walking the fine line between self-deprecation and self-sabotage

I was talking to my guru and mentor, DB, today and we were discussing how as of late, things have been turning around for me and that the light I see at the end of my particular tunnel is not, as I predicted, an oncoming train, but evidence of a new day’s dawning.

We were discussing on how I have managed to turn my life around from a sensation of being constantly treading water and in danger of being overwhelmed and drowned by oncoming swells to being in control of my own boat and riding on top of the waves.

The conclusion we both came to was that this was because I finally took the time to start building my own boat and actually follow through on its completion.

In essence, I finally took the time to get my shit together and allow myself the chance to succeed or fail miserably on my own.  This would not have been possible in the past as I constantly felt that I needed someone outside of me to kick my ass and force me to get shit done.

Until recently, I never honestly allowed myself to believe in myself and feel that I could successfully complete a MAJOR project on my own.  This all changed in the past two years. 

Why?

Because I stopped walking the fine line between self-depreciation and self-sabotage.

Because after years of therapy and counselling, I began to understand that if I didn’t believe in myself, all the help in the world and support from the people I love and respect in my life, wouldn’t amount to anything.  If I didn’t believe in myself and allow myself a chance to fail or succeed on my own, I WOULD NEVER SUCCEED…EVER.

When asked to describe myself to other folks in creative industries, up until recently, I would call myself the “uber second fiddle.”  As I seemed to do my best work supporting others and trying to make their projects successes.  DB used to take great issue with this description as he was upset that I was placing others ahead of myself and not allowing the spotlight to shine on yours truly.

This point really kicked my ass when he inscribed the following message on the back of my main performance guitar to serve as a constant reminder:  “You deserve to be heard.”  I had honestly never considered that point before in my life.  I still get choked up thinking about it and wonder what is it that people see in me that I don’t/can’t/am unwilling see in myself?

Let’s make no mistake here I’m still uncomfortable in the spotlight.  I am an introvert at heart but I realized that I do have something of value to contribute and that it is important for me to say it.  This blog is part and parcel of this process for me.  I am writing to get used to speaking my mind and, yes, bragging about my accomplishments in life.  The biggest one so far is that I have finally taken control of my life and not stepping over that line into sabotaging myself and setting things back.

Thankfully when I do get in that mind frame, I have a strong group of people surrounding me who aren’t afraid to kick my ass and call me on my own bullshit (thank you DH, DB, ME, CG, DJ and DM2).  I’m trying to be better to myself and allow myself to fail, and succeed, on my own.

Last night I had the opportunity to perform my new songs to a friend whom I admire and respect greatly.  He has built a career performing music as unique and individual as he is.  He continues to record (13+ albums) and tour the world with both a band and as a solo musician.  When heard the new songs, he hugged me and said that these songs NEED to be recorded even if it means my going out to Vancouver and having him produce it, although he knows and understands that they are so personal that I HAVE to do this on my own to get them right.  I was SO honoured, I cried.

I’m showcasing them again tonight for another friend who is building his career in music.  This is a step that is highly unusual for me as I used to be secretive in my creative progress and quite shy about sharing things that are works in progress.  Again, my fear of failure, fear of rejection of my ideas (and in essence, me) and need for perfection in EVERYTHING was an act of self-sabotage that I’m striving to put behind me.

So steps I have taken to get these songs recorded and done.  I am in the process of configuring a computer for recording and performing these songs.  I don’t think I am ready to consider hiring a band to perform this music and I want to be as self-sufficient as possible so I’m looking towards what electronic artists are doing for live performance and realize that their methods can be adapted to suit my more organic aesthetic as much as my aesthetic is evolving to something a little less free-flowing and a little more disciplined.

Thankfully I have an engineer friend in North Carolina and a bassist in Louisiana who have been patient with my incessant questions regarding computer music applications and appropriate peripherals that can be used for live performance as well as recording.  The goal is to create a system that is bonehead simple for a Luddite such as myself to use as well as allowing me to record and perform the songs in finished form live.

I am both excited and scared shitless as I remove one further barrier to the expression of these ideas.

And thankfully I have an army of people behind me that are ensuring I don’t sabotage myself and these songs do see the light of day, both live and hopefully as “product.”  Keep in mind, my aim in this is just to finally express myself and know that I have done it.  What happens after that is gravy folks; and ultimately is up to my friends, family and yes my audience!

I’ll still be self-deprecating; I just want everyone to kick my butt when I cross over that line to self-sabotage.  Please help me keep myself honest!

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