I've been playing my guitar a lot recently. I dust it off occasionally, but never really do anything with it, it sits unused by the Guitar Hero guitar that's been played once. It's not that I'm not an instrument person- I play several- just that guitar isn't my home instrument, piano is, and I don't know it well enough to make it do what I want it to.
That said, I don't have a piano or even a keyboard, and I've gotten some music and lyrics in my head that need an outlet and I had to use something. So I pulled out my guitar and have been spending some quality time with it. The more I play, the more dexterous my fingers become, are able to move from chord to chord with ease, without me looking down at my hands. And the more I play, the less my fingers hurt.
I used to have really heavy strings on my guitar that were impossible to play with my small hands, so I bought new ones, lighter weight, and restrung it. (Which, btw, was a proud moment for me because I had no help.) The new strings are a better fit, but pressing on them still caused my fingers discomfort. I wasn't used to the sensation, the tension of holding down that weight, the bite of high E, the heavy, rounded low E.
The first time I played for an extended period of time, I was sore. The next time I played, I noticed the skin on my fingertips had started to crust. To form callouses. They were small and coming off on their own and I bit at them. But as I've become consistent in my playing, my callouses have grown. They're not those beautiful strong fingers of a real guitar player, and the first few songs I practice still do pain me a little, but I am getting used to it. I'm growing tougher.
I think of callouses, how I grow them in my emotional world too. How I apply for jobs and interview and don't get an offer. It hurts. But it hurts less the more resumes I send out, the more interviews I go on. Querying is the same (although I'm not at this time). I think of how alone I am, with no one but my kids and Twitter to talk to (and thank you folks because you are my outside world). But each day, while still filled with anxiety and loneliness, has become a little easier to handle. And so I keep playing.
Listening to: The Joy Formidable