Just today, something has come up for me, and I was in a mindset where I could receive it. I’ve been punishing myself for my left hand.
I’ll back up.
In my 20s, I had a metric shit ton (roughly 2204.62 shit pounds) of anger, sadness, grief, anxiety, and couldn’t begin to even sort them out to name the feelings I was full of. I had no way of identifying them, and no way of expressing them. Well, I had one way. I was pretty good at self harm. I experienced various flavors of abuse growing up, and it turns out I’m excellent at internalizing that. Look ma, I can do it myself! So I did.
And one of the things I did was punch walls. It’s amazing how that refocused what was going on in my head and chest to a physical pain I could deal with. I had lots of practice with physical pain. Then one day, dear reader, I missed. I punched a window. It was an old window. Old-style glass. Nothing “safety” about it. Glass in my knuckles, glass in my arm, glass in my hand, and a rather exciting drive to urgent care broke my habit of hitting walls in one swell foop.
Aaand back to the present. I call my left hand my stupid hand, and it has arthritis in a couple of fingers. (See story above.)
Here I am, trying to teach my left hand to do things new things. I can’t figure out why I feel like crying a few minutes into each practice. I was sitting there, staring at my left hand struggle to hit D major, and wondering why I can feel sadness pushing rising in me. My eyes focused on the scar on my pinky knuckle, and it hit me. In trying to teach new things to my left hand, I’m linking up to all the pain and related emotions, right down the timeline.
Some of my self-harm was about getting the job done when there was no one else around to dish out abuse. I did it when I felt weak. When I felt less-than. When I felt overwhelmed with emotions I couldn’t even name. I felt like I deserved it. I deserve that pain in my hand. I deserve to have it work poorly. Old Me thinks I deserve that punishment.
Old me can go fuck herself.
Learning an instrument is an unexpected tiny rebellion. It’s also a healing of past wounds, and a way of learning to work with those wounds in a new way. Even if that new way is struggling with D major like a camel struggles to fly.
Day 4, mystery 31 day ukulele song challenge
Ps. If you haven’t read about Hyperbole and a Half’s tiny rebellion, it’s awesome.