Muted: The Day I Stopped Playing Violin

Muted: The Day I Stopped Playing Violin


The day I stopped playing violin I thought I could never smile again.

It was tragic.

It was surreal.

It was my worst nightmare unleashed.

Imagine giving up something that you’ve poured blood, sweat and tears into. Something that makes you feel beautiful, strong, and powerful. A career opportunity, a passion, and a part of you that you never imagined could stop being a part of you.

It was devastating.

I stopped when my practice became too intense, and I injured myself beyond recovery.

My orchestra conductor used to tease us saying, "Practice until your fingers bleed." Could I ever imagine that too much practice would lead to such a detrimental estate? Before my injury, I was at the point in my musical journey when my instrument had become an extension of my body.

It moved when I moved,

breathed when I breathed,

and served as my fountain of my emotional expression.

So what happens when you stop playing an instrument? Not by choice, but by force.

When a doctor tells you to stop playing because the intensity is too much for your body?

Let's just say I cried every day for three years.

Night after night I sifted through memories, longing to hold my beloved instrument again. I would rub my thumb against my soft, fleshy fingers and sigh in dismay that my calluses from playing were gone.

It felt like I was in a movie, one of those dramas about someone who gets injured and has to overcome it to pursue their passion.

But my reality was not stuff of fiction.

So, I sulked, and depression got its way. And, every moment I spent longing for my violin again I lost sight of what was in front of me now.

The day I regained a smile was the day I realized it was my choice to either move on or linger in the past.

I was sitting in the prayer chapel at my university. Snow fell outside and I watched it descend in huge wet flakes. My face too was wet with tears. I cried long and hard, hoping God would take pity on me and restore my ability to play music.

It was in this moment I heard beside me the tears of someone else. She was just across the wall in the next prayer room sobbing quietly. I held my breath and listened to her. All at once my sorrows seemed to melt like the falling flakes. And I wanted to go in and put my arms around her. What did it matter that I was suffering when so many others were suffering too? What was I doing wasting time with pity parties for myself when I could be sharing my story and encouraging other people to be strong.

A few months laters I was eating vanilla ice cream in the cafeteria with my friend Jana who was telling me about her new faith in God. When I explained to her my battle with depression and longing to play music again, she noticed my eyes brimming with tears.

"Julia," she said, setting down her spoon and smiling. "Have you ever considered the years God did let you play music? Aren't you thankful that He allowed you so many years to enjoy that?"

She was right. From ages six to 18 I was able to enjoy hours of practice and performance. My tears retracted as her words sunk in and helped me see that sometimes when life doesn’t go the way we planned, we begin to waste precious hours wishing it was different. Or running in the wrong direction trying to retrieve what we’ve lost.

I’m not saying life is easy without playing violin, and I’m not saying I’ve given up hope of playing again. But it’s better to live in the present than in the past. Don't be like me and squander three years of your life wishing things were better. Count your blessings now and your blessings then.

Cover Image Credit: Pexel

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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An Open Letter to Soda

You're both good and bad, but you never fail to satisfy me.


Dear soda,

How do I even begin to describe my connection to you? I have shared countless moments with you that we're both my best and my worst. Above all, you fill me up better than water, milk and juice ever do. And even though you're as equally unhealthy as alcohol is (no offense), you're always the safer, if not the most refreshing choice. But even so, you give me more calories than I want in one meal, although burning off that kind of energy is second nature to me.

Before I lavish you with compliments and thank you for cooling me down on hot summer days, it's time to get the unpalatable truth about you and nutrition, soda. You're a primary reason why I'm not in the best shape of my life. Every time I try to have that extra little bit of muscle, you end up setting me back. It's so easy for me to crave for you, because of how delicious you are, and the sugar high you give me is absolutely amazing compared to what I get eating candy and all those other sweets.

I know it's really puzzling for a writer like me to be writing an open letter to a beverage, but you're actually a pretty big part of my life. Why? Because you don't just quench my thirst on hot days, or affect my upset stomach for better or worse, you give me just a smidgen more energy than coffee and tea do. The caffeine in you isn't good for me in the long run, but I need it on a regular basis so I don't zone out during my classes. Honestly, without you, I don't feel as uninhibited as I like to be.

What I love the most about you is that you come in numerous flavors, and even though it's scientifically proven to be ineffective and also tastes worse than gruel, you come in diet form. In every restaurant and cafeteria, you get your own fountain, and students like myself prefer to go there instead of the coffee machines. The hiss of fizz when I open you up makes my mouth water, chills go up my spine and I never resist that first taste of your sugary carbon. Out of all the flavors you offer, I love root beer, cream soda, grape, orange, ginger ale and Dr. Pepper the most. The possibilities with you are so endless.

Soda, the best thing you've ever done for is satisfy me when I didn't feel satisfied.

From one of your many friends,

Konner Donté Watson

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