Managing to stay alive and not do Something Stupid.
Because it’s a Good Thing.
I fought the Back Dog, and for a long time, and I won.
Rehearsing with Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra later this morning. Last time I played with them was about 15 years ago.
I seem to be delving horribly closer and closer to (but still not even yet reached the core of) a past life I still can’t seem to deal with. I had forgotten what panic attacks felt like; it feels weird exercising everything within my puny power to battle through this, and not just retreat instead.
Sometimes I wish I knew how to quit stuff easily.
(I am DESPERATELY hoping people will not tell me “oh you’ll be fine”; that’s akin to telling me to “keep my chin up” when the Black Dog is sitting on my head.)
(Also, it would be a terrible thing to throw up over my cello, right? I’m thinking I should avoid doing that.)
Ahw.. man. All the soloists got a bunch of flowers last night, and got applauded by the orchestra AND the audience. It never occurred to me to imagine what that’s like, because I’m so used to giving the well deserved recognition to other soloists. It’s the least we can do!
But to be on the receiving end of that…damn. To finish playing, and have people applaud you, and then you walk off stage too early cos you’re thinking “I really should clear off now, it’s someone else’s turn…” only to have someone (cello partner Sally) stage whisper my name really loudly, turn around and see you’re supposed to take the thanks, AND get some flowers…
To a lot of soloists, it’s standard practice. Maybe it’s the norm. Maybe it’s expected. But I could never expect that, perhaps because I’ve spent so long thinking I shouldn’t deserve that. I shouldn’t deserve the recognition, because it seems I’m an asshole of a person, and a shite cellist. Shouldn’t deserve the recognition, or the praise, or the simple act of being given a bunch of flowers as a way of congratulations, or even “thanks for playing”. That’s what I’ve been led to believe for how many years.
I’ve learned a lot during my time in the industry, and most of it was learned in the wrong way, which left me sad and broken, confused, hurt, and mostly, humble. BUT, I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned now, just since joining WSO in October. I’m finally starting to trust people in this industry again, and that’s taking a MASSIVE upheaval in everything I already know. It’s hard to change to something new, when you know nothing about that something new.
It’s hard to trust people in a world where you have never, ever, EVER known trust.
I’ve just put my flowers in water (yes it’s taken me nearly 24 hours to do so – I still can’t believe that they’re mine, or believe the reason they were given to me), and they’re an epic reminder of what I’ve battled through.
To everyone else, they’re just flowers. To me, they’re a bloody massive achievement. And it’s nice to feel cautiously proud about that.
*Emotionally exhausted face*
PS Thanks for sharing this teeny tiny journey with me. So many people said “you’ll be fine”, but the fact is, no one knew that for certain. Even The Mr and I didn’t know that for certain. (One day I’ll talk about The Bow Shakes, and the continuing Asshole Voices In My Head.) Those of you who knew of the Shit Storm, I cannot thank you enough for the genuine encouragement and support. I want to thank you individually, but right now I kinda wanna sleep for a week… 🙂
PPS OMFG MY NAME IS ON A POSTER, YO.
I listen too much.
Or, I should amend, I listen to other people too much.
I’m forever losing my own voice, in that, it doesn’t get exhausted; it just doesn’t get used.
I’m in an industry (world) where everyone is shouting. So many opinions, so many thoughts. So much “do this”, loads of “don’t do that”. Back at the end of 2013, I stopped listening to them, and completely listened to myself. Lo and indeed behold, my beloved business brand was born, with a logo I adore, styling I understand, and a business that is me.
And then I started listening to everyone else again.
And promptly everything died a horrible death, and now I’m having to work pretty fucking hard to pull everything around again.
Stupidly, whilst doing so, I carried on listening to people. I didn’t listen to myself. (Will I ever fucking learn?) And I’m still trying to pick up the pieces, as a result.
It’s my own fault.
Last week saw a turning point. A realisation, if you will, when someone told me a bunch of stuff I should do to fix things. I didn’t respond any further, because I was absolutely fucking livid with them for so many reasons. Contradictory info, mixed messages, questioning things they could never possibly understand at this time, or for a few years down the line.
And then I got pissed off with myself, because I realised I didn’t actually have to listen to them. I didn’t have to listen to anyone. I had been doing so well, for so long, following my instincts, being myself, and doing what worked. And then I got lost, because I stopped fucking listening.
I’m pretty screwed at the moment. I’ve threatened several times over the last few months to quit the business, because I got really fucking lost. And of course, no one else’s suggestions were working. I can’t quit though, and that’s the irony. I can’t quit, because I fucking love this job so much. It’s like a drug. Every time I say “that’s it I’m done, I really don’t think I can keep this going”, I fell the shakes come on, I can’t sleep, and I feel like I’m about to lop off an arm. Which is ridiculous…but it makes perfect sense.
It feels the same as when I quit cello.
(And look what happened there; not only am I playing again, but I’m doing a double cello concerto in concert in 2 months. I’m back in a full symphony orchestra, and lately, not a week goes by where someone doesn’t ask if I’m available to play for an up-coming concert. I couldn’t quit. I’m a shitty quitter.)
I never quit cello.
Just like I couldn’t quit this.
However, it’s time I (inwardly) told everyone else to STFU, and start paying attention to myself, again.
I went to a wedding show recently, to see if there was any prospect for me. After being told that wedding shows wouldn’t be good for me, I sure had my doubts. But I went anyway (because the venue was fucking LUSH.) And from a conversation that started with “oh my days your baby is GORGEOUS!!!” I booked a couple.
They hadn’t even seen my work yet.
I just talked to them. Chatted with them. Talked about their wedding dreams and plans. What they were hoping for. She showed me her dress, he talked about his suit. She showed me photos of her baby, I babbled about traveling the world for weddings.
They hadn’t even seen my work.
When I stop listening to everyone else, and remember WHO I AM, things seem easy again. I forget just how easy things can be when that happens.
Soooooo I’m done listening for a while. Or at least, I’m now going with “Selective Listening”. Because I also seem to have had an influx of people looking for a business coach and life mentor. And they’ve either come to me directly, or been referred to me. So that’s awesome…and it means I go back to remembering how to do the RIGHT kind of listening. The listening where it’s about them, not about me.
There are people who will listen to me, and I love them to bits, and they know who they are. They are literally my immediate family, and I’d be lost without them. But I listen to them, and they don’t tell me what to do. They just…respond to what I say.
Not everyone is asking to be “fixed”. Many people just want to be heard.
I’m one of those people. And that’s really ok with me.
Apparently, which is GREAT NEWS.
I’ve had this little journal thingy for a while now, since before The shit That Was 2015. It’s been on my person almost every single day, but I’ve not really made time for it. I should pay more attention to it, as there are some brilliant little anecdotes, which make me smile.
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
There’s space for me to write stuff. But I think I actually felt weirdly threatened by the header on every single page.
WHAT I’M HANGING HOPE ON TODAY
(And yeah, it’s all caps. No pressure. Caps is for shouting. This thing SHOUTS AT ME every day. Huh.)
Thing is, I think I gave up hoping. Well, not gave up, as it were, but I stopped believing, or something.
I’m not okay, and you’re not okay, and that’s okay.
Truthfully, business has been the TOUGHEST EVER over the last 18 months. I got dangerously side-tracked with things I shouldn’t have done, and gave away a whooooooole lot of my time to people who didn’t give a shit. I lost some people whom I thought would be amazing friends, and I’ve had to seriously re-evaluate where I am with my “family”. Reassurance has not come in droves, and there have been waaaaaaaay too may times where I have genuinely thought to myself “holy shit…I’m going back to the mental house for sure.”
That’s NEVER reassuring.
Every day I pick things up. The business, my life, my kids, myself. Sometimes it’s easy, and I’m all WHOOOO FUCK YEAH BITCHESSSSS!!!! And all too often, it’s Omfg just fucking fuck this fuckity McFuckshit. I’d like it to be less of the latter. And waaaaaaayyyy more of the former. I don’t know how…but maybe reconnecting with my now-missing PMA is the way forward.
I realised it was missing a few months ago. Wish I had noticed sooner, because then it would be easier to reconnect.
HOWEVER, at least I noticed it’s not so present at the moment. *Sly grin*
Optimist: Day-dreamer more elegantly spelled.
So, I’ll read the front cover every day, because I do like a good run-on sentence which you have to read four times since you weren’t able to follow it in one go, thereby making sense of exactly what it was going on about without losing track somewhere before the third comma. And whilst I’ll remember to reconnect with My Blog (yes, capitals for a reason), I’ll also remember that It’s Gonna Be Okay.
Because It Really Needs To Be Okay.