Finding who I am – September 2019

A mate and I got to talking about getting back into things yesterday. He’d recently got together with a pack of local muse-os and had discovered his love of blues singing and guitar.

Figuring he’d be coming down with a case of GAS – guitar acquisition syndrome – sooner rather than later, I offered him my acoustic guitar, the one I’d asked Dad to post up from Sydney a while back. My mate and I talked a bit about musical instruments and, after stating that he thought I\d be more of a piano man, offered me his keyboard.

I pondered his offer, then thanked him and said “no,” then felt the need to explain, maybe to sort it out in my own head.

I remember my Mum and aunt telling me once that not learning a musical instrument was one of their big regrets in life – I can’t remember whether the guitar had been one of theirs – and the feeling that led me to ask Dad to ship it up from Sydney had more than a dash of shame in it.

But when I started tuning and practising it, the good feeling I got from making warm noises fall out of the body of the guitar was still less than the sense of awkwardness from my fingers on the fret board. That was what led my mate to opine that I’d probably be more a keyboard man.

Nonetheless, I still felt turning my friend’s offer of his keyboard was the right choice. There is a lot of stuff at my place at the moment. I know I will need to take some time off work and do a proper declutter – while Vickie wasn’t a full-on hoarder, she did still hang onto more stuff then she needed (the third drawer in our kitchen is full of towels, for example), and I don’t really want to add something as big as a keyboard to the household until I’ve made room for it.

But the bigger reason is that, as I mentioned, getting back into music now would still have something of that shame component to it; I’d be doing out of obligation, fulfilling someone else’s expectation of what a creative outlet should be – or salving their regret at not continuing their own practice vicariously.

And when I decided what my priorities were while I sorted my life out after Vickie died, music never came up – tabletop roleplaying games did.

I suddenly had words for my friend I didn’t know I’d even had for myself before – I told him RPGs were what I needed to get back into in order to work out who I am now that it’s just me, rather than me-and-Vickie.

My RPG collection, circa May 2018. Got to do a new photo soon.

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