I'm really unhappy right now. I recently applied for a job that was perfect for me, and I would have been great at it. I had a great interview, everything was great. But I didn't get the job. I did, however, receive an email telling me how great I was, and how qualified I was, and how pleasant it was for the interviewers to meet me – but sorry, no cookie. So, here I am. Sitting in South Florida with my instruments and Master degrees, working at a deli, getting asked if I am aware of the difference between “pasta salad” and “macaroni” salad, getting fussed at because I grabbed the wrong to-go box. In moments like these, I really can't help but wonder...
What the hell am I doing?! Where did I go wrong?!
I thought I had worked hard, I thought the work I had done was good. I thought that I was capable, I thought I was qualified. However, my circumstances state the exact opposite.
Maybe this is all for a reason, right? Maybe all of this crap, all of these events and situations that are working against me are for a greater “good,” maybe their purpose is to set the stage for some glorious future I'm supposed to have. Probably not, though. I mean, I've already spent all this time, all this money, but I really don't have much to show for it today. I have a full-time job that will essentially pay my bills, why not just nix the whole music facade? Why not sell my instruments? That alone would pay off a good bit of debt. Maybe I should just drop it all and stop trying to fool myself and everyone else.
(I know all of that sounds dramatic and maybe like a little bit of overkill but seriously, those are real thoughts that I have had during this past year.)
So, you may then be wondering, what does a classy guy like me do when faced with rejection and dejection? Well, my first instinct was to cry, but instead I took it like a real man and curled up in a blanket on the couch plowing my way through a pack of Oreos while watching “Inside the Actors Studio.”
On one of the episodes that I watched Meryl Streep was the guest. I'm a huge fan of her work, and so I was pretty intent on using the power of her, well her “her-ness” to wean me out of my post-Oreo cloud and up off the couch. I found much of her discussion engaging, entertaining, and enlightening, but I especially liked what she had to say around 13:00 or so:
She basically speaks of the 'sacredness' of her art, and the susceptibility she feels when she's really in the moment and in the character. She speaks of a oneness with her character, and of a performance by Liza Monelli where Liza was just desperately trying to give to the audience. This all just really made an impression on me. The ethereal, intangible qualities of the arts that draw us as artists and create an insatiable urge to give, to put forth of ourselves and of our craft.
That desire to create, to “give!” as Meryl put it, is what I still feel. Sure I'm upset, my ego is bruised, but I still want to keep going. The recognition of that little bit of personal truth provided me with enough hope to try reconsidering my situation: Sure my job isn't in music, BUT it leaves me all my afternoons and evenings free – plenty of time to practice, analyze, compose, write, teach, or gig! The job isn't ideal, but I like it enough and it gives me enough income to keep me going. There are no upcoming gigs, and certainly no prospective recitals in sight, but I remember telling myself before I even left graduate school that I just wanted to get a job doing something tolerable so I could spend my off time getting my musical skills in order – I've got that!
Basically, I am pretty hurt from everything I've been dealing with, but the only thing I can do is keep moving forward. I don't know where I'm going, but I've got to keep moving. I'm going to go practice now.
“If you're going through hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill (1874-1965)