…Fuck It

Six months ago I worked in a restaurant as a manager

Six months ago I was on the steady track to ‘success’

Six months ago I had a plan

Six months ago I was miserable

These past few months in my life have been some of the most incredible and growth filled of my life, and to think It all started out with my ‘awesome management’ job being taken away from me for reasons out of my control. Then deciding to follow this crazy, irrational, dream of mine to become a rock star. Since then, I have met a guitar master, whom I’ve gotten to study under, bought a website, met all kinds of colorful, inspiring, loving people, met my personal hero and since have had several exchanges with her, and most of all, discovered myself.

For the first time in my entire life I feel alive. Before now, every new year filled me with dread, because it just felt like having to do the same year all over again just with a new digit slapped on it. Not any more. For the first time I feel excited to simply be doing what am doing, and seeing where it takes me. For the first time, I feel hopeful.

And none of this happened because I had a plan.

I’ve been making this shit up every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong I certainly try to have a plan. In fact, I was even under the impression that I had one. To keep my head down and keep plugging away at my music till I became some sort of master…

NOPE

I have recently been given a new job in a music store that has, seemingly, been the answer to a lot of prayers. A music store where I can work closely with music and musicians, and get discounts on much needed equipment.

Not only that, but I have met someone. Someone who has been changeling me and making me face some old demons.

All of these are beautiful, amazing things. All of which I needed and all of which weren’t according to plan.

We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately, life is going to take you wherever the fuck it feels like. Our entire lives we are standing in an open field coated in fog. Most of the time we find ourselves just standing there, in the one spot, trying to plan our first move. All the while lying to ourselves. Telling ourselves that conditions will get clearer and then we can move, but the fog will never lift and the conditions will never clear.

Eventually we just need to say “fuck it” and take a step forward. Even though we may not even be able to see the ground in front of us. It’s a risk and it’s scary. That first step may land you in a lake or a tree but it will be a step worth it all the same. I know my first step was off a cliff. No job, no money, seemingly no future, and totally worth it.

Today I am just making by

Today I face demons

Today I have no plan

Today I am finally alive

(Photo Credit: Ian Furst)

Life Lessons with Daytime TV

So we finally broke down and got Netflix over at my place, (which I guess makes me officially a young adult now) and it’s, admittedly, amazing. I’ve had a ton of fun poking around in the Netflix-averse, and experimenting with different shows to see what I might like.

Though I love seeing what all I can get into on this thing, I also love rediscovering some old shows from my childhood. Shows like Seinfeld, Fraser, NCIS (I was a weird kid, I know), but there’s been one show in particular that I’ve re-kindled my love for, Scrubs.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, then stop reading this and look it up on Netflix, it’s amazing. If you don’t have half an hour to burn then I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Scrubs is a comedy/drama(ish) show that follows the story of a medical doctor, by the name of John Dorian, and his many misadventures he and his friends get into while under the roof of their hospital, Sacred Heart. The story starts with his first day, fresh out of medical school, interning under the terrifying/lovable doctor Cox. Leading up to when he is teaching his own students by the end it all.

The show lasted for about nine years, and, just like any long running series, you really got to know these characters. More then just the people you watch live their lives for half an hour, but it became more like hanging out with a group of friends. You knew these people in the show. They where your roommate, your collage friend, your girl friend, mentor, co-worker. These where people you hung out with outside the nine-o-clock reruns on NBC.

Not only did you know the characters, but you knew their struggles. Heart break, disappointment, failure, and some days, paralyzing fear. However, the thing that always got my attention in all of this, is that they kept going despite all that. Daily these group of friends were looked down upon because of their rank, had to manage eminence amounts of stress, and, sometimes, death.

I suppose the most appealing thing about the show for me is getting to witnessing the journey. That these group of people had a goal to help people and be the best doctors they can be. Some days were easier than others to do that, but despite the pains they encounter every day, these doctors still cased their dream. With more vigor than anything.

In a way I have felt more encouraged in my own journey by re-discovering this series. Like the doctors in the show, I also have a powerful passion, to be a musician and to help people, and, like them, I am going to screw up and learn along the way. No one knows how to shred a guitar or preform a heart surgery out the gate.

The skills can be learned, but the important thing is to find that passion, your reason to do all this before you do it.

You can’t ‘teach’ passion. You can’t attend a ‘dream’ seminar. It’s something you have to discover, then everything else will fall into place over time. We all start out as awkward, naive, interns that have nothing but the bag on our back and head in the clouds. We will struggle, make stupid mistakes, and someday’s have our faith’s seriously shaken. The thing that helps though, is to know that it’s natural to feel these things, and that you’re not alone.

Whenever we do something worth doing, we are going to encounter opposition, and one of the opposition’s greatest weapons is isolation and loneliness. This feeling of that you must be the only one feeling this way. That, somehow, everyone else must have had an easier time making their dreams happen or, that you personally are just not equipped enough to do what you love.

Let me tell you right now, all that shit is a lie. You know what else, I think you know that already.

We all aspire to reach a magnificent goal, but we have a lot of growing to do. And growing, is never easy. The important thing to remember is that it can be done. Others have been in this exact same place and they have come out the other side, and so will you.

It has been done, and you can do it too. Don’t buy into the lie that you are the only one struggling to do great things. Because we’re all dreamers baby, and we all feel the pain.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

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 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.