For the past few nights, I have fallen asleep with my guitar.
“Wait, you play the guitar?” those of you who know me might be asking. Others of you might be thinking, “I think she needs a man.” Yeah, that’s a topic for a whole other blog post.
But yes, I actually own three guitars now. But I rarely play them. I thought I just couldn’t figure out HOW to. I would try every once in awhile, take a couple of lessons, but nothing would stick. If any of you have tried playing the guitar, especially as an adult, you know it’s not that easy. Getting your fingers to coordinate and stretch enough but also be delicate enough to get right into the exact spots on the frets is pretty tricky stuff.
Each time I would pick up the guitar again, I would get frustrated and think that this whole guitar thing is so far from… well, who I am. So I would give up.
But the universe has this way of bringing you back to something that you might need to give another chance to. Plus, there are guitars all around me- from the guitar paintings I did years ago, still hanging on my wall, to the guitar piggy bank I have in my kitchen, to the little guitar decoration on my bookshelf. Oh, and what about that guitar keychain I owned for a few years? Not to mention that one of the most inspiring and life changing movies I have ever seen is also, quite frankly, called The Guitar.
So yeah, you might say I have an obsession for guitars even though I don’t play one.
But the thing is that I WANT to. And that wanting. if you want it bad enough I guess, can often put out an energy to the universe to help you figure out how to achieve it. At least it did for me. Because suddenly now, when I go out and see others play the instrument, making it look so easy, I don’t think, oh, that is just meant for him or her. Instead, I have started thinking that if he or she can do it, why can’t I?
This switch in perspective came about more recently, after a local guitarist’s playing really inspired me. Something about it set off a spark that I couldn’t ignore any longer. Maybe because talking to him after made me realize that he is just another human being like me. Maybe his patience in listening to my complaints about why I didn’t play, and realizing that he had similar struggles when he was first learning, made me see things with more hope. Or maybe he simply was just that good and I wanted to feel even a little bit of what that felt like.
After listening to him, I went home, and instead of making a big deal of setting up a good spot on a chair or stool to play “properly,” I just sat on my bed with my classical guitar and made it feel like a part of me and my life. I tried playing some of the exercises in the book I have had for more than a year now. I played quietly so I wouldn’t wake my neighbours, as it was late. But I played with more belief that this wasn’t so far from me. I just enjoyed it. Sitting on my bed as I played felt less formal, less far from who I usually am on a daily basis. I was just home, exploring this new instrument, and actually being curious about it without the pressure of having to look or be a certain way to call myself a guitarist.
I don’t remember how long I played, but it must have been for some time because eventually, I got tired and fell asleep. And in the morning, I laughed as I found myself curled up as usual on the left side of my bed. But what was different was that my guitar was laying next to me on the right. The book I was playing from was just laying on top of it. And I thought, who am I? Perhaps a future guitarist, if I keep this up. And just like that, I have been playing on my bed, and often sleeping with my guitar, since that night.
It was like setting it right next to me like that, while I slept, allowed something about the playing and the instrument and the idea of me playing it into me dreams, into my subconscious. And it felt less far from me- both physically and in terms of me being able to develop my skill with it.
Don’t get me wrong. I know it will take awhile. But something has shifted. I could feel it. And I wondered how I could make this shift in other aspects of my life as well- particularly with dancing.
I have been dancing many years. But I use the excuse of not having a proper dance floor in my apartment or close to me as the reason I don’t practise. I still sometimes bring up the fact that I am not a trained dancer from a young age- with ballet and jazz and years of building up a dancer’s body in my background. But there are others like me who, despite not having danced since they were kids, have reached levels in their dancing that make them look as if they have been dancing all of their lives.
I think part of the difference is that they make it a part of their daily life. They surround themselves with dancing. They train, they practise. And they think of themselves as dancers, they know and feel that they are. And they just keep working at it with that thought in mind.
However they can get the dancing into their body, into their dreams, into their subconscious, they do it. They become the dancing, embodying it, sleeping to it, and waking to it. I admire that. I want it. And want to find ways to incorporate that more into my life so I don’t have to think that I’m not a “real” dancer, a real artist, a real whatever it is that I want to be because I am not doing it in a studio or a professional setting.
Sleeping with my dance shoes might not be the best idea. But maybe I can alternate one night sleeping with a guitar, and another night sleeping with tango music, or watching more zouk videos before I sleep. Or maybe just freeing up space in the entrance to my little apartment to practise some dance steps every morning. And making the dancing something that is a part of my regular morning routine, reminding myself that I am a dancer, I am an artist. That if other people can do it, so can I.
It’s funny how when you surround yourself with what you love more, you believe more in your ability to achieve what you want from it. Because you don’t have to go too far to find it. It just becomes a part of your life and all you need to do then is to keep living it.