Sunday, March 21, 2010

Angst, angst and more angst

I've found a new obsession -- "Supernatural." Over the past couple of months I have grown from just liking the show to being downright engrossed in it. I can't stop talking about. It's a great distraction from the stresses of life, love and the economy. The show is so well-written. Often times I'll start episodes thinking ok, this is going to be cheesy only to be surprised by some awesome, action-packed demon hunting turned well-played message. The dialogue is snappy too, very meta and cliche-aversive while every episode packs at least one good laugh. Of course since the show is on the CW it's also filled with teenage angst channeled through the body of 30-somethings playing 20-somethings. (Including, disturbingly, a younger brother who's supposed to be a year younger than me.) I find myself identifying all too well with said angst, whether channeled through cool-but-dead-inside Dean or alive-but-doomed Sam. Well, maybe more with Sam, the right-brained-in-touch-with-his-emoness thinker in the duo.

Either way, angst! The weight of the world on your shoulders. To be experienced as long, sullen, sideways glances during long car rides. Or copious amounts of bitchface exposition that seem to be angrily directed at the person in front of you but are actually more a reaction to the internal thought process. Being in one's head can be dangerous sometimes. I acted too mature during my teen years and now I seem to be reverting back to the emotional development I missed along the way.

My life is fine, pretty great in fact; this blog is the channel through which I can vent right now. Still -- and I'm sure every 20-something goes through this -- I'm dealing some hard to suppress feelings of personal disappointment. Specifically not attaining those probably-unrealistic-but-no-less-important dreams I dreamed out loud as a teen. The ones I am now too scared to speak for fear someone might hear them and laugh. And every time I think I've finally let them go they come back to haunt me. Maybe Dean and Sam could help me perform an exorcism??

Just this past weekend that haunting was in the form of Jenks, my bandmate from high school who was in town to visit some old mutual friends. I'm still in my hermit phase so I had no idea he was even here until the phone call came on Friday night. I haven't spoken to him in two years. Yet like all my friends no matter how long we are apart we can pick up right back where we left. Only thing was I don't think either of us really knew where that was (something about him burning our demos after some choice words from me as I recall) so instead we reached back a bit further.

Seemed like good old days at first as we met up at a dive bar in the village for one beer (me) and several (him). He greeted me warmly and called me fat (it's true right now, sadly) so I punched him in the gut and called him old and grimy (also true). We joked about the old days for awhile until I commented that this was like living Bruce Springsteen's ironically named "Glory Days" about 20 years too soon. Jenks agreed and we transitioned into a conversation about the past two years. Me: trying out but never making a great band, damaged pipes that are more leaky these days than brassy, working towards financial stability, struggling with letting go of the desire to be a musician. Him: forming a new band, touring for a year, breaking up, getting a real job, silently suffering. Yet neither of us is in bad shape. We both have steady jobs, nice places, good friends, etc. It's weird that our lives are just fine and yet so not what we wanted.

I guess it's a bit different for him since he's a few years older. He says it's too late now for him to start again. Such a liar but no amount of persuasion by me could sway him. Instead he spent most of the hours after midnight trying to convince me it's not too late to start a band, that I have one last chance before 30 (which by the way is still a couple of years away). It's not that I doubt him; I just doubt myself. Especially the time commitment. If I had the means to dedicate myself full-time to music I'm sure he's right. But if I had the means I might also be lazy and less driven about it. It's always been weird how I can make anything I want happen when I put my mind to it; yet I can't put my mind to the one thing I really want. There's always an excuse: I have to be focused on work (true); I have to be focused on my finances (true); I have no time (lie).

At work right now I have an amazing opportunity to grow in ways I'd always hoped for professionally. Musically I have zero opportunities and I'm further away then ever. In high school I knew A&R reps. In college I knew label reps. Now I know no one. And I would have to start over -- I was never very good at bass and I should probably learn guitar, plus I'd want singing lessons to gain my range and confidence back. I want to be strong and confident and just do it. But I am scared. I don't really even know about what.

So I churn with angst instead. Disappointment that I'd give up before I really begin. Jenks meant to give me a pep talk. I think he might have added a nail to the coffin instead. We parted well; I might go to Boston to visit him next month. But of course what did I do after we said goodbye? I went home and wrote lyrics to 3 damn good songs. Now I am searching for the confidence to finish them. Maybe I will postpone that exorcism request.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, you don't realize how young you really are! Which means that you can pursue your dream(s). Plus you don't have any commitments such as children yet. Believe me, it's way harder when you have kids. Although they are so worth it.

If it's what you really want, and only your heart knows that, then do it. It sounds like it's your passion. Maybe you need to redefine what your definition of success would be. Perhaps singing for the joy of singing is a big success - I think it is. I've always wished I could sing but I can't. Enjoy the wonderful talent that you have and make it happen in whatever form it may take.

Good luck to you!!

Roxy said...

Hmm, great advice Anon. I am probably aiming too high...I have delusions of grandeur. Maybe I'll just aim for completely finishing and laying down one song.

Anonymous said...

At what age is it too late to do something that makes you happy? I think...never.

Rock out for the sake of it, or set goals if that helps you. Life is too long for regrets.

Marcela said...

Hi Roxy! It's the first time I read your blog, what a shame! You write so well, it's a pleasure to read!

I think you are right... a music carrer requires 100% of your time and it does need to start earlier in life. I did what you wanted to do, I am a software engineer, with a masters degree in computer science who completed 11 years of music conservatory before going to the engineering college. I always dreamed of continuing to study music. When my husband got a job in the US and we moved here, I was pretty lost and goggled "music univerisity in the state of WA". I applied to the entrance audition of the first school I saw on the list. I left it all for those 4 years in college again! Now I'm not a pianist and it's harder to continue as a software engineer. I know it was a complete mistake to leave it all to go the music college. I loved every minute of it, but now that it's over, I am paying a high price. Keep the music always in your life as a hobby, but treasure what you have and never regret your choice. It's amazingly hard to have a musical carrier and those who get there started pursuing this dream really early in life.