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He’s asking a lot, and I’m not sure if he realizes it. Or maybe he does, but he knows I need to have this side of me drawn out before I ever will become a great musician.

I’m sitting at a keyboard in a room tacked onto the back of a house as an afterthought. It seems like it was made to be a music practice room. I can’t imagine what else someone would use it for. The space is a Tetrus game of musical equipment — an organ, a bass, a guitar, shelving, amps, books, computers, synthesizers, a drum set. Cords snake from one to the next, their slack resting in coils.

The thing about music is, you can’t play well without pouring a little of your soul out with it. There are parts of me I’ve locked up intentionally during this season of life. I’m trying to find the line between what’s ok to release and what needs to remain dormant.

I close my eyes and play the riff, trying to pour out the feeling he’s asking for. But something keeps catching. I’m got my back against the door, keeping it closed. I’m too afraid to let go. Control is my comfort zone.

“You’re still holding back,” he says.

How does he know? How can he hear the subtlety between full and partial heart so clearly? Once again, I am struck by his talent.

I refocus.

Vulnerability for me was once an dangerous thing. I’m trying to relearn how to do it the healthy way. I’m afraid I still don’t know how. I’m afraid if I do let go, the whole mess will tumble out at once.

So I stand on the borderline and measure emotion out in teaspoons.


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