My recent relocation reminded me just how far I have come and how much I have grown as a person. I am someone who is usually described as shy to a fault. Being this way doesn’t bother me as much as it did before though. I just accepted it as part of who I am and I do get out of my shell when I get comfortable with a person or situation. But I learned something crucial about myself which is that I limit myself because of my condition (hyperhidrosis). I allowed it to dictate what I can and cannot do, how I interact with others including romantic relationships I was involved in.
Moving reminded me of things I have accomplished in the past few years, things I never in a million years dreamed I could do. I had to give up my guitar – Hezekiah when moving because I couldn’t afford to pay for it to come with me. So I decided to give it away to a friend, someone I know will take care of my baby. Hezekiah not only served as a bass guitar but also a constant reminder of strength drawn from within. He taught me that I could when I thought I couldn’t.
As some of you know from previous posts and in person interactions, I live with a condition known as hyperhidrosis. It is basically excessive sweating and it affects people differently. For example, you could only sweat in your hands or both your hands and feet or other body parts that can sweat. Different strokes for different people. And it has no actual known cure. There are “treatments” people have tried but sometimes many lead to compensatory sweating which is basically you just sweating from a different body part which could be worse than what you had initially. I have personally never tried a treatment especially not with the current side effects I’ve read about.
My life is complicated enough as it is without the added stress of exploring a treatment plan that could potentially lead to disastrous results. I am not sure I can recover from that. I have been aware of my condition since I was about five years old and it affected me in numerous ways. There are certain activities I couldn’t participate in because they required having dry hands. Monkey bars come to mind. One needs dry hands to be able to successfully play on those things otherwise they become something of a death trap. So you can imagine a young me trying to swing from those bars and failing to get a grip because “butter fingers” could never get a grip. Reading was a safer option. Although books did tend to get wet and I had to constantly wipe my hands to prevent creating holes in them if I held onto it too long without drying my hands.
I’m sure you’re wondering how Hezekiah fits in here. Hezekiah was my first bass guitar and Hope my first acoustic guitar. I always wanted to play the guitar but couldn’t quite fathom how to considering I couldn’t maintain dry hands long enough. And if you know anything about guitars, especially bass, you’ll know that you need dry hands to be able to strum the strings. And those strings are thick!
I didn’t think I could do it but one summer, I was jobless and wasn’t in school and there was a music program going at my church that I decided to join for lack of anything to do. The music director asked what instrument I was interested in learning and I told him and explained my hands to him and he said we can work through it. And somehow, we did. He helped me buy Hezekiah and by the end of summer I was able to perform with the others in church. Sweat and all.
I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had through Hezekiah. He taught me to push through and that with determination you can accomplish anything. I was always very self-conscious about my sweating. But I allowed others to see my dripping hands and didn’t care. When I strummed up my guitar, I was taken into a whole new world and it felt good. I temporarily forgot about the sweat, forgot how much harder it was because I had to strum through wet hands. I forgot that others could see, that they would have questions. It was just me and my music.
And for that I thank my teacher and my baby, Hezekiah whom I had to give away because I couldn’t take with me back home. You will always be my first baby, the one that taught me that it may hurt, you may want to give up but if you push through and if you practice, it gets better. The reward is well worth it. It is only a guitar to some but to me it’s more than that. It’s a sign of something I thought I would never do, could never do. I don’t play anymore but I will take it up again because I really miss it. I let life get in the way but saying bye to Kiah reminded me of why I loved playing in the first place.