[ Musings ] Reality Check

Posted: June 25, 2014 in Blog

Sometimes you really have to weigh the pros and cons of what you’re doing. Granted, those come with almost every decision you make but in my case, it’s something I’ve put off doing for months now. I’ve been too busy trying to live my life, keep my head above water to really consider if all of this is worth it.

This “move” to LA, though still in its “temporary” stages, has taken more of a toll on me than I realized or even care to admit. Even now that I’m starting to analyze it, there are parts of the decision I haven’t quite identified and/or refuse to face. In chasing this… sometimes vague dream of being in the music industry, I’ve given up any semblance of stability which is something my practical, logical mind requires in order to function properly. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve always tried to play by the rules, usually someone else’s, so as to be responsible for as little as possible. I plan and prepare as much as I can before something happens so I don’t have to think when the time comes. There are several careers in which these proclivities would yield great amounts of productivity but my soul rebels against most if not all of those I have been introduced to.

Though I’m not a musician, I live and breathe music. I’m drawn to its energy. I feed off it. The truth is that the choice to leave my stable job with the benefits and the 401K and the mindless routine wasn’t to chase some romanticized dream. It was to chase a high. Music is the only drug I’m addicted to. That addiction even extends to the physical things that create music. I love walking into music stores, staring in awe at guitars and drums because I know what they’re capable of in the right hands. I was given the opportunity to attend a recording session earlier this week. The absolute glee that filled me just at the sight of the massive mixing board stayed for hours. Being in that environment, sitting in that room as artists created and recorded and did their thing made me just as happy as being in the middle of the pit at a concert. Though surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar setting, it felt right, like I belonged there. Because that’s where the music was.

In order to be there however, I had to give up a day I had planned to spend with my partner. Though everlastingly understanding, my increasing lack of and inconsistent presence in her life has taken its toll. Things that I had a vague desire to learn on the road to a properly domesticated life like cooking, jewelry-making, gardening, even sign language have taken a backburner to running around seemingly on an endless chase for that next hit amidst the meetings, shows, networking events and constant work in general. I feel like everything is in flux, because nothing in this industry is stable. That instability extended to my living situation. I experimented with every manner of commuting I could to see what would work best. I can’t afford to move out here permanently so I’ve spent months bouncing between couches and beds, sometimes staying up to 4 different places each week. Some days, I didn’t know where I was going to spend the night because something would come up and I had to change plans. I started to feel like nothing was under my control. Not even when I ate, where I slept or how I spent my free time. Everything was dictated by outside forces.

But that’s what happens when you allow your life to be taken over. I realize that now. And while sometimes my path aligned in those directions, I never knew when to pull up and stop to stay on my own. The past two weeks, since I was sick and had lots of time for once to sit and do nothing, I’ve been trying to sort how to gain that control back.

First, I need to stabilize my living situation. Unless I’m on tour or there’s some other extenuating circumstance, I want to stay in one place until I can find my own. Knowing where I’m going at the end of the day, where I’m going to wake up the next morning, where I can keep a toothbrush and a towel and a bottle of orange juice that’s more than a single serving goes a long way to keeping my head clear for things I actually need to focus on.

Second, I need to keep in touch regularly with the people that keep me grounded. I’d been losing touch not just with my partner but with my family. I started taking it for granted that they would always be there. That is not something I want to continue. Plans with friends that I had started to reconnect with after the divorce get pushed back or cancelled altogether because I’m rarely around. I even lose track of the friends I have in LA because work is a great excuse for everything, even when I’m home sitting alone at night too braindead (or rushing through some last minute project) to venture out. I have to make more of a conscious effort to let the people I love know I appreciate them.

Third, I have to be honest with myself on what I can and cannot handle. This will be the biggest challenge of all. Being a people pleaser, I want to do everything for everyone. But intention rarely equals ability. Even if it does, there’s only so much you can do. I also have to learn that declining an opportunity or having to say “no” doesn’t mean I’ve failed somehow or that I’m incapable. It means that I need to step back and take a moment to figure out if it really has a place in my life at this particular moment. I have to learn that it’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s an easy thing to say, an even easier thing to abuse. But learning how to do it and do it well is crucial and ultimately better for everyone involved. People pleasing takes a sour turn when it’s all you do.

So is it all worth it?

This week, I feel like change is on the horizon. It’s only Tuesday (well, it was when I started writing this) and I’ve already had significant highs that have convinced me beyond a doubt that this is where I need to be right now. My partner and I are working on communicating more often even if distance separates us. I’m staying in one place all week and even did a week’s worth of grocery shopping. Tomorrow, I’m going to squeeze in a hike before work. There will be more meetings, hopefully another show afterwards. In between, I’m going to feed myself 3 squares, call my mom and chat with my partner on her way home from work. Little things, baby steps. At the end of the day, I’ve got a warm bed to snuggle into and the promise of more music with the sunrise.

That is my reality.







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