i heard a line in a song today, what was it.... well, no matter. the line meant something to me for a completely random reason. and the idea that i can somehow grasp what my music means to me and why i do it and what it’s going to mean to people and blah blah blah blah is just absurd. truly, truly absurd. not only impossible, but absolutely, and in all other ways, unnecessary. i do what i do, and that’s all i need to know. it is not only not-helpful to anticipate how people are going to accept things, it’s tremendously limiting. i can’t possibly ever know what something is going to mean to someone. i guess i have this constant need to “understand” what my place is in the world, the music world i guess, because the rest of it i have a pretty good relationship with. i can walk down the street smiling and feel pretty good about it, but it’s absolutely exhausting struggling with my musical identity. i’m realizing some incredible things though, and it’s just like: no WONDER!!!!! shit. aside from feeling the constant pressure of what i know other people think i should be doing, there’s the huge and profound realization that i don’t feel i can rely on myself, for anything. seriously. i keep catching these glimpses of the true power tapped into when i really just let whatever it is flow through me. and it keeps coming down to the stunning and stubborn disbelief that people could possibly find it interesting to watch me plucking strings on a guitar. i’m trying to drill it in that PEOPLE ENJOY MUSIC. PEOPLE LIKE TO SIT AND RELAX AND LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE PLAY MUSIC. i’m trying to make the shift from “guilty until proven innocent” to “innocent until proven guilty.” i keep feeling that i have to prove myself to the big boys, that every single person who hears me is one of them, listening with spectacles and a big red pen.
and have i mentioned reputation yet? i’ve got it drilled in to my head that i have to be “professional” and if i’m not it’s just a silly mistake that’s not worth it. but the only motivation to be professional is to make money. right? if you aren’t professional then “they” won’t take you seriously, and if “they” don’t take you seriously you’re screwed. you’re banned from any chance of getting into that club. but.....but what about the really fun club? the truly creative, driven by love and passion club? the club that is playful and isn’t afraid to laugh at itself? the personal club? ("because whatever else anything is it ought to begin by being personal" ;) again, it’s that inside out vs. outside in thing. it has to come from me first. accepted or not once it’s out, that is totally not even my concern. do what is pure, do what feels right, nothing else matters. and i never will get to see myself objectively as an artist. we don’t get to do that. so what can i do instead? i can write songs that mean something to me, and give them the chance to mean something to someone else too. people like music. i make music. that’s all i ever need to know.
something i recognized today is that i feel like i have to be strong enough to support all of my songs all the time. that if someone out there is going to pour meaning into a song i have written, and therefore lean on it, in some way, i have to be strong enough to hold it, and them, up. and i know i can’t do that, so instead i keep just trying to write songs that are strong enough to do it without me. songs that aren’t guilty by association with me. some worthy endeavor, i know..... arggggggggg. i don’t have to beat myself up over how stupid it is i just have to let it go. i just have to let it all go, i know. but that means something different every day. there is nothing that truly remains the same. even the most solid relationships in the world are not solid at all. we choose every moment, we react every moment. i am never going to have the same reaction to anything ever, but we condition ourselves. "this makes me happy"... and maybe it’s true, that every time you see something, or hear something, or smell something it makes you happy, but part of that is surely the sheer delight of something, yet again, sparking that deep and joyous beauty in you. it cannot be taken for granted. it is a dangerous expectation that certain things will make you feel good every time. i fear that happiness itself can be extinguished if it “fails” us.
the more things become unraveled for me the more i can see the millions and billions of joints where there is potential for everything to fall apart. it is as i see myself, as a plethora of tiny parts, and not as a unified whole. i’m a little overwhelmed to realize that i cannot, indeed, hide from the world. i cannot make time stand still, and nor can i cease the decision making process. i can, of course, stand in a dark corner with my eyes closed but i am still radiating just as much intention of energy as i would be on a stage in front of thousands of people. this is both terribly troubling and comforting. i don’t know where i am tonight. i’m “doing everything right,” i’m taking care of myself, i’m allowing myself quiet time to simply sit there and not “do” anything, i’m indulging on anything that will make me feel good, including curling up on the toilet under a towel because there was a beautiful song playing and i’ve always liked the feeling of the toilet seat after a bath when my bum is still kind of wet. i’m doing all that, i’m just not....really....understanding. something is still a bit off....and perhaps i just can’t stop analyzing. perhaps it is the outside voices i can’t turn off, not the inside. a constant checking in with what “the world” thinks i should be doing. and “the world” has some great ideas, don’t get me wrong, the world is full of voices like my mama’s, and strangely’s, and phil’s, and all those people that believe in me and have pretty straight-forward ideas on how i can better help myself do what it is i am claiming i want to do. and that’s great, i shouldn’t turn those off right? but....i also don’t want to do things just because those voices think it’s a good idea. i need to agree, i need to have some intrinsic pull towards such things. and i’m seeing how much i want to make absolutely nothing happen so much of the time. i don’t want to make anything happen that i don’t trust, and we’ve established how much i don’t trust myself, so it’s never the right time to do anything. i am afraid of change, totally. as much as i love it, and newness life, and newness is magic, and newness is a brand new opportunity, and newness is pure, i’m terrified of it. because really, any book i’ve ever read, any speaker or singer i’ve ever heard, any good advice i’ve ever gotten, any mantra i’ve ever adopted, these are all things. things that i took from the outside world and made my own. if i don’t trust myself, they don’t mean shit. really. they mean no more than the paper they are printed on. they are empty. i pour my own meaning into things, and then i want it to be there every time. i want to return to the words and magically feel all better. and i know i won’t. i just don’t know what to do/think/count on instead. i see all the fallacies, i just don’t know what else there is.
“just let go”...... sure, but that has to mean something before i can do it. really, my brain is devising plans on how to go about this. whatever i need, however i need to go about things. at this point i accept my reliance on words, on phrases, on ideas, though i am trying to be open to the reality that my understanding of said words/phrases/ideas will change, and grow, and it is ok. reaching for the best feeling thought, yes. this too will pass, yes. what do i want at any given moment, yes. i may actually make a list of these things....though i fear that is exactly what will render them meaningless. there must be something.....something i can always reach for and not feel doubt that it is another trap. something strong enough that my self-doubt cannot destroy it.
i smile, though it’s a sad state of affairs. i guess it’s just that we’re taught, even in ‘enlightenment,’ that everything goes in cycles, there are ups and there are downs. which is great, sure, but to me that means i am going to feel good, and then i am going to feel bad, and that’s just the way it is. it therefore seems unattainable that i can feel “good” all the time, that feeling “good” is my natural state of being and always there if i only choose it. again, there’s the “me” voice (hopeless optimist) and the “world” voice (serious downer). (or maybe it’s the other way around....good, i’m glad to be confused about that.) and the real truth is: i don’t know what the fuck i want. i “know” that it’s the only thing i have to “know,” the only thing that i need to be concerned with, but “knowing” is just a word. it doesn’t mean shit. i still have way too much shit to wade through to be able to “know” anything. and i guess the best thing i can do with that is be ok with it.
this is where i am today, this is how i understand myself to the best of my ability today. this is me today. and tomorrow it will be different. tomorrow i will be different. and whether that seems like a blessing or a curse, it doesn’t matter. and i guess today i am taking nothing for granted. today everything is truly a new choice. everything. my relationship and love for my family and friends, my music, my goals, my joys, really just myself, when it comes down to it. i’m thinking that’s how it “should” be, i guess. that if every moment we choose our reality, then choose it. choose to love your family and friends, choose to be a kind and creative individual, and be reminded why you are, and do, so. at any given moment, what is it you want? such an easy thing to lose sight of. such an easy thing to let become habit. such a hard thing to describe. i catch glimpses of tremendous meaning in things i’ve heard a thousand times. we are all in this together. i know we are. i’m just afraid of changing anything, ‘cause i don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. i take great responsibility upon myself if i change the world. i am stopped by the hesitation of wondering if it is worth it, and if i am ready.
may i say to myself now, and forever:
if you trust the universe then you trust yourself. if you don’t, well, at least you know you want to. go from there.