Choosing your life is choosing your mindset
By a tryly independent artist
I don’t know about you, but choosing a creative life is not as easy as it seems. Yes, it’s true! I do envy people who go to work, do what is asked, and come back home feeling achieved, secured and fulfilled. I am aware that we always believe that life is better on the other side, you might believe that I’m living this cool and fun life and in return have your own envies about me. It goes without saying that yes, some days in this life of mine are crazy, with ups that you couldn’t even imagine, the feeling of truly being alive comes in so many different shapes and forms, but it can change just like that! One day you are at your day job, being totally misunderstood with people making fun of your goals and dreams, and the next day your song is playing on the radio, where you are being introduced to the world by the presenter. When I told my manager in my last full time job that I was quitting, she told me that I was getting older and should think about getting a “real career”, I told her to not worry about me, that I would be fine and thanked her. She just confirmed that I was making the right decision (although sometimes a kick in the butt doesn’t hurt). Yes, life is special like that.
When it comes down to the process of creation, I prefer the idea of creating for no reason, writing a song just because. Although that idea sounds amazing, it often doesn’t make you fully productive. As you tend to put things off, one week down the line you are mad at yourself for not getting it done, “I call myself a songwriter and I haven’t written anything in a month”, “maybe I'm not good at it anymore”. At this point, it’s your self-esteem that is down, and as they say in French C’est un circle vicieux, it’s a vicious circle. The more you start questioning yourself, the more you feel like a fraud, pretending you could when really you couldn’t.
What if we could stop all of this, right before it started?
I used to take any day job I could get when I ran out of money, work it, save money, and quit again. I thought that I needed time to focus, to create, to concentrate, that I didn’t have when I was working. Mentally, working full time does take a lot even if you don’t really care about the next promotion. The problem was that I was never focused on the right things. I kept feeling like I always ran out of time and that I needed more. The problem was that I didn’t manage it properly and I spent years and years of doing the same things over and over, it just didn't work, I had to do to a reality check, like a business person look at what works, change what didn't. Let my ego, my "sorry for myself " and change HOW I do things.
You see, the problem was that the minute I quit a job I started to think that I have to make something happen or else I'll have to go back to a day job, or else I will run out of money. All my energy was in the future, what will happen? What if I fail? And it was based in the realm of money and nothing else. I have supported myself since I turned 18 years old, and believe me, I know the feeling of not having any money, it’s scary! I didn’t grow up poor but putting myself into that “starving artist" mentality translated to mountains of stress.
The fear of not having enough money symbolized failure (I googled it). If I ran out of money I would then have to go back to work, and the pattern repeated itself until I dealt with that fear. What was I so scared of? Not being the person I expected myself to be. Why haven’t I been successful yet (in my perspective)? I have been there so many times and if there is one thing that I am good at it is finding a Job (I love going to interviews)! For example; when we moved to Spain with the band, I had 3 job, I didn't even speak Spanish; I was a Tour guide, English teacher in a school (yes, I had the interview in Spanish), and an online session singer and songwriter. Nowadays, whenever I go back to that fearful state, I remind myself of that time, think about that girl, look back of what I have accomplished so far, of the person I am, let go of the negative thoughts, become grateful for everything that have and all the love I have recieved and ask myself what else can I accomplish? Get rid of all the expectations you put on yourself and deal with what bothers you. Why do you keep repeating the same pattern? Change the story, isn’t that the beauty of life, every day is a new day, we get to start again, repair, refresh, do better, listen, enjoy, repeat. No need to be too hard on yourself, instead celebrate your accomplishements, you are doing well.
It takes 3 weeks for something to become a new habit, try it out! Transform yourself into the person you want to be, live the life you want to live. Set yourself goals and if it’s difficult for you to keep them try baby steps but start and Be kind to yourself.