Dream A Little Dream

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  ~George Eliot

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My new toys

When I started on this journey to improve my self-esteem, I knew three things would be crucial to my success. I needed to make time for the things that feed my soul. People who know they are worthy take care of themselves without reservation or guilt. They know that what matters to them matters. Period. So, writing was going to have to become a priority in my life again because writers write. I also needed to find space in my head for positive thoughts. I needed to find self-acceptance and self-appreciation. For me that meant a long overdue return to my yoga mat because yoga teaches balance, patience, and flexibility of both body and spirit. Most of all, yoga teaches you to let go of shit that doesn’t serve you, and I have a lot of shit to send packing. Finally, I needed to go out of my comfort zone to foster a new sense of self, one filled with possibility in place of fear. I needed to let go of who I thought I should be and embrace who I actually am. It was time to become Emmet in The Lego Movie and unlock my true potential.

In third grade, like many children in the US, I was forced to play the recorder. (To this day, if I hear a recorder playing “Hot Cross Buns,” I break out into cold sweats and struggle to keep from dry heaving.) I suffered through the experience knowing it was a stepping stone. In fourth grade when it came time to choose a real instrument, I went to my parents resolute. I told them I wanted to play the drums. The answer to that request (a common answer to that question for many parents, I imagine) was a giant, unequivocal HELLS NO. Drums are expensive. Drums are unwieldy. Drums take up real estate. And, of course, drums are loud. They asked me if I had interest in other instruments. I thought about it, suggested the French Horn with a question in my voice, and was told that might be a bit much for a starter instrument. I then weakly suggested maybe the oboe, as it was infinitely more interesting than the commonly chosen flute but still small and portable. My dad suggested I take up the clarinet. He played clarinet, and I could use his. After all, clarinets and oboes are both in the woodwinds family, right? At this point, being my independent-minded, nine-year-old self and being tired of being told what was appropriate, I told my parents I didn’t want to play anything anymore. And, in a move more self-defeating than rebellious, I gave up on music, unaware I was giving up a piece of myself in the process.

Although I never learned to play them, I never put the drums away either. I hear the drum beat in everything. I drum on the steering wheel with the radio rather than singing along. I marvel at the mastery of Stewart Copeland, Neil Peart, and Dave Grohl. During concerts, I focus on the drummer and bang my hands on my hips rather than clapping with the other fans. I go into an altered mental state when I blast Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in my house, air drumming and tossing my hair around like Animal from The Muppets during the raucous chorus. I drive my sons crazy making them listen to drum solos in songs. It’s a little weird, honestly.

At the beginning of the school year, my youngest son signed up for Drumline as one of his electives. I began to live my drummer’s dream vicariously through him. Every day I would ask him about it. I bought him drumsticks for practicing. I asked him to show me what he was learning so I could copy it and learn along side him. When the teacher assigned him to the bass drum, I tried to imagine my little guy holding that big old thing and banging on it. It made me giddy. Not long after that, I was reading the self-help book about badassery when it occurred to me I could do something I hadn’t done before. I could dream a little dream for me. What if I decided not to live my drum fantasy through Luke? What if I decided to be my own drummer and live to my own damn beat?

So last week Thursday, I took my nervous energy and my inability to sit still to my first music lesson. I sat behind a drum kit for the first time ever and I took a risk on myself. I allowed myself to believe that I was worth the expense and effort to learn something that I felt drawn to, regardless of the inconvenience it might present to others. I decided I deserved to try on this dream and see how it felt. Every day since that first lesson, I have practiced stick control, timing, and sticking patterns. I now have a metronome app on my phone, my own drumsticks, and a practice pad. Jeff, my incredibly cool, Buddhist monk (no lie) music instructor assures me I am not hopeless and that with legitimate and regular practice I really can be the drummer I might have been. And, although I am not doing this for them, in the back of my mind I think of my sons and the example I am setting for them as I try something scary and new at the ripe old age of 48. I hope they learn that it’s worth it to stand up for yourself and it’s never too late to follow your dreams and see where they might lead you.

 

6 comments

  1. How come I always miss your posts????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know I like following you!!!!

    Anyway, I. Am. So. Envious. Drums are my favorite instruments also, and like you, I still either find myself (or intentionally) drumming my fingers to beats and doing “air drums” (ha ha! well, if there’s air guitar, why not this???). Drums were/are expensive so when I was young, I didn’t even dare to ask. Plus, I probably would have been told that drums were for boys and that I probably was confused about my gender.

    I tried to join the band using my sister’s guitar that was really too big for me, but when I saw the strict instructor that I had always been afraid of, I quit even before I could get to the entrance of the practice area to learn. In 2008, I bought a guitar as birthday gift for me, but I never had the time to learn. Good thing my now-husband plays guitar, purchasing it was not a waste.

    Anyway, can I reblog this for my TuesdayTunes post? There’s no music here involved, but it has to do with music, and you set a fine example of never giving up.

    1. So happy you stopped by. Sorry you aren’t getting notifications. You are always welcome to re blog anything you wish, dear.

      Drumming is hard but I am appreciating the challenge and the opportunity to train my middle age brain to do new things. Hope you find a reason to take some lessons (guitar, drums, whatever) because learning is what makes travel around the sun interesting!

      Best wishes!!!

      1. I may be getting notifications, just that your posts come out when I’m not checking the Reader, he he…Thanks for allowing me to reblog. I will do that later.

        Meanwhile, while I am not able to take music lessons, I get to learn other stuff, too, from work, and get to write/blog and read. So I’m making lemonade out of lemons 😉

  2. Reblogged this on The End Justifies the Journey and commented:
    I wanted this originally for #TuesdayTunes, but (1) I knew it would be like a post-hash potato like last Monday’s post, and (2) this is not the scheduled week for my Tuesday Tunes post, anyway. But you know, this is a fine example of never giving up on your dreams, no matter how big they are, or how silly they might seem…This is a light, simple post that I enjoyed from one of my fave bloggers, Justine. I’m sure we all can relate, one way or another 🙂

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