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Music To My Fears

, , , , , | Related | February 4, 2019

(Ever since I joined my middle school music program in sixth grade, I’ve fallen in love with music. Not only was it basically the only thing keeping me from spiraling down even further into my social anxiety and depression, but it was also something I really cared about, so much that I wanted to become a musician. My parents, on the other hand, are less than enthusiastic about my dedication and love for music, stating that:)

Parents: “Music is just a hobby and you’ll never be able to feed yourself or have children properly.”

(Of course, as a depressed and moody teenage sophomore, it is pretty hard to hear. Things come to a head when my parents decide to go behind my back and ask my counselor to remove me from my school’s music program. Mind you, I’ve been doing band for nearly a full five years at this point. I’ve worked hard for it, paying for private lessons out of my own pocket – which is DEFINITELY not cheap – staying up every night until 4:00 am to finish my schoolwork, trying my hardest to be first chair (band-speak for “being the best in your instrument group”) in the best band at my school, and fending off my social anxiety and depression all the while.

My family are first-generation Chinese immigrants, so understandably, their expectations of their youngest are a little bit high, to say the least, so hearing about how my parents went behind my back to purposefully prevent me from doing music as a career was quite the experience. And not one I’m willing to go through again.

Long story short, my counselor realizes the situation, switches my schedule back to what it was before, and my music teacher, private tutor, and the three people I call my friends are happy to have me back in the music program and not seeing me mope around school with a dead look in my eyes anymore. My parents, on the other hand, are less than pleasant towards me afterward. After realizing they can’t force me to quit music as a career, they become cold, and sterner than ever before. They refuse to drive me to concerts, and when I ask my friends for a ride or if I can stay at their house until the concert, my parents call their parents and explain about how I “need” to get home. When I finally get my driver’s license, they lay down rules that are nearly impossible to follow, such as “being home by 10:00, even though the drive to your school is 30 minutes round-trip and the concert starts at 9:30.”

They basically do everything in their power to restrict me from doing anything related to music. A few days after I turn 18, I receive a letter from a very prestigious music school. Obviously, I am ecstatic, and my siblings, who are all older than me, are excited at the fact that I managed to get into such a prestigious academy.

My parents, on the other hand, are surprisingly happy about my acceptance, as well, at least I tell them what kind of school it is. Fast forward a couple of months or so: on graduation day, my friends and I decide to “hang out” afterward. I come back home — no alcohol was involved, just a lot of fast food and video games — I see that save for my bed, my desk, my bookcase, and my nightstand, my room is completely barren.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but when you realize that my room is usually full of expensive instruments hanging on the walls and instrument cases pressed into the corners of the room, then it becomes a problem. After calling my friends and teachers, I finally manage to corner my parents. My brother, along with one of my friends who decided to stay the night, is with us.)

Me: *barreling down the stairs* “Where did all my instruments go?”

Friend: *slightly confused* “Are you talking about the, like, fourteen flutes and trumpets in your room?”

Me: *slowly getting more and more agitated at the fact that all that “junk metal” in my room could be worth well over $50,000* “Yes!”

Brother: *rolls his eyes and shuts off the game he and my friend were playing* “Son of a b****.”

(My brother, my friend, and I manage to find my dad smoking out in the backyard. My brother taps on the glass sliding door and my dad opens it.)

Brother: “Dad, I saw Mom leave the house an hour ago with a bag. Where is she going?”

Dad: *takes another long drag on his cigar* “A friend.”

Brother: “What friend?”

Dad: “[His Friend]’s home.”

Me: “What for?”

Dad: *standing up and looking down at me in the eye* “Your mother and I talked about this, and we decided that that college you got accepted to isn’t a good fit for you.”

Me: *sputtering* “W-what? Of course it was! It was a music school!”

Dad: “Your mother and I already told you: music isn’t a real job. It’s just a hobby, and if you do choose to do it for a living, you’ll never be able to raise a house and family.”

Brother: *finally catching on* “No f****** way. Did… did you sell [My Name]’s instruments?”

Dad: “Yes. We decided all the money you could gain from selling those instruments could be used to pay for [College].”

Me: “But I’m not going to [College]! I’m going to [Music School]! And besides, I didn’t even apply for that college! The application deadline has been over since last January, so what’re you trying to do here?”

Dad: “You are not going to that college, [My Name]. That school is filled with fools who’ll end up homeless and pregnant on the streets, with no husbands or family to care for them. You will go to a college besides [Music School], and you will not be getting your instruments back!”

(My friend decided to call the police, and since my parents did technically steal from me, since I bought or rented all of those instruments with my own money, we took it to court. Fast forward quite a few years. I’ve decided to change my last name to match that of [Friend]’s, who is now my husband. I cut off all contact with my parents, though my brother still tells me that they’ve also erased me from their own memories. Truth be told, I’m glad for it.)

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