A number of things in my life came together recently and forced me to realize that it was time to face one of my fears. The usual culprits, demons from my childhood, had taught me to feel that I have to try new things in hiding. It’s not safe to let others see me struggle. Sometimes it’s not even safe to let ME see me struggle. My inner self-critic is very well trained, thanks very much.  
Somehow, this came to a head today when I found myself writing "I dare you to fumble, every day, in public." Well, when it comes to messages from the subconscious, you can’t get much clearer than that without building a sign out of three foot letters of fire.  
I decided that the thing to do, in quest of risking embarassment was to take my guitar out to the public park, and practice.
Let’s be clear. I’m a terrible guitar player. I picked it up last year because it’s something I’ve always wanted to try, but I was unable to stick with it as my depression worsened. I stopped by dt after the gauntlet was thrown down for a deep bolstering breath and a quick pep talk with Mike (thanks bud), then girded my loins and went to pick up the fateful instrument.
I don’t know how they did it so quickly, but the town redesigned the walk home so it was all uphill. Funny, I thought I lived in a fairly flat seaside hamlet. Once home, it took forever to gather up the necessary materials. I’m surprised I didn’t forget my keys and lock myself out. Good thing I was already dressed, or I might’ve put my shirt on inside out.  
Finally as together as I was going to be, (after a last minute visit to the can), I walked to the park. Yep, I chose the bit of shade as far from others as I could get (baby steps). But I got there and pulled out the guitar. Anyone who actually knows how to play would have pulled their hair out in frustration watching me bumble my way through tuning the neglected instrument. I’m cursed with the wrong amount of ‘pitch,’ I can tell when it’s wrong, but can’t tell if it’s flat or sharp or just the wrong note entirely. I have an electronic tuner for just this reason, but the large amount of background noise caused the little fella to have a nervous breakdown. All in all it took a full half hour of fiddling around before I didn’t wince every time I tried a chord. Just the sort of embarassing display of incompetence I’d been seeking to risk.  
Finally, it didn’t sound like a tortured door hinge every time I touched it, and I began. Nothing as interesting as the first really easy song in the book. Nuh uh. I’d learned the last time I had attempted to play that I had a great way to cheat. Once upon a time I was a moderately competent drummer, and I’d use my sense of rhythm to mask the fact that my chording hand didn’t have a fucking clue what it was doing. So, chording exercises.
Anyhow, there I was, rank tyro, creating the most boring serius of sounds known to mankind, sounding like that young nephew you listen to politely while proud mama looks on and every other guest tries to mask a wince, and I just stopped worrying about it.  
Instead, I felt the cool breeze, smelled the salt air and the tangy scent of a mowed lawn, and wished I’d cleaned my nails if I was gonna spend that much time staring at my fingers. Granted, there weren’t many folks out, though here and there a group of tourists were marched by in a herd. No one was paying attention, but that was kind of the point. They have their own lives, and could care less about some idiot out there engrossed in her own activity. We’ll see if I work up the nerve to do it again tomorrow. Of course, if I accidentally get good, I’m gonna have to buy a unicycle or something…..
 

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