Tender Digits

Dear Psychos, I’ve been learning piano for the first time. Six weeks ago, I couldn’t read music, and I had no idea what keys played which notes. Of course, I’m in the thick of stumbling around, trying to wrap my brain around junk like the fact that some idiot decided that A flat and B sharp ARE THE SAME GODDAMN THING. Also, no one informed me that I’d need to learn Italian in order to play this instrument. Not unless this outfit comes with bottomless thin crust pizza and gelato. No grazie.

I’ve often been asked if I play piano (or told that I should) because my fingers are so long and amazingly graceful. Well now, all you well-intentioned judgy people can rest easy, because my fingers are fulfilling their prophesized (spellcheck doesn’t like this work and says it’s not, in fact, a word, but I disrespectfully disagree) glorious destiny. However, in my limited exposure to musical pieces, I’ve come across some that require my pinky to be on one note (like a C) and then for my thumb of the same hand to be on yet another C an octive higher and jesus handcramps that’s hard and my tender digits just can’t reach! I’m honestly not sure how I’m supposed to figure this one out.

In short bursts, learning to play an instrument whose sound I consider to be heaven on earth is exhilarating. The first few weeks of class, we were instructed to practice the pieces we were given, and I did, but I couldn’t contain my excitement and almost immediately started looking up music tutorials on YouTube. Finding it kinda by accident, I came across the theme to Harry Potter and just couldn’t help myself. It took me maybe an hour of practice to be able to do the first few measures with little to no mistakes, and as soon as I produced those first eight magical notes (if you’re fans you know exactly what I’m talking about) I got this rush of giddy excitement. ACTUAL MUSIC WAS FLOWING THROUGH ME! Music by John Williams, no less! I learned the first minute of the song and practiced it so much that I have it memorized and didn’t even need to consult my sheet music. What excited me the most was when I found myself starting to sway as I played – the piece has such a whimsical quality and I found myself playing around with speed and intensity. After a while, the piece felt so natural. My fingers knew their places – muscle memory was successfully taking place. Insert mind-blown emoji.

After seven years of being out of the workforce and being a stay at home mom, getting to challenge my brain in a way it’s never been challenged before is both exhausting and exciting. I’ve been having dreams of playing the piano – ever more complex pieces. I’ve found myself keying (musical pun intended) into background piano music in commercials or movies, wondering what key that was in or if I could play it if I tried. I can also feel a difference in my hands. They are literally stronger, more dexterous. My fingers are more nimble and responsive. It’s like they’ve woken up from a deep sleep. I feel like my hands are finally doing what they’ve been meant to do all along. I remember feeling the same way about my boobs when I started breastfeeding my babies.

I find myself frustrated that I can’t magically play complicated pieces immediately. My left hand can’t switch chords fast enough and forget trying to make my two hands play two different things at the same time. But progress is being made, however slowly, many swear words at a time.

My ultimate dream is to be able to play Lady Gaga and sing at the same time. I’m well on my way.

Drawsome!

Lately I’ve been addicted to this magical game played via Facebook and smartbatphone called Draw Something.

And since I am currently studying for my licensing exams like a mad fiend– did you know that addiction is not actually a proper diagnosis?

The different substance use disorders can be categorized into either abuse or dependence.  To meet criteria for abuse, you gotta use a substance and have some bad shit happen in at least one of the following:

1) failure to get your ass to work, school, home and do what you’re supposed to do

2) taking dumbass risks because of the substance

3) substance-related legal problems

4) continued use despite crappy consequences with loved ones yelling at you to stop playing Draw Something because it’s now time to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom in the toilet this time, etc.

I actually loosely meet criteria for Draw Something dependence, which means I have bad shit happen in at least three of seven criteria.  Let’s take a look, shall we:

1) tolerance, which means I need more and more Draw Something games in order to feel the same level of bliss I felt at being able to portray John Lennon’s essence with some digital black ink and my pointer finger on a tiny glass screen.  Check.

2) withdrawal, meaning I get the shakes when I can’t check for new turns, or when none of my friends-with-actual-lives have drawn me something in the past 20 minutes.  Check. 

3) I sit down to play just one little turn of DS, and I look up seven turns later and realize it’s now dark out.  Check. 

4) I wanna cut down, I really do, but it’s just too hard.  I can quit any time.  Check.

5) I start researching amazing DS examples, and I look up famous photos to copy in order to create more amazing, mind-numbing finger art.  Check.

6) I ignore the cat and my boyman because DS is far more important, clearly.  Check.  

7) I keep playing even though it’s a problem that could possibly ruin my life and give me carpel tunnel.  Check.

For actual diagnostic criteria, just look in the nearest, friendly, neighborhood DSM IV.  What did we learn today?  All together now: that addiction is not an actual diagnosis.  And that I am crazy (also not an actual diagnosis).  Very good!

The following are the drawsome reasons why my social life is hanging by a thread:

As you can see, the word was TRASHCAN, but I decided to jazz it up with Oscar the Grouch.  Any excuse to draw a unibrow.

Still life.  I call it Ode to Coke.

I thought about drawing David Beckham’s sexy sixpack instead, but I figured my true-to-live depiction would be seizure-inducing, so to avoid a lawsuit, I went the safe route.  You’re welcome, but not really, cuz you missed out on one sexy seizure.

My interpretation of The Lorax.  I took some artistic liberties, mainly reversing color values and also neglecting arms and legs.  Who needs em.

I am pretty proud of some of my portraits.  This is GaGa stepping out in purple.

Classy.  Even if it looks like her eye sockets are empty, open, and soulless with streaks of mascara running down.  Probably from crying since she apparently lost her eyes in that freak gasoline fight accident.  Tragic.


Done from memory, although I almost forgot she had ears.  She looks soooooo stoned, you guys.

My favorite Disney character as a child.  Please note that I gave her both highlights and lowlights and added more cleavage.  Sorry about the lazy right eye (enlarged left eye?)

Do you get what I was going for here?  It’s our favorite chubby dead dictator, Kim Jong Ill, wearing his favorite button-up straightjacket.  For effect, I added the failed rocket launch that brought shame to their country.  Needless to say, this drawing was not guessed correctly.  :(

You try drawing this word!  It’s hard.  I deserve extra points for making his boxers pretty blue-and-purple plaid.  Don’t overlook his tears of shame, either.  The real story is in those tears.

This is my favorite drawing by far.  I drew this by instinct, realizing afterwards that I was emulating John’s drawsomely famous self-portrait.  Less is more, my friends.

Anyone else out there dependent on Draw Something for everything except calories?