I’ve always struggled to express myself. I know that I am outspoken, loud and often times stubbornly obnoxious, but I think the angsty side comes from the frustration of trying to express myself.
I’ve tinkered my whole life with writing, drawing, painting and music. I got a guitar the age of 13 and plucked away for years, not really hearing what I was strumming or realizing how little it resembled music. In university I figured more out about chords and have slowly found a few songs I could play. Just because there’s a guitar in my classroom, doesn’t make me an expert, though I think it’s the impression most get.
My art has always frustrated me. I feel pleased and satisfied in one breath, until I realize the plethora of other styles and the improvements that I could make. It overwhelms me until I shut down. I get busy and move on.
I try to write. Blogs, short stories, novels, funny stuff, this or that … pathetic pieces of songs, scripts, bla bla bla. I’m really good at writing report cards, though. Ha! I love the short stories and kids stuff, though I always wonder if I would be able to do better if I had more time. If I had more energy, could I do a better job? Or am I too scared to realize that I can’t do better to try? I’m not sure – the jury’s still out on that one! I have recognized though, that of all the sorta-talents I have, writing is likely my strongest suit.
In an attempt to calm anxiety and nerves and stress, I strum away on the guitar. I don’t master many, but find that the simple strumming of the guitar and humming along feels wonderful. Until, that is, that I decide to record myself and hear how sad it sounds, as opposed to what I hear when I’m “listening live” to myself! Then I try to write and that itself is just frustrating!
I spent the better part of the evening playing covers of pop songs. I’m talking Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green, Rihanna, and KT Tunstall. It was a beautiful night! My guitar, recently restrung and expertly tuned, sounded fantastic. I love the squeak of the strings when I switch chords. As it happened, I was taken back in time to some vague childhood memory … I’m not sure if someone was playing the guitar in the room, or if I was listening to a song or watching a concert, but I remember the pleasure that this squeak always gave me. I remember thinking that some day, I wanted to play guitar like that, benchmarking the squeak of the strings as success.
The older I get, the more I realize each skills place in my life. Of course, I will never be a professional musician. But, I can play for fun and as a form of therapy, and in class to teach concepts and to calm the buggars down. I’m not sure how far I’ll get with art, but it’s fun and it feels good. As for writing, it’s the most direct form of expression I have, and I doubt it’ll ever go away. If I make any money from it, I’ll be thrilled, but I’m just happy to be able to form the words and build my personal library of writing.
I wonder how many others are frustrated by this expressive beast? Is it just artistic people, or is it anyone? Or, do I overthink things and try too hard to find a perfect skill? So many questions – so little need for answers.