Outsider Magic

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I was sitting at the table of my music class, trying not to burst into tears.

This, by the way, is not a great way to enter a male dominated field.

As a kind of ice breaker, we had been asked why we were interested in learning more about music or something along those lines.  At first, I was excited to hear people’s answers.  College, for me, felt like the first opportunity to really find like minded people with similar passions…I wasn’t just looking for an education, I was looking for my place in the world.

 A pack.

With each answer, it became obvious that this wasn’t where I was going to find it.

I can’t remember the exact answers, but I remember they all felt very cold to me. Very logical.

And seeing them applied to music, a creative and mystical experiance for me, felt like watching a beloved get dissected on a cold table in an auditorium.

When it came to be my turn I rasped out, not fulling hiding my tears: “Because if I don’t make it, I’ll go crazy.”

Music isn’t just something that I make, it’s something that moves through me.  Songs feel alive to me – not necessarily in a “this is a sentient being I can have a conversation with” but in a constantly evolving, playful sort of way.  I often feel like I tend my music catalog more than I have created it; and lyrics, melody, and rhythm will often change from solo performance to solo performance.

And sometimes, because my relationship with music is so unconventional and doesn’t look the way that other “successful” artistic types have made it, I second guess my viability as a career artist.  I worry that there is only one route to success that matters, and it is littered with the bodies of people more disciplined than me, harder workers than me, better guitar players than me. I have often started off the New Year with a resolution that was a thinly veiled “This is the year I become worthy of success”.

Maybe, (and I invite you to enter this space of possibility with me) I am not like those other artistic success stories because simply accumulating money and fans isn’t really what I’m here for.  

Hustle is not how you crack the heart of the world open.

Workaholism does not afford the time to meditate on the crossroads where we all must choose to bravely commit to our authentic journey, or to try and blend in with the crowd a little longer.

Busyness consumes the time in which even the subject for this blog post would be conceived and teased apart, much less written.

I could be frantically engaging in the latest popular challenge, and I would see bigger numbers faster – but that isn’t what I really want, and it’s not what you really want to see - is it?

There is a huge gap between starving artist and starlet in which to play and to become. For me, for you, I hope we have the courage to trust the expansiveness of possibility, even and especially when we don’t see it yet.

Abigail AndersonComment