I remember how my mom tried her best to teach me how to play the guitar when I was four. I remember trying my best and giving up because my fingers couldn’t press all the strings and that time, the guitar was just too big for my small hands. I survived elementary and high school with zero knowledge about guitar playing. I figured during those times, what mattered most was memorizing every single rap song by heart, getting the highest grades possible, writing well, speaking with excellence, and passing all entrance exams.
Things changed when I entered college. When you’re from a private school and you transfer to the University of the Philippines which is a public school, you’re in for a shocker. You are on your own and you need to do everything that you can to make things work. The school sending your grades to your parents does not help either- because you have nothing to hide. So there I was, a thousand miles away from home, in a city with no relatives and no friends, and in a university that forever changed my life.
I was sitting at the lobby preparing for my next class when I heard a group of people singing and playing the guitar. My eyes went straight to the guy playing the guitar, how his fingers danced effortlessly through strings and frets, and as if that wasn’t beautiful enough he even added his voice to complete the masterpiece. I found myself singing. It was then that I decided to take guitar lessons.
The beginnings are always the hardest. I started with scars and calluses on my fingers. Every song played had to be paused so I can change chords. After weeks of practice, I was finally able to play an entire song. After a few weeks more, I was ready for my recital. Since that day, guitar playing became a part of my daily routine. The more I practiced, the more I improved! I could play song after song! When I transfered to the University of the Philippines Diliman, I was given the chance to perform during college events and it was so much fun! It was.. euphoric. It was the only thing that kept me sane during my thesis days.
The only time I stopped playing the guitar was when I became… busy. See when you’re all work, and when you’re too focused on exhausting the logical side of your brain, the creative side dies. When the creative side dies, you let go of the artist in you. When that happens, you’re screwed because you let go of the balance and when that happens, you deal with stress every second of every day and then you become unproductive. When you are unproductive, you fail to hit your goals and when that happens, you become sad and lonely and miserable. Then we’re back to square one.
A couple of weeks ago, Karia and I were talking about routines. She told me about how routines are powerful and that it’s a big help in keeping us all sane especially during times that are very stressful. After our conversation, I made a list of things that I enjoy doing. I was in the middle of writing when I saw my blue guitar sitting in the corner of my room. I stood up, grabbed it, tuned it (man it was horrible!) and played a couple of songs. I don’t know if any of you are aware of the healing powers of music, but I swear after playing, I felt like all of the stress was flushed out of my system.
So now I’m back to playing the guitar, singing my heart out, and pretending there’s an audience in front of me. I’m back to enjoying the feeling of the strings beneath my fingers and the melody created with each strum.
I’m getting my mojo back. 🙂