Beginner’s Remorse

Congratulations, you’ve done it. Whether for the violin or for ballet or [insert name of creative endeavor you’ve been talking about doing for years now], you signed up for the class, maybe even paid for the first month. Yay! Congratulations! Except that now, the start-date looming closer, closer, maybe the prospect of showing up for that first class seems a little less glittery. The thought produces a flash of unease in the middle of the night as you battle insomnia. The investment of energy and time it will require, after all. The inconvenience of adding to an already overcrowded personal schedule. The risks, that you will look, or sound, incredibly inept. A little voice in you whispers, “Oh shit, what have I done?”

Beginner’s remorse.

I understand. It’s what I experienced when I first rented a student violin seven years ago and signed up for private lessons. It’s what I’ve felt every morning since going live with this blog two weeks ago. In regards to the latter, it’s because, truth be told, I’m not a blogger in the least. Nor am I am social. I am a person who prefers to live under a rock, nested up with my current fiction work-in-progress (novels, always novels, as I’ve discovered I’m hopeless at short stories) and let the rest of the world pass me by. Family aside, I have such little need for social interaction, it sometimes alarms me. So. For an unsociable person to start blogging, well, there’s a recipe for disaster. Reminder to self, please: just why did I do it?

I know I had good reasons. It wasn’t a spur of the minute decision. It had to do, in some ways, with the very fact that I am so comfortable living under a rock. At this moment I’m thinking that something like this could be why you, dear adult beginner, decided to begin. Of course, I could be way off the mark there. You could be a fun sociable person who simply decided on a whim to do something fun and sociable and new. You like life, it’s fun, you’ve discovered something new and fun and it’s both new and fun. If this is you, well, go away. Just go away. Piss off. Be cheery and chirpy and happy and optimistic somewhere else. This post isn’t for you. People like you make me feel even crabbier than I naturally am.

Where were we? Ah. The other type of person. Feeling something brooding arise, a cross between nostalgia and melancholy, or even depression, which might be difficult to explain, because maybe your life is good, as mine admittedly is. Why the malaise when everything is going relatively well, you’ve achieved goals and accepted that others weren’t meant to be attained? Why the need to shake things up? Well, as it turns out, life needs to be shaken up from time to time. Too much safety and comfort clog up the gears, the passages, like bacon and hamburgers do to your arteries. You need a little Draino in your life. You need to do things that stir you up inside, scare you. Take the occasional risk. Stretch yourself. Dare yourself. Blast away the rock that guards your nest from the rest of the world.

So. If you are about to embark on Something New and Scary, kudos to you. You are a warrior. You are saving yourself. You are doing the very thing that will add nourishment to your life. And if you haven’t done these things yet, and you just wandered over to this posting by accident, well, ask yourself if it’s time. Your psyche will be quick to assure you that no, no, things are fine, they’re comfortable, or if they’re not completely comfortable, well, you’ve made your peace with that, like an ill-fitting pair of really nice looking shoes. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t give away the shoes and go out there looking for some that are a better fit. That’s tiring. This is so much easier, this timid complacency, this acceptance of limitations.

Hey. I’ve been there too. It was, for the most part, comfortable. I could have stayed.

Which is my long-winded response—and maybe it wasn’t even a response so much as myself asking myself yet more unanswerable questions—and my way of explaining why I started a blog I’m scared I won’t be able to measure up to. And it’s why you should sign up for that art/ballet/violin/ceramics/writing class you can’t seem to push out of your mind, but can’t summon the nerve to commence.

Do it. Or, don’t. Push the idea and my ramblings out of your mind. Don’t give it another thought. No sirree.

Go away. Leave this silly blog post. Don’t come back.

Except…

If I’ve planted a seed in your mind that, later, won’t go away, I’m sorry. Really I am. Seeds planted, especially ones that guarantee change, can be a real nuisance in one’s life. Forgive me.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the germination.

4 thoughts on “Beginner’s Remorse

  1. Kathleen

    Ok, I’m not much of a blogger, but the idea is growing on me. I have to admit I haven’t made more than a couple of posts ever in spite of having a lot to say about things in general. The idea of a random audience reading and responding does make me uncomfortable. I guess it’s getting used to the new way that we relate to each other. So, about stepping out of a comfort zone that I can control, it makes sense to take the leap and do something like taking violin or dance lessons or even cooking classes. Anything that moves me into a place of greater possibility is good, in spite of my hesitation or reluctance. Opening myself to the arts slowly, by first attending events is leading me down the path…..Lessons? Not yet, but who knows what the future holds. Thanks for encouraging me to keep putting myself out there

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Yay for you and stepping out of your comfort zone, Kathleen!! Um, yup, I can relate. Ascending the cyber-stage, turning on the mic, speaking out words that mean a lot to you, takes a certain amount of… insanity? Overconfidence? Oblivion? Particularly when one is forced to address the silence that follows, and in that split-second, looking out there into the darkness, you don’t have a clue whether there’s a bored audience out there, no audience at all, or one whom you’ve stirred so deeply, it will take them a few moments to shake themselves from their ecstatic trances and applaud.

      Therapy I recommend for you: assign yourself a pseudonym, join a couple online discussion forums, get noisy over things you care about (or don’t) and you’ll realize that, dang, it’s fun. It’s powerful and empowering. A little addictive, in fact.

      Thanks for dipping your toe in the water here! Feel free to practice being impassioned and controversial here. (Of course, we’ll all know that Rant Girl, or Joanne Smith, or Miss Snarks-a-lot is really Kathleen. But we’ll play along.)

      Reply
  2. Namaste Nettie

    I’ve decided, after living about five years out of my comfort zone, to see what a comfort zone might look like… After I get back from India…

    Reply

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