I've decided to restring my slide guitar.

About 8 years ago, I bought my first guitar. It was a black bodied, maple neck, Tanglewood Seagull I got second hand off of Gumtree. When I went to pick it up, I asked the seller to play it for me because I didn't know how. I was so embarrassed. I still hate buying instruments because I hate having to play in front of people in that setting. In any case, I went home with a guitar that to this day is still my favourite. We've been through a lot together. I've converted it to a slide guitar and back a number of times. I've installed pickups in the sound hole and ripped them out again. I've stabbed it with a knife and burnt it with cigarettes out of frustration.

When I was a kid, I learnt how to play a drum kit (saying "drums" sounds too general, it's a drum kit). That's the only instrument I've had lessons on. I wasn't very good, mostly because I am shy. I never had much confidence and that affected the way I played. I would rather people think I was bad instead of playing my heart out and proving it. In any case, I did play in a few school plays and on one occasion, before the Wizard of Oz was about to end, I hit an impromptu drum roll that drowned out the little girl playing Dorothy. I don't know where that came from. They told me not to do it again. I was secretly proud of myself.

Since then I have taught myself (with limited success) how to play guitar, harmonica and a little bit of piano as well. I have also dabbled in saxophone, accordion and mandolin. Slide guitar and harmonica are still my favourites. I played harmonica in a hard rock band for about 2 years and got to play in front of crowds of people. It was intense. I am extremely introverted and so as the crowds grew larger, I would drink more and more to drown out the anxiety of performing. I was eventually asked to leave after I got so drunk at one gig that I started throwing my harmonicas at the drummer, stole the rhythm guitarist's microphone and knocked over the keyboard. I was secretly proud of myself.

That left me with a minor drinking problem and the more I drank, the less I played. I use to play every day. It was like a form of meditation for me. I collected different instruments so that when I got sick of one, I'd just pick up another. When I play, it is like I am watching myself play, like my hands just move without me thinking. I love that feeling. It gets me out of the relentless cycle of anxious thought and allows me to just be in the moment. But I have neglected it over the past year. I used to think that as long as I kept playing, eventually stuff would just work out. I always wanted to play for my dad, for him to come to one of my gigs. I thought eventually he'd have no choice - he'd see me on TV or on YouTube or something. In March, he died. I haven't picked up an instrument since then. I felt completely defeated.

Today I have decided to restring my slide guitar. I broke a string about 8 months ago and never restrung it but it feels like now I need it more than ever. I must put the bottle down and pick the steel up again.

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