maddie_final-57.jpg

My rose-colored, floral guitar strap holds my dad's 1976 Takamine across my body. I try not to hide behind it, but it protects me from feeling too vulnerable when I play for others. The straps have a bad habit of getting tangled. The light scratch marks on the pick guard show the 40-something years of wear and tear. The body of the guitar is light. It sounds bright and warm. If I had to compare the sound to a color, I'd say it's like leaves in the fall. Mostly golden yellow and orange but vibrant shades of red peeking through. It's still sharp after all these years.

I grew up with that guitar. I always admired it and wished I knew how to play it. I decided I'd take it with me to college to have it around in case. I finally picked it up after 22 years and learned some basic chords and progressions. Within months, songs were pouring out of me. I funneled everything through that guitar. Every emotion. Every mood. Every feeling. Good or bad. It became the one thing that could tap into that tucked away, dark box of emotions we all have. Sometimes, I think that guitar knows me better than I know myself.

Since 2016, I've been suffering from some chronic and debilitating health issues. In the beginning, I was stripped of everything that made me who I was. I lost freedom. I lost hope. I mourned the loss of my health and my former self; but with mourning, comes healing. On my healing journey, I've grown thankful for my illnesses. They give me hell. They give me strength. They give me songs. 

If I had to compare myself to a thing, I'd say like my guitar. Pretty, tangled, wear and tear. Similar in color, like leaves in the fall. Mostly golden yellow and orange but vibrant tones of red peeking through. Like them, I fall; but I come back brighter, just a different shade of red.

"That Guitar"