Welcome home, dear Nostrum!

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On October 11th, a dream I had for about eight months now came true. I got my new guitar and it turned my life around once more.

Since I have finally named her, I can, at last, write about it on my lovely lovely messy website. And today marks her two months anniversary, so it is the perfect opportunity!

 

When she arrived I was so overwhelmed I had to live chat with my mom and brother just so I could open the box and see her with my own two eyes. When the outburst of emotions finally chillaxed, I proceeded to take many many pictures with her– of course! I haven’t been playing with her every single day like I’d love to but we’ve spent lots of time together these past two months, and it was pretty sweet. I missed this so much!

From my two brown eyes’ point of view, a relationship with an instrument, just like any other, is also very spiritual; it’s not all about the touching and the strumming… There’s much more to it; soul-food, magic; an instrument can be, or maybe, should be, more than “just it“. It’s a friend, a partner in crime, a weapon to brandish at the sky and howl at the moon with. I mean, it’s not just an instrument; when you create with it, you allow this deep and sincere connection to exist because you let yourself be vulnerable, you let it see your insides and you willingly share your private parts with it. And, no, this is not just a poetic excuse for my slacking off! 😛

It took me a few days to actually start practicing with her because I needed time to adjust and accept her as a new part of my life. But even without practicing with her, the link between our two selves grows. In fact, I instantly felt connected to her once I put her in my room. And now that I’ve been playing more frequently, I feel closer and closer to her and I think that’s why I was finally able to get a feel for a name! So let’s talk about it for a bit, shall we?

The name…

Nostrum (n.)

  • a medicine made by the person who recommends it, sold with exaggerated or false claims with no actual proof of its efficiency
  • “quack medicine”
  • cure-all;
  • a pet scheme for solving issues, mainly social or political ones
  • panacea
  • my left-handed Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Honestly, I did not really give too much thought to it. I was just fooling around with my “word of the day” app on my phone and it showed up and I was like “Oooh…”.

What got me was the “quack medicine” part. Because music and art is what I turn to in my dark times and if you’d ask me, I’d recommend it to solve any issue, soothe any burn, heal any wound and I’d assure you it is THE cure you need. And I like to sprinkle a pinch of doubt on everything, because it is necessary and also I do find it funny? So, using that word to name my weapon of choice is that for me. Meaningful and funny. Also, “no strum”… I mean, come on! I love it.

On a more serious tone, as much as she definitely is not a cure-all, Nostrum is a very good friend. Like, I remember writing on my Instagram one night how she already knew my heart even though we had barely just met.

[…] There’s nothing like music. And nothing like a fancy varnished piece of wood that allows your heart to bleed shamelessly and doesn’t condemn silence. She can already hear what I haven’t even thought yet.” I remember; I had had a rough day (emotionally speaking) but I didn’t have to work the afternoon so I managed to shower and focus on myself; I picked her up and even though I was doing some tedious theory practice, it fixed my mood. We do have a connection. It was an instant one and it grows with every breath, with every strum and every sigh. *You Raise Me Upppp starts playing in the back*IMG_20171011_195825_142.jpg

This is a piece of paper that came with Nostrum and it perfectly put it into words.

Remember it is one of your most intimate possessions–closer to you perhaps than anything else you may own. For it is the voice of the music within you, singing or sighing with your mood and forever faithful to your innermost whims. […] Give it the best you have and the best will come back to you.

Your instrument is an intimate friend and a door to your intimate parts. It knows you. And there is magic happening when you get together…

On working together…

It has been two months now and I have managed to gain back my very few left-handed skills.

For the record, I’ve been through so many changes I’m surprised my hands&brain didn’t get motion-sickness? Was right-handed, had to learn left-handed, then play right-handed again, then not play at all for so long, then play right-handed again, and then play left-handed again. I’m not gonna lie, frustration has been around a couple of times and I felt like banging my head on the walls way too many times. But I’m back on the left side now and I’m feeling good! My strumming is coming back nicely, finger-picking is doing okay and fretting hand isn’t so flexible but we’re getting there.

Just like when I first transitioned to left-handedness, the progress made was surprisingly fast and I am happy it was so. I should be able to write music again now but I’m not sure how fast that is going to happen! Ha ha. But I will. I’ll squeeze it out if I have to! I need to.

I’ve been considering many things like open mics and even busking. I will do them. But I still need some more practice and also songs to play… But I’m getting good enough to at least do a very simple performance on an open mic one night, I think. My host parents were talking with me about it and they said we should be going together to help me get started. And I think I could really use their presence!

Now that I think about it, I’ve never done anything like it before. I’ve never performed in front of more than one person at once! Well, sure when I was a kid we did some shows at the end of the school year, but I gotta admit I used to pretend to sing because I didn’t give a shit and it was pretty lame. My only real stage performances were during my high-school years with theater. I did pretty good then.

I love being on a stage and it somehow makes my performances better. I swear, during rehearsals I was okay, even pretty good sometimes, but on stage, I’d deliver so much more and it would feel much better also! I can’t wait to actually perform as a musician because once I start I am never gonna stop!

Nostrum and I

A new guitar marked the beginning of yet another chapter in this second volume of my life and it had to be marked also with a new picture; mandatory! So, I tried recreating the picture of Glitch and I because it looked pretty cool! However, I was not able to… (achieve the same level of coolness cos I’m an old woman trapped in a 21-year-old body)

I tried the same position at first but it wouldn’t work out. So instead, I went for what came naturally. I tried many different poses but I could not get it to feel the same. I thought that maybe with the editing after, I could get it right. But it did not happen. And then I understood why: everything is different and no amount of editing could copy all that misery and darkness onto my brighter self.

Things have changed. Things have remained the same. I’ve grown. I’ve shrunk. I’ve learned; I’ve forgotten. But the promise is still a thing. My dreams are still a thing. My fighting on never giving up is still a thing. I’m still a thing. Just a better thing! I’m not as miserable, not as lost and not surrounded by so much bullshit anymore. I am not wasting my time anymore; I’m doing things and I’m loving brighter.

This little family of mine has underwent many changes. Friends have died, friends have left, friends have been thrown away. Glitch was sold, Crash was given with love to my amazing best friend, Lilly. We’ve been desperate, at the bottom of the whole and on the edge of the cliff. We’ve drown and learned to swim. We’ve died and dived back in. But Nostrum is here to stay. And we’ll do great things together, mark my words!

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This is my favorite picture of us so far because of the light and my yellow sweater.

I’ve entered a new chapter, bigger chapter of my life and this bright light is devouring me but the shadows are still here, creeping on me. But you’ll notice how darkness and light coexist perfectly. There’s room for both of them and worth in both of them.

Yellow is a beautiful color and has always been my favorite (*wink wink* Winnie the Pooh). It’s bright and strong and warm but also is the color of some fallen leaves in autumn, the undertone of my skin color (thx mama) and… that’s it! I love pairing it with black and grey! Three cheers for yellow!!!

That light is Ireland. That light is me. That light is my darkness. That light is my new friends my Irish family and all that’s new and that’s yet to come. That light is so bright it covers my smile and you have Nostrum and I in the middle of it all, so close together and ready to take it on.

Welcome home, Nostrum! I will love you and we will love together. I’m looking forward to creating art together and performing it and painting life a brighter shade of black together.

Cheers guys! ❤

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