Notes between two year-long challenges…

Hello 🙂

So there is a reason these things are called CHALLENGES.  I am finding myself really not ready for another year long challenge.  I am tearing up right now in fact.  Something in me shifted so deeply in the last one…that I became comfortable being seen, as I am.  Nothing to hold back, nothing to hide really, and it became fun, but not without a whirlwind of emotions that demonstrated to me the reason I’d held back being so open in the first place.

So now I’m about to embark on a harder-for-me challenge…as it involves pacing the work, not just showing up every day and sharing any ol thing.  I’ve lost an ability to schedule out projects somehow, maybe without a supervisor “forcing” me towards a deadline (internal “good student” who only does work for the rewards from others?)  I don’t know.  It’s broken my heart over the years, to see myself care so much about certain songs and projects and then give up on completing them, so easily.  Giving up became my middle name.  But I haven’t had to come to terms with it.  By calling all the projects “slated” – for some future date.  Despite the constant increase of piled up projects, it never occurred to me how unlikely it’d be to magically change personality types and start finishing everything.


Hence challenge #2.  It felt too unfinished to have a free-spirited challenge year, of writing so much, but then continuing to be afraid of my Bandcamp and formal album releasing, continuing to never release anything, or rarely, and just keep “slating” things for the “future.”  I expect this will be a year of a lot of tears, a lot of resistance, a lot of old feelings bubbling up.  The main thing I’m reminded of right now is how when I put over a year’s worth of work and hope into my first real studio release, I a) butchered the release (didn’t know anything about how to hype it up, how to line up a release party venue, didn’t know about press releases or contacting press in general, and more), and b) I felt that even among friends and family it wasn’t a very big deal overall.  Like a moment of “yay you finally did it!” followed by life as usual.  Which made me really question the purpose of all that work.  It didn’t lead to a recording career, it didn’t even lead to very many people listening to the music.  And I think – if I’m really honest – that feeling translated into “failure” for me.   I know in my heart that it’s just a saturated low-paying “industry” (no offense to the music “industry,” but industry implies people being paid – and most musicians are not, or far less than minimum wage) and I’ve learned a lot about releasing since…but it still is a hard pill to swallow, that musicians all over the world are doing an insane amount of low-paid or unpaid work, every day, to share music and culture and entertainment and deep emotions, and very very few of us get to do it beyond hobby status despite all these efforts.  That feeling was so overwhelming, and has been bubbling back up…especially since I invested $200,000 into arts-related grad school right after college, on the hope of financial success, which is a terrible strategy and I really think young kids shouldn’t be allowed to do that.  If I could go back in time, that’s one thing I’d change…cause it would help me pop the fame/money dream a lot younger (I am trying to pop it now, embracing my lo-fi love of music…how I’d rather release lo-fi music than no music at all).

So writing all this has only made me feel weepier…which is to say, I think this will be a useful process.

In my life, I have journalled so extensively …and kept it all to myself.  I knew that starting this challenge I would want to share the journey with anyone interested in experiencing it.  Or watching me experience it.  But I didn’t want to get lost in cute videos and being silly again, because YouTube is addictive for me 🙂 And while I like that…there are some deeper themes that really make me cry, about this world and industry, that I think will be safer to share this way.

So welcome to Blog post #1 of the 2nd 12-month challenge…
Or rather the “test blog”…
I don’t know how I feel, still, about being so transparent with the world.
But at the same time…I feel like I read too many articles in my mid-20s about what to say and what not to say.  How to be this and not that.  How to not mess up.  And I think my mind is a tangle of BS rules that haven’t served me and have only made me hide in a bubble.

And I just don’t think they are true.

Do you really want to watch me flail for another decade, trying to imitate successful people and not do the wrong thing, or is being myself more interesting?  (I know I’m wordy but I still think it’s more interesting…)

I dunno.  Hope you all look inward today and find what it is you’re looking for…or what it is you actually are…and then just be that.  Most everything else is just clouds and fluff…meaningless on our deathbeds, I think.

xo Jessica