Shot on film at my late grandfather's house.
"Play the game, play the game!" is what they scream / You can play the game, I don't see the need - "Angel" by Little Simz
I am coming out of a long funk. The holiday season surprised with me with a fair amount of grief and hopelessness. In the midst of it, I was not aware. I'm usually not. A depressive slump was in order, nonetheless, and I'm proud of myself for getting through it without adding too much suffering on top of the lowness. I wrote about this process once. An unfinished song in which I sing, Sun's coming out / Flashes of light / Piercing the clouds / Like a knife / All night the sky wept / It taught me to cry / I still feel the sadness / But I'm still alive
I can't say what caused the funk, and I can't say why it has lifted. But it feels as real as a black and white world turning to color. Only, as I said, I wasn't aware of the monochromatic nature of my mood until my spirits lifted.
This week has felt really productive and calm. I am in the midst of a creative pivot. I tried a bunch of stuff last year - some of it didn't work - and now I'm trying a bunch of new stuff. Simply put, I am throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks. The creative gods have been steering me in a DIY direction for years, but only recently have I ceased to fight them. I am learning how to fully utilize the tools and resources I've been given, rather than looking at what others have and feeling resentful. I am finally writing and recording music at home within my means, not at an expensive studio. I am utilizing tools like this! A blog in which I can process my creative life in real time. I have begun a new YouTube series where I upload live mini-concerts from my living room. A podcast. This is the pivot. Being resourceful. Doing what I can with what I have where I am. No more reaching. No more wishing things were different. Pure acceptance. Of course, acceptance is a practice or a muscle which needs to be exercised consistently, but for now, that is what I feel I'm doing. Learning how to work within my means via acceptance.
It turns out, Do It Yourself has an enemy: perfection. None of my creative outlets look, sound, or resemble anything like perfect. The YouTube series is filmed with my iPhone. The podcast is recorded with a shitty dynamic microphone. This blog is certainly not pro. I guess, for a lot of years, I felt that if you came in contact with the real me, you would reject me. DIY means I don't get to polish myself or my work. I have to let you see and hear and feel what I truly am. It is certainly nerve-wracking to embrace this kind of vulnerability, which is why I wasn't ready for so long. And now, I'm feeling more open to the challenge. Who knows! Maybe my vulnerability might meet someone exactly where they're at. Maybe my voice and my guitar playing don't need to be edited in order to reach people. Maybe I have something to offer someone through my art right now.
Yesterday, my therapist ended our session in his typical profound fashion. I was telling him about my new adventures in music, and he left me with an encouragement that struck me. He reminded me that while there is certainly a desire for success, validation, etc, within me, perhaps even driving me, there is also a part of me that wants to give you a gift. A genuine kindness inside of me who wants to give back. Huh. Fighting back tears, I responded, "I had not considered that, but my heart is saying yes to what you just said".
So, if I can close the loop on this post properly, the perfectionist inside of me was reaching and striving. I accomplished a lot living like that. But I also started to believe a lot of lies. I was beginning to think that feeling stuck was a product of not doing enough, not playing the game, not branding myself the right way, not utilizing social media correctly. Maybe I was actually stuck because I refused to be vulnerable. I am loving my new DIY projects, and I would like to learn how to trust that others might, too.
You can play the game, I don't see the need.