Being and Artist is all at once stimulating and exhausting. I love my writing and my music but every day I am confronted with situations in which I have to live with my work being judged by other people and compared to other art. That’s the hardest thing for me: being vulnerable.
Tonight I played for a jazz jam at a local club. It was surprisingly uncomfortable for me. It was a club I always play at, filled with people I know, but my bandmates were people I never really played with before. All of these bandmates were extremely talented and gracious, which is great, but it made me turn inward. It made me start to doubt myself. I had the whole compare and despair mentality.
And then of course, afterwards, when I already felt like hiding in the corner with my tail between my legs, many of the musicians who played with me came up to give me advice. They were all well-intended and helpful suggestions, but I was already feeling dejected. I don’t know, I just wasn’t in the mindset to receive criticism, no matter how constructive it was.
Now I’m home, writing this, and panicking about how much I feel like I need to learn. How I need to practice: I need to strengthen my left hand. I need to learn my bebop scales. I need to work on my singing voice. I need to listen to more artists. I need to do so many things.
Tonight was an extremely humbling experience for me and has shown me that we truly never get “there” wherever we consider there to be. You will spend your life working to get better at what you’re doing. You will put in those 10,000+ hours and you still won’t feel like you’ve arrived. But that’s okay, artists have to be hard on themselves like this to become accomplished and successful. I just have to remember to keep a good attitude and keep on keepin’ on.