So, if you read my blog post about the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll know that I’m not exactly coping well with the apparent end of the world.
So I bought a violin.
I could dissect why I bought a violin. I played violin for about a year when I was ten, almost entirely because my mum told me that if I could stick with it and learn the skills it was meant to teach me – reading music, tuning an instrument, doing things even when they’re hard – we could see about getting me an electric guitar. Except I didn’t stick with it, and when my mum did get me an electric guitar five years later, I didn’t stick with that, either. Maybe I bought a violin in the midst of the pandemic because I wanted to right that wrong and prove I can stick with difficult things. Maybe I bought a violin because I wanted something that reminded me of my childhood which, while turbulent, did not feature coronavirus at all. Maybe I just bought it because it was shiny and pink and matched my phone case.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that, so far, I am sticking with it. And I’m learning some skills which I’ve realised I can apply to sex – skills I’m going to tell y’all about, in case you were on the fence about your own ridiculous violin purchase.
The first of these skills is, of course, perseverance. Whether it’s the BPD or just who I am as a person, I’m extremely sensitive to the feeling that I’ve failed, and will usually avoid activities I’m not already good at for the sake of my sanity. Avoidance works well, as dysfunctional coping strategies go, but it means that I never practice the skill of taking on the information I’ve learned from “failing” and trying something different. Practising violin has meant a lot of wincing at notes I’ve played “wrong” (as much as you can ever go wrong when doing something artistic) but then readjusting my fingers and trying again. Similarly, in sex, it’s important to be able to take feedback on board, readjust your fingers and try again, preferably without crying. Playing violin has taught me that I might not be instantly good at everything, but that I’m capable of improving and that trying again is worth the effort.
Playing violin has also taught me to slow down when something isn’t going my way, rather than to panic. Taking one’s time is important during sex, even during quick, desperate fucks, because it’s the difference between putting a condom on correctly or having it split on you, or between bumping someone’s cervix with a dildo and not doing that, or between sustaining an injury and coming out of the fuck unscathed.
On the topic of injuries: violin is teaching me the hard way to listen to my body. I’m very good at ignoring or muscling through alarming levels of pain, but I can’t do that with the violin, because in the long term (“long” here meaning “a few hours” – I’m still not good at conceptualising the future beyond that) I know it will bite me in the arse. See, I’m excited to be learning the violin, and that means that I have to stop when it hurts, so that I can play some more later that day. (And oh my God, does it hurt – it works muscles in my back I didn’t know existed, and leaves me clutching my wrist or shoulder and wincing if I overdo it.) Stopping activities when they start to hurt me is not something I’m well-versed in, but it’s important even for a masochist like me to be able to read their own body and react accordingly. (Or accordionly… because, you know, musical instruments… I’ll show myself out.)
Then there are the “hard” skills violin is teaching me. My joints fucking suck, but I’m pretty sure I can already feel my fingers getting stronger and my shoulders stabilise a little. I’m also constantly improving my hand-eye coordination whilst playing, as well as my ability to multitask and do different things with each of my hands. (I will leave it to you to imagine why this might be helpful during sex.) I can also read music again, after more than a decade of refusing to even look at a stave; reading music isn’t a useful skill for sex, but it’s a useful skill to brag about to the people with whom you’re having the sex. And bragging about my violin progress has boosted my confidence! People find confidence sexy, or so I’ve heard, and all the skills I’ve learnt from the violin have made me more confident in every department – including the sex department. Maybe that’s what I needed from the violin: confidence.
It doesn’t matter, because my violin is shiny and pink, and I can play Mary Had A Little Lamb on it now.