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How I Learned How To Play The Guitar Horribly

Once upon a time in eighth grade, I decided that I wanted to be Taylor Swift. I couldn't have the curly hair, so I begged my parents for a guitar and prayed to the music gods (presumably Johnny Cash and Lou Reed) for an ounce of talent. In return, I was given calluses, endless frustration, and the least amount of talent you would need to play a few chords.

I was determined, nonetheless. I found myself watching YouTube videos of other girls playing songs on guitar, trying to do what I so desperately wanted to. Eventually, I found a video simple enough so that I could follow along. Thus, "Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry became the first song I ever learned on guitar, followed closely by "Boys With Girlfriends" by Meiko.

At some point, I fell in love with playing the guitar, despite not being very good at it. I went through my iTunes library constantly, trying to find new songs to play. Most of them ended up being Taylor Swift tunes because she is too fantastic to not try to match. I would ignore schoolwork and lock myself in my room, playing quietly unless the house was empty. If I was home alone, that's when things go interesting. Throughout high school, I waited for those few hours I was home alone, not so I could throw some huge rager, but so I could jam out on the guitar as loud as I wanted to. I could make mistakes, scream at the top of my lungs, whatever I wanted to.

Learning the guitar taught me how to work hard, even if the outcome wasn't what I wanted it to be. I'm not exactly a prodigy. I'm mediocre at best, but it makes me happy. I'm content with my skill level, but that doesn't stop me from trying. It taught me that making mistakes is okay, even if they're repeated. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

What's the hardest thing you've taught yourself? I tried teaching myself Italian and that did not work out well...


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