YK’s 365 Release: day 22

My mother made me play the piano. I didn’t want to at all but it was compulsory because she indoctrinated us with the idea that all refined children should know how to play an instrument. My lessons were by a pedantic Korean woman in Chicago. She would whack my knuckles with a pencil and slap me on the back in rhythm, transforming me into a human metronome.

I loathed practice every single day. I would always try to avoid my practice hour and hope somehow, that day, my mother would forget I had to practice. Never happened. One time, she was lying on the sofa by me while I played the piano because I needed monitoring I guess. She eventually fell asleep and I stopped playing and went to lie on the floor next to her. I also fell asleep. At some point she must have noticed there was no piano playing happening and she shouted, “what happened?!” and I bolted up and ran back to the piano. Of course I got in trouble, as usual.

pianoMy entire piano career was like this. I only played because it was required of me. All three of us played some instrument. And I suppose when you are young the way they give you incentive to play (hence grooming us to be competitive cut-throaters in our adulthood) is to make you enter competitions. By now you know how much I abhor competition (see Day 9 and Day 17). Even so, I did win trophies and played for 10 years until I left Korea.

I haven’t played since then. However, as with most things my mother planned for us, I am eternally grateful as I grow older. First, I can read music, and when you think about that, it’s like speaking another language. Second, because of my mother, I am relatively well rounded. We took lessons in everything growing up: gymnastics, swimming, horseback riding, tennis, archery, piano/violin. Without her emboldening of our multifaceted sides, I would have perhaps ended up with a narrow skill set. Through her encouragement, I have cultivated skills in everything I possibly can fathom. And look at me now, I do so many things I can’t ever figure out what to tell people when they ask me what I do. That’s why I just say I’m a ninja.

day22In college I studied critical theory and literature. I used these subjects to address cultural studies, race and queer theory. As with most curricula in academia, there is a core set of required classes for each major. Some of the texts required for my classes involved dead white men writers, in anthologies filled with conventionally canonical work that was required reading. They made us read these texts because eventually they provided breadth of knowledge and the foundation for future texts. It was like playing the piano, I detested it, did it because it was obligatory, but ultimately, it proved instrumental.

I have kept these anthologies because of the same reason I have kept many of my books. I feel like giving them up with delete them from my brain. But as I have learned through this 365 Release practice, it’s just my own attachment that is preventing me from letting go.

So on Day 22 of my 365 Release, I am letting go of the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, an object that shows sometimes fundamentals are about broadening our experiences to get to a higher plane. May we always be open to everything so that we can expand our minds and reach the unknown.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

3 responses to “YK’s 365 Release: day 22”

  1. skye says:

    nice YK. and i love that you used: pedantic! but then- of course you did. 🙂

  2. YK Hong says:

    i used to memorize the thesaurus for fun.

  3. […] Day 22: (9/29/10): book, Norton’s Anthology of World Masterpieces […]

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