Overcoming a Bad Mood: A Letter of Gratitude

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sometimes there are wonderfully terrible days where everything you carefully planned decides to implode. On these days, a bit of gratitude can go a long way. 
 Before speaking your mind or trying to right the wrongs, sit down, grab a pen, grab a cup of tea (or something stronger, if necessary) and write.  Write a short note to someone or something. Be thoughtful and careful with words. Be grateful. Ninety-nine percent of the time when you set the pen down you will feel better.

The other day was definitely one of those days where nothing works as planned. So, here is a letter of gratitude to my guitar, Kevlar.
Dear Kevlar,

I’m so glad I opted to purchase you instead of one of those silly high school class rings. Since the day I picked you up from that tiny hole-in-the-wall music store, you’ve always been there for me. I think back to my freshman year of college when I was in my first serious guitar class. It was a chore to carry you down from and back to the sixth floor every Monday and Wednesday, but ultimately the A that I received in that class is probably what kept me from going on academic probation that semester. Thank you for that.

I remember when I was about to finish high school everyone in the youth orchestra and band kept asking me if I was going to keep playing clarinet in college. My answer was no. There was so much pressure to be the best and I just wanted to play the music that I felt like playing. To write the songs I wanted and throw my artistic studies music books into a bottomless pit. It was no longer fun to be first chair. Somewhere in between the 15 years of the piano lessons, clarinet lesson, garage band days etc. music had become a chore of theory and repetition.

A year before I bought you, I was quarantined because of swine flu, my mom let me steal the dusty guitar from her closet to pass the time that I spent holed up in my room. It was an old guitar and could only be tuned to itself. The action was too high, the strings were all wrong, my fingers would blister. I still tried my best to learn.

When I purchased you everything became much easier. I apologize for all of the terrible singing and messy fretwork that you have to deal with some days. Thank you for always being there for me on my worst days. Music is always one of the first things I turn to when things get rough for relief. Thanks for all of the beautiful music.

Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.”

This quote has been important to me ever since I first saw it written inside of a music book I received in middle school. Picking you up and playing a quick tune is the best cure for writer’s block, the best cure for sadness and the best cure for anxiety.  Thank you for being there everyday and especially during final exams! Sing-alongs with my best friends and roommates are some of the funniest and best memories of my time in college thus far. Thank you for all of the wonderful memories and lovely sounds. Thank you for helping me find my tune in the sea of messy black and white.


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