I’ve been a musician practically all my life. Starting the violin at the ripened mature age of 4 has ingrained a treasured skill into my muscle memory that I’ll always be grateful for. It’s brought me opportunities to perform on stages I never could have otherwise, enabled me to create friendships that will last a lifetime and has translated into an art that’s incredibly transferable. That is, as long as there are 4 strings involved.

Being a part of a touring band, I often find myself in Guitar Centers and small family-owned guitar shops all over the country on a quick equipment or string replacement errand. And any building that surrounds me with beautiful music instruments – the creativity, the craft involved in producing them – always brings true sense of joy to my heart.

But hidden within that joy has always been a bit of frustration and vulnerability. There’s a reason why Guitar Centers are so prevalent around the nation and violin shops are few and far between. Guitars, electric bass and drums are clearly a more mainstream option for a beginning musician to pick up and learn. We’re surrounded by it. And somehow, a guitar is something I never picked up. It’s those damn 6-string instruments… 

Or it’s simply the fact that I’d walk into a Guitar Center and be completely terrified to pick one up and just strum. Because even in a simple act of strumming, the musician in me felt utterly lost in the fact that I wouldn’t know what the hell I’m doing. 

So instead I hid.

I chose to let my vulnerability around such common instruments allow my to hide and instead would just walk quietly around the store, admiring the craftsmanship from afar. God forbid one of the employees sees me with a guitar in hand and consider me some pathetic beginner. 

But these were the thoughts that would run through my head. 

Musicians…. We’re such a fragile and self-deprecating sort. We’re our own harshest critic and even though we may encompass a skill on one instrument, we can look absolutely absurd with another in our hands. So it’s terrifying to even give it a shot. After all, I’ve put 30+ years of study into what I do on the violin, I’m really going to try to go through that again to learn something else? Maybe that’s just me (it’s not).

But recently, I decided that enough was enough. The musician ego of mine was tired of walking through a guitar shop and not know WTF I was doing. Tired of hiding from my fear of looking silly. So I walked into the acoustic guitar room of a Guitar Center and started strumming (fumbling pathetically through a variety of notes) on a guitar that felt like the right one to bring home to learn. That is, me and the 15 year old girl with her mom who was absolutely rocking out…. Suck on that, vulnerability. 

But I’ll be damned if I continue to let my ego keep me from finally learning something that I’ve been telling myself, “It’s time” for way too long. 

So now I have a new friend at home… and I already feel like I can walk into a shop with a little more credibility. 

But it’s not really about that. It’s about shrugging off the fear and uneasiness I’d face just getting close to a guitar, just because of my insecurity and unfamiliarity. I’m letting that go. 

Releasing the doubt and embracing the joy of study.

So I ask you – what’s been on your mind that you’ve been too reluctant, too vulnerable to try? What are you hiding from because it feels uneasy and uncomfortable?

I bet it’s probably easier to start than you think…

Vulnerability is not an excuse to hide