I played a couple of shows this weekend. I was feeling pretty easeful and happy about both of them. I love playing live as it gives me a chance to work my craft and engage my audience face to face! I'm really learning to read my crowd and play to what I feel is needed in the moment....I guess that there is a value in there somewhere.....playing what might give them a little medicine.....I love to do that!! Weather it is a request or an old favorite most of the time I have no problem communicating with my audience what will make them feel good inside. After a weekend of gigging I am left pretty contented and feeling like I am where I need to be
"There' this niggling doubt in my head that plays tricks on me"
There is something though that usually happens to me before a gig.....I don't want to go......its so weird......my body gets filled with anxiety, doubt and I wonder why I am even doing what I do. I know you hear this a lot in my writing....but I am being truthful....I find it difficult to balance my feelings....I would be lying to you if I said I always approach my gigs with a sunshiny attitude and not a care in the world....hahahh!! Someday I hope!! There is this niggling doubt in my head that plays tricks on me all the time....but as luck would have it..... as soon as I am three songs in I'm on top of the world and singing my heart out.
I think in creative careers is healthy to feel doubt creep in....because if it wasn't there what would you have to work on?? everything would feel perfect and you would be living in a land of cheese fountains, unicorns and rainbows.
Ok skip a head to the next day (post gig) where I was playing one of my new songs for a person I know. The song just barely hatched......and I willingly allowed this person into my weird scrappy world of writing. This song was still birthing, a baby that was barely born. So while I was playing the person got up and left the room.....and so I finished up playing....dropped my guitar and wandered to see what they thought. AND.....DUH DUH DHU.......they said that "the song raked on their nerves".....that it "wasn't ready for public consumption"......and they wanted to tell me the truth so as not "blow smoke up my ass"........
Ok, Ok, Ok,......Holy Snappin! YEOUCH!!! DUDES!!! I was then thrown into the abyss that is self doubt and I started to struggle with what was just said to me. Obviously I am a highly sensitive person that has fallen into this creative career and been tossed under the "Self Doubt Bus" and sometimes even the "Let's Bust Arley's Ball's Bus" on a few choice occasions......(there are a few other busses that I have been thrown under (there are so many weird little busses out there!!!).......I wondered.....how could someone put judgement on something that wasn't even cooked yet??
"And out came the big guns"
The highly sensitive person inside of me instantly sounded the alarm and out came....THE BIG GUNS!!! My HIGHLY INTENSE WARRIOR GODDESS answered the horn with ferocity and a call to action so swift I have to quickly prepare myself. My Warrior Goddess resides within my body and she is always at the ready with her brick and mortar....(to build these fantastic huge walls)......and sword and shield.....(to fiercely protect)....She has some kick ass armor and a little blood running down the side of her mouth from biting someones ear off, or ripping raw flesh from fresh kill animal carcass's.......or something like that...fire has a tendency of spilling from her eye sockets from time to time.....She is fierce.....she is ready for battle.....oh and battle she will.....she is pretty freaking intense........and when she shows up......its time to batten down the hatches....call in the guards.........and for god sakes hide the women and children!!....
I try to appease her with sweet words and caressing but she won't listen a damn....she is out for blood.....she is the gate keeper for my self doubt and when someone shoots flaming arrows over my well constructed mote and brick walls to set my doubt on fire.....lets just say.....it takes a few days for her to reach surrender.
So what am I learning about this little scenario. Again not everyone is going to like the food I am serving.....if you are a creative, not everyone is going to get your art. So I am learning to take the moments that I am in doubt and ride with them, which can last anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks. I am also learning that it's none of my business what others think of me and my path. As long as Im not hurting anyone I'm always going to land somewhere in the green. My doubt wants to drop everything the moment a negative comment comes in. I have this way of being thats like....."Fuck It!!!! I'm not good enough"....and even just thinking that makes my heart so sad......it's so easy to throw in the towel on those days.....
"If I waited until everything was perfect i WOULDN'T create a damn thing"
But here is what I think.......if I waited until everything was perfect I wouldn't create a damn thing..... because of fear....omg so much fear....so I have committed to put one foot in front of the other and continue to practice my craft. no matter what....no matter if people think my music is shit or the best thing on earth....I owe it to myself to continue because I'm on a path to "mastery" that is realistically going to take me like 10,000 hours to accomplish. So every step is a step in the right direction. Clocking the hours and steps until I get there. In reality I'm not sure if I really believe in "mastery" as a word or hard and fast rule per se....maybe there is a better word for it. Does anyone ever really become a master at anything?
I have also noticed that people love to play on others sensitivities and doubt because maybe it makes them feel like they are in control....or that they can pull the other person back to a spot that feels more comfortable for them.....but again herin lies a huge projection of their own fears and insecurities.
So......it is now my position that you don't have to show anyone your art until you want to.....until it feels safe for you.......or you could throw caution to the wind and let your art rip out into the stratosphere......its up to you and no one else.....you also don't have to take anything anyone says to heart as art and music are so incredibly subjective.
These little scenarios keep popping up for me. I know that when that happens there is a lesson for me to learn in there somewhere. its just like dating......you know when you date the same type of person knowing that they are no good for you or your heart until you learn to accept love in a different way......or you finally learn that lesson that keeps showing up.
So to anyone who is reading this I want you to know that no matter what people say about you or your art continue to follow the path. No matter how shitty you feel somedays about your work....just keep creating....step by step.....some days they will feel like huge steps and others it will feel like the tiniest little ones....but just keep following your heart call.....take this time and the years you are working on your art as practice......and no matter what as long as you put one foot infornt of the other you are going to continue to improve until your art is so amazing and has so much power behind it that nothing can touch it. In order to build a fire you just don't throw a bunch of logs on and strike a match to it.....you have to build your kindling bundle....which means collecting all sorts of smaller bits and pieces....We all have to start somewhere.....Right???
"There is no doubt that you are going to improve"
I still feel like I am in the major learning stages and that feels ok....becasue I know that every time I pick up that guitar, or put my pen to paper, it just gets better and better and better....and the sucky parts will become less and less....well.....sucky. The further you go and the better your craft gets the more critics you will encounter......and the more people will want to stamp your sweet little kindling fire out.......and so my dear artist friends.....just keep doing you....practice....get better....or don't it is pretty much up to you....but know this....as long as you continue moving forward there is no doubt that you are going to improve. I write this as much for myself as I do for whoever wants to read these.
I need these little pep talks because they help me bring back my power and collect all the important bit's that I dropped on the ground.....in a good way....These words are written as a reminder and a call for my own understanding and action.....so that my Warrior Goddess can take a week off now and then to go sip margaritas on a white sand beach and let the tropical wind blow through her deadly armor shoulder pads and metal bikini bottoms.......(how she even fights in those things is beyond me).....she's pretty freakin hardcore though......i'll tell you that for free.......I am also slowly learning not to question her.......because she has a purpose. She is there for a reason......She just doesn't need to be on the clock......all the time.
Wishing you lots of love on your creative journey
Keep being a bad ass creative and if anyone judges your work
Know that it is a projection of how they feel
You just keep putting one foot in-front of the other
and if you succeed or fail it really doest matter because the road will always rise to meet you again....somehow....someway
I still suck at punctuation and grammar but I still write this stuff.....
I Love You, and your creative heart......no matter what anyone says