Rising Above Defeat

Autobiographical Essay

"I'm not spending money on piano lessons," said my mother. "It will be a waste of time and money since your hands are too small and stiff." The condescending smile on her face enraged me.

I felt a sudden impulse to bang at the black and white keys of the piano. "Why are you laughing at me? You don't think I can do it?" I began to see that even my own mother could not understand my desire to learn how to play the piano. I threw the piano book away. I banged the keys a couple of times; the keys struck the strings, the noise echoed in the empty room. Then I burst into tears. Crying soon turned into irrepressible sobbing. Darkness surrounded me; there was no hope of evading from this agony, nor or was there a soul to save me. Reluctantly, I picked up the piano book my sister used and tried to read the notes again, but the tears distorted my vision. I sobbed all night while playing the same four notes of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by ear. I was ten years old.

A few months before that night, I had been inundated with excitement after seeing Lang Lang perform at Carnegie Hall. Although I knew that my musical abilities were limited, I was not disheartened because I had great aspirations. I saw...

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