Nicole Dieker would like to note that this post still counts for Tuesday.
The thing about what-it-is-ism is that it effectively eliminates “should.”
“I should do this.” Maybe, but it only becomes real if you actually do it.
“I should have done this.” Maybe, but the only thing that really happened is what you actually did.
“I should have known.” Maybe, but for whatever reason, you didn’t.
“We should be…” Maybe, but you already know from my previous blog posts that the only thing that is real between two people is what they create together. Relationships are as subject to what-it-is-ism as literally everything else that is.
Which is to say, literally everything.
“Wait, Nicole,” I can hear you thinking, “what if two people disagree on what something is?”
If two people cannot agree on what something is, then their disagreement is what is. The reality of the disagreement takes precedence, at least in terms of the reality of the relationship between the people who disagree, and I can hear you start to think “but what if I believe that the earth is round and somebody else believes the earth is flat, you cannot tell me that the disagreement is more real than the actual shape of the earth,” to which I will say “the disagreement is as real as the earth itself, in whatever shape it may be taking at the moment, and may be temporarily more important simply because it’s the thought that is occupying both of your thoughts.”
But back to the piano, because this is technically about the piano.
Which is to say that — as I said (or wrote) yesterday — there are times when you think “I should be better at this section than I am,” or “I should be further along with my memorization than I am,” and what-it-is-ism eliminates those shoulds, leaving you with the work you’ve actually done and the music you’ve actually memorized.
And yes, it is hard to look at the work you’ve put into something and the results you are currently getting and ask yourself why it seems like you aren’t getting the results you’d hoped to get. It’s easier to get frustrated, to say “I should be better at this,” because guessing takes more effort than knowing and it’s going to take some guessing before you can figure out where the input/output discrepancy is.
All you know right now is that you want an output that you don’t yet have — and that it isn’t a matter of not doing the work, because you’re showing up at the piano every day.
It might be a matter of not doing the right work, or not doing the kind of work that leads to the results you want, or not doing the kind of work that fully solves a problem.
It might also be that the work you’re doing is right, but you simply haven’t done enough of it yet.
L argues that what-it-is-ism eliminates not only “should” but also “ego.”
I’m not sure that he and I agree on what ego is yet (which is fair, since there are, like, ten different definitions) but I understand what he means.
If you accept what-it-is-ism, then you also accept who you are. Not who you wish you could be, or who you should be, or whomever it is you feel like you are owed to be.
You can change what is, within what is possible to be changed, and you can change who you are, within what is possible to be changed.
But taking a moment to sit with who you are, exactly as you are, and accept that, well — it’s worth taking, because I just did it.
And tomorrow you can go back to all of that problem-solving and whatnot, if you want to.
I want to write more about what-it-is-ism, but I also want to write more about memorization and learning and playing the piano as if I were pulling the music out of my dreams (thanks, Maggie Stiefvater) and writing a piece of music that I did in fact carry with me out of a dream and everything else that I’m thinking about at various points during the day.
These include the points at which I think “I should be writing more, these blog posts should be longer/better/less reliant on section breaks as a substitute for well-crafted transitions/etc.”
But what-it-is-ism says “this is what you have written today.”
And that’s what’s real. ❤️