me stronger in the long run. God doesn’t leave us in despair for long. He loves me no matter what. I learned how to fail forward! I went on to perform in recitals and contests, and I was church pianist at twelve and played for both the adult and youth choirs. I was determined to be happy in Jesus! I let go of my way and did things His Way! It was best for me.
No kid in high school feels as though they fit in. The smartest thing that I ever heard anybody say about high school was that “If you look back upon that as the happiest time of your life, I don’t want to know you.” – Stephen King
Life goes on – indeed. I let the pain go but kept the lesson tucked away in the back of my mind.
So today, I will do things my way – it will not be the best and I know it – but it will be my personal best. My name is not David, it is Linda and I know how to play the piano, but I’m not a performer – not by a long shot. Never wanted to be.
There is one remnant of that day left in my music book. The day of the talent show, my mama drew a happy face on my music and wrote “Good Luck. I love you!” I look at that music now and it’s a precious memory because it was from my mom. Whether I played well or not – whether my music was memorized or not makes no difference. My mom had faith that I could play it and do well. That meant a lot to me.
I was telling stories on the piano long before I ever directed a movie… I like the image of the piano player: The piano player sits down, play, tells his story, and then gets up and leaves, letting the music speak for itself. – Clint Eastwood
Sometimes the pianist is a female… jus’ sayin’… I played My Way… MY WAY. When you’re in school, it’s important that the other kids approve of the way you play – or the way you do anything else. But as an adult, I’m not that concerned about what others think of my “performance”. Take me – leave me. Whatever.
When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you. – Karen Lorimer
I would suggest that if you celebrate My Way Day, you should separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Don’t give anyone an opportunity to compare your way to anyone else’s way. As a young person I learned not to stay in anyone’s shadow or follow a perfectly executed performance. It’s a painful lesson, but one that has helped me more than once.