Quite frankly, I should never have bought that guitar at that yard-sale, back when I was 12 years old:
Quite frankly, that specific impulse buy has done infinitely more harm than good, in terms of how my life turned out:
- First, it gave those “closest” to me (my “relatives”, for exmaple) yet another way to demean me, by turning me into a “human interest” story. The fact that I survived infancy (due to Western medical knowledge and the technological infrastructure which makes things like the NICU — neonatal intensive-care unit — possible) has been used against me at every turn:
First, as an excuse to “underestimate” me (by claiming that some anonymous “they” said I wouldn’t be able to read, or would be some sort of window-licking sub-moron, or some shit.)
THEN (when that turned out not to be the case) it became an excuse to brag about the fact that I wasn’t a window-licking sub-moron. (My “mother” exhibited all of the classic symptoms of a low-grade version of “Munchausen syndrome by proxy”, in that she really “got off” on milking the “sympathy” of others, at the fact that she had been burdened with a sub-normal child. She relentlessly milked this at every opportunity — going so far as to to essentially bribe a friend of hers into producing a series of extremely cloying and “glurge”-inducing puff-pieces for the local newspaper, wherein I was portrayed as a “miracle baby’ — the purported “miracle” being the fact that I wasn’t some sort of window-licking imbecile.
The worst part of it was: the “miracle baby” bullshit was systematically invoked as a means of diminishing my actual accomplishments (such as the fact that I possessed “college-level” reading comprehension at the age of 6, for example).
I was never allowed the luxury of viewing the visual impairment as something to be corrected (to whatever extent possible), BUT OTHERWISE IGNORED. No — instead, it was shoved in my face 24/7, whether by the school-bullies with their snotty bullshit about “coke-bottle glasses”, or by my own “mother”, re-telling the story about the fact that I spent time in an NICU — WHILE CONVENIENTLY LEAVING OUT THE PART ABOUT HOW HER ANTICS — CHAINSMOKING — WHILE PREGNANT WERE DIRECTLY CORRELATED BOTH WITH PREMATURE BIRTHS *AND* WITH LOWER BIRTHWEIGHT IN “TERM” INFANTS.
So, yeah. My “parents” did everything they possibly could to ignore my real “gifts” (the fact that I have always been a voracious reader with an “autodidactic” streak, for example), in favor of the fact that — as a result of a particularly friendless, insular adolescence, I was able to become semi-competent on a few stringed-instruments.
Actually, that’s not entirely true: it’s worse than that. Primarily, my “parents” attempted to ignore and/or thwart my attempts to become involved with music until they figured out that such involvement could be (mis)used to generate cloying human-interest stories about the pathetic little half-blind kid with a guitar.
Don’t mention the college-level reading comprehension. Just continue making the (unsubstantiated) claim that some anonymous “They” had “predicted” a future of window-licking idiocy, and make it seem “miraculous” that I didn’t have to wear diapers to my guitar-lessons.
If I’m honest with myself, I cannot help but recognize the fact that my “musical passion” was nothing but a spectacularly-unsuccessful “coping strategy” — an attempt to “ignore” my useless, drunken failure of a “father”, my idiot, heroin-addict half-rbother andHIS useless/dangerous junkie “friends”, or my emotionally-abusive, manipulative shrew of a “mother” — the woman whose “passive-agressive” manipulation and “enabling” ALLOWED all of it to continue happening.
My “best friends” during my 20+ years of “active” involvement with music were either pervasively ignorance of it all, or actively disinterested. The Mennonite family with whome I “hung out” explicitly regarded me as merely someone who happened to be relatively skilled at various musical instruments, and conspiculously ‘available” at short (or no) notice.
As for the other members of the music group I co-founded, and for whom I was lead-guitarist from 1991-2010? My “best friend” later admitted that he and the other members had all mis-read me as GAY, to the point where they were genuinely surprised when I became engaged to my wife.
That really says something: my “best friends” for 20+ years — with whom I was in regular contact — knew NOTHING about me, other than the fact that I happened to be a (semi)competent guitarist, who could be “milked”, at whim.
In retrospect — if I allow myself an honest appraisal of the fact — I have come to realize something: far from actually “enjoying” any of it, the various “jam sessions” and “gigs” etc. were MERELY a (momentary and not entirely successful) escape from having to recognize how abysmally shitty my life and “family” were, at the time.
The strongest indication that the whole thing was a mistake from square one: I don’t miss doing it If anything, the mere idea of getting sucked back into that bullshit quagmire fills me with a mix of revulsion and rage, rage and regret — revulsion at the prospect itself, RACE at the fact that my “closest friendships” turned out to be so damnably empty and shallow, and REGRET at having squandered so much of that specific 20+ year period in activities which turend out to be less useful/profitable/fulfilling than if I had merely made a rubber-band ball: