An old, old draft with still current truths:
There are those moments - infrequent and powerful when I'm REALLY riled up right now. I just experienced something that I think is sneaky, under-handed, and only explainable as either ass-covering or finger-pointing. I'm so angry I could spit - preferably in the perpetrator's face. And yet, in the hour or so since I've figured out what happened, I have gotten more done than I ever do in the last hour of work. My reminder just popped up to tell me to go home (yes, I set a reminder to tell me it's time to go home - my home time matters to me), and I couldn't believe that between 3 and 4:30 the time just went poof! I've experienced this before. There's some part of FU, a phrase I often experience viscerally even if I don't say it out loud, that is accompanied by 'I'll show you!'
It first happened in one of my earliest university voice lessons. I was in new territory, with an extremely intimidating teacher, Barbara, in a very warm, small room doing what I thought was my best to belt out whatever song she'd chosen for that day. The window was open to give us some hope of a breeze and fresh air, and suddenly I heard it - the voice of a boy I'd only just met (two weeks into university as we were) but already developed an enormous crush on. He was dreamy, and soulful, and distant, and so very very lovely and I heard him laughing with friends as he exited the cafeteria to sit at the picnic table outside the rehearsal room.
Mid-phrase, my voice shrank to a pretty, melodic whisper. Barbara stopped playing, swivelled in her chair and all but yelled at me, "What do you call that? If you're going to turn into a mouse just because a boy is outside, just get out now and stop wasting both of our time!"
I just knew he'd heard. I was embarrassed - beet red instantly, angry at being embarrassed, and so very very ashamed. I couldn't leave, or he'd know who it was that stopped singing for him. I couldn't let her treat me like that. I couldn't ... I couldn't ... I couldn't do anything but sing.
And so I did. At the top of my lungs. In a powerful voice I didn't know I had and only seldom have accessed since. She smiled, said that was more like it, and wrapped things up for the day.
He was still sitting outside when I left. Said hi, and that I sounded great. And I tried not to die even more with the confirmation that he'd heard the whole exchange. Still, he said hi. And he thought I sounded great. And I knew, that for at least that moment, I did sound great.
It happened again when I returned to university after 7 years as an unhappy housewife. The professor who dared tell me I didn't have what it took and that it was always going to be easier for the smarter students, had to re-write the marking strategy for an exam when I was the only one to ace it and the majority of the class failed.
It's a funny reaction. I wonder what life would be like if I didn't have to have something to prove in order to do my best. The truth is, I think I am doing my best the rest of the time. But in those moments of furious proof-making, I wonder who really lurks inside me.