So. I hate ever caving to my fears or insecurities — yet that’s exactly what I have spent most of last month doing.
After feeling entirely and utterly defeated by Billie Jean and the subsequent lesson (even though Josh had said it would get easier after Billie Jean), I kind of stopped my lessons.
OK. I outright stopped my lessons.
There were all kinds of reasons not to pick up my bass and practice. There was a pandemic after all.
My strings started buzzing intolerably after I took a spill in the street. Also, my left hip was slightly injured in the fall, so it was uncomfortable to stand and play.
My workload had also become much heavier at the college as we urgently transitioned to remote teaching.
My active pickup battery also died after I’d absentmindedly left my head amp plugged in, and it was difficult to buy another during self isolation. It was more responsible to stay inside. I spent a lot of time on Amazon, trying to find the best deal for another battery.
On Monday, after ignoring my lessons for almost three weeks, I found myself giving a pep talk to one of my journalism students over the phone. She was complaining about how hard it was preparing her pitch for the fellowship to which she was applying.
“There’s nothing wrong with hard,” I said, idly eyeing my bass gathering dust in the corner of the room. "Hard is just hard. It’s not bad. It’s not painful.
“Hard is just hard.”
As I hung up the phone, I looked at my lovely electric blue bass. I’d let myself be intimidated by how hard those two lessons had been. Somehow, in my mind, I had let myself believe that hard was always going to be hard. And that hard wasn’t fun.
Monday evening I asked my boyfriend to help me fix the buzzing, and I rooted out a 9v battery from another appliance.
Tuesday, I got up two hours early and I practised Billie Jean for two hours. And another. hour that evening. I still blow at the fast workout but whatever.
The following morning, I practised the Intro To Musical Intervals piece for two hours. And another hour in the evening. It was FUN. And I was OK at the slow, fair at the medium and still working on the fast workout.
I let it be hard. I improved. And I had a blast. I felt the rhythm in my body even if my fingers weren’t perfectly agile.
I realize I have all the time in the world to practise and get better. I allowed myself to enjoy the learning process and not get fixated on succeeding. As somewhat of a perfectionist, this was a big step hahahahaha.
Anyway, I just thought I’d share my humble pie moment — in case anyone else stumbles over the Billie Jean scene!