Anything that feels worthwhile to me involves making other people happy. I know this because when I focus too much on myself, I’m unhappy, and when I help other people meaningfully, I’m happy. Not too complicated.
After performing at the open mic, I started having all these thoughts that I’d never really had before, as is normal after a new experience. I think I understand why I haven’t been able to motivate myself to make “art.” The problem I’m having, I think, is that I see art as a hedonistic and egotistical pursuit. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s how I see it right now, at least if I were to make it mine. I mean, I like making music and painting because they’re methods of expression I enjoy, and everyone needs to express themselves. I also think I’m good at it, and I like how it feels to be good at something and have people tell me I’m great, etc. Who doesn’t?
I’ve been having trouble envisioning my future. I see music as a “dream,” and you’re not supposed to abandon your dreams, or else you lose at life. But if it’s a dream, then why am I having so much trouble acting on it? Why can’t I actually see myself being a musician? What’s missing? Why do I feel like I have no idea what I’m working towards? Why am I not excited for my life in 5 years?
I think it’s because I can’t devote the bulk of my days to trying to get people to compliment me. What I’d hope for in making music is to make millions of people happy with what comes out of my mouth, but that depends a lot on luck and talent, and I’m no Bob Dylan, or whoever. And if that did happen, it wouldn’t be for years, and I’d have to spend most of my time until then devoted to nothing else but writing and getting better, concentrating on myself and not contributing to anything else very meaningfully. At least, that’s how I see it.
The guy I played with at the open mic is a very good musician, and he was just in the greatest mood after the show and all the admiration he was showered with by the audience. It was like he was high, and I knew it would wear off. It made me think that maybe music is an addiction, and those who can make a living off it are addicts. It would explain why some of the greatest musicians were all fucked up and depressed. Which explains the great music.
Maybe I’m just not an addict. Don’t get me wrong, I love making music (and writing, any artform), and I need it to express myself. But I can’t see myself spending most of my life expressing myself. It sounds exhausting! Success in music depends on constant product output, and I just don’t pump things out very consistently. I can’t see myself spending most of my life, for me. And if I did happen to help someone with my art, I’d have no way of knowing. I can’t see myself spending my days as a musician because I don’t spend my days as a musician.
I wrote about this before, but I’d love to find a way to blend art and goodwill. I’m still not sure how to do this. But I do know something I didn’t know before: I can see myself spending my days thinking about other people, and making other people happy. I don’t have a job, and I’m not happy. I still play music and write because I have to express myself, but the rest of time, I’m twiddling my thumbs, wondering why I’m not playing music and writing, because that’s what I like to do, right? Right, but I like to help people more, and that’s what’s missing in my days. It’s so good to know this, because this motivates me, and the 30, 40, 50-year-old Stephanie I imagine looks happy, fulfilled.
It sounds all generous and shit of me, but really it’s pretty selfish: I want to feel like people need me, and a career in art wouldn’t give me that. I’m just finding out how to get what I want.
I’m starting to think about going into nursing, for many reasons. I’ll write about them another time, because I’m bored of this and I have to pee. Peace!