On my personae.

Now I haven’t been doing music for… like, a month or so? Apart from some attempts to get into regular guitar practice, that is. But I’m totally out of my musician headspace and out of poetic creativity even more.

I am still stumbling, falling, getting up, stumbling on, rinse and repeat with my professional life. There’s the perspective of getting stuck in another soul-eating dead-end job I don’t want (I’ll probably know if I must go there in the next 1-2 weeks). The Jobcenter imposes on me to scramble and do everything I can to get regular employment, while the thing I’d want to do is stand still, reconsider everything and start again, but this time in a different direction. One thing that has become clear for me is that marketing, especially online marketing, is ripe with environments that are toxic for me, and that it’s not the field I will excel and thrive in.

I don’t want to use this blog post for lamenting. Instead, I’d like to ponder on one observation: aspects of my personality and how they relate to different aspects of my life.

Somehow my musician identity feels not fully formed yet, but as deeply buried under everyday grind it may be now, it is there. I can feel it like the sun behind clouds. It’s not just who I am in my music. It’s who I am when I give a high priority to my musical creativity, to making music and to being in a good shape for singing, playing guitar, composing and making poetry, mentally as well as physically, and when I care about developing as an artist.

Somehow I feel like I don’t deserve to be that person, or that I’m not allowed to, or that if I am that person, I won’t be able to cope with the demands that making a living or getting through bureaucracy place on me.

So instead, I mostly choose to put on a persona of a rational, disciplined person who gets all the stuff done, adheres to conventional logic, does a conventional full-time day job to win her bread and makes music in her free time, is tough enough to put up with a little discomfort, makes reasonable choices, does not lose herself in dreams and can pull of some feats of discipline, ready to discard perceptions that don’t seem reasonable (thus often losing contact with her gut feeling) and keep out everything she doesn’t see as practical or necessary. It’s a well organized and high-functioning persona too, a persona that is concerned with getting through everyday life.

I need this persona to navigate my carreer/work situation, but it feels way too dominant in my life, and at the same time, letting go of it, not using it as my default approach to things feels unsafe, as if my life might get totally out of control. Unfortunately, the saying “if your only tool is a hammer, you will perceive every problem as a nail” applies.

My “artist” persona is different, of course. Much more intuitive and even impulsive, prone to act upon emotion and gut feeling, dreamer, utopian and visionnaire, with fine and alert senses. One who brings in butterflies and flowers and colours, warmth and sunlight, one who wants to open doors to the depth of the soul and the phantastic, mystic and playful child at the same time, one who is concerned with the big issues of life and what matters in the end.

I miss giving this persona space and time. It’s like it hasn’t even had the opportunity to develop fully.

And then there may be more aspects of myself that I don’t even know or acknowledge.

By the way, that freelance mini-job in music editing is still awesome and rewarding.

Back from the dead?

Somehow my musicianship seems to be buried these days under everyday life issues: my livelihood is on shifting ground, I just begin to find a clue what to do with my messed-up professional life (and it will take loads of work, but might make me happier than being in a 9to5 job I don’t belong in), and I savour the available time with my girlfriend (yes, I’m in a relationship for just over half a year now), and then there is a health issue I need to take care of or it will aggravate again and grow really chronic.

But making music, especially songwriting and -recording, regular practice, getting out of my rut* and into the zone/headspace where meaningful things happen … all these things somehow got thrown under the bus in the last months.

And then there’s moments when some music comes along and rips right through this ocean of worries I find myself in, punches me in the face, grabs me by the scruff of the neck and screams in my face: “THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE MEANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE: SING!!! MAKE MUSIC!!!” Like the music of In Legend.

I just pre-ordered their upcoming album “Stones at Goliath”. Makes me excited every time I listen to the previews:

Feels like being brought back from the dead.

I understand that there must be times like these. Times where other dimensions of life need to be taken care of, even if I miss my musician self and even if it feels really crappy and all I can do is maintain my voice and some basic technical skills on the guitar. I’ll be patient with myself in the next few months, and hope that the time until I can create room for my musician self to re-surface and be more present won’t be too long.

* I dislike bashing the comfort zone. You need one. No matter how challenge is necessary for growth: You need a strong, safe foundation to depart from and something you can come home to, and being so constantly out of it that you forget how that feels like can’t be healthy. I’ve been there, and it harmed me.

Heavy heart is heavy.

I lost my day job today. And my right shoulder hurts like hell (yay muscle tension) – typing is only bearable thanks to Ibuprofen.

I am heartbroken. I liked this job, and I want to stay in Freiburg. I crave bourgeois security and stability, and I’d like so much to be a little more well off. I got informed of my dismissal in the most friendly manner. It hurts anyway. Continue reading

Vocal frustration – update

About my voice issues: Saw my doctor about the gagging thing, she thinks it’s a stomach issue. Well. I don’t think so, and I’m continuing my personal regime. Running, Feldenkrais, some exercises from Kundalini Yoga my mom recommended to me and Progressive Muscle Relaxation seem to go a long way with this. It all seems to come from the shoulder/neck muscles. My impression is that the continous stress of the past years has condensed in chronic tension there, helped along by lack of exercise.

My singing now seems less affected by it, the sore throat is gone. I can sing again. That does a great deal towards relieving stress 🙂

Vocal frustration.

I have some issues with my voice right now. It feels unwieldy, my throat somehow cramped, prone to sudden, seemingly causeless gagging (an issue I have been running to doctors with for some months last year, to no avail, it waxes and wanes seemingly randomly, and inside my throat, everything seemed to be OK physically) and sore … and I haven’t sung much in the last days!

I am a bit frustrated with that, as some of my vocal ideas rely heavily on good vocals. After all, I am a vocalist first of all! I’m trying to get my cramped throat better with Feldenkrais and lots of herbal tea. Running is also a fine medicine. Maybe I should see a doctor about that again. Le Sigh.

My productivity is also very unweildy at the moment. I am a living example of structured procrastination – getting really much done, but not the stuff I’m supposed to do or I had planned to do.