I Suck At Lying
This photo was taken during a performance of a song I wrote later last year called 'Suck at Lying'.
"All of my heroes love me. All my lovers wish they'd never left. I'm liked by everybody. At least everyone inside my head. My Doctor gave me pills. So now I'm happy almost all the time. And every day's a thrill. I'm not addicted to the IG (Instagram) likes."
I wrote this song to cope with and confront a feeling of insincerity in my life at the time. I was working over 40 hours a week at a coffee shop in Nashville, smiling at people who were unkind and inconsiderate, lacking in any meaningful friendships, and feeling very little hope that my music dream was coming to life in any real or immediate way. I was under the impression at the time that pushing through that set of circumstances would change everything for me, and I'd eventually stumble on to some peace.
Today, 8 or so months later, my circumstances are actually quite a bit different. I no longer work long hours at a coffee shop. I have an extremely flexible, creative job working for a musician that I have great respect for. I'm treated fairly and respectfully in my work, and I feel appreciated. I have multiple meaningful relationships in my life now, not the least of which is my girlfriend, Erika, who I am celebrating my 6 month anniversary with today. And I'm hard at work on my craft of music production and songwriting, seeing some very real results from the work I've been putting into it.
Still though, I have such a hard time feeling amped on life. Last night, as I sang my songs on stage, I struggled to smile, as smiling felt so disingenuous. I am rarely sad, and I wasn't last night. I was just frustrated. Where was my childlike giddy-ness? Where was hopeful little spark in me, believing that something amazing might happen that night if I gave it my all on stage? I couldn't seem to find it. And really, finding that kind of spark for anything at all seems to be more and more rare as I grow up.
I had a conversation with a friend last night before I got on stage that I haven't stopped thinking about. He is a fellow musician here in Nashville, and a truly original special artist named Alexander Strums (check him out). We were talking about how crazy life is, and how broke we both are until one point he said "I feel like when I listen to music, I just don't feel anything sometimes."
That sentence shattered me in a sort of blank, numb way. He so simply stated something that I have felt to my core for years, and while I felt somewhat exposed, I also felt less alone. I've been putting up this front that music is my passion for years now, despite it not having felt like the truth in quite some time. Music is not my passion right now. Music does not inspire me like it did when I was 12. But still, I can't live without it. It's the strangest relationship. There's this beacon of truth in my that continues to tout the message "keep making music". It's a little voice, whispering to me just often enough to keep me going. But I still struggle to feel the passion I once did for the craft, or anything at all.
I believe that the missing piece is honesty. I'd go as far as to say the missing piece to any human puzzle is honesty. It's time that I become honest and acknowledge not only to myself, but out loud that for me to claim that consuming and producing of music is the pinnacle captor of my heart and aspirations, is a high and dry lie. It's untrue. I believe that music has lost its luster because I have spent years trying to convince everyone else that I love it more than I do. I've put so much pressure on myself to appear as though I love it, that I have neglected to actually love it.
The little voice telling me to continue on is my north star. I'm positive that music is my calling, but I will not pretend that it feels good to step on stage in loud bars and sing for gratuitous applause and generic compliments. It doesn't. There's a greater purpose for it, and I am determined to define it with accuracy. Then, and only then, will the passion return. One thing's for sure though. I'm done lying.