So, it's been way to long since I blogged about anything. I have been feeling like I couldn't speak honestly about how I was feeling because I was concerned that I would hurt certain people's feelings. I have since come to terms with that and I am now ready to resume this blog...
Today I am feeling like I am in the throes of an existential crisis. And of course, when I say crisis, I am more than aware and prepared for the inevitable outcome of personal growth and change. As you all know, I am a musician who has recently decided to leave the stability of a full time day job so that I can focus on pursuing music full time. I believe that where you put your energy grows. I'd like to grow music in my life.
Well, it's been a tough go. Things are slowly moving forward but I've been feeling frustrated and lost actually. It was just recently that I realized that I was looking for someone else to define me, to tell me who I was as an artist. I know, this may seem odd since I ain't no spring chicken and you'd think that by now I'd know who I am, but, you know what... I don't.
I was chatting with a friend of mine yesterday. I was telling him that I was desperate to know what direction I should move in. I had received feedback from a Blues society that I wasn't bluesy enough to play as part of their series. I emailed her and asked for more feedback. She said that I was too jazzy. My reflex thought was "Fuck Off" then I thought about it and decided that this feedback could be helpful.I then decided to apply to Jazz Festivals. I got some feedback from them saying that we weren't jazzy enough, we were too bluesy. Can you see my frustration?
Any way, I started talking about doing a tribute band and I asked my friend 'who could I be?' He answered jokingly 'Etta James' to which I replied that I wished with all my heart that I was black. He then said "Maybe that's the problem: you need to be comfortable with who you are, and who you are is pretty terrific." I teared up, of course, but then I started to feel oddly calm. I have experienced this calm before... it's that little voice, that quiet place of knowing inside us all, spirit... I knew his advice, that tiny piece of information, was the reason that we spoke today.
I need to be comfortable with who I am.
So, then I started thinking... who am I as an artist? That is the crisis part. I've been working so long and hard trying to find a place for myself in music where I can make money that I was defining myself based on what I thought I could do and be successful at. So, I'd try something and if it worked, great... If it didn't, I'd redefine. It's sort of like having musical ADD and chasing after every squirrel that ran through my campsite. Anyway, I was seeking outside approval and looking, as I said before, for other people to tell me what genre of music to pursue, what kind of songs to write, what kind of CD to make next, or in other words, how I needed to change myself so that others would like me. I now know that I need to quiet my mind and decide for myself. I need to define me. This is my lesson for this point in my life. And I need to realize that who I am in pretty terrific and I don't need to change her, but rather, I need to honour, love and respect her.
So my centering thought for today is " I am complete and all I need to do now is listen to my heart. My heart knows who I am as an artist."
Thanks for reading and commenting.