A Story of Fears and Dreams: The Guitar in the Attic

This true-life story is a repost from our sister site, Our Life Logs®



The Guitar in the Attic

| This is the 590th story of Our Life Logs® |

I was born in a difficult time for my country, but I didn't know it then. I grew up in a small town called Leskovac in the south part of Serbia. The country is riddled with poverty but rich with strong-willed people that can handle anything. My parents did everything to help me have a happy childhood away from all of it.

One of my most vivid memories takes place in the warm summer of 1995. My mother made me a cake with seven candles, decorated with pink and white whipped cream. For me, it was the most beautiful cake in the world. It was not a big party with lots of food, balloons, and toys. It was a modest gathering, but it was overflowing with joy and love. That was all I could ever want. My favorite part of my birthday was opening the presents.

On this birthday, I got beautiful toys like crayons and children's books, but one gift was truly special. That year, I got my first guitar. It was placed in front of me in a large box, wrapped in colorful paper. My grandfather who loved music had given it to me. He wanted me to love music as much as he did. And I did, very quickly. Soon, my days were filled with music and everything else fell into the background.

My parents fostered my love of music by enrolling me in guitar lessons where I could begin plucking away at my strings and let the music transport me to a dream-like state. As I got older, I started going to a music professor every week for extra lessons after school along with practicing at home. What can I say? I was in love. People at school knew that I played the guitar, and so I was always getting calls to be a part of school productions. There was always an opportunity to share my love with others. Since I developed my skills so early in life, other kids wanted to hang out with me and teach them how to play. It was a beautiful childhood. Music shaped my life. It became a part of me.

As I got better, more and more people knew about my talent and recommended me to other musicians. In high school, I joined a band where I practiced and played to my heart’s content. I was so happy, and now I was making a little money to help my parents. It was wonderful to meet so many different people at shows who appreciated and loved my music. I needed that badly as I got older. You see, people around me accepted the fact that I was involved in music when I was a child, but that changed as I grew up. I felt like I was on the path to realizing my dreams, but my community didn’t quite support it.

The same people who lifted me up for my skills when I was a child started to turn on me--relatives, friends of my parents, teachers at school, everyone changed their tune. Suddenly, I was being told that music should not be for a girl, that I should give up the guitar, and be like other girls. The idealized dreams in their eyes were that I should find a husband, not a career.

This may sound old-fashioned to you, but Serbia is a place where equality and freedom of choice exist only on paper. The only way to break out is to fight against it and remain persistent. I tried to do that, but it became harder. Under the influence of the whispers and disappointed looks, my parents turned on my music dreams too. They told me that when they enrolled m