So this happened a few days ago.
It wasn’t an impulsive buy. I’ve had my eye on the store’s stock for a few months, waiting for the quality and price to be at my liking.
And now I own a ukulele.
Why did I buy a ukulele when I should be writing?
Right now, I’m in Waiting Purgatory. I’ve sent out my full-length play manuscript to a variety of play readings and production calls. I’ve emailed my resume to dozens of employers looking for a writing and content marketing expert. And now I sit at the edge of the black hole, anticipating any sign of rejection or acceptance to come spitting out of its dark mouth.
In other words, I wanted to progress at something while the writing world was debating whether or not to get back to me.
I brought my ukulele home, unzipped its case, and held it in my hands. Then I realized: I don’t know any chords.
I asked the Internet. And this is what it said:
I don’t speak ukulelese—but YouTube does. One video patiently went over four chords with me: C, A minor, F and G7.
C was a breeze. A minor—I still got this. F—why are my fingers so fat? Then G7—hand cramp!
It was like my instructor was Phoebe Buffay.
I was Frustration City. My fingers kept holding down two strings instead of one. My hands were clumsy at contorting. My muscles in my fingers were downright weak.
I haven’t felt this incompetent since my first run around the sub after a stuffing-and-mashed-potatoes dinner almost fifteen years ago.
Why am I doing this? I can feel vulnerable and awkward just fine with my writing. Why am I bringing in yet another challenge into my life that questions my self-esteem?
I fought through the agony and self-doubt. Instead of throwing my new instrument, I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply and tried again.
A few days later, F and G7 are still a challenge. But they’re not a hot mess like on Day One.
And when I play those notes, I feel relaxed. I think about what I want: Producing my play, meeting new writers at a café, digging my toes into the sand as I write my next epic by rolling waves.
As a writer, it’s hard for me to take a step back and reflect. I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of action that I don’t schedule time to sit and collect my thoughts. How can I know what tickles my heartstrings if I don’t take the time to ponder?
That’s why I bought a ukulele.
What allows you to take a step back and reflect? Share your secret below.