They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master of something. I think that I had come pretty close to that by age 16 with classical piano, and have probably racked up a fair few thousand hours with flute, saxophone and vocals (as well as maybe 20 odd hours of Violin.. I didn’t take too well to that little guy).
What they don’t talk about so much is that first hour. The first moment of the journey, the first touch of the instrument. You pick it up, feel it’s weight, it’s shape, it’s texture. You learn to hold it, slightly awkwardly at first, getting used to the feel of this new thing on your body.
There’s something so magical about being a beginner, starting from scratch. There’s no pressure, no expectations. It doesn’t matter one bit if you suck, and I think that’s pretty special. It gives you a chance to feel like a kid again, to laugh at yourself when you mess up, There’s something freeing about being allowed to ask questions and to be wrong. As adults, we get used to “knowing it all”, being the person the younger generation comes to with their questions, and we take pride in knowing that the 10,000 hours we put in have left us completely capable of providing all the answers. Ego kicks in, and even if we have a desire to learn something new, we fear it, terrified of the long forgotten feeling of not-knowing.
I see it in my friends, who in quiet, honest moments admit their secret longing for a new sport, a new instrument, a new skill. They see something on TV or Pinterest or Groupon, and exclaim “I wish I could do that!”. I saw it in myself, seemingly content to be good at the things I’m already good at, and to ignore all the things I haven’t tried.
Then one day, everything changed. I decided to give in, to say “Yes!” to myself a little more often. What happened after that was some of the most fun I have ever had. I started easy, went back to things I used to love, but had given up in childhood having been told I wasn’t all that great at them. I threw myself into ballet and gymnastics, forgetting about my “bad feet” and “bad turnout” and just enjoying the pressure-free experience that adult classes have to offer. As I became more comfortable throwing myself into new environments, I cast my net even wider… Salsa, Aerial Cirque, Yoga, Cello… now I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. Maybe I’ll never get in those 10,000 hours, I’ll never “master” those things, but who cares? I’m doing them, the best that I can, and I have never smiled more.
Please don’t be scared. You don’t have to be great at everything, you just have to enjoy it and your life will be richer for it.
I went to Ian Knowles’ Elementary Ballet class at Pineapple this afternoon, and it was AMAZING. I can do barre at home, and stretch, and yoga.. but there’s nothing quite like class. Especially since Grand Allegro is my favourite thing and that’s just not something you can do in the living room.
It felt good to get out of my comfort zone, take class from a different teacher with different combinations. It made me really see how far I’ve come, and how well I can hold my own now. It wasn’t a good turn day, but even my bad pirouettes now are about as good as my “good” pirouettes just a couple of months ago. Nailed that grand allegro though.. boom boom boom.
I was grinning the entire class. I wish I knew how to explain quite how much I LOVE BALLET.
It’s coming to the end of our five days off in Cleveland, OH. Having played the West Virginia State Fair last Saturday, and with the Lima, OH show this Friday, we stopped by Cleveland for the break. I have been to Cleveland a couple of times before this tour, only for the odd day or so, and I never really felt a huge amount of love for it. I must admit, I wasn’t thoroughly excited about spending five whole days off here.
It’s been a pretty emotional week, with something big happening in my personal life, and Cleveland has really been a great place for me to get through it. I am now totally in love with this city. Perhaps not as much as LA or New York, but there will always be a little place in my heart for Cleveland, Ohio.
Most of the tour crew didn’t stick around for the break, flying either back to LA or to their hometown to spend time with family. Of the 12 people on our bus, 5 remained. Only Demian (drums) and I from the band, Gary (lights), Tony (tour manager) and James (audio). When everybody else left early Sunday morning, I was kind of sad. It felt like summer camp was over. Even though I knew everybody was coming back in 5 days time, it was still strange. Still, the five remaining were a great five, and we totally rocked this week!
On Monday, Demian and I went to the mall. Retail therapy helps me through anything, as it does with most women. I don’t want to seem too ridiculously girly, but OMGosh I bought the most insane pair of sneakers. They’re incredible grey and pink adidas high tops and I may be a little in love with them. Thank you Cleveland, for my beautiful shoes. I can be SUCH a girl. :S
The Fab Five hit up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday, which was so cool. If you’re ever in Cleveland, you must check it out. I think some of my favourite things on display there were the lyric sheets, lyrics scribbled on the back of time sheets or tiny pieces of hotel paper. Famous songs we all know with words and verses written, scribbled out and rewritten, it’s amazing to see someone’s creative thought process as they wrote that song so many years ago. There were also some incredible 50s Selmer Mark VI saxophones that belonged to some of the greats. If I’d have been allowed to take pictures in the exhibit my dad would have loved those.
Wednesday was for exploring other parts of town. In the morning, James and I headed over to West Side Market in Ohio City, a huge farmers market with some of the freshest meat and fish I’ve ever seen.. if only we’d had a grill somewhere we could have had an amazing cook-out! I bought some olives (iloves!), some of which are stuffed with wasabi paste! My face almost exploded, it was amazing. In the evening we headed to Coventry, a little street in Cleveland Heights with some pretty awesome vintage stores, boutiques and an amazing old school toy store called Big Fun, where I bought a bumper sticker and a giant kazoo. A little walk over to Little Italy in the evening where we were joined by the wonderful Derek (bass) who had just flown back in from LA. AMAZING food, and lots of it. I think we were at the dinner table for hours, just chatting and eating, making fun of each other.. I feel so blessed to have such a great touring family.
Almost everyone comes back today for the Make It In America Summer Camp, Session 2!! It will be nice to have everybody back together, I’m looking forward to a big family dinner. But for now, it’s almost noon and I haven’t done anything with my day, so I should probably rise and shine. Having been here for five whole days, obviously my suitcases exploded all over the floor. I should probably do some laundry (thankfully this hotel has machines!) and start gathering my things. It’s like moving house! Again!!