Last night, I was at another gig. My friends are currently on tour so I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to see them – especially as one of their songs really sums up how I feel a lot of the time. Needless to say, before going to the gig, anxiety kicked in. That familiar feeling of dread, panic and uncertainty which would only bring with it social awkwardness. However, this time my anxiety decided to invite along its new friends: the feelings of self consciousness and jealousy which popped up at the last gig I went to. Because of this, I dreaded going even more – despite really wanting to go. It’s such a bizarre feeling to explain. It’s like you have to physically force yourself to let you do what you really want to do. In the end I had to have a few words with myself and just get on with it.
For quite a lot of my life, despite having goals and ambitions, I’ve always had to really force myself to focus and work hard. A bit like the feelings of not wanting to go to the gig, but on a much larger scale. Knowing where I want to be but somehow treading water or just not able to swim towards it. Sometimes it’s easier than others. Sometimes these feelings are quieter and less intrusive. I can usually apply myself more or focus better at those times. If I’m lucky, those feelings can lay dormant for quite a while. But they always come back though. Each time, they come back stronger. Renewed. It’s been this way all my life. One constant internal battle that I was slowly losing. I never could figure out how or why this would impact my ability to get on with life. Well tonight, it clicked. This feeling of treading water and not going anywhere is because deep down I know I this is a turning point. My career, music, family…my existence, has been put on hold by an inner me. Not able to move forward until I know who I am. Until I know who will be moving forward. After all, what’s the point of wasting time doing something if I may not be here for much longer or if I’ll never be accepted. If anything, it’ll just make the disappointment and rejection hurt a million times more. At tonight’s gig that pain was unbearable. Seeing the bands on stage, I realised I couldn’t ever be accepted as a musician the way I am. Fuck, I don’t even know who I am, let alone be able to say to people “hey, this is me”. Being a drummer is great, you sit at the back and nobody really notices. Until you drop a beat. Probably why I’ve always been so clinical with my drumming…it had to be perfect so nobody would notice me. In turn, this has stopped me from just being able to feel the music and play from the heart. It’s become evident that my nerves and lack of confidence were born from this. It’s difficult to be confident in yourself when you have no “self”.
It took absolutely everything to try distract myself from making comparisons or feeling down. I was there to support my friends in what they’d worked hard to achieve. This was their moment, not mine. There was no room for my personal shit in that room. I threw myself into being there. Finding ways to change the channel in my head as soon as a thought popped up about why I was different or why I wasn’t happy with my body. It was draining. I ended up just going quiet and focusing in the music as best I could. Talking to people caused a break and allowed my annoying thoughts to creep in. By the time I got home, I was mentally drained. Ready to just collapse under the weight of all the thoughts which had finally caught up. Unable to cope, I needed a drink. Nothing new there. It was an immediate way of finding peace and restoring balance. An immediate way to keep thoughts and anxiety at bay for the time being. For the rest of the night, I at least had some kind of temporary escape and nobody would need to know what’s going on inside.
“Take me away from here, so sick of this atmosphere.
Take me to where I really wanna be, so I can live again.”
“Live Again” by Eva Plays Dead
Video: “Live Again” by Eva Plays Dead (via Eva Plays Dead’s YouTube page)