My fingertips are my greatest enemy, and I am theirs. I relentlessly force them into the strings of my guitar, resulting in calluses that are unmatched. I constantly occupy my time with the sliding of fingertips across copper wound steel. The abrasion and blisters have become a natural part of life, and what used to be plump pads have been pressed into hard mounds of skin that can barely feel the frets below them.
As one can imagine, metal alloys and flesh don’t normally live in harmony. Yet when four fingers stretch across six strings in just the right way, harmony can be found. My relentless pursuit of this harmony has caused extensive physical pain which is not justifiable for most. For me, the justification is this: guitar is a necessity. It’s the only way to silence the perpetual music playing in my head.
For as long as I can remember, I have lived my life to music. Silence has never existed because song always manage to seep into the void. Music is so ingrained, that my definition of time is characterized by a metronome and a melody flowing through my mind. Every stage of my childhood development, has come with its own genre. When all I wanted was to be like my dad, I listened to the classic rock of his youth. When I began living with my mother, I developed a soft spot for the country music she liked. Transitions from a popular tween, to a social outcast, to a confused adolescent are marked by 2000’s pop, 1980’s punk, and 1990’s alternate.
I have since grown up. I no longer crave the distortion of punk, or the reverb of alternate, or the synthetic of pop. I can no longer define myself by a genre. Instead, if you scroll through my phone, you will see a very eclectic collection of songs. In the daily drive to school, I can cover 50 years of music history, sing everything from The Spinners, to Green Day, and even to The Avett Brothers.
My friends like to tease me about the diversity of my music, and about various poor musical choices of my past — intermittent periods of obsessing over certain bands. Little do they know, I learned from those poor decisions. I have kept nothing but the best from each stage of my life. And in my 17 years on Earth, I have taken what I learned and made myself into the playlist that I am today.