unnecessary tightrope walking
I played a show last night that will go down as possibly one of the most uncomfortable shows I have ever played in my life. We were completely mismatched with the rest of the performers (comedians) in the show and the audience wanted Christmas Carols, not original music.
We were the last act. We are not funny (in a conventional way). We cut our set in half and ended with a country version of Jingle Bells.
Today I spoke with Kit and he felt that by the time we got up to play we were disconnected. I said, “Yes, we were. My soul ran out of the room an hour earlier. I almost followed it.” We laughed.
We discussed ways in which we could make music sustainable for us – so we can practice, write new songs, enjoy ourselves and have no pressure.
What fulfills me with music is connecting with other musicians through sound and harmony. Just playing together is enough. We at least have to honor that. We share it with an audience because it’s like sharing love or something beautiful and raw and honest. But we don’t have to perform.
Kit told me the story of David Bowie’s first tour in the U.S. – how he completely bombed, before Ziggy Stardust. And I said, “Yes, and, he was in his 20s. We are in our 50s. We must make choices with how we spend our life force energy. Bowie also said never play to the gallery. Last night was awful because we were trying to fit into someone else’s show – when clearly we shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
Honestly, that’s some dangerous shit, trying to “fit in”. The box is so damn small, might as well cut off body parts to squeeze in. Or numb yourself out so you don’t notice your discomfort. Both could be deadly choices oner time.
I felt like I was in a trauma state for much of the day. I couldn’t concentrate, felt discombobulated, sad. Hazy. Exhausted.
Eventually, I went shopping for food. I ate some protein – that really helped! I walked outside in the rain. I spoke with Kit about how I was feeling.
I did vagus nerve stimulating exercises. I worked on my ears (wow), and my belly. (This brought me back into my body and the present moment. Life is good)!
Right now I feel relaxed enough to look at last night’s performance as data points. How I soothed my nervous system today are more data points.
Vagus Nerve Ear Massage
I highly recommend vagus nerve stimulation! And yoga. And hot baths with epsom salts. Emotional Freedom Technique. Naps. Bike rides.
The ear massage felt soothing and also there were moments where it felt weird in an almost uncomfortable but also good way. My sinuses opened up and my neck relaxed. I’m breathing more easily now.
Overall, I worked hard this week. Really hard. And I had fun, too. As a musician I grew. And I intend to keep on growing, to keep on having fun, and most of all, to respect myself and the people I play and create with.
December 16, 2022