Sometimes I wonder just how open or personal I should be on this blog. Then I remember why I started writing to begin with. I have kept a diary or blog of some kind for over a decade now and I’ve been writing this particular set of blogs for about five years. This project was about me coming to terms with myself and finding out what I wanted from life. I started it on Blogger and called it Caryl’s Music Blog. Clearly I knew deep down that I wanted to be a musician, but you’ll find many a post questioning that, and indeed questioning myself.
Today’s blog is about confidence, or my lack thereof. Woo~
I often come across people who are baffled and sometimes almost offended by my lack of confidence (in particular to do with my music). This makes me somewhat disgruntled.
What, are you’re telling me you have the answer and I should follow your example? You think I haven’t tried everything you’re about to suggest to me? Every single person that tries to advise me on this subject is a person that uses the same unhealthy coping strategies to maintain an aura of self-worth. Scratch even a little deeper and they’re just as messed up as I am. So what, I just need to learn to hide it better so you don’t have to witness the ugliness?
Don’t become frustrated with me until you’ve had a quick look under your own bonnet, that’s all I’m saying.
I want to address a few things for my own benefit.
I feel as though at all times I am surrounded by an invisible set of walls. Whenever I think about doing one thing or another with my music, I come across this feeling of being blocked. And those walls continue to shrink, paring down my scope of vision until I start saying things like, “oh, maybe I should make music for corporate instructional videos…”
I started off writing with the idea in mind that I would one day show my work to industry executives, so I wrote towards that. I soon realised there is no such thing as a record company accepting unsolicited demos from artists in my genre, and there is scant information about how to get one’s demo ‘solicited’. Later I decided I needed to share this with the people I knew before anything else. I sold around 50 copies of a home-made album to people from my church and friends from uni and school. Then I figured out just how terrible I was at production. So I ditched recording and opted for stripped down acoustic versions played on YouTube. I stuck with that for a year or so, but then I realised just how much I was faking. The height of this was this video here entitled Message/Passage. I barely believed anything I was saying, but I felt I had to say it to make it come into existence.
I’ve re-watched that video just now with an intense feeling of discomfort. I’ve never cringed so much at my own voice, and you should know by now just how bad that must be. Apart from my terrible accent, the words I was saying were desperate lies, their tiny claws digging into the flesh of positive thinking and hanging on for dear life. My explanation of why I believe I should make music was just pitiful. I essentially said, “I have no good reason for wanting to make music, so I’ll stick my head in the sand and pretend there’s this invisible force guiding me toward it.”
I also laughed to myself about the comments section. I’d had a relatively deep conversation with Matt that I’d forgotten about entirely. I have come across a few comments of his where we’ve talked about meeting in person. Sorry, dude, didn’t realise how many times I’d snubbed you! Glitter Punch is one of those fixed points in time, perhaps? Anyway, Matt challenged me on that idea of basing your actions on thin air. He’s very good at picking holes in your argument, that man. One of the things I enjoy about working with him.
However, I frequently pick holes in myself at the parts where I was actually stable and functional. That’s where I veer off into self-loathing.
How on earth do you get the balance right? How do you achieve a right view of yourself when you’re constantly living inside yourself? Do you look to what others say about you since they have an outside perspective? For me that’s a whole new source of problems. Expecting other people to come in and fix you is a recipe for further disaster. I’ve tried to develop an attitude of, ‘I don’t care what other people think’, but goodness me that’s hard for a born feeler such as myself. This becomes especially difficult when I have to take that attitude with members of my family. I can’t imagine ever standing up to my mum about what I believe in if it differs too greatly from what she believes. Of course, there is a bit of a leap from this to my feelings about my music career.
If I were to say that out loud it would stick in my throat.
When I think about where I am compared to where I was when I recorded Message/Passage I have traveled far. I’m not faking it any more. I’ve accepted that I have low self-esteem and it’s something that will probably always be present in my life. I’ve also begun recording songs again in spite of my obvious shortcomings as a producer. And most importantly I’m still writing.
I’m sure as a Christian I should be saying things like, ‘I put my confidence in God’ or ‘I boast in Christ’. But what does that actually mean in real life, please? Practical application or GTFO! I can/(have) pray/(ed) about this, but God has a specific way of dealing with complex little me and it’s usually to draw out the solution over many years. I am not a quick fix kinda gal. I need something real and steady. I want confidence to grow like a tree, not a bedding plant.
David is a systems analyst. He wants to fix me instead of just allowing me to describe what’s wrong and leaving it there. It’s impossible trying to explain to him that this is just going to be my burden. Dare I compare it to Paul’s thorn? Is that pride? Or am I doing that thing where I refuse to call a spade a spade lest I actually be fair to myself?
So, c’mon guys, throw me a bone. How come you’re all so confident? What’s your secret? Or better yet can you at least teach me how to fake it so I can get on with my life and stop being quite so annoying to you all?