Every once in a while I pick up my guitar, learn a song or two, and after a couple of weeks put it back down for another year or so. I give up so easily it isn't funny. I want to be perfect and sound good and make music I enjoy listening to as I play. Then I make the mistake of listening to others, and knowing they have years (sometimes decades) of experience, I compare myself to them and become frustrated that I'm not that good. Right. Now.
A couple days ago a woman I work with gave me an old flute that she played ages ago and hasn't been touched since. It's closed-holed and needs to be repadded, but it will be perfect for the kids if they ever show an interest in learning. Receiving that flute caused me to think back to when I first learned to play, and how awful I was for such a long time. All of a sudden...AH-HAAAAAA! How could I be so ridiculous??
I pictured Amanda playing that flute and how absurd it would be to expect her to be perfect two weeks in, to have the clarity of tone of a flutist in a professional orchestra, to be able to move her fingers at the speed of light and sound spectacular and amazing all at the same time.
Why do I expect anything different from myself? Is it because I'm a grown woman and grown-ups are supposed to be good at everything, immediately? Is it because I'm hardest on myself, only because I can get away with it? I would never be as hard on my kids as I am myself. Why do I do it? I'm just a big, tall, crow-footed, slightly gray haired, giant child who really needs as much encouragement and patience as anyone else.
So while I'd love to be putting out a CD tomorrow with singing, songwriting, and guitar playing, I've decided to take my time and let the little girl who picked up that instrument twenty-five years ago take as long as she needs to become a musician with the instrument she picked up a few weeks ago. I'm going to cut her some slack, not belittle her when she doesn't sound perfect, and take her through the learning experience slowly and patiently.
My time will come, that time when I actually sound good enough to do things I may have thought impossible before. Along the way hopefully I'll find the courage to use my talent for more than time filler at the end of the day. Watch out world...