Friday, September 21, 2007

and falling back down

First off, a disclaimer: This isn't a post to make anyone feel sorry for me, or to get anyone to tell me how awesome I am or that I'm being too hard on myself. I kinda just need to write some of this down so I have a way of not thinking about it for a while. Of course I shall do this with Mahler's Symphony No. 2 as my soundtrack, because that's just what you do (and also because Mahler 2 will be associated forever with that one amazing concert that was followed by one incredibly ill-thought-out drunken evening: hurray for both inspiring and embarassing!) when you want some deep thought to pour out of you.

I'm caught up a bit in this cycle of negativity lately that I'm trying very hard to escape. The difference this time around, though, is that it's not affecting my whole outlook too terribly: in other words I think it but I'm not feeling it, most of the time. I'm able to see through it to a brighter side, or at least take the time to realize that it's just another part of moving and adjusting. Interesting how we can see ourselves get older and wiser sometimes, isn't it?

The general span of my negative thoughts is in most part a reaction (in that purely scientific sense) to the general attitude of a few people around here who seem to be made more happy discussing how unhappy things make them than they would actually taking steps to fix them. While I've never been of that particular mindset, the energy this creates takes its place in my mind as more self-directed and I start to find myself feeling pretty darn shitty about myself and my prospects.

For instance, I find myself thinking about what I would do in the event that this quintet self-destructs. Where does that leave me? What then is my musical path? I'd like to think that maybe I'd go back to UNT and study jazz, because other than the pure fun of it, I'd certainly be in higher demand as a performing musician wherever I chose to go than I am now. But how many more years of school is that? And is it reasonable? By the time I made myself useful in that department, would I be too old for the hip stuff and too young for the nostalgic? Why do I have such a bias against leaving my 20s? Am I succumbing to the national fear of obscurity and loss of youth?

And then of course my thoughts stray to love, because if I'm getting older, does that mean I have to keep up accordingly with those of my age who act grown up and serious about marriage and kids? Even if I know there are a lot of people who don't want that, aren't people looking more and more at what their prospective mates have accomplished? I'm just a kid still in that department. I have a master's degree and I've done two professional gigs that could be called a career path. I live in a house I can't presently afford and I'm struggling even to get some sort of nominal part time work, the kind of thing they generally hire 17 year old kids for. At least I don't live at home with my parents? What exactly am I offering? What do I care anyway, when all I want is to find someone pretty much similar to me? Why does it feel like those kinds of people are all 23? Am I that emotional age still?

None of this matters of course, since I'm afraid of making any sudden moves around anyone I'm interested in these days. Two bad experiences and I'm psychologically fucked. Somehow I'm too worried that rejection is inevitable, so I just don't risk it. Why does rejection scare me so much? It's not usually so much as it is, but you know what I mean. I'm tired of feeling that what I've worked to make myself is somehow odious to anyone who might consider any sort of intimacy with me. And that of course lends itself to all sorts of self-image issues. Hurray!

(Mahler 2 Interlude: Don't you just love those triumphant, joyous sections? So happily Mahler, so gracefully exuberant and celebratory. And then just as suddenly as they began, they turn dark and dancing...the original soundtrack for some Tim Burton film)

And what's with the way I take criticism? I don't mean musical criticism. I think I've attuned myself enough to that to understand how to make it constructive. Why do I feel like I should be so perfect in the way I deal with things while I'm so quick to fault other people for the way they react? Why do I like to see other people put down in the same breath that I am praised? That's not very nice! Sure, I think I handle things very well, so why shouldn't I want a little help in doing even better? But even in the short time I've been here I feel like I'm getting worse and worse at that, maybe not so much when it comes to business and professional issues, but things that affect me emotionally. I seem to be regressing, allowing things that mean nothing to make me angry and inconsolable. Nobody here is going to change for me; I either have to change myself or find people that fit.

I just think that maybe, if I could just feel for a little while that I've done well or been funny or pleased someone else in some way that makes a lasting impression, I could stop this viscious cycle and get back down to the busienss of being me.

And here it comes. Mahler's genius in bringing in the trombones just when they're needed the most. Extraordinary.