Meaning in Strange Places

Now that the blogging process is almost over, I want to briefly reflect on some of the things that I have learned.

When I started this assignment, I genuinely had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t quite sure what exactly the course material was trying to say and I did not really understand what was expected from me. But as the year went on, I was reminded of an experience that I went through several years ago.

My initial doubts were much like the ones I had eight years ago when I first started learning the guitar. I remember being twelve years old, playing boring songs that I didn’t know on a chunky classical guitar that my hand could barely fit around. I didn’t practice or work at it, so I became easily frustrated and assumed that only people with talent could play an instrument and I didn’t have that.

Three years went by and I told myself that I didn’t have a musical bone in my body. Only that changed after a musical revelation. I started listening to punk rock, which I understand is aggressively high school. Nonetheless, this music was simple, primitive even and based around three to four chords. This made me ask myself a question.

Why can’t I do that?

The truth is, I could. I got a guitar for Christmas that year and began practicing incessantly. I started taking lessons and in the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I spent a minimum of three hours each day practicing until my fingers could hardly move. That process was rough and by no means easy, but I came out that summer able to do all the things I hoped I could and more. I was not the best guitarist on the planet, but I didn’t care, I was still a guitarist.

That brings me to the blogging assignment. One of my professors has compared writing to ripping your own skin off. It is painful, messy and takes a lot of effort. That is how I felt when I started writing these blog posts. Everything seemed so overwhelming and felt lost. But as I churned out post after post, my writing got better and I started to look forward to writing more and more.

This assignment taught me that my ideas were worth writing about. They might not be the most groundbreaking or important interpretations in the world, but they were still my interpretations. Last class, my group discussed how self-defeating people tend to be when it comes to their own works. People don’t write because they don’t think they have a story to tell. People don’t create art because they think it is going to look bad. I used to think like this, but the blogging assignment and my experiences with the guitar forced me to throw that mindset out the window.

Ultimately, I think many people need to understand that they do not need a massive audience to be significant. They do not need to be a master or genius to create things of value. What matters is the value and meaning they place in their own work. I will probably never be a famous writer, nor a famous anything, but the things I have created mean something to me and that is all that matters. Sure, talent helps, but one does not need talent to create beauty and meaning. They just need the desire.

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