The School of Hard Knocks
Hello fearless folk,
How are you all? Or you. Whoever reads this.
I'm doing ok. I'm on a bit of an emotional hangover - but I am digging my way out of the depths into some healthier air. Fear not!
I had a wonderful and exhausting and fun and trying weekend. My show at Room 5 was on Saturday night and I would like to say it went off without a hitch. I would be lying...
I knew a few hours before the show that I was in a rough spot. I was completely exhausted. It just sort of crept up on me. Jared was sitting on my couch strumming his banjo, Jesse was typing away on a screenplay, my dear friend Mar who was visiting was getting pretty in the bathroom, and I was curled up in a fetal ball on the couch making baby whiny noises. Why? WTF! Recovering alcoholics should never get too tired or too hungry or too overwhelmed and I was all of those things. It was a pathetic scene. I felt unprepared for the show, worried that no one would show up, scared that it's all for nothing and I'm a horrible singer/songwriter, etc. Where does this dramatic self doubt and fear come from? It's a fucking mystery. But when you are tired or emotionally wrecked, there is a much better chance that you will not be strong enough to fight it.
I got talked into showering. That helped. I warmed up my voice. That helped a little. I put on my outfit and some dark red lipstick. That helped a lot. I drank a red bull and ate some grapes and we were off to Room 5. I still felt...off. Maybe it was the crazy full moon that night. It was bigger than a house! The girl who played after me was howling at it on the mic. I was more whining at it and wishing it would leave and take it's voodoo bad mood with it.
Things did not ease up at Room 5. We entered a dark club except for the sound guy blaring some sort of Bob Seger-esqe music. He was a little abrasive. I was a little vulnerable. It was not a good mix. We struggled through sound check. I knew he was a pro just trying to do his job, but I needed the help of a fairy Godmother. We had a little scuffle over the order of my set in regards to mics and setup. I got my way. But not without being completely exhausted and thrown off my game. I had no strength people! And in 5 minutes I needed to play an hour of my intimate music to a group of people who were loving enough to come out and spend 8 bucks to see me on their Saturday night.
I took a few minutes to regroup. And played the show. It was not bad. We were laughing, Jared and I were in-sync, people were loving it. But I was just not on top of my game! I forgot lyrics 3 times. Holy crap. I've never done that at one of my own shows. It was ridiculous. It was like my brain was a pile of mush. We made it through. Mar came up on stage for a few songs which definitely became the highlight of the evening. She is just a wonderful spirit and I loved sharing the stage with her. We have been singing together since college with our choir Essence of Joy. A bit of the spirit of essence was captured when we sang together - like a holy thing. It was great. (youtube videos to come)
Afterwards I was able to speak with all the wonderful souls who came to support. Some great things were said. I really cannot complain about making people happy for an hour. Who cares if my ego was fragile and bruised - it's about the audience. Although they were small, they enjoyed themselves. They laughed and cried. I was thankful that even though my vessel was in bad shape - something real and beautiful and fun still managed to come through me and make people feel something. I have to chalk it up to God. Somehow something good and loving was communicated and it wasn't me.
The guy who books the shows was another story. I'm not exactly in the pink with him. I did not manage to bring out enough folks to the show. Only 11. That was not enough to get paid or to book me again. My face dropped. I had not realized how fragile this opportunity was. I guess I took it for granted. I still promoted the show the same as always and had at least 20 people lined up to come. But life happens. People get distracted, sick, have to work, and decide not to come. It's not a big deal. But it's the first time I realized how important the fans are. Without them, I literally do not have a career. Not at all. I will not get gigs. I will not have a touring schedule or a popular song. I need to put the people who care about me and my music first. That may only be a handful of people at this moment in time. But I know who you are and I love you and I'm so grateful to have you! I want to know what you like what your ideas are what your favorite songs are where you imagine me playing or what kind of posters you think I should have or whatever! I need your feedback I need your love and I need your support.
I also think that you all deserve my very best at all times. I have to say I did not give my best on Saturday night. I did not have much to give. It still came out. We still laughed. But I had not taken good care of myself before hand. I did not do my part of the bargain. I did not practice enough, I did not get rest before the show. I'm not going to beat myself up. I don't deserve a beating. But I have to tell you, I'm learning. I'm learning so much! I'm learning about the fragile and beautiful relationship that a musician has with her fans. I'm learning that without self-care, it is impossible to have a successful relationship. You have to show up rested and prepared and confident. You have to give to get. And in order to give - you have to have something stored up. You have be full of love and health and rest and light and joy. If you are depleted in every way, you will not have something substantial and genuine to give. When you give your fans the amount of respect and preparation and care they deserve, you will get rewarded with their loyal following.
I am getting a second chance from the booking manager. He is a really wonderful guy who believes in my talent and thinks I'm a good person. He wants to help me learn about effective promotion - a side of business I am definitely not savvy in. He said if I was willing to meet with him and discuss how to get a bunch of folks to the show the next time, he would consider booking me again. I got lucky this time! We are meeting tomorrow.
This is just another example of how every experience we have that seems negative, hard and disappointing is a blessing in disguise. We don't always get what we want, but we get what we need, people! Every time. Without fail. When things are not going as we perfectly planned - there is a divine lesson to be learned. God is stalking us! The Universe wants to give us the chance to become pillars of kindness and love. This doesn't happen by giving us everything we desire. We would learn nothing! This happens by teaching us spiritual lessons. This happens when we are humbled. We realize that we do not know what is best. Our agenda is not the perfect agenda. I needed a kick in the pants. I needed a bit of a reality check. And I got it. And I'm SOOOOOOO grateful. I feel inspired again, I feel motivated. I feel like I got called a punk and I'm ready to prove that I'm not! I CAN work hard, I CAN take care of myself, and I CAN move forward into the this scary and crazy career with my head held high. I can also put faith into action. Faith in the people who love and support me. Faith in God who desires nothing but joy and love for my life. And Faith in myself and my abilities. Doubt is a killer. I need to be vigilant against it. It is my Achilles heal.
If I'm tired and hungry and lonely and angry - some sort of crazy ass doubtful thinking is going to creep in a ruin my mojo and eff with important events and basically mess up life. Staying fit in a mind, body, soul way is more important than ever to me. It is a part of my job. I see that now. I can no longer create some false liquid courage and energy by bringing a drink up on stage with me. I do not get the benefits of a quick cocktail to take the edge off. I exhausted that option. So I have to show up ready. I have to pray the edge off. I have to sleep and work out and warm up. I have to find that confidence from within and step out into life ready to take every moment on head first and sober! Weird sound guy? No problem. Tiny audience? Awesome, bring it on! No money. No sweat!
If this career was easy. Everyone would do it. But it's not easy and it's scary as shit and you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else on the planet does. You have to know that you're good. And that is really hard to do. But I'm learning what it takes and I'm taking it one day at a time. And you know what, even when it's not fun, it's still the best thing I've ever done in my life.
So I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the hard knocks. Bring em on! Let's go,God.
Ok, here is the song for the day.
"You Can't always get What You Want" - The Rolling Stones
PS. STAR WATCH update. Mar and I saw Rihanna shopping at the Grove. I did not believe it was her, because her butt was swimming in a pair of baggy white jeans. It was her. Hot celebrities where sloppy clothes too.