What I'm Learning

I could probably title this: "What's really frustrating me right now" ... but I'm choosing to remain positive. It's true that the harder you work out, the stronger you become; I'm learning the same is true in life when it comes to character.

It feels like, lately, every aspect of my life is being tested and stretched. In my work, my abilities and creative output have been questioned, and at times, rendered useless. In love, my patience and perseverence have been stretched, and my true nature has been laid bare before me. In my personal life, I feel run down, overwhelmed, and stressed out, almost to the point where I can't see relief coming, which is scary.

I don't really see the need to run down the details of all of these problems, just share what conclusions I've made, and am continuing to make.

The opinions of others don't (or, at least shouldn't) decide who I am as a musician, and what is considered "good" or "bad." I have the bittersweet opportunity, currently, to find myself in very diverse musical situations from day to day. The hardest thing for me is to remember that what is "cool" in one circle is most likely not cool in another. This means everything from dress to relating to others to actual notes played. It's very hard for me, then, to find any identity in those things. That might be the biggest benefit of it all. I can't tell people "I'm a worship musician" or "I'm a jazz musician" because I'm only those things one night a week. I guess what I'm learning through this is that you have to know your audience. I get SO frustrated (or, if you know me well enough, you know it's more anger than frustration) when something that I'm proud of, musically, gets rejected or ridiculed by another person. Recently I was producing a CD, and I had written an interlude for an artist's song. I had been given freedom to create a mood and mold this song. After several recording sessions, and hours of work writing, recording, and editing this music, the artist told me they "hated" what i wrote, and we had to cut it out. It was the wrong "vibe" for the song. What ticked me off was that it was my favorite part of the song, as it was everyone else who had heard it to that point. But, as a producer, I'm to be submissive to the artist, and the music was cut out. There was so much I wanted to say, and I could've defended my 8 bars for hours, but I wasn't paying for it, so my opinion was useless. That's a hard place to be in. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my thoughts when I'm hired to do a job based on my abilities, and then because I'm "hired," my abilities are at the mercy of whoever likes or doesn't like my work. Here's a tip for anyone that has someone else write music for them: Your opinions are welcome, usually, but use tact. To say you "hate" what someone has spent time and creativity and experience to write screams loudly "I'm not as good as you and I'm going to use what little power I have to make myself feel better than you." ... and it hurts.

I'm almost married. May God hasten the day. I think weddings are beautiful, but I think they're also a tool of the enemy. Don't assume I'm just a guy that doesn't like picking colors and decorations. (I am, just don't assume that's what this is about). I think that the time before the marriage is probably the most important part of courtship. True selves are becoming revealed, comfortability is being found (both good and bad), and lives are very close to changing forever. At the same time, all attention and effort and energy is going into planning an event. A social event. Decor is chosen, details are fought over, and all of our identity is placed into what color or music or food we choose. What better thing to distract a couple that should be learning how to love each other than a huge, life-consuming project that blends dreams and desires and disapointments and deadlines. Not "blends" like a nice combination, but "blends" like the blades that frappe ice and fruit and powders to create nasty protein shakes that dont' taste good but are supposedly good for you. ... I digress. What am I learning? Marriage is not going to make me happy. She can't make me happy. Marriage is a mirror that reveals our filth and selfishness and pride, and somehow can bring us closer to God. She can't complete me, and shouldn't ... that's asking way to much of another human being.

So, those are some of the main things I'm finding out lately. There's tons more, but I've already written enough. Maybe I'll think of some more big ones and continue this later. Oh, one more thing I'm learning: You choose positiveness. It might be in your personality to lean towards negative or positive, but either way, you can choose to think positively and find the best in situations. I don't know how to do this, but I know that it's a choice. Anybody that knows how can tell me. Thanks.