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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Respect - is it too much to ask for?

Warning Warning! Long post ahead!

We're at the end of all our CM rosters, as June has just started. The new church CM roster arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago, while our youth CM roster hasn't been written yet.

So, I was expecting to receive a phone call asking me to play this week for youth. What I didn't expect was to receive a SMS at 10:50pm on a Tuesday night, with the song list. I was a bit peeved that they would assume that I was available (or even able) to play on Friday - without even checking in with me first, so I sent a text message back asking "when did the rosters come out? No one asked me if I was available" (that's exactly what it said...I just checked my outgoing messages). The reply came 60 seconds later "don't worry about it have da night off."

Imagine my confusion when the next morning I get a phone call from my friend (who does the youth cm rosters), asking me to play on Friday night! Thankfully, we realised that some wires had been crossed, and communication had failed (wow - that's something different haha). So, I've got the night off.

However, there's more to it than that...

You see, I have RSI, OSS, or whatever it's currently called, in both arms, from just above the elbow, down into the wrist. It's aggravated by typing and playing piano, both of which I do. It's also aggravated by stress, which is caused by my boss ( ! ). Because it's not a visible injury, many people don't understand it, or even thing that it's psychological, or that it's just an excuse to not do something. Sometimes for me though, it's so painful that I'm at the physio 3 times a week and sometimes even taking anti-inflammatories just to get to sleep. So I've learnt how to balance work and play - it's just a matter of little bits at a time, and not too much at once.

Recently, it was assumed that I would play keyboards for the whole of our youth conference - something I honestly had no intention of doing. It was mentioned to me that I would be one of the principal vocalists, but nothing was mentioned about playing keys instead. I attended a couple of mid-week rehearsals, for what I assumed were for the gig at Chullora, or even for the album we're recording, but it turns out that we're the band for the conference, and that we were going to be rehearsing mid-week and playing every friday night until the end of September.

At the risk of sounding like my mum, this really got my back up. If I had been asked if I was available to play for the conference, I would have been able to let them know that I'd really only be able to play for a couple of meetings, not all of them. 3 hour rehearsals, plus friday rehearsals and playing, plus all the typing that I do for work - that's too much for me to handle.

This is my dilemma:

1. It's not that I don't want to play, it's just that I have to restrict what I do, otherwise I won't be able to function, and I'll do more damage to the muscles. (Once it got so bad that my mother had to cut up my food for me, and it was very hard to lift the food to my mouth).

2. Since I moved to Sydney, I don't have a piano or keyboard at home to practice on, so I can't rehearse inbetween practices, which means that I can't improve, or even memorise the music.

3. I don't believe that playing piano is my primary calling. For many years, piano has been secondary to my role as a vocalist.

4. People making assumptions about me immediately gets me off-side. For years (I've been involved in church CM teams for nearly half my life - or 12 years) people assumed that I'd always be there to play piano - sometimes even to the point where I felt guilty for taking a holiday. If someone asks me to play, that's fine, because then I can decide; yes or no. But when people assume? I find that extremely rude, disrespectful and unappreciative.

I shared all of this with my friend when she called to see if I could play on friday night. Talk about dumpin on her!
So then she shared it with the youth music director, who then said "they'll call me when they need me to play"....and now I'm feeling guilty for saying what I said! Grr. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending vicious circle.

Let me know what you think - even if you think I'm in the wrong. I'm interested to hear what others think about this...

You are right to speak up Paula. At the end of the day you have to look after your health because others won't, particularly if they don't know what's going on with you.

I think situations like this are exacerbated or improved on the basis of communication. Such a simple thing, but so often the difference between things going well and things going pear shaped!
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