“You can teach yourself.”
said two of my peers as I lamely held a guitar. They both learned guitar on their own. As did other students. I’m confused by that. For the longest, I have wanted to play an instrument, but for some reason, those resources were not available when I was growing up – not even in schools. It never occurred to my parents that musical education could reap great benefits. In my earlier years, science was the only thing they considered important for me, which is understandable, since they both wished to have been in the medical field. There is no music program at my high school, but I could have taken community college courses in it. Why didn’t I do it? Fear of being at a college. Fear of going off by myself to be amongst adults, who I figured at the time would judge me and make me feel unwelcome. Being tired of schooling, and the fear of more “work” to do, for today’s schooling systems have turned courses into a “career.” I feel that if I can’t learn it for the sake of my love for learning, then there’s no point. I mean, I can just go ahead and teach myself a number of things in addition to attending my core classes at school and preparing for college, but I already feel so bad and confused that I’d end working myself to the bone. And again, those autodidactal lessons will just turn into another part of my schooling career.
There was once a guitar club in my freshman year. I joined quickly, but I soon discovered it was just a gathering of already experienced players who played for events in the [former] school band. I’d always asked if there would ever be a time for lessons, and the teacher/club moderator always lied to me that there would be. I showed up to every meeting and all the members did were practice songs for upcoming events. The teacher said that we could could keep our guitars in her office, so we wouldn’t have to carry them. This gave her an opportunity to use my guitar for the experienced members (I gave her permission, hoping that when they were done, I’d get to learn). By the end of Freshman year she had broken two strings on the guitar. It would be her last year there, and she said she’d have it repaired before she left.
She didn’t. During summer school, I happened to find my guitar in her former office; strings still broken, lying in underneath two heavy keyboards, in a cardboard box. I was devastated.
I have a new guitar now, as the old one was beyond repair. But it just collects dust. I’m afraid to teach myself anything. I’ve stopped drawing and painting. I’ve stopped taking pictures. I’ve stopped recreational reading. I’ve stopped skateboarding and exercising and learning good posture and how to stretch. I’m just so fearful that if I do these things, someone, somewhere is going to turn it into a job or a obligation I must complete in order to gain “success.” It’s like that episode of King of the Hill, “The Bluegrass is Always Greener.”
I’d like to get back to all of the above, and I have a new interest in electronic pianos. I also want to learn 2 or 3 languages, and eco living solutions. But with the career of school constantly interfering, how will I do this. I mean college is great and everything, but why waste thousands of dollars learning things that I can do on my own or with a person or two for less if I have the time.
Time. Money. I’m really starting to doubt that urban life is meant for me. I don’t get it, and rarely am I driven by the things that drive urban dwellers for the most part. I just can’t “buy into” the competition and money obsessions and material accumulation and fast pace ways of the city. I want to slow down. I want to see stars. I want to live in an actual loving and sharing community. I want to learn because I love knowledge.