Inside a black, canvas-covered case, padded with foam and covered in green velvet, my true love resides. Some people close their eyes and feel the phantom touch of a long lost love. I can still feel the pressure of a thin gold E-string cutting into my fingertips, my thumbnail sinking into the scarred leather of my bow. I close my eyes and I can once again rest my cheek on the shoulder of my violin patiently waiting for a rehearsal to start, not realizing the simple comfort I took in the feeling of a chin rest pushing into my right bicep or the way my shoulder rest held my waist as my instrument lay tucked under my arm.
When you hear the phrase “nerve damage” you think of terrible accidents – you think of athletes with torn tendons and of live completely changed by a single moment. Who you don’t picture is an otherwise healthy nineteen year old violinist.
I was raised to ignore pain. Allowing pain to interfere with any task was unacceptable. As an adolescent, “suck it up” was my mantra. Illness was not something to stop your life for and injury was no exception. If you could stay away from the bathroom long enough without vomiting, you were healthy enough to go to school; to go to work: you weren’t sick enough to acknowledge.
By these standards, a small twinge of pain in your left elbow is beyond negligible and a burning ache in the wrist is certainly nothing to acknowledge beyond a tiny grimace.
In your first semester as a music major at any institution, you are welcomed further into a culture that was, before you arrived, probably only a small portion of your daily life. Freshman orientation courses in the music building teach you how that building will be your home. Practice rooms should be seen more often than dorm rooms and, yes, we even petitioned to have a café here specifically for you because, who would ever want to leave here – except maybe to sleep.