During my very first guitar  lesson almost a year ago I learned three chords–C, G and  F.
It was then that I learned that “F” would be my nemesis.

Its been over nine months and despite hours of practice and calloused Fingers, I still can’t get that damned “F” chord to sound pretty.  Its Frustrating, inFuriating even.  When I tell my guitar playing Friends how I struggle with “F” they look at my as though I am a Freak…”Really?”  they say.  “Really?  Hmmm…and  how long have you been playing?”  Yeah…that “F” chord makes me Feel like a Failure, blocked, stuck.
My teacher keeps telling me that I just need to practice.  To keep trying, now matter how Futile my efforts may seem.  He counsels that one day it will all Fall into place.  I am Frankly not sure though if at this point even he buys it or if he is simply trying to keep me going, prevent me from quitting in order to ensure that the Forty dollars I pay him every week continues Flowing his way.

The fact I am Flunking “F” sometimes Feels too big.  To be honest, when I take out my guitar, sometimes I skip over all the songs that have an “F” in them.  Hearing the muffled, blocked sound over and over again sometimes reminds me too much of all the other ways I Fail, over and over again to get it right–the big and the small…Its dead tone speaks to me my Failed marriage and my inability to Focus at work.  It taunts me with reminders of Forgotten birthdays and the Forty Seven things on the to-do list that didn’t get done again today.

But other times I play “F” over and over again, until my Fingers are raw and my hand is cramped and sore.  I play F with the hopes that maybe if I can Finally Figure out  that F*%!cking “F” chord then I can Figure out how to Fix the other stuck parts of my life too–the Finances that are a bit too shaky, the Friendship that Feels a bit too Fragile, the stupid Fights I have with my son over and over again about trying new Foods, or his Filthy room.  In those Frenzied moments I almost believe that “F” holds all the secrets and that if I could crack the code of this chord that magic would Flow like a river into my life.

Sometimes, when I am diligently working I hear a clear sound and Feel elated only to realize I can’t duplicate it–success is Fleeting and dissolves too quickly.

Stupid Friggin’ “F” chord.

It can bring up all my worst Fears–like my Fear that I will never move Forward, that I will be stuck wandering around the desert trying to learn the simplest of lessons over and over again, not just in guitar but in life.  “F” can make me question why I even started to try to tackle something so hard, why I  bit off more than I can chew and leaves me Feeling Foolish.  “F” can leave me Fed Up and Freaked out and just one step short of quitting.

And in those moments when “F” has me Flummoxed and Frazzled, a little voice starts to whisper to me.

“F” is for Faith.

“F” is for Fortitude

“F” is for Fearless and Freedom and Flying.

All the ways I try and Fail and try and Fail and keep trying is a practice, a practice that may take me in circles but ultimately may shake loose some of the Fears heal some of the Fractures in my heart.   It may just give me what I need.

“F” is my teacher.

3 Responses to “F is for…”

  1. Jessica Says:

    I am with you! I’ve been playing for 14 years and my F still sounds terrible 90% of the time. My small hands just don’t seem to be able to do it. I finally realized that if I bought a capo, I wouldn’t need to fight anymore. I’ve been much happier ever since. Take that, F chord!

  2. Jena Says:

    And F is of course for “Fuckin'” – as in one of my favorite-ever postcards. It pictures schoolchildren sitting at 50’s style desks, all neat in a row. The teacher is at the chalkboard, giving her lesson. It goes like this: “Fuckin’ A, Fuckin’ B, Fuckin’ C” – or in your case, “Fuckin’ F!”

    Love to you, dear Meg.

  3. Jennifer Ballantyne Says:

    This is so cool Meg, you’ll get it eventually, I have F aith. Love you, hugs Jxxxx (Jena, you are so F unny.