Cycles. It all starts with cycles. At some point, everything you once loved is gone, and in some form, if you’re lucky, it someday returns. My relationship with music is like this. Growing up I sang, did musical theatre, and played cello and trombone. I feel like I was able to read music shortly after I could read words. In fact, my love of music is probably second only to my love of the written word.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately listening to the blues and jazz, delving back into music that I have always loved, but didn’t really listen to for years.
In my last major relationship, my music always took a backseat to my significant other’s. After awhile, I sort of forgot that I even had my own musical taste. Now in my freedom, it has been a blessing to submerge myself once again into these tracks, old songs that used to mean so much to me. It is comforting, and liberating. I feel like my mind is so loud sometimes, the only choice is to drown it out with music. Other times, I need total silence to think and reflect.
I’m hoping for a record player for Christmas this year, and if not I will just have to get one myself. I decided I’d like to start a blues/motown/gospel, maybe some jazz, collection. My mom already told me she needs to get me some records, ones that she loves, and I would like that.
I started thinking about this today because someone came over to help me restring my guitar. It just needed new strings and a little cleaning to be good to go. I haven’t even touched my guitar all through my depression these last few years. Three years it has sat in the corner collecting dust, and out of nowhere I feel like trying to play again.
I first tried to learn guitar when I was 14, struggling through tabs of Melissa Etheridge songs. I never had my own, though, so I never really picked it up. I spent a summer in Los Gatos with my former stepdad, and his neighbor had a guitar that I used. After that, one of my mom’s friends gave me his old blonde Fender jazz bass, and I tried that for awhile.I wasn’t terrible at bass, but I wanted to be able to play and sing. I’ve seen people do that with bass guitar, but that wasn’t what I wanted.
I was always more comfortable with bass clef than treble clef, but with guitar you can just use tabs. Or copy people on YouTube. Take lessons. Or, or, or. But the chords you play on a guitar seem to confound my hands still. I feel clumsy, slow, frustrated. It is glorious.
As I emerge from the blackness that has drenched my mood the last few years, I am starting to take joy in things again. I want to see my friends. I shower a lot more often. I’ve even started dating, which has been sort of a nightmare since my divorce. Now I am starting to get more of a handle on what I want, and it is getting more fun.
These cycles come and go. I will get better for a little while, then a little worse. Or a lot worse. But I have been stable for a few years now, and recently moved into a new living situation where my ex-husband and I are not on top of each other every day, which is a lot less scandalous than it sounds. Maybe it’s just a matter of being able to relax and be myself, but a shiny hope has crept in to replace what was once all black and grey.
It’s a strange thing, when old things become new again. Relationships, hobbies, jobs. As we age and mature our perspectives shift, and it becomes easier to see where we went amiss before. We grow stronger and better able to handle life.
It is my hope that by practicing, learning to express myself through music again that I will find some peace. I know my hands are talented. They work hard all day doing massage, then come home to work hard writing all night. They just need some nurturing patience, and to practice. To remember, with dexterity and precision, how to dance.