Happy New Year!
I’ve remained a bit distant in social media, and silent on my blog, but I haven’t been idle. I’ve been busy programming at work. I’ve also been busy with music.
I didn’t realize how much I’d been anticipating playing the New Year’s performance with the River City Swing Band. It was your typical mixture of fear and excitement. We played four sets, which wound up being almost every song in our book.
Performing in front of people doesn’t bother me. In fact, I feel fantastic being on stage. I once told someone that I’m quite comfortable performing, but I realize that’s not quite true. I enjoy that particular flavor of discomfort. When that extra pressure to focus and perform is placed on my shoulders, I shine. I enjoy the energy of being in the moment.
We did a really great job. The performance wasn’t perfect, but everyone had a really great time.
We had someone filling in for our usual second Alto, and he was absolutely amazing. He was, quite honestly, a much stronger musician than I am. He played really well, and it was great playing with him.
The experience of playing with him, and playing with the band, roused some of my inner demons of competition and feeling inadequate. There was this quiet voice in the back of my head whispering, “This guy is so good. Why don’t they ditch me and keep him? It would make the band stronger.”
It’s a maddening voice, because it always sounds so reasonable. It comes up with different words fitting the same theme with my writing. It usually says something along the lines of, “You’re never going to go anywhere with this. You’re not a strong enough writer. Why are you wasting your time?”
Fortunately, I am getting better at not listening to it. I’m not wasting my time with my writing. If anything, it’s the best use of my time because it’s mine to spend, and I’m spending it in the pursuit of my dreams. Whether my writing goes anywhere or not, I’m honoring the part of me that needs to write. I’m feeding the part of myself that hungers for more than food.
As for the band? They seem to be happy with me, and we’re making really fantastic music. If they ever ask me to leave, then I’ll leave, but I don’t think it’s going to come to that.
I’m not going to spend too much of my time worrying over fears of inadequacy. Instead, I’ll practice, and get better. I’m a stronger musician than I was a few months ago. I’m a stronger writer than I was a year ago. And in a few more months, I’ll be stronger still. I just have to be patient with myself, keep my head up, and keep playing and writing.
This is a new year, with new opportunities to get things right. Let’s make this year awesome, and chase our dreams like we mean to catch them.