I’m not the person whose every feeling is clear by the look on her face, whose heart is always exposed for everyone to see. I’m not the person who opens up easily, who tells her friends and family about her every worry and fear. But when I sit on the edge of a cushioned bench and lift the heavy, black fallboard to my piano, I become that person.
With my right foot stretching for the pedal, I position my fingers on the squeaky clean keys, the same exhilarating feeling that possessed me when I was five years old igniting all of the nerves in my body. I play the first chord of Kabalevsky’s “Novelette,” and I drift off, the music transporting me to a conflict ridden world in Russia during the Cold War. With my fingers flying across the keys, I reflect my anger for the past, my frustration for the present, and my fears for the future. I close my eyes, feeling every note of music and feeling every release of the pedal as a release of my own stress. The tension builds up to the climactic release of an explosion of major chords, the only ones in the entire piece. But then the loudness subsides. The notes grow softer and softer, winding down into dissonant silence. My fingers linger on the keys for a moment after the piece is finished, my foot slowly releasing its hold on the pedal, and I open my eyes, returning to this world.
This is my sanctuary. This is the feeling that I search for every day, the feeling that I dream about. I dream of a place where I can express myself, where my fears and insecurities subside, and where I explode with passion and excitement. I dream of that moment when my emotions take hold of me and when I let every part of me run rampant: the quirks, the strengths, the weaknesses, and the determination. I dream of the inexplicable feeling of freedom I get from playing. Here I can display my love for science, art, writing, or even TV shows and shopping. Here, I feel peace and contentment. Here, I am unrestrained.