I remember in my Child Development course at BYU, we covered the three myths of adolescence. One was the Myth of Invincibility, teenagers believing they can never die. I've forgotten the second myth, but the gist of the third was (in much more eloquent words that I do not now remember) that every teenager believes that everyone is watching them and talking about them and noticing their every mistake. I thought I had long ago matured beyond adolescence, but I found out otherwise last Sunday.
The organist in our ward is a woman, whom, for the sake of protecting the innocent, we will call "Carol". She is a wonderful musician and a very kind person. She also sits on the second row in Relief Society every Sunday where I am the pianist. Every time I make a mistake, I cringe, thinking (without any justification) that Carol must have noticed and thought badly of me (after all, I'm sure she never makes a mistake). Every time I embellish the music during prelude or postlude, I'm sure that Carol, sitting 5 feet away, is chuckling inside at my pathetic attempts. She is the only person in that entire room that makes me feel self-conscious about my playing, and she's not even doing anything.
I had been asked by the Relief Society Choir Director to play the piano at a musical number. I told her I would be delighted, but that I was unable to make the first practice. She said it would be fine, that Carol could cover the accompaniment for practice, and she would get me the music on Sunday at church. On Sunday, she and Carol were talking music after Relief Society, so I joined them, thinking they would want me to get the music. Kennan, the chorister, said, "Oh, Emilee. Apparently Carol and I had a miscommunication, and we both got accompanists for the musical number. I know you were going to have to get a babysitter to make it to the meeting, so are you okay if Shanda plays instead?"
Carol looked at me in surprise and said, "Oh. Do you play the piano?"
I was completely taken back, and at first just a teeny bit offended. Yes, Carol, I have been playing the piano, five feet from you, in Relief Society, for an entire year. And then I saw the irony. All my self-conscious worries were focused on a person who hadn't noticed me at all.
I'll start trying, once again, not to take myself too seriously. (And maybe I can stop acting like a 13-year old.)