I have to take a minute to write something today because it is written in my gut first and I know it will not pass until I've unloaded the words...
Spending the day at Lilith with Terra and Collette brought up some wonderful, challenging, painful and vivid memories of the feeling I carried around most of my post-adolescent years:
From a young age my wonderful mother told me I was going to be famous, and sometimes when young ears hear an older voice saying something nice it becomes prophecy instead of praise.
I carried those words in my back pocket through school to get my B.F.A in Musical Theatre, to New York City with Broadway dreams and finally to Los Angeles where I set my sights on a career as a singer-songwriter....
After a particularly sad night playing yet another partially-empty bar I remember hearing the words, "You're going to be famous" rolling around my head yet again, a mantra. In that moment of utter fatigue and soul-empty pushing, they lost their active mojo and became a torturous dirge.
The Hunger had become obsession; it marked the next few years of my life - every tick of the clock meant one more moment I had failed to reach this nexus, one more view of my friends getting to the 'next level' (or what I began referring to it as: the Boat to China, which had sailed and left me behind) while I stayed on at my 12.00/hr reception jobs, praying to someday remove myself from the clutches of debt and get to that place that always eluded me.
Obsession eventually became too much and I tumbled into despair and finally Gave Up to save my own self.
I read books. I had tea with friends, remembered what wonder can be found in nature, in nurture...
It was in giving up that I began to embrace life in a way that allowed me to become a more visual artist: without the weight of my obsession for musical recognition, I could see the world around me with a poignant clarity that rendered everything painterly and things like tooling leather became such a joyful way to channel this new sight.
Yes, I still made music, did voiceovers and even had gigs, but my goals were no longer singular; they were many, like blooms on a rose bush and I carefully deadheaded and tended to this garden of thought and action until it became a shop and then two and now lapidary and soon engraving and on and on, a joy.
An utter joy!
So when I go see musicians at the top of their game playing and enjoying their own garden it makes me smile, makes me feel like all is right with the world
somewhere, a little to the left behind a great wall of mist there she is:
the dreaded Boat to China.
I laugh at the imagery, because it is patently ridiculous and no less painful for its silly humor: it is the ghost of a dream I let sail so that my real life could thrive.
It is the advertising career that haunts a new mother as she sees her life filling with diapers and playdates...
The stock market ticker on TV that brings gloom to the handsome carpenter who gave up Wall Street after too many stress-induced trips to the doctor some years ago....
It is the common thread in so many lives, subtle regrets and what-ifs that show up at random moments enticing us with the thought that we could rally again and get back on that boat....
Life is long and possibilities endless. I know there is more music to be made: heavens, I have two weddings and two gigs coming up in the next calendar month alone and I continue to write songs in bits, a recovery of sorts after the quiet of the past year, and I will continue to put out cds and tour when the time is right....
but for now I am allowing the feeling of ache to rest here in me until it passes naturally, letting my open and receptive heart be its harbor until it fades out of sight of its own accord,
sails and all.