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March 23, 2011
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Crois, Geloof, Credere, Creen, Tror, Believe. This word in English, or French, or Dutch, or Spanish, or Italian, or Swedish, is one word I could never fully understand. In fact, there is only one language where this term, believe, can be truly expressed. This language is very unique. It bears no grammatical boundaries, or anchors of punctuation. Thoughts expressed in this language require no paper, pencils, or pens, for it is written on silence. When I was 5 years old I learned to speak this language. Today I live by believing.

The first word I learned was “C”. Back then, I was young. My sunrise to sunsets involved rock collecting and tree climbing. When sunset came I would scurry up to my room, kick off my mud caked clothes and change into feet pyjamas. It became my mother’s ritual to ask, “Olivia, did you read a book today?” but I would simply flash a guilty grin. It pained me to see my mother’s face drop, sunset after sunset, knowing her little princess evolved into a tomboy. But in my opinion, the stories in those books were nothing compared to the stories I could spin during my tree climbing adventures. Plus, English words looked like alien crop circles through my young eyes. My parents secretly sought out a change,
a change that occurred on a super sunny summer afternoon. I had spent that lazy day napping on corduroy sofa, but I woke up to leathery car seat. The destination was an unfamiliar pink house on a busy main street. I skipped up its concrete steps and strolled right through the peachy wooden doors, without knocking. An old lady greeted my parents and me, but their words buzzed around me like flies. I remember the choking smell of odourless soap. I remember what felt like hours of conversational exchange between the lady and my parents. I remember how the boredom clawed at me until I could no longer take its torture. Finally, I wandered the wonderland of a house. What I seemed to remember most was the brown room, tucked between the offbeat pinks and grays of the living room and kitchen. This room was so out of place, and this fascinated me. I eagerly poked my head through the door and right before my eyes was an object. So peculiar, surreal... magnificent. My eyes danced upon its shiny wooden panels. Its black and white ivory teeth shone through a coat of dust. The silent ring of its strings called to me. I strolled into the room, and sat down on the creaky oak wood bench. When I was 5 years old, my stubby little beetle fingers met with the dainty black and white keys of an 1897 Bell piano. I fell in love.

The very next sunrise, I sat down at my brand new, brand old, Bell piano. For many months, frustration banged at the notes, and tears tore their way out of my eyes. The piano resembled my lack of success but the music always whispered “don’t give up”. This hobby replaced much of my more childish hobbies. Slowly but surely, I improved. Sunrises to sunsets, fingers crawling with persistency, I played my first whole song. When months turned to years, I played many whole songs and began realize the music’s secrets. I understood that each note had to be conquered, tied down, and perfected. I established the techniques it took to conquer each note. I saw the facts of perseverance, that no matter how challenging a bar may be, it can always be conquered. Lastly, I accepted the time, no matter how long it took, to perfect a piece of music. Slowly, after years of practice I had come to a simple conclusion. To achieve a goal is 99 percent hard work, but the most important 1 percent relies on the belief that you have the ability to achieve that goal. Finally, I heard the sounds of my 5 year old dreams. One super sunny summer afternoon, I walked across a stage and sat on a shiny black grand piano facing 400 seated faces and told the story of Rialto Ripples. No, not in English, nor French, nor Dutch, nor Spanish, nor Italian, nor Swedish but in the one language that I knew best. Within the unique language of music, I truly expressed the word believe. It was then that I realized how far this universal language had taken me in the past 12 years, but also how far this language may someday take me. If I had given up after the aches and pains, where would I have been today? If I don’t ever give up because of aches and pains then think of all the places I could be tomorrow. The piano taught me one very important lesson about building dreams and believing them. Success is not within flawless bars and perfect timing; Success is within never giving up.

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