Within this blog post, you will find my thoughts and feelings behind my new piece for Wind Ensemble, "internal enemies".
I started writing this piece in January of 2019. I was dead set on the idea that I wanted to write a piece about my own struggles with anxiety and to some extent, depression. This piece came to me much faster than other music has in the past. For comparison, my last piece, "Our World" took 3 years to complete. However, that piece was also around 15 minutes and this one is only 6. But, the point still stands. 3 months vs 3 years is a huge difference.
I have dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I remember being in elementary school with what seemed like crippling Social anxiety. This dragged on into middle and high school. Of course, there were contributing factors to this anxiety that were out of my control. I was born with Ocular Albinism, which is a rare disorder that affects the eyes.
I'm going to leave a WebMD link here because I do not want to go on too long about it. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/what-is-ocular-albinism#2
Throughout school, I had to deal with this on a daily basis. I could not see the board in the front of the classroom even if I was at the front of the class. I could not see fine detail on anything. I could not see anything when it was very sunny and bright outside. If I were outside I typically walked around with my eyes near shut or just holding my hand over my eyes to shield them from the sunlight. These are things that I still live with today as a college student. Sometimes, I just can't see. I was in my music theory class just a few days ago and the class was sight reading music from an overhead projector and I was left there to sit and do nothing. I was overly anxious at the moment and couldn't bring myself to do anything about it. So, I just got up and stood outside for about 10 minutes. Now, I think the most detrimental thing that I have gone through regarding my vision is being constantly reminded of it by the people around me. As a kid, other kids obviously didn't understand that I was just a little different than them. And, I remember so many times throughout grade school where I was looked at like I was weird. Now, I don't blame the kids in grade school at all. Kids (especially at that age) are just uneducated and not exposed to anybody who is different than them. And, there are people with much more severe disabilities than me. Young kids aren't really taught that people can be different. Much different.
I have more horror stories about being teased about my eyesight but I will leave that for another time, or maybe not. I think a lot of my anxiety stems from what I went through in my upbringing. Despite having a relatively functional family and parents that love me, I still find myself unable to shake the feeling of being embarrassed and humiliated for something that is out of my control.
AND THUS ANXIETY IS BORN!!!!
So, in conclusion, this piece really explores my own anxiety - building upon itself until It collapses.
Here is the excellent program written by my good friend and colleague from MCI, Josh Trentadue.
Introspection is the key to Casey Thomas’s dramatic and unfolding piece. The composer’s personal battles with anxiety are explored, transforming from a pondering ballad for flute and bassoon to moments of climactic fury in the entire ensemble. Tension leads to resolve. Song leads to chaos. Violence leads to sadness. Life keeps moving forward. Such is the way of things when dealing with these Internal Enemies.
Josh's website: www.joshtrentadue.com
Thank you for reading this blog post and I hope that with this added information you are able to see my vision for the piece.
Now on to Symphony #1,