I want to talk about therapy. As of 2018, I have collectively been in therapy for 13 years.
You’re welcome, Earth.
I have a history of severe depression, anxiety, and a delightful sprinkling of suicidal tendencies, a.k.a. MENTAL ILLNESS. (Insert dramatic music and crowds running away in black and white b-movie terror). When it first showed up so many years ago I was very blessed that I had friends in my life who insisted I wasn’t okay and pointed me in the direction of getting professional help. I send them little prayers every day.
That fucking word. I swear to Christ.
It haunts us with things left undone. With potential. An endless stream of what-ifs, could-haves, and maybes that meld into a theatrical chorus of “You are not good enough as you are”.
I’m not talking about positive self-improvement. I’m talking about those twisted voices whose only purpose is to torment. We all have them.
I have an annual tradition where toward the end of the year I deep clean my apartment and purge everything I don’t use. Year after year I slowly work myself toward being a minimalist.
If you come across an item you’re not sure about while you’re in the process of decluttering there is a three-question system you use:
- Do you actively use it?
- Do you need it?
- Do you love it?
I’ve been doing this for a while, so most things need two or more yeses to stay.
This year what struck me as I started cleaning out my ever-dwindling cabinets is that they are not full of “things” anymore. They are full of the people I used to be, or people I wish I was.
Because I understand multiple points of view, it takes me a while to figure out how I feel about things. I’ve always seen this as a weakness because in debates I am not able to respond quickly. And I can’t just blurt out whatever comes to mind because I also come with this self-edit-function that won’t allow me to stand up for something unless I know it’s true to ME.
And I wanted to sit on this until I knew I was saying my truthiest truth.
I turned on The Sound of Music today to keep my head occupied while I started reorganizing my living space (a fall tradition).
It’s one of my favorite movies. One of the things I really like about it is that every time I watch it, something else pops out at me. Today’s thing was Maria’s reoccurring line:
“When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window”
I surprised myself by responding, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s always true.”
It happens more often than you might think. Especially when you’re playing in a brand new city. Maybe they didn’t book a local band, or maybe they cancelled at the last second. Maybe you’re playing on a Monday, or the venue down the street has a huge sold out show. Or maybe you only got the gig about a day ago. Or the venue forgot you were coming, or…or…or…
At times during an interview, or when I’m chatting with someone I’ll get the question “what’s your one piece of advice for musicians just starting out?”
It’s a legit question. Typically I’ve spouted some kind of “do it because you love it” or “just don’t quit” type comments, which are kind of lame pieces of advice, but now I finally feel like I have a legit answer. What’s my piece of advice for musicians starting out?
“Learn how to play to an empty room”