Parties have always been more anxiety-inducing than fun for me. It mostly stems from the fact that I never know where to stand, what to do with my hands, what to say, or how to act. That’s where music came in, changing everything for me. I found that if I learned how to play an instrument, I could fulfill a distinct role at parties and avoid all the hardships of socialization.
I had always been jealous of the people at parties who had a designated and clearly defined job to fulfill. Whether it be the caterers at my sister’s wedding, or a DJ at the club – I constantly found myself envious of their aloof, above-it-all nature, and their built-in excuse to not have to talk to anyone there. So, I decided to make their part-time gig my full-time, unpaid reality.
I knew I either wanted to learn how to play the piano or the guitar. Ultimately, I decided on the guitar because it seemed more fun and because I could technically bring it to any social gathering I attended, whereas with a piano I would have to rely on the host owning one, or resign myself to lugging a 60-key Casio keyboard along with me wherever I went. I couldn’t take the uncertainty or the back pain, so my decision was easy: guitar.
I dedicated myself to hours of practicing. At first, I just started out with simple songs that would help me get the hang of the basics, and that could also double as classic party go-tos that would help win me the favor of my friends. “American Pie” and “Brown Eyed Girl” were true life savers. “Happy” was a mistake.
At first, my guitar-playing at social events was shoddy at best, and I was even forced to engage in more socialization than I normally would as people would constantly come up to me and ask me to stop or if I could play anything besides the first two verses of “Let It Be”. Unfortunately for them, the answer to both of those questions was “No”. However, after long, lonely, melancholic hours of practicing, I slowly learned the language of the string, as well as how to express myself solely through the pre-written words of Ed Sheeran.
Ultimately, learning to play music on the guitar brought me so much joy – granted, it was mostly from no longer having to socialize at functions, but it was joy nonetheless. I’m even learning to play my own songs now! But it’s been difficult, seeing as I have little to no subject material due to never talking to anyone or experiencing anything, and the fact that my thoughts are nothing but the chords of “Free Fallin’” playing on an endless loop. Tom Petty has become my only companion, my angel and my demon who guides me through every social event. I can’t recommend it enough!