Stop Dragging Old Fears Around Like a Dead Body, Music is Fun
Music should be FUN (like this ridiculous record cover). I've taken it WAY too seriously for years because I've been suffering from being trapped & controlled by fear or struggling as I battled fear to the death. I won but now I'm still dragging its dead body around with me. It's a dead weight that's holding me back from running off into the musical wildflower fields and having fun. Why and how do I get rid of it?
"How long have you been playing music?" Simple question and yet my answer is always a complicated mess. I should just say, "I've been practicing for about year....I'm working on this project....This is my next performance....etc...." But noooo... I launch into a sob story about how I've secretly loved music my entire life but never played or performed because I was too afraid of failure or public humiliation. After years of pushing against this fear wall I'm finally learning instruments, sharing and performing. Yadda yadda yadda.... I've overcome my fear but now my obsession with talking about the fear and what happened in the past is holding me back from what's happening NOW and where I can go NEXT!
I wanted to play music for so long and didn't. Then I decided to start and I've felt impatient - wanting to learn faster, overcome fear faster, have something publish and share faster, be ready to perform faster etc... I feel like a wind-up hotwheels car that's pulled back SO FAR, wound up so tightly and bursting to rocket off across the kitchen floor and crash into a chair leg. I am READY to go. So WHY instead of zooming forward with enthusiasm am I boring people to death with my old fear stories?
Here's my hypothesis: Fear had it's claws in me for so long that I actually started holding onto it too. I told fear it wasn't welcome anymore and kicked it off. It let go but I'm still grasping for it's familiar hand. Ironically, being "in fear" has become my comfort zone. It's familiar. Conversely, the idea of walking on stage and feeling totally relaxed and excited (instead of fearful) is so foreign, so unknown, that it's the scarier option.
Two years ago, my challenge was to stand up in front of a group of 30 people (at a yoga teacher training) and sing at the top of my lungs. Before that I had never sung in front of other people (too afraid). That was the moment I left my lifelong security blanket of secrecy and entered the tunnel of fear. For two years, my challenge has been to keep walking through the tunnel, doing shit that made my knees tremble & my singing heart flutter; playing when I know people are listening, signing up to perform in a show, posting videos on Youtube & doing Facebook LIVE videos, singing in the park, publishing songs full of mistakes that I left in on purpose to be raw and vulnerable...not perfect. I have many more challenges and cool musical opportunities ahead but I don't have do do them IN fear anymore. I can do them in JOY. Instead of expecting or assuming that the experience will be terrifying, I could walk onto stage and have fun with it!
I can leave this fear tunnel, leave my comfortable darkness and stepped into the sun on the other side. I can almost feel the warmth of the sun on my skin but I feel a longing pull to run back into the tunnel before the sun gets too hot and burns me. So now, my challenge is to keep walking forward into the light, allow the sun soak into my skin and let the tunnel fade into distant memory. Stop talking about it. Stop looking back at it. Stop starting your Facebook live videos with "So I'm feeling nervous about this video but here goes....." and just click record and start playing like you've been doing it you're whole life. Stop talking about how you used to feel and starting acting how you want to be. // Cha
PS: My mom (a physical therapist) always told me that you know you've healed from an injury when you've totally forgotten about it. If you're still considering it, it's not fully healed. Wise woman. ;)
Overcoming deep seated fears is like surgically removing a part of your emotional self... it's harsh and leaves a wound that we must recover from.