I would rather be naked than let you see me learn the banjo. That says a lot. I don’t do naked well. (Think Bob the tomato). Learning something new while people watch is apparently worse.
I call it being an introvert.
My husband calls it being a perfectionist.
Either way, I don’t like people seeing me or hearing me try something new until I master it.
The problem with that?
Life isn’t meant to be lived in a vacuum.
Truth is, I’ll let my husband see me naked, but I won’t let him sit out on the porch while I practice my banjo. For some reason I feel more vulnerable playing the banjo than I do in the nude.
Refusing to let my husband (he’s a professional musician on weekends) hear me play robs him of the joy of music.
I knew my anxiety level had reached an all time high when not only did I not want my husband to hear me play the banjo, I couldn’t play for my teacher either.
When we first started out with lessons — in May, I’d get so nervous that I made my instructor nervous.
My husband finally offered me his great wisdom.
“This isn’t the Opry, it’s our back porch. Now lighten up and have fun already.”
I’ve been having a lot of fun since he said that. When I get frustrated (like I am tonight) I remind myself that I started playing the banjo on May 25 2012 and I missed three lessons in June because of traveling. So really, I’ve only been playing for four weeks. In those four weeks, I have learned chords, how to tune a banjo, how to read tabs, four basic rolls and now I’m learning slides.
My husband does not think less of me because I haven’t mastered this yet.
My instructor (who has been playing guitar for 40 and banjo for 3 years) does not think less of me because I’m not as good as he is.
Fact: I sing in the chorus of the second longest running presentation of Handel’s Messiah in the US. Have since 2000. I cannot read a lick of music. I’ve memorized the entire piece. That takes talent.
Learning how to create music brings me joy and will help me become a better songwriter.
Hating myself because I have the unrealistic expectation of mastering something over night (like slides) is ridiculous.
This isn’t the Opry.
It’s my back porch.
I hereby give myself permission to not be great while I learn with the knowledge that every time I try, I will get better.
What new thing are you trying to learn right now?
Are you willing to be kind to yourself while you learn?