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Music saved me this 2020

We all know what a roller coaster ride 2020 has been. And I'm saying this not because it's full of ups and downs but because it's messy, dizzying, and full of twists that turned our lives upside down. It has been (and it still is) a struggle to stay calm and sane in this pandemic, and for someone with a mental health disorder like me, it can be extra difficult.

When we were put into enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last March, I thought, "I can do this. I'm used to staying home. Anyway, I don't like to go out much. It's okay." But while I made it appear that I'm fine, deep inside, I was restless and anxious. I even had bad dreams about the virus, which remains to be a looming threat to our health and safety.

Even if quarantine restrictions were relaxed last June, I still didn't step out the door for several months because I was so scared of catching the virus (or giving it to someone else in case I had it and I wasn't aware). I only left our unit and went down our building last October, on my birthday, to pick up a box of chicken nuggets which I ordered.

In the midst of all this worrying, countless hand sanitizing, and being cooped up indoors, I found my creative space. Music has always given me comfort, and during the ECQ, I reignited my passion for it. I started taking ukulele lessons so I could progress on this instrument and play more songs that would make me smile. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Taking ukulele lessons gave structure to my practice sessions. Before, I just practiced whenever I wanted and played easy songs. I wasn't even paying attention to my hand and arm positions. But now, I practice every night even for just a few minutes. I also learned more about the proper playing position, music theory, playing techniques, and how to practice effectively.

Music also gave me a place to escape to. It became my refuge. Whenever work becomes overwhelming, I switch off from the world, pick up my ukulele, and play. Even practicing scales is therapeutic. Music also helps me with my creativity and imagination. Through music, my mind is able to travel to different countries and even go back a few centuries when I listen to and play classical music.

I even created a YouTube Channel called Kat Plays the Uke. It's where I share all of my ukulele videos. I do upload and share them on my personal Facebook page for my friends and family to see, but I created Kat Plays the Uke so my videos are all in one place. As of today, I have 14 subscribers, and I'm hoping I can reach more people next year.

I also started learning the violin. I just started taking violin lessons last October, and I can play a few beginner pieces. Right now, I'm taking a short break from the violin, but I'll go back to playing soon. I'm looking forward to finding out what beautiful pieces I can play on this instrument.

I don't know what 2021 holds, but one thing is for sure. I will continue to practice, play, and progress on my musical instruments. Music will continue to be a huge part of my lifekeeping me whole and inspiring me to carry on.

Feature image by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels


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