Comrades

A couple of weeks ago I was invited out to a benefit concert that was being held at one of the local venues downtown. The proceeds of the concert went towards the victims of the Orlando shooting that took place not to long ago.

Live music, a good cause, what’s not to love? Admittedly, I was a little hesitant to jump on board.

You see, I hadn’t been to this place before, nor have a I seen this particular band before. In fact I haven’t been to most venues in my local area. “But Mark” I hear you say “You’re a musician, how have you not been to at least a few of the music venues?”

To be honest, live music is kinda intimidating to me.

Why? It’s was because it sort of felt like a risk to me. It meant rubber meeting the road as far as this whole music thing. Actually going out there, even some what regularly to shows, meet new people, connect with musicians was kinda scary. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t totally live under a rock. I’ve gone to a few concerts before. I just didn’t feel very confident as an artist yet. The idea of mingling with people who actually had an idea of what they were doing, well, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

My natural inclination was to crawl back under my rock where I knew it was safe. Where others couldn’t judge me. It’s easier that way. Which is something I really considered.

It was then I had to have hard talk with myself.

‘Ok, so concert coming up. What’s the plan?’

Umm… Ice cream and Netflix?

‘…What?’

You know. The easy way? The not dangerous way? Isn’t this the obvious solution?

‘Ok, here’s the thing. You like music right?’

Yes

‘You do still want to do it as a career?’

Fuck yea!

‘Do you see, you know, maybe a problem with wanted to do these things, and…you know… not going to  them ever?’

…But…It’s scary and different.

‘Most things worth doing are.’

I broke down and gave into the little voice in my head and put the ice cream back in the fridge to be binged upon another day.

I ended up arriving a bit earlier then I had planed on to the concert. So early, in fact, I was the first one there, but it allowed me a good look at the place. It was a part of old downtown, so red brick and long panes of glass greeted me on the front. I followed a narrow corridor to the music hall proper which was thankfully much larger. Same redbrick as the front but parts the walls adjacent to the stage were lined with black concrete and a black floor. Giving it a very earthly tone.

Opposite to the stage was the bar where I claimed a stool and ordered a draft. I looked around and spotted a small group of people at the other end of the bar. They were talking, laughing and being generally merry .

I moved closer and introduced myself. They practically greeted me with open arms. Talking to them I found that they were one of the bands that were going to be preforming tonight. They told me how excited they were to be there, that they were actually originally from Philadelphia and were touring. Heard this was going on and what the cause was for and they were more than happy to help out.

As time rolled by more people showed up, including the other performers. One of them came up to the bar to get some water from the bartender. While he was there I struck up a conversation with him. Finding out that we actually already knew each other. That I had worked with him before.I had actually run the soundboard at one of his prior events.

A few more people walked up and the same sort of thing happened. Talked, found some sort of connection and just instantly clicked. I eventually had a whole circle of people around me. All of us swapping stories and jokes, just like we were old friends despite just meeting.

Even when the show finally started we stuck together jamming out and drinking beer. It wasn’t quite like anything I had experienced before. For the first time in a while I didn’t feel like the odd one out. I did’t feel the compulsion to apologize for being who I was or looking the way I did. I looked and acted perfectly normal amongst this crowd.

In a way I felt at home. Like I was lost and had finally found my tribe. There was no judgement here. No conflict of interest. It was a safe place. Just a group of people who wanted to just listen to some music.

***

So much of the time I feel like I am fighting this up hill battle against the world. Having to shake off judgments and justify why I do what I do. It’s easy to feel alone. Even though the very opposite is true. There are many of us out there. Probably all feeling the same way. That is why moments like that are so precious. To find your clan and build each other up. Because we have enough going against us as artists. Like soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder. In victory or in defeat, we need to get the others backs if we are going to survive this crazy world.

(image credit: wikipedia)

NOTW: Creatives

Creative people are insane.

Like, legitimately.

I am actually fairly certain, that all of us creative types either belong, or have once belonged, to some sort of loony farm. We all just, somehow, managed to escape our, totally justified, confinement from society. Maybe we escaped using a smuggled plastic spoon, that we shaped into Abraham Lincoln’s head, and pick the lock to our cell with it. Not to escape, but so that we could go find a different room that had better acoustics for our ukulele practice. Then, one of the guards discovered us, and was so impressed by our mad skills to shred that tiny guitar, released us so we could unleash our madness upon the world.

What a mistake he made.

This week I have discovered how grateful I am for my fellow, crazy ass, right brained people out there. I am talking about the people who can never just see something and accept the way it is. Rather, they take it all apart, throw it in a cup, shake it, then throw it at the wall to see what sticks.

The sort of people when looking at a sky scraper, think how cool it would look upside down, like a stalactite in a cave.

The sort of people that hear a death metal song, then transpose it to work on a xylophone.

I am talking about the sort of of people who decide to throw on a wedding dress, cover themselves in white makeup, then find a place to stand in the park. Only so that they can observe how people react.

If you are one of these people, know that you are doing this world a service. You are adding a bit of kayos, in what would otherwise, be a very boring existence. If you are not one of these types and more align yourself with our left brained counterparts, know that you are doing this world a service. You add much need balance to this world, and a bit of ‘actually getting shit done’. Because I assure you, without you, we would just have a bunch of very colorfully dressed people standing around calculator, all asking “What do?”.

So, if your left brained, right brained, or even have a whole brain, what are you thankful for this week? How about something that you have recently come across that inspires you? If your feeling social, feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on twitter (@PunkMusical). We’ll talk about this potato chip I found that looks a lot like Sigmund Freud.

(photo credit: pexels.com)

Feeling the Burn

I have found that people who are physically active typically gravitate toward a certain form of exercise, or at least stick to one area. Typically because they want to build themselves a certain way. For example, one could be craving to bulk up, get stronger, lift harder, literally rip their shirt every time they even look at a weight. Alternatively, a gym goer could desire a more lean build, built for speed not so much for comfort.

Typically I try to strike a balance between the two, but more often then not I find myself the camp of the latter. For a few reasons, but primarily because I have fallen in love with running.

Ah yes, running. The wind rushing through my hair, blood racing through my veins, makes me feel like I am some sort of super hero every time I finish a five mile. Of course, I didn’t always feel this way about my preferred form of exercise.

“What the hell?! It’s only been five minutes!” Is what you would have caught me saying about four years ago during one of my many attempts to conquer the spinning conveyor belt of death.

“Ok…ok I need to take break…catch my breath…not die” I recall saying while jamming my thumb on the down arrow to the speed till it reached a more reasonable pace. Then, I would do just that, take a break, try again for five minutes, break, so on. Every time feeling like my heart was about to leap out of my chest and do a jig in front of me.

Funny thing is, though I felt completely miserable at the time, I couldn’t help but to love it, even then.  Maybe I was just some sort of masochist, but there was just something about it that fascinated me. Even though ever time I did it I was convinced I was going to die and was sore for days following.

Maybe I became addicted to running for the sheer challenge it gave me. Maybe, it represented some barrier in my mind that I was determined to overcome. Maybe I was just fixated on becoming a healthier me. Maybe, I did it for the rush it gave me, the thrill of pushing my body to the limit every time I ran. Or, maybe, I really am just some sort of masochist. Either way, I was determined to make this thing happen one way or another, because I was in love with it.

As we go through our journey in life, we eventually find these thing that we can’t help but to fall head-over-heels for. Writing, photography, gardening, sports, cooking, we all have passions. Sometimes our love for them grows so strong, we even make the decision so presume them seriously.

That’s when the honey moon ends.

Like running, I have fallen deeply in love with music. Not just music as a whole, but the idea of being a musician. The thought of being the person who births new music into this world, excites me to no end. I have made it my goal in life to becoming this creative individual. Which is a great first step, but between here and our end goal, there are many steps to be taken.

These steps will include, excitement, disappointment, loss, gain, joy, defeat, intimidation, failure, success and so on, probably until the day we die. And even though it may be our life’s dream, there will be days when we just straight up don’t feel like doing it. Not because you don’t love it anymore, it’s just that you are starting to feel the burn.

As any physically active person can attest, during long period of exercise, especially if you are working a particular group of muscles, you will start to feel very fatigued in those areas. AKA the burn. That burn comes from your muscles being torn apart during exercise, so that they can be rebuilt stronger and tougher.

It’s natural, it hurts, and it sucks. Especially when you start feeling it during the middle of a work out. When, you know, there is still another half to get through. This is the point where you have to make the decision to, a) give into the pain and quit, or b) keep moving forward, despite the pain and difficulty.

There is an old saying that sums this up pretty well, Anything worth doing is never easy

When you do anything worth doing, you are, 100% guaranteed, going to meet difficulty. The kind of difficulty that will bring any sane person to their knees. But you know what the beautiful thing is about that? Your aren’t sane. You are in love with your passion. You are committed to her and love her with all your heart, and would, never in your wildest dreams, let her go.

But, just like in a marriage, crazy shit is going to happen along the way and a lot of hard lessons learned. You will have to learn about her. Her good sides, her bad sides, strengths and quirks. Some days, it will feel impossible, and during that time you maybe tempted to give up.

When you start feeling over whelmed like this, and thinking of leaving your passion behind you. Stop. Take a breath, and know what you are feeling is temporary.

You are probably feeling worn and tired, even crazy intimidated. That’s ok, It’s only natural to struggle. The important thing is to remember that you will pull through this. You will finish this race, stronger, and more prepared for the next challenge.

In sickness and in health, till death does you part, you will chase her to the ends of the earth, and nothing, will get in your way.

Back to Basics

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Who said it was ok for people to wake up this early?

Shit, I am already running late, need to get going.

Shit, I’m going to be taking the late shift today too?

Shit, why did I take that?! What time is it?

Yep still running late. Thought that would change for some reason.

What else do I have today?

Shit, I have to do some work for the channel today, on the video that is already a week late. That HAS to get done today.

What, I need to find time to work out too, you know, get out the anxiety?

I should stop requesting for late shifts at the deli. But I need money. fuck money man. hate money. why can’t I just get paid for what i love doing already? why does it have to be so complicated? shit still running late! need to eat or something. why do i care i hate this job anyway. need money though. why can’t the things i work on make money for me. how is this going to  work going to be late need to get up earlier but have to get stuff done but i am tired but need to push out new projects otherwise bad stuff need to get going

Now, I feel like the act of categorizing one’s self is a stupid thing to do. We are all different and unique. Any ‘test’ that you take either from a psychologist, or on the back of magazine, could never accurately describe who you are as a whole. However, they may be able to give you some guidance about a trend that you follow or have a tendency towards (maybe not so much the magazine, but still). That being said, I resonate a lot with certain personality type called a type ‘A’ personality.

A type ‘A’ personality stems from the theory generated by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R. H. Rosenman back in the 1950’s when they conducted a study on heart disease. They wanted to see what kind of personalities have a higher tendency to develop heart disease and complied their findings into two opposing categories. A type ‘A’ personality, typically being people who have a tendency to have a constant, powerful, drive to do something and to make an impact. Then the contrast, type ‘B’ personality. Who have a tendency to take a more relaxed approach to things and tend not be be as competitive about everything.

Not surprisingly, they found that the type ‘A’ tends to be more prone to develop heart disease and die in an early grave. Probably because we are convinced that we are superman, and can bench press a bus with our shear will power.

This isn’t a particularly new development for me though. Ever since I was a kid, I was always trying to think at least a couple steps ahead of the game. Either when playing a game of ‘Yugioh’ with my friends or even when ‘playing pretend’, I always made an effort to plan ahead so I could divide and conquer. Not to mention I knew for a fact that I could bench press that bus if I worked hard enough and planned it correctly.

I don’t believe one personality type is necessarily better than the other. It’s just two sides of the same coin. Either way is a valid form of work as long as you balance it a little. (i.e. Type ‘A’ takes a break every once in a while, and type ‘B’ gets their lazy ass in gear sometimes.)

However, when you have a tendency to want to take on the world, you will be quickly, and easily, overwhelmed.

In a constant battle for supremacy and control of my own mind, with millions of voices and theories racing through my head at once. As you saw, it can turn into a serious struggle.

The other day, I was planning through my day for the third time: ‘Ok, go to work, hopefully have enough time to grab lunch, back to work, work on website… Ok sounds good, oh wait. I’ve got to fit guitar practice in there some where too…’

I stopped myself.

I’ve got to fit guitar practice in?

I was saying it like I had some appointment to check my prostate.

Type A, B, D, personality regardless, the day I say “I’ve got to” when speaking of the instrument I adore, is the day something needs to change.

How about “I get to play guitar” or “I have been blessed enough to go play an instrument I love.”

Recently I went to a book signing with my roommates, but before the signing, a group of authors hosted a panel discussing their very first works they had ever written. It was an incredibly inspiring experience, especially for a small time musician and writer such as myself, to hear these veterans discuss their humble beginnings and how far they have come as novelists.

At the end of the panel the group of authors took a few questions from the crowd. One of the questions asked was “How do you know that your book is ready to publish?”

One of the gathered authors replied with another question. “Why be so worried about it?”

Of course was met with some confusion.

She explained (and I am paraphrasing) “You know, everyone is always so obsessed over when the book is ready to throw out to the masses. ‘When can a I publish this? When is this ready to go?’ An important questions sure, but hardly the point. It’s the process that matters, not the product.

This sentence will forever echo through the caverns and crevices of my mind.

It’s about the process, not the product. It’s about doing it because you love it, not because you just want to make money. If you are doing it for the money, you will be quickly disappointed.

Money, fame, fans, likes, subscribers, all of it is fleeting. It will come and go. When you discover your passion, chase it because you love it. In fact, don’t even expect that your book will even make money, or that you will be the greatest rockstar known to man. Just do it because you are madly in love with doing it.

I have been so distracted by entertaining the thought of creating content for the sake of content, I’ve missed the point of why I do all this in the first place. To create music and art that may encourage people through their own hardships and struggles. Not to be some sort of think tank, that solely exists to push out more and more content till I am used up and withered.

I love being a creative person. I love writing music, working on my blog, and making goofy videos on the internet for the world to enjoy. I would love to one day make a living off of doing these things, but that’s not the ultimate goal. It’s about enjoying what I get to do in the the first place.

The Time Machine

So, I’ve been into this whole ‘going healthy’ thing for a while now. You could maybe blame that on me once being approximately eighty pounds over weight, or the fact that I used to work at a gym, either way I’ve drunk the kool-aid and am in deep.

As time went on since my ‘large and in charge days’, I fell in love with running. Weird right? The fat kid falling in love with running. The same fat kid who swore that he would only run if there was a zombie chasing after them. Regardless, it has turned into my favorite times of the week. It clears my head and works up a good ‘honest’ sweat.

Like most people who work out, I also listen to music. If anything to keep me going and stay in the rhythm of things. Not to mention, If you couldn’t tell by this point, I kinda have a huge crush on music. Don’t tell her.

Just before I went for my last run, I was flipping through the music on my phone to see what sounded appealing. As I did, I came across a name in my artists that I hadn’t heard in a long time, Flyleaf. Thought ‘why not’ and started jamming.

Listening to these old songs, some of which I hadn’t listened to since high school, certainly brought a smile to my face. Like visiting an old friend that you haven’t seen in years, flipping through an old photo book together.

Nostalgia washed over me, then as songs progressed and changed, so did my emotions. Going from joy, to reluctance, happy, to sad and the pattern continued till I found myself sitting on the side of the road weeping. “What the hell?” I found myself asking. “Its only a few songs, why am I feeling this way?”.

It then it dawned on me. The last time I had even heard some of these old songs was during one of the hardest times of my life.

When I was about sixteen, my mom had gotten re-married. Re-married to a man who I didn’t care much for, nor did he for me. A few days after the marriage ceremony we all moved to his house in the country, thus starting a years’ worth of disputes and anger.

During my stay there, he and I were always in some sort of argument or disagreement, and with every passing day it got worse. Till eventually one day, on way walk home from school, I just froze in place. I couldn’t even bring myself to take another step forward. To take another step forward felt like taking another step towards death.

I took a deep breath and decided to, instead, take a detour. Specifically to the small lake that was on the property, where I often went to clear my head. On my way there thoughts of ‘why‘ started washing over me. I tried to turn up the music in my headphones to drown out the voices, but I couldn’t help but hearing:

Why was this my reality? What did I do to deserve this? Why do I have to face this hell everyday?

I hardly even made it to the lake side before shear anger and frustration washed over me. My thoughts turned into yelling. Which then gave way to blind rage. I shed the backpack I was carrying and chucked it half way across the lake side. In the process screaming at the top of my lungs:

“Why am I condemned to face this hell everyday? What would you have me do God?”

Then the music, that I had up till that point been ignoring, sounded over the kayos and said:

I want you to Arise

It was at that moment I collapsed under my own weight and shed tears like I had never before. Just like I was on the side of the road the other day. Despite years of difference, experience, and growth, I had been taken back to that exact moment in time. I felt like a vulnerable, angry, and confused teenager once again.

It’s funny how that happens isn’t it? Music, or anything really, can act as this sort of trigger that just takes you back years, decades even. To a you that, if you met today, would feel like a total stranger. This isn’t by any means a bad thing either. Some times its exactly what we need.

Of course most memories are not always so dramatic, and the trigger can be in the shape of anything. A book that your mom may have read to you as a kid, the smell of baking bread, or even the sound of a bird chirping. Anything can magically take you back in time.

Though I had a wave of emotions wash over me during that run, that was all they were, just emotions. It was something that had taken me back to a difficult time my life, but made me look at how far I have come. How far I had ‘arisen’.

That day by the lake stopped me were I stood to tell me something, to arise, and that run stopped me in the same way, to tell me to keep going.

It’s one of the reasons I am so madly in love with music. Sometimes it forces you out of your routine, tackles you if necessary, to deliver an important message. A message that is forever book marked in your brain. Every time I have since listened to that song, I may initially get sad, but the sorrow turns to joy when I realize that I have arisen and I continue to.

(Picture credit: Wikipedia)

The Little Green Monster

As I have been growing as an artist, so is my desire to be around others like me. Because of this I am always looking for local venues that I may be interested in frequenting in my area. Eventually I stumbled upon an open mike night at a bar and thought, why not?

It was a nice enough place. It defiantly had the ‘neighborhood bar’ feel to it. Between the loose floor boards and crusty old guys, I couldn’t help but to feel kinda at home. I took a seat at in a booth and was greeted by a lovely waitress, whom I had the pleasure to share a few words with, and ordered a good ol’ amurican burger.

This was all well and good, but I was more excited to experience some of the local talent. See what my city had to offer for it’s music. Eventually nine rolled around and the open mike had officially begun. First was the guy who was actually coordinating the event. He walked onto the throw carpet and took a seat on the dusty wooden stool. He was a skinny, older man. You could tell that though he had been doing this a while, he still just as excited to be doing this today as he as twenty years ago. After he plugged in and gave the acoustic a few strums, he proceeded to play a couple of songs he had written years ago. Just getting to see the joy on this old, weary, mans face as he sang his song, I couldn’t help but to share his excitement.

After he played a couple of songs to warm up the crowd, the crowd being myself and maybe seven others, he handed it off to a much younger guy. He appeared to be about my age and had a cool sort of confidence about him. I wasn’t expecting to much from this new guy, but I was quickly shown otherwise. He was fully aware of every second, of every beat, of his songs. His hands moved effortlessly across the fret board and struck every note with laser precision.

I was thoroughly impressed! Then that excitement faded into disappointment and then envy. I caught myself feeling this way and I wondered why. I should be excited to see a musician my age kicking so much ass! Showing these older guys that we can keep up with them! I couldn’t help it though. I fell into the same pit fall that I often do. Comparing myself to someone else, and not liking the results.

My ability with my guitar often feels like how I measure my self worth. This may be one of my biggest struggles on my personal journey as a musician. The gritty reason behind it is that, I want to be able to keep up and maybe even show up other musicians. It’s terrible and trust me, it’s not something that I always like about myself. So when I see someone else, seemingly in a similar circumstance, play so much better then myself, I feel like some sort of failure.

This of course is not true. Who knows how long this guy has been playing and how much he experience he has. Personally I have been playing on and off for about four years. That is just the thing though, ‘I have been playing on and off for about four years’. Until about three months ago I didn’t take this whole music thing nearly as seriously as I do now. Of course I don’t have the same sort of experience and expertise as this guy. As far as I know he has been playing since he was three and toured with Aerosmith twice!

I know all of this in my head, but it is still a massive struggle for me personally to not compare myself to others. I feel like this is true for all of us in many ways.

For example if you are a tech person, you are probably always looking into the latest gear and upgrades that you can financially manage. If you have the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the S6 just came out. . . If you are honest with yourself you don’t really need the fancy new curved screen that has a total of two useful features, but it’s cool looking! Besides if you don’t spring for it, you will be (dun, dun, duuuunnnn) behind!

Or you may be a carpenter and you just finished building your first boat. You put months of effort and planing into it, not to mention smashing your thumb twice with a hammer. It may be a little rough around the edges, but you are proud of it none-the-less. Once you launch your creation at your local lake though, you find that carpenter Jim also just finished his boat but it has sweet cup holders! Not to mention a built in fridge and a hot tub!

Point being we always want to have the edge or the latest greatest thing. When we don’t, the little green envy monster comes out to wreck your shit.

I nearly let the envy I feel for this one guy ruin my nice evening out. The evening that I looked forward to because I wanted to be among my fellow musicians! The truth behind it is that there will always be someone better then you. You can work on something day in and day out and there will still be someone better then you. Someone who would have done it twice as well with half the effort.

The thing is though, you can’t let it get to you. Envy is a terrible little thing that can so easily tear apart relationships and possible friendships faster then anything else can. We, need to remember that everyone starts somewhere. Everyone starts out not knowing how to use a toilet, or knowing how to walk, how to hold down a chord on a guitar, how to upload a video, how to start a blog, how to drive, how to build a computer, how to make a stitch when knitting.

It’s ok because we all start off stupid! Everyone had to learn from something or someone else. Typically the person who you feel envy towards, isn’t intending that reaction. They are also people who have worked hard at what they do and want to show that off. Nothing wrong with that.

What is important is to remember is that you also shouldn’t confine yourself to one thing either. We are all to complicated to do that. While it is true that I identify myself as a musician I am also a cook, a writer(ish), a brother, a friend, a son, a lover of video games, a lover of nature, and so much more. When we realize this, then the whole “he’s better then me at that one thing, the one time” doesn’t seem as dire.

If you love something then you should still strive to be the best you can be, but remember to cut yourself some slack. Everyone is always learning all the time, and there is no such thing as a ‘master’ of something. Even though it is tempting, don’t let envy take over either. Just because someone is better at something then you doesn’t mean that you can’t have a friendship with them. Chances are they are just as thrilled about the subject as you are and would love to discuss it!

The in the Meantime

Alright, so you have finally come to the point were you have a goal. A dream that you want to fulfill. This is a huge step! This is a point that many people don’t even get too. So take a second and embrace that.

The thing is about that first step, is that it is the ‘first’ step. The first step of many, many more to come. The steps that I am referring too are the steps that are between you first committing to your goal and then achieving that goal. The time in which you are working your ass off to reach your dream. I have begun referring to this time as the ‘in the meantime’. If you are in the ‘meantime’, you are in good company, because many people, including myself, are right there with you.

What is the ‘meantime’ exactly? Well it’s something different for everyone. At the root of it, it is you building yourself to become that ‘you’, you want to be.

If you wanted to be a doctor, it’s that time in med-school. When you know you want to help people and save lives, but you are still learning how to. Maybe you want to be a game designer. Working your way through school and you have to hold down a side job at the dollar general to pay the bills. You have a burning passion to be a ballerina, but you still can’t quite perfect your pirouette, but practice everyday at it.

If you are doing something worth doing, you will eventually experience the ‘in the meantime’.

I have a powerful desire to be a rock-star some day. The thought of being up on stage and just playing my heart out on an instrument excites me to no end! Every time I even strum my acoustic I get chills! Which is fantastic! I have made the first step, but, as I said earlier, that’s not where the buck stops. Now that I have my goal, I need to work to achieve it. That means hours of practice on scales and songs. Taking that time to build up my confidence on my instrument and making it something worth listening too. During which time I still need a place to live in, so holding down a job on the side is a must. Building a business, building up my music, and holding down a job that makes me want to stab my eyes out with a spork. That’s what the ‘meantime’ is about right? Working your ass off till you make it. Not entirely.

I recently attended on online class titled “Turn your pain into art” with Ariel from Icon for Hire. It was an interactive experience where I got too, along with about five others, learn from Ariel about doing just that, turning one’s pain into art. It was an incredible experience to be able to interact with this person that, I admire so much, over a subject that I am so passionate about in real time! After the session I was able to exchange a few emails with Ariel. During these interactions she gave me a much needed reality check.

In one of our exchanged email I described my struggles in my particular ‘in the meantime’ and asked for some advice on just how to it handle all. The stresses of loving music and people so much, and wanting so badly to be a full time artist. My struggle of trying to take every moment, of everyday, to progress this dream forward. In her reply she mentioned she knew exactly how I felt. That she was the exact same way. She had such a powerful passion for music that she just wanted to devote every minute of her life to making her dream a reality. She eventually realized that just because she was doing that, didn’t mean that anyone was going to care for what she was doing. Just because she worked day in and day out for it, didn’t mean anyone owed her a look or two.

She said that you first need to chill out, working yourself to death isn’t going to help anyone. Second it’s not that you shouldn’t work hard, anything worth achieving you need to work hard for, but you need to re-evaluate why you are doing what you are doing.

During the lesson she shared her experiences on tour and one of her interactions with another band off stage. This was Icon for Hire’s first year on tour so she introduced herself to one of the other bands. Being very polite, she introduced herself and mentioned how excited she was to be there. The band member stated he name and brushed her off. She was, understandably, kinda offended and mentioned the incident to a friend. The friend replied that he doesn’t really interact with anyone. When he’s not on stage, he mostly just sits in his tour bus and plays on his phone. Ariel felt that this was an example of a man, who, may have fought his way, tooth and nail, to get were he is. Now that he is there, he don’t know what to do with himself. He may have become so fixated on making it, he burned away all his passion and love for his music in the process and is now left as a shell.

She finished by saying, you need to do this thing because it makes you happy, because it feels good and right to do. Don’t do it so that label can notice you, or that you can get a big following. You may make it big, but you will find that the nice label and money will ring hallow when you don’t have your passion anymore. If you are doing what you love, you may never make it big, but at least you will be happy.

The ‘meantime’ is difficult and is often the time people stop perusing their passions because it gets so rough. Ultimately the ‘meantime’ is about balance I feel. It’s an amazing tool to have such a powerful motivator as passion or a love for something, but you need to make it work for you. Remember, don’t let it use you and let it run you into the ground.

If you are like me and are so desperate to achieve your dream, may also struggle with wanting to devote every bit of free time toward it to achieve it. Something that has starting helping me is trying to schedule some time to be away from it.

What I have started doing is I made a list on a white board that I refer to every morning, titled “Things to do to make today a success”. Pretty specific right? I write one to four things that I want to have done by that day, and I plan these things out at the beginning of the week. For example practicing guitar for and hour might be one, second thing might be to upload a video for the channel, another on is to record something. Then when I finish these list of things  for the day, I am done. I allow myself to relax because I have done what I set out to do for the day. I even sometimes make one of the things on the list to relax!

It’s an amazing thing to have discovered that passion and to chase after it. It’s like no feeling I have ever felt before!  Remember, though, your happiness is the most important thing. I know the feeling of just wanting to achieve your dream so bad that you can taste it, but the in the ‘in the meantime’ is a part of the journey. Embrace the ‘meantime’, it’s a chapter in your story, and its a very important part. Don’t wish it away because when you do eventually make it, it will be that much more worth it.

We will get there some day. It may not be in the way we think, but if we do what makes us happy who cares? Don’t worry so much about the future. Embrace the in the ‘meantime’, and live in the moment a bit more.