Last week I picked up my guitar for the first time in…gosh. Hmm. Well, a really, really long time. It was dusty and the neck seemed so much wider than I remembered. It was hard to make my clumsy fingers move fast enough, press hard enough, over the strings to play a real song. And OW – my calluses have softened over time. I’ve forgotten so many of the songs I used to know like the back of my hand, and my voice was a little raspy, sometimes not quite on-key as the melody would get higher. But you know? It felt good, the way stretching your leg muscles after a ten-hour car ride sort of reminds you that you have legs.
I love playing guitar and I love singing. I come from a very musical family. I sang in my church’s teen choir throughout middle and high school and after I taught myself guitar in 9th grade I was recruited to play, too. I was in an awesome choir in college (not to toot my own horn or anything) and I miss singing every day. Being in that group is one of my proudest accomplishments, especially since I was a complete nervous wreck at all my auditions (you re-audition every year – keeps you on yours toes, that’s for sure!) and I don’t read music very well AT ALL and also? I didn’t make the choir the first time around. So I had to show my face a second time and risk feeling that disappointment and embarrassment all over again. But it paid off, and I spent two years singing my heart out in the first alto section.
After I wrote here and here about how easy it’s been to focus only on the things that don’t make me happy right now , I decided to try and reconnect with some things I love that have fallen by the wayside. So back to the guitar, back to singing, back to turning off the TV and tuning in to throwing the ball for Arlo and snuggling with Ella and sitting very still so Sappho will come to me. Back to playing cards with Zack and going on long walks and trying new things (roasted Brussels sprouts = YUM) and pushing through the knee pain on the elliptical.
I notice a difference already.
I don’t walk through the door every evening waiting for something to piss me off. I haven’t been picking fights with Zack. My mind is clearer, not muddled by the depression. I am able to give others the benefit of the doubt (mostly). I’ve been zipping around taking care of things when I first arrive home from work, rather than changing into my pajamas and zoning out immediately in front of the television. I finally came up with a creative, thoughtful gift for my dad’s upcoming 50th birthday and I’m excited to work on it. Last night Zack and I each picked a few songs and found the chords online and I played guitar and we sang and laughed and sang louder until 10:30p.m. when we decided our enthusiasm might possibly be annoying the neighbors.
Today typing sends a little ache through the fingertips of my left hand and I am glad of it. It reminds me that sitting at this desk isn’t everything I am; it’s not all that I do. And today, that is enough.