Old Stories

Every time I read something about letting go of old stories, I think I don’t have any to let go of, but that isn’t true.  I thought about one this morning and followed it through to its logical conclusion and realized that I blame my mom for the fact that I’m not a rock star.

When I was a kid, my mom took and taught guitar lessons at the local music shop.  I remember her struggling with learning “Something” by George Harrison so she could teach it to a student.  At home, she would play and we would sing together.

She wouldn’t teach me to play.  I don’t remember why.  Maybe she didn’t think she had the patience.  Or that I had the discipline.

In grade school, someone started teaching guitar lessons and a friend of mine took them.  I asked mom if I could take them and she said no, because she could teach me better.

I never learned to play guitar.

This came up not long ago and I realize I still hold this against her.  It still makes me angry.  I want to cry just writing this.

In the car this morning, I thought about how this led to a lack of confidence which led to not trying music seriously, yadda yadda yadda.  And I realized that I blame her BUT HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME BUT MYSELF.

What stopped me from trying to learn some other way?  I remember vaguely trying to teach myself with Mel Bay books – I think on the organ at grandma’s house.  I gave up, as I often do when things don’t come easily.  But my uncle learned to play guitar – why didn’t I learn with him or have him teach me?  Why didn’t I seek out other musicians?  I know I was afraid, especially after that one time I tried to sing with the band practicing next door to my grandparents’ house and was told I wasn’t in the right key – it wasn’t mean and it was the first time I’d tried to sing to a live guitarist that wasn’t mom! – but if I really wanted it, why didn’t I fight for it?  I let fear and insecurity and lack of confidence hold me back.  *I* did.  Nobody else.

In college, I wanted to take voice classes but couldn’t fit them into my schedule.  If I wanted it badly enough, why didn’t I find a way?  Maybe I didn’t want it badly enough.  Maybe I was just scared I’d be told I wasn’t good enough.  Once again, it’s easier for me not to try than to fail.  And I was hanging out with geeks, not musicians by then.

The 20-some years since then?  Why didn’t I ask Adam or Terri to teach me?  I wanted to sing with them, but I was too passive-aggressive to ask, I just hung around waiting to be asked. Then there wasn’t a band anymore.  Then there was gaming and work and kids and a business for a long time and, and, and…

What about NOW?

The boat to Rock Star has probably sailed, but nothing says I can’t learn just for fun.  Just for me.  Without the pressure or the perfectionism.

Plus, Science Says that learning new things can stave off dementia! 😀

There’s always the ukulele.  Amanda Palmer says it’s easy.


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