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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

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violin

So, it’s occurred to me……

……that many of my heroes, male and female, as varied and different and wonderful as they all are, had one thing in common – they had no fucks to give.

This is a huge and empowering attitude. It’s also incredibly freeing.

The opinions of others are like hooks in the mind, designed to keep you in your place, either real or imagined. I’m very familiar with those hooks – the ones that say you aren’t good enough, not talented enough, not worthy. Being trapped by those feelings is painful, but the thought of being free of those feelings is terrifying.

Because what replaces that?

Whatever you choose to put there.

This is not to suggest that you ignore your responsibilities (rent, bills, groceries, car) or any other obligations. We will always have those – they are a part of life and there is no getting around that. But it doesn’t mean you should ignore the hopes and dreams and aspirations you have for yourself. It doesn’t mean that you need to put them aside, neglect them, forget about them.

And for me, that was renewing my interests in drawing, painting and theater. It was choosing to take up the violin, something that’s been on my mind since I was twelve. It was signing up for tap dance lessons, even though the last dance class I’d had was ballet at six. I’m good at the first three, I’ve been practicing those pretty much my whole.

Violin and tap dance are things I suck at, mostly because I’ve never done it before. I’m terrified of sucking at it, I mean, really, who enjoys looking like an ass when trying something new? But the absolute joy in my heart when I strike a perfect solid note on my violin or the endorphin rush after an hour of tap dance are things I want to float on forever.

That means having no fucks to give.

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So, it’s Day 2 of 2017……..

……..and so far, so good. I’m alive, I have a place to live, I’ve got clothes to wear and food to eat. I have friends who funny and witty and supportive. There’s not a lot more to ask for, when those are very real and very priceless things to have in life.

Of course, as good as it is, I want to expand and improve on it, to strengthen what I’ve got and work on what’s weak. You could call it self-improvement, I suppose, and that’s all right with me, as I’m always striving to be my best, most authentic and truest self. Goals are helpful in this regard – they serve as motivation to achieve a specific result and as markers to show how much further you might have to go.

My goals for this year are varied. Some are practical (because being practical is a good thing, even for a creative person), some are whimsical and some are just explorations of what looks like fun.

This year, I am determined to learn how to tap dance. I don’t expect to get on a level of Gene Kelly’s caliber or even Debbie Reynolds (who learned for Singin’ In The Rain in just 90 days what Kelly had done for years). What I expect to get out of it is some exercise, some fun and a new skill that may carry over into something else. You never know until you do it where it will end up leading you.

I’m also equally determined to learn how to play my violin. I can hear the notes and pluck the correct strings with my fingers and get a (somewhat) accurate recreation of what I had just heard. The actual playing of it with the bow, however, is slightly problematic – my fingers don’t like the placement when holding the violin itself.

How do I correct this, in order to play the violin as it is meant to be played? How do I learn to dance with my tap shoes in a graceful pattern?

Three words – practice, practice, practice.

How do I manage to find the time to practice? Self-discipline.

As with anything else in the arts, you become skilled with practice and you are always learning, but it is the self-discipline that separates the wannabes from the achievers.

Still waiting patiently, the violin waits.
Patiently, the violin waits.

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