After some pretty rough weeks I’ve decided to really make some changes going forward and in the immediate – take a long break from social media. This came to light after a near suicidal breakdown that concluded with the following post on my Facebook:
“For those of you that are there to read this I appreciate you and energy. I also know that I don’t know many of you as social media allows us to make connections with new people though suggestions appropriated by algorithms and relationships with other people and in the end I know you little or at all.
I have found myself in the longest and deepest depression I’ve ever experienced. A week or so ago I scouted a location and method for suicide. Knowing how badly that would hurt other people was the only thing that kept me from going through with it. So I don’t think I could ever actually do it because of how much I know other people love and care for me and would be horribly impacted by my decisions. But I do know that my optimism and belief in myself has really diminished to little or nothing at this point and need to seek a way of rebuilding and reimagining who I am in hopes of going forward.
In the past four years, my wife came home one day and told me she didn’t want a life with me anymore, my mother was put in a medically induced coma and never came out – I never even got to say anything to her, and upon telling my last partner – whom I was deeply in love with – that I’d do anything and everything to make our future together possible that she couldn’t do that back. I put my cat of 14 years down because I couldn’t deal with the challenges of his aging, he was my closest friend who never needed anything other than me and I abandoned him.
Every career path I’ve followed was with the intent that I was doing what was right for me. That creating and teaching music was all I needed to do. But every job has ended with dead ends. Every project I put together dies or never lives. The one teaching gig that for the past few years that felt like it was a really important thing that I was really good at has all but evaporated and I just feel like I don’t do anything for anything bigger than me anymore.
I feel very lucky to make music with who I get to and will always keep what I have going until it goes to the next thing. But the making a living as a musician thing, I just can’t do it anymore. And I don’t know what that means, because it has been who I am for so long.
I know that I am very lucky to do many things that I do and I know I’m not unique. Everyone has hard times. Everyone feels their feels as much as I feel mine. And I know that I’ll still be looking forward to doing what I do get to do. But for the most part the next few months are going to be the beginning of building anew and I don’t know what that means entirely, but I do know it will mean making new habits and shutting old ones down and in some ways that may seem like and look like isolating.
I have always tried to be kind and open to everyone. Everyone but myself. I am so unable to find self love or self acceptance and self belief.
This will be the last time for a long time that I’m on any social media. But I am here.”
There has been such an outpour of support and constant self-reflection after posting this. I am still in total fear of my future as I struggle to make a life on my own.
I did however, feel an utterly deep sense of guilt after posting this. I am not trying to lay blame on anyone or any single event. I know that I own all of this, that it comes from with me. In John Lennon’s last recorded interview, he says something about being young and feeling like the world is out to get you but as you age you see that while there are things out there that are against you, it’s your own self that you are at odds with and learning to confront that is what’s real.
It is something that I’ve always known but have never been able to conquer. I know I am my own worst enemy. Suffocated by fear. There’s just so much self doubt that I can’t get out of my own way to even be open to what else could come next. And that causes paralysis to be proactive in the now. That often comes out when I play music. Or when I try to write or create something. It’s what keeps me from doing what I know I’m actually capable of.
It’s also what stops me from trying new things or being open to allowing new people into my world.
There’s a side of me that is and has been forever covered by my own self concept. And I feel deep down that the answer is to be fearless and let that side of me out. But I just find more ways to push it further down.
I have since returned to some social media places. So feel free to reach out there or here if you feel so inclined.
Due to some unforeseen forces and out of control of anyone in my band’s influence, we had our recording session cancel. But it has been rescheduled for early next year.
In the meantime, we needed a demo recording to send in for a potential gig (fingers crossed). So I set up my small recording rig in a tiny room at Hunter Roberts’ place (you can hear some of that at the end of this post).
The day was pretty long and full of ups and downs. But it’s started my reflection upon the close of this year, what I’m doing with doing with my music, and what I’m doing with my time here in general.
This has been the first time I put together my own group to do my project. I am very much the kind of person who is always in my own way – very hyper self critical, in general nearly paralyzed by self doubt, and fearful of being myself. This whole project was an intentional push to get inside this part of me and go forward, maybe not entirely anew but at least directionally focused.
This is kind of silly but I played this video game, Celeste. It’s about a young woman who decides to climb a very dangerous mountain (Celeste is the mountain, btw. Madeline is the character). Long story short, she has a part of her that is her nemesis – her own self doubt and fear of whole self. But in the end she discovers that this dark side of her is as much necessary as the other. She needs that side of her to fuel her to do things she thought she couldn’t.
This project is my first step to climbing my own mountain, my own internal battle with my nemesis, the Red Eye Ryan. I’ve seen this part of me drive me to near suicide. But I’ve also seen this side of me unleash somehting. Musically – it can come out when I’m playing rock music and occasionally when doing free music. But I know most of the time it’s the side of me that says all the things that get in the way of me playing the way I want or talking to people in the way that is really the authentic me – basically keeping me from allowing myself to be who I have the potential to be.
Anyway, here’s to the New Year and in it the new record and beyond, my ascent of my own Celeste Mountain.
Here are a couple tracks from the demo we did. Pretty raw. But there are things there that are reaching, grabbing from what comes next.