Today, I am tired. I am worn out with fighting my kids’ schedules and mine.
I’m scared of how tired I am because in the back of my mind, I’m wondering if it’ll ever get easier and thinking all this may not be worth it. I could work my ass of for the next two years and be no more successful as a musician than I am now. Today is one of those days when I’m not really sure I’m good enough.
Tomorrow, I will try to get up at 5:30 and finally get up at 6. I’ll try to be a good mom and get my kids off to school with no drama or stress. I will drink my coffee and change over laundry that I know will probably end up sitting in the washer for a few days before it makes it to the dryer, then the laundry basket, then the floor before getting rewasheD without being worn because I don’t have time to fold it and put it away, and neither do they this week.
I will shower and get dressed and head in to work at the office of a friend who lets me use his computer because mine bit the dust a year ago.
I will write two articles for a couple of my many “side hustles.”
The next day, I will follow the same morning routine, but after I shower and dress I will spend the 50 minute drive to the studio trying to shut out anything except for what I want to accomplish with my songs that day.
I’ll come home, get my kids from whatever after school activities they have, try to feed them a snack before I drive them to the theater for opening night where I’ll bring snacks for all the other hungry kids, do hair and makeup, sit in the audience and watch them perform. We’ll get home at 10. I’ll get them fed dinner of some sort before collapsing into my bed.
I’ll get up Friday and do it all again, post some things on social media to get people excited and willing to come out and see one of the nearly 20 gigs in the next two months. I’ll worry that they’re tired of hearing about my shows, or that they’re ignoring my posts or just not seeing them at all because social media, like most other aspects of life, rewards those who can pay over those who can’t.
I’ll rush home just in time to slap on some alluring makeup and slinky clothes and tousle my hair before dashing out the door for the 90 minute drive to my gig where I’ll work for about 4.5 hours with 3 fifteen minute breaks during which I’m still working discussing the next songs we’ll play. “Do you have this one yet?” “Ugh, I hate that one, but we can do it.” I’ll mingle with the patrons and the staff – never really taking a true break.
I’ll finish my last set, spend a half an hour or so helping load out before driving the 90 minutes home at 2 a.m.
I don’t do it because I think I can be as big Lady Gaga or Madonna. I don’t want to be as big as them. I love the relative anonymity of walking around any given town known only to my somewhat small (but steadily growing) fan base. It almost makes it all the more special when someone asks “Weren’t you Patsy Cline?” or “Where’s your next show?”
I don’t do it for the money. If that’s the case, I’m a miserable failure. I’m barely able to cover my bills and have enough left over to support my locally owned coffee/cupcake shop at lunch a day or two a week for the caffeine break that is my own personal version of self care.
I do it because it’s what I love. I do it because I was made to create music. I do it because I love my kids, and I love my music. I could stop the grind. I could go back to a 9-5 job, but it wouldn’t pay much better than what I’m making, and I would lose one of the biggest parts of me that makes me…me.
So, the next time you’re out at a restaurant and a musician is playing, slip a $20…or $50…or $100 in the tip jar. Tell them “Thank you,” and let them know you listened and enjoyed it. Do it for me.
Tomorrow, I will be back to my kickass self, ready to take on the world. But today, I am desperate to know it’s gonna be okay, and I’m gonna make it, and it’s worth the hard work.