Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Double Edged Sword

Over the past few weeks, I've had a lot of time to think about my life. I'm fully aware of the decisions I've made, specifically choosing to pursue my dreams in music. However, these days it becomes blatantly apparent that this lifestyle choice not only affects me, but also everyone around me. It's directly impacted friendships, intimate relationships, and my relationship with family members. I think to myself, on one hand, I should be proud that I stuck to my guns and didn't conform to the conventional life everyone expects me to. It's not so much that I don't have the capacity to put on a shirt and tie, (hell I do when I'm on stage) but I refuse to work for a company that will exploit me, pay me less than I'm worth, and barely acknowledge my contributions. Yet, as I invest all my time, energy, and capital into music, I often find myself either sacrificing something or altogether broke. At what point do you say it's time to shift gears?

By no means am I giving up on music or even implying that I will. What I am saying though, is that I have to take a much more serious look at how this impacts my day to day. One specific situation comes to mind where I know deep down, music may have been the demise of a relationship. Not so much the music itself, but the decisions I chose thereafter. Long story short, after getting into a car accident in 03, I decided to focus on music and haven't worked a "regular job" since. I went from teaching in a private school everyday to pursuing my music and creating an inconsistent, but good side hustle. Hustle of the legal kind that is. I meshed my love of music and knowledge in education and started doing curriculum development. Thing is, this side hustle brought in great money, but it wasn't enough to balance everything in my life. What happened next is a snowball effect of misunderstandings, bad communication, arguments, and finally a heart wrenching split.

I fully accept accountability for the decisions I've made. I firmly stand by them. I'm just not sure if they were best. I think to myself, is it worth not working and just doing music? Is it possible to do both? I personally know people that have a real passion to do music, but because of their 9-5 commitments, their love is more like a hobby. My worst fear is that I'm like them. Actually, prior to the accident, I was one of them. The folks that dream, but never get to realize them. The folks that want to grind, but only get in the studio a few times a month if even that much. I'm aware that the past few sentences are skewed in my favor, but between my personal experience of "surviving" and their experience of working, I think I have a balanced perspective.

When you get down to the root, what I'm really saying is that something will ultimately suffer. There's always going to be a trade off. For instance, I have already accepted that when I become a music mega star and mogul, I'll never be able to do normal things. Kanye said it best on "Welcome To Heartbreak" when he recites "My god sister getting married by the lake/ but I couldn't figure out who I wanna take/ Bad enough that I showed up late/ I had to leave before they even cut the cake/ Welcome to Heartbreak." Whether you like Hip-Hop's resident brat or not, those are some of the most sincere words ever uttered by a rapper. It's ill not because of the lyrics per se, but the conflict he illustrates between balancing stardom and his personal life. Getting back to my point though, it's tough. I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry to the unintentional victims of my decisions. For your sake, I wish it didn't have play out this way.

Maybe my real issue is time management. Who knows? I'll end with a little anecdote that doesn't necessarily fit into this whole post, but does in a weird way. The other day while email chatting, someone asked, "why'd you spend all that time in college if it isn't to get a job". My response was, "for me. It wasn't a means to a corporate job, but because I wanted to." Maybe that's the difference between me and most people. I do what I want to get what I want, while others just follow the pre-structed "Matrix" patterns. However, the real question is, what happens when you don't get the results you want?


Ms. Liryc said...

"I do what I want to get what I want, while others just follow the pre-structed "Matrix" patterns." Your words not mine, but this goes against your post about finding a balance between something you enjoy and something you love. Money should never be the means or rather the reason why you want to do something, but it is the added bonus. If you loved and enjoyed teaching in addition to music, there was no way that there couldn't have been an equal partnership b/w.. again you do what you want to get what you want.

But to play devils advocate, bad choice of words but lets use them in this instance, if things don't pick up and progress forward (though I hope they do) do you think you can go back and do what you enjoyed while still working on what you love??

The Incomparable Shakespeare said...

I think there is a minor misunderstanding here. In saying, "I do what I want to get what I want", I wasn't refering to money, but rather the pursuit of success through music. Bad choice of words I suppose. I also don't believe success necessarily equates to $$. Success for me is having an impact and touching people. As far as teaching, I enjoyed being in the classroom, but I personally think I'm more effective teaching the same lessons behind a mic.

Thing is, music is progressing nicel, but it's my personal life that suffers. So that's the hardest thing to balance and it definitely pays it's toll emotionally