I was 18, freshly dumped, and out of high school.
I sat alone, in my room listening to Matchbox Twenty CDs over and over again. It came to a point where I felt less upset that the relationship ended, and I became more upset with myself that I wasn’t doing anything to get over it.
I went into the basement to dig out some old video games from the storage bins trying to distract myself when I saw my sister’s old black acoustic guitar. I made the decision that I was going to learn to play the thing and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I threw what was in my hands back in the bin, grabbed the guitar and the stand, and ran up the stairs into my room.
I slammed my door shut and I sat on my bed holding the guitar. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know the first thing about music, aside from what bands I liked. I spent hours watching dozens of videos on YouTube. I watched videos on the names of the parts of a guitar, the notes of each string until eventually, I watched a tutorial for beginners on E minor, and A minor, the video’s alleged easiest guitar chords.
I played that guitar any chance I got, after work, first thing in the morning. Anytime I could get my hands on it, I did. I sat in my room with the laptop watching concerts over and over again, idolizing guitarists like: Joshua Homme, Kyle Cook, and John Frusciante. There would be days that I would play the guitar for so long my fretting hand would feel like it was stuck in its claw like shape. But, I never thought of my old relationship anymore. All I thought about was playing, and getting better. Eventually, the old black guitar broke beyond repair, and was replaced with Winona, the red Squier Stratocaster.
What if I didn’t pick up that guitar? It’s hard to think what my life would have been like from that point on.
Without a doubt I wouldn’t have started a band with Axel and our rotating bass player line-up. I wouldn’t have Boots Electric, the ukulele named after Jesse Hughes. I would have stayed up in my room, feeling sorry for myself playing the same video games over again and not finding some way to be productive.
I wouldn’t have pushed myself into something new. I wouldn’t know the feeling of pride after learning a new song, or creating one from scratch.
Truthfully, I wouldn’t know that I could be creative.