Uncomfortably Un-numb

Dear Patronopolis,

I promised you the real deal. So here it is: I’m overwhelmed. I’m not sleeping well. I’m having lots of quiet freak-outs, lots of times a day. Included in my list of things to freak out about: the fact that I’m freaking out. I’m probably going to regret having written this. But like I said, I promised you the real deal.

What’s it all about? Oh, any number of things. The exposure of moving my musical out into the world is probably a big part of it. It’s not that there are any bad consequences predicted or lived. In fact, all the consequences are good so far, and I can see clearly that the rewards of sharing this work-in-progress will continue to be far greater than the costs. So it’s not like I fear Something Dreadful May Happen. It’s just…totally nerve-wracking, somehow, to share it. Even as I know that I want to, even as I feel how good it is for me and for the work to do so. It’s unsettling. Disturbing of the peace.

Also, I have too many jobs. Writing, composing, music-directing, and generally overseeing the process of bringing this musical to fruition — this conglomeration of things is my main job. That’s enough to fill 40 hours/week, easy. But it’s just one thing I’m doing. I won’t bore you with the list of everything else, or why I’m in this position (again). I’ll just say: I have too many jobs.

It’s moments like these — 1:07 a.m., when I’m tired and can’t sleep, when I’m anxious and can’t get relief, when I feel stretched thin and wrung out, when despite working non-stop I have no financial security — that I think of sometimes when people say, “Wow, you’re really living your passion. That’s so cool."

It is cool. It’s what I want to do. But it’s freakin’ hard sometimes. I’m not saying that so you’ll feel sorry for me (please don’t) I’m just saying this path I’ve chosen is, well, hard sometimes. Or, more accurately, there are probably things about me — my style, my approach, my “issues," — that I would take with me down any path, and I would have to deal with them whether I was a corporate executive, custodian, teacher, artist, or all of the above. In short: this whole living-my-passion business is no nirvana. It’s not an escape. It’s the opposite, in fact. It relentlessly requires me to get familiar with uncomfortable stuff, to live in that seismically active zone where I have Important Things to Learn.

I’d rather be uncomfortable than numb (tip of the hat to Pink Floyd). I’d rather feel the gnawing insecurity associated with the generation of new work than to feel the emptiness of leaving my creativity unexercised, my ideas unformed, my songs unsung. But damn! Sometimes it’s really not fun at all. Sometimes it’s stressful, and lonely, and confusing. Sometimes being an artist is something to weather, not something to enjoy.

That surprises me, to hear myself say that. Maybe it’s because I’m so happy, most of the time, to be doing what I do, living as I live, that it takes me off guard when I feel this way. Maybe there’s a little voice in there that says - But you’ve chosen this! Why aren’t you enjoying every moment of it?

Well, I’m not. I don’t.

And I’m really glad to be doing it, all the same.

Thank you for being with me on this journey. It helps. More than you know.

G’night now.