Monday, August 5, 2013

The biggest item I've ever decluttered

When I was little my mother told me that I could choose an instrument to learn to play. There was one catch: it couldn't be bigger than I was and still have to be carried to lessons.

I wasn't allowed to play violin because my mother thought it was too squeaky, the bass obviously didn't pass the too-big-to-carry-it criteria, and for some reason viola never came up in conversation. Band instruments weren't an option at my school. The cello fit the bill. How, excatly, I'm not sure, as this is the size of my cello in its traveling case:

I've had a love-hate relationship with my cello for a long time. I never was good at it because my parents couldn't afford private lessons and I wasn't disciplined enough to benefit from them anyways. I also just never really connected with the instrument.
What I did do with the cello, was, when no one was looking, turn it on its side and strum it like a guitar. Which of the two instruments should I have actually been learning?
I wanted to sell it but my mother threw a fit as soon as I mentioned the idea. She said that it wasn't mine to sell. Yes, she'd paid for it when I was younger. I wasn't allowed to donate it to an underprivileged school, either. No, it had to go back to her. She doesn't play the cello AND she still has her other daughter's cello at home, even though the other daughter quit playing after high school. I had approached her about her donating both cellos one of the last times I was home. She only seems to have a problem with me making the donation, not her, as I was greeted by the typical hoarder "I'll get around to donating it" response, which really means that it will never happen.
So, a few months back I finally returned the cello to my parents. It was taking up space in my home and if my mother so badly wants another huge, usable object to sit wasted and clutter up more of her house, who am I to stop her at this point?
It was really hard to let go of playing in an orchestra, but the truth was I wasn't enjoying it. I felt like I was a failure because I was quitting. In reality, I was a success because I'd stopped wasting time on something I didn't love. Fortunately, I did find my true love (apart from the Chief Engineer, of course.)
My uncle said that because I have more than one guitar in the house right now I needed to name my guitar for the same reason one would name their children. Ha! So, her name is Jolene, she's a Takamine Grand Auditorium acoustic/electric, and is made out of Hawaiian koa wood. Like the actress she's named after, she's gorgeous, has great curves, and actually performs as good as she looks.

And she takes up so much less room than the cello!
The other guitar will be gifted to a friend this Fall. Sure, I could've sold the other guitar for probably about $100, but this friend read one of the Bible passages at our wedding and something makes me think I was crass enough not to give her a gift. She's said she wanted to learn to play for a while now and I think the other (nameless) guitar will be much enjoyed by its new owner.
Have you ever quit playing a musical instrument? Was it hard or easy? What did you do with the instrument when you were done? What's the biggest thing you've ever decluttered?


  1. Oh boy can I relate to the love hate thing, I have the same relationship with my violin. I was always in the pretty good but not good enough category, and it just has soooooo much emotional baggage attached to it. At one point CatMan and I tried to work it into our act, but it just made me really grumpy. He started teasing me about it, asking "Does that thing come with a built in frown?"

    I haven't had the courage to get rid of it though, so it's still sitting in the back of my closet. Of course it got a bow hair bug, so I couldn't even play it if I wanted to at this point. I'm so impressed that you had the guts to get rid of your cello and let go of the struggle. Maybe someday I'll get there.

    1. Built-in frown, what a great way to describe it! Having the newness and excitement of learning the guitar I know helped. You'll get there someday :o) It's not doing any harm where it is.

  2. I had the opposite issue. I learned the piano when I was at school (private lessons) but not terribly good at it. When I was married and we bought our first home, my mother announced that I could take my piano. I was totally surprised as my parents had bought it. My mother's explanation was that they had bought instruments for my 3 siblings (trumpet, clarinet and flute) and that they were theirs so the piano was mine. I simply did not have the space or inclination to take the piano so it was agreed that my parents would sell it and the money was given to me.

  3. I wanted so much to learn the play the flute in grade school. Apparently no one had the heart to tell me that as an asthmatic with inadequate medical care I'd never make it work. Thankfully my parents were smart enough to rent it. Also for some reason it was relief to them so I didn't get the usual lectures.


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