The Lonely Life… and Becoming a Rhythm Guitarist

Right now, I’ve got my ears plugged to Fleetwood Mac and Kate Earl (due to my recent infatuation with that talented songbird). I’m in complete awe of how successful one can be when paying tribute to the sounds of the oldies. Apparently, music critics have compared Ms. Earl to Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell–a lot of that old canyon, rootsy music–and, for most of my musically-loving life, I’ve grown a fondness for that style of music in which to adapt to. It’s remarkable thinking how she’s made those sounds still relevant, in a way.

I once heard from a long-time influence that “all artists are introverts,” and I couldn’t agree more.

In my early guitar-playing days, I grew in love with 70s and 80s music. They definitely inspired a lot of my musical tastes, for I’ve grown a fondness for rhythm guitarists and crazy guitar licks that make you wanna groove. The attention to the music in a song isn’t as apparent in a lot of today’s music based on simple four-chords and a nice melody. And, looking that the majority of my video viewers are older men who, I suppose, share my liking towards the oldies I’ve found myself covering a lot, it’s hard to stay relevant when a lot of the music I cover loses its luster over time–no matter how brilliant those songs may have been. (I don’t want to sound like a snooty music critic right now, though! Please bare with me.)

Being a quiet girl borne in the suburbs of a tightly-knit predominantly-white Catholic community, I’ve sat back for much of my life. It may be due to other influences as well, but, I grew up in a small family that was still discovering itself. My mom, after my dad passing away, was still an immigrant getting used to the American life; I didn’t have many relatives to look up to or learn the ropes from; so, you can bet it was just me and my family against the world!

And the world we were shown was nice. Luckily, we were blessed to grow up in a very safe and controlled environment that would tame us well, only to go out into the world intelligently. So, as that quiet girl borne in the small city, I was also that girl with big dreams who wanted to go out into the world and make any difference I could.

That’s where music found me. And the arts. I recall classmates telling me, “I’ve never heard you say a word in your life–” exaggerating, of course. But, when I started Filipino folk dancing with my family at 12 and picked up the guitar at 14, I found things that spoke to me in a way nothing else could. Beside my writing, it was a way I could actively express myself in a way I felt comfortable with–perhaps not talking. And, I found the intelligence in it–why it was so important in our world, and why it’s so relevant; how people make careers out of it for themselves.

My infatuation for music rooted out of a loneliness I identified myself with. It was something I grew to love, share, express–heck, when I started dancing my instructors began to notice my knack for rhythm! And while I tended to excel in English throughout grade school and high school, I found that so much can be told through writing–and when you add music to it, it becomes something even more beautiful. It can grab people.

And so, when it comes to the lonely life I live, I am able to reconnect with the true intentions of my heart and mind. When you’re out in the world doing things you entirely wouldn’t normally devote yourself to, distractions tend to plague your mind and you don’t get to do what you actually want to do.

These past 2 years in college have been absolutely wonderful–but, as always, something is still missing. Albeit, I won’t be a killjoy and rot in that void, I’ve still made the most of my time in it. I’ve tended to things like my culture, giving back, and growing my own confidence in self. I’ve sharpened my writing and come to terms with what it is I really want to do. And, I’ve even learned a couple of things about the people  and world around me–including myself.

Knowing that I can’t entirely devote myself towards pursuing music has been one of the most troublesome thoughts on my mind, however. It’s caused some headaches and weeks of heartache, most prominent in my 1st year, and even numbed in my 2nd year. The more and more I may say, “No,”  just increases my desire. There’s something about discovering something you love that much that makes it uneasy to let go.

So, when it comes to what I want to do with me and my lonely life, I’ve found that my greatest satisfaction in life is when I’m able to give up a piece of myself to others, in form of entertainment or personal connection. Whether it be dancing, playing music, sharing my writing, or even just having a talk, I’ve always loved sharing myself with you.

And, as the thought of music has caused me some heartache over the years, it just strengthens and makes more apparent to me how much I want to live a life of music.

Which is why I want to become a rhythm guitarist. Which is why, though I’ve still much to learn and have time to grow while in college, that’s always gonna call to me. Call it intuition or infatuation or faith or God, it’s calling me…

Like Chris McCandless, who felt he was stuck in a life of institution until he graduated college, he found himself Into the Wild after graduating, embarking on one of the greatest adventures of all time… It will be a lonely life, but it will be my life, and I will love it. Because it’s the life that I’ve chosen for myself.


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