Currently, things are going rather sadly.
On Saturday night I played a show during a snow storm. It was an interesting experience, really. It kind of showed me a lot of things.
Firstly, I got there at 6, despite the ridiculous amounts of snow. I was there before the promoter and the tech, because sound check is always at 6 and I like being on time. I got there, and I only did my soundcheck at 8 o’clock, a half hour before I went on. Why? Because bands take precedence over people who get there first. I became cynical about that night from that point forward and perhaps that’s why my performance wasn’t on par with what I feel it should have been. It took me maybe four to six minutes (maybe ten, tops) to do my soundcheck. But, of course, I still didn’t soundcheck for two hours after I got there. On time. Then, when I go on to play, one of the other bands who was there were talking during my whole set. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t hear them while I performed- they were obvious. And that aggravated me to no end, because when I talk during a set, the band is never just an acoustic- they are loud and definitely not paying attention to me. But even then, I try to keep my talking to a minimum because it is rude to just talk and talk and talk while someone is expressing themselves- expressing their deepest feelings and putting them out there for all to see, because, make no mistake, that is exactly what musicians do. Good musicians anyway. Anyone whose written a song before knows how difficult it is put a feeling into words, make it sound good, and then give it to people to listen to and… and they talk. They don’t listen to you. It’s like screaming and having no one hear. I’m an acoustic act, I don’t play loudly because it’s virtually impossible to play as loudly as a band when you’re one person. The band that played after the band that was talking during my set… they didn’t even mention me. They mentioned the band who played after me, even said that they should do something together, but it was like I didn’t exist. It was like I wasn’t even there- like I hadn’t been the one who was there on time and ready to play all the songs I knew just to give people a show.
Don’t think lowly of me, dear reader. I’m not a spoiled brat who gets angry whenever people don’t listen to her. I’m used to people talking during my set. I usually do not give a damn, at all. But it’s never bands- never musicians. They always stay quiet, because the people you’re watching might do something you never thought to do. Maybe this is karma- maybe the time I made fun of that one lead singer really fucked me this time, or maybe it was a culmination of all the shitty things I’ve done in the last while- but I’ve never felt this dejected in my whole life.
I was offered to do a show on April 6th, and I’m very close to turning it down. I know this is one of those points in life that I’ll need to make a decision, and this will dictate how I feel for the rest of my life when it comes to performing. Maybe I’ll be offered another show after this one, but that’s not the point. I know that if I turn this show down, it’ll never be the same. I know I’ll never play the same, write the same or be the same. I know that the career I’ve always hoped for in music, way deep down, is dependent on my doing this show. But I just can’t bring myself to say yes yet.
I feel as though anything I write, for the rest of my life, will not be good enough. Malcolm Gladwell said in his book Outliers that to be really really good at something, you need to practice that specific thing for at least 10,000 hours. How do I ever expect to do something for 10,000 hours, number one, and how do I just assume that 10,000 hours will be what I need to be fantastic? I can’t just expect that to be the answer. I’ve written songs that I love, that I want people to like and sing along to and connect my feelings to their own. I want so badly for people to hear my music and love it. I don’t know if that can ever happen if I can’t hold ten people’s attention for a half hour.
Sometimes, I watch Neil Gaiman’s address to the graduating class of an art university from last year, and it makes me cry because I feel as though I’ll never get there. I’ve read a comic by one of my favourite people in the world, Gavin, where he takes a quote by Ira Glass and illustrates it, and it makes so much sense to me. Sometimes I read it and I get it, you know, and it makes me feel good. But I can’t take either of those two things seriously. They’re not inspiring me, today.
I hate having to write this. I hate having to write down how I feel to feel better, but I guess I just have to do this if it helps. But I just can’t understand why this is happening, or how I can get better- how I can not care about what other people think.
I don’t want pity, reader. I don’t want comments saying, ‘it’s okay, you’re fantastic, don’t worry!’ I don’t want anything. I just want people who are feeling this way to read this and say to themselves, ‘this is normal, then? these feelings of inadequacy, where nothing I ever do will be good enough, they’re okay, I’m not alone, then?’ that’s what I want. Because that’s all I ever wanted. To know that on this pale blue dot, someone else understands perfectly how I feel.
That’s all, reader. I know that I have to do this show. I know that I’m going to. But it’s so hard to bring myself to do it. If you’re feeling this way, too, watch the address, read some Zen Pencils and try not to cry yourself to sleep. That’s the only advice I can give.
Thanks, reader. See you later.