I started teaching myself how to play guitar when I was 16 years old. I had already been writing bad poetry. Does a young teen write any other kind? I started to turn those poems into songs. Why did I do this? Not because I was popular, that's for sure.

It sucks to be plagued by feelings of inadequacy, but it does have an upside—if you can turn it into art, or at least entertainment. Not cool? Play guitar. Still not cool? Write songs and sing them. Still not cool? Make it your life.

Seriously, the star of the basketball team and the head cheerleader do not end up playing music. Their lives don't require it. They aren't lonely. They aren't outcasts. They have nothing to prove.

I know I have come a long way since I was a teenager. I should hope so! I have far more self-confidence than I had then, and more than I had only a few years ago. And yet the sense of inadequacy never leaves. And so I still play guitar, still write songs, still sing (a bit), still get on stage and make music with my friends. I do it because I have to. I do it because of a need that would be unfulfilled if I didn't.

I'll never be cool, but who cares. I make music!


Caitlin said...

Your comment about the popular kids not needing to make music is so spot-on. They don't have to like good music either; the top-40 radio stuff is all they need. I think we're lucky to have a more difficult path. It has made us stronger, more interesting, more vibrant people. For that, I will accept the struggles.

And I think you're very cool :)

lyndsay said...

Cool! I'd love to do that. I started learning guitar about a year ago at 24. It's difficult but rewarding.