Just wanted to share with you guys my second draft of my personal essay, for anyone interested in taking a look at it to get some ideas of their own. Also, feel free to send me questions, suggestions, or make corrections. Enjoy 🙂
I remember when they called my name to come up on stage. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking like leaves as I tuned the strings of the guitar. My fingers, slick with sweat, tried to find the chords, but I was off by one fret. Yuck! The twang was terrible. “Did that sound as bad to you guys as it did to me?” I chuckled nervously, trying to buy time to steady my hands. The crowd laughed uncomfortably, and I stared out into the bizarre darkness trying to find my friends. Instead, I picked a spot on the back wall to stare at as my mind drifted away from me, allowing my heart to take over. I found the right notes, and I started to whisper the lyrics. Suddenly, the song (a French sailor song) started to flow out of my hands and my mouth like silk ribbon. By the end of the song, the whole room was on their feet applauding, and I could finally see their faces, warm and surprised, as I climbed down from the stage.
This was the first competition I had participated in that actually won me money, when I was 18. I taught myself to play the guitar when I was 12 years old, and I have been singing since as far back as I can remember. The guitar was a gift from my family, who knew that I wanted another challenge after many years of playing the violin and piano (and that I had a dream of becoming a rock star). It wasn’t easy learning how, but after months of sounding like a dying cat, I finally learned and started to combine guitar playing with singing. I played in bands in high school, in guitar choirs, and finally played professionally as my first job after moving to Chicago. I even met my husband while I was playing guitar on the street!
Playing the guitar has been very important for me. It has taught me self-reliance and independence. It has also showed me a new way to be creative. My favorite things to play are soulful covers of pop and folk songs, especially songs with interesting chords and rhythms. Guitar has also introduced me to new experiences and new people. Looking back on my life, I definitely don’t think things would have been the same for me had I not learned to play guitar. Every stroke of the metallic strings brings back a whirlwind of memories of concerts and living room jams. Music has always been a powerful force in my life, and guitar is an instrument that has helped me bring this love of music from my heart to stages big and small. I have learned not to be nervous in front of people, and I have learned that there is a more creative side to myself that I didn’t know before.
Although I play almost every day and still enjoy playing small ‘gigs’ for friends and family, I don’t know how far I will take my music. I still hang onto my secret dream to be a rock star! My husband and I enjoy playing guitar together and singing together, and we have talked about auditioning for a talent show or maybe even recording ourselves and making a video for Youtube, but only time will tell. I have a successful and fulfilling career as a teacher, a job that I love, but who knows? With summers off, maybe I’ll find time to fulfill my dream!