Another piano recital is officially under her belt.
She was nervous this time around. One song was played by memory, the other with the book. She was afraid she would make a mistake.
When it was over, she was all smiles. She may or may not have made a mistake, if she did they were small. She didn't have to go first and by the time her turn rolled around, others had already made small mistakes.
"I wasn't nervous anymore when I heard others make mistakes," she said. "It made me think if I made a mistake it would be okay."
She was given a gift by those who went before her. In her book Permission to Speak Freely, Anne Jackson calls this the gift of going second.
In Mya's case the gift involved the removal of the expectation to be perfect. A weighty load.
I have been given this gift too. A confession from a friend brings the realization that I am not alone in my struggle. It gives me the courage to confess and pass the gift on to others. It removes the expectation of perfection.
It is hard to go first, to be vulnerable and open yourself up to judgment. Sometimes judgment is all you receive. But sometimes, you find that you are not the only one to struggle. Sometimes by going first, you lighten the load of a fellow traveler. And if they follow your example and pass the gift on, beautiful ripples begin to appear one after the other as the gift of going second gets passed from one broken person to another.