In Shadows Of Denial
Now that my 3rd year of college is finally over, I have gained two weeks of freedom before the summer semester starts. The very first thing that came to mind is, “Oh, that’s great, I finally have the time to work on all of the music I’ve been wanting to do since forever but never had the time to,” yet this cycle has gone on and on to the end of time to not much avail. Not once have I spent some sort of break feeling that I made the most out of it, or at least was satisfied of what I was able to do. I’m 21 years old now, and it’s been three years since I last felt like I was progressing in music in a direction I could grasp.
Three years too long. It’s high time I thought about this for a moment.
With the help of philosophy classes in my university, I was able to begin questioning many things around me — things I never bothered noticing the first time around. I am applying that now to my current predicament. Why is it that I always feel a need to create more and more music? When I have any amount of free time, that’s the pressure that subconsciously hits me like a brick. Yes, it is true that I have planned so many songs, albums and whatnot. Yes, I have not been delivering anything recently the way I wish to.
However, now I begin to question this: what is my true motive? What is it that I really want? Why am I pressuring myself to do this and what am I supposed to gain out of it?
An answer comes to me. It’s the same answer that had always been there since years past. Unfortunately, I’m not satisfied with it, not anymore. Art is art when it is appreciated by an audience, or so I was told. At the very beginning of this journey into music composition, my audience was my best friend who encouraged me the whole way through as I kept sending him concepts and tracks of my music. From there I moved on to the rest of the internet, as far as Newgrounds Audio and YouTube could take me. They took me pretty far — I met people and made a few connections. These experiences told me that all I had to do was find the median point between what I wanted and what the world was looking for in order to grow and succeed at the same time. Growth, success, skill, reputation, presence.
Making a name for myself.
Is this what I wanted? ’cause I don’t want it anymore.
I don’t mean to say I’m giving up on music. Nor do I want to stay in the shadows and not be recognized. It’s just that, the way that I was wanting it back then was … wrong. I had begun to lose track of myself. Whatever balance between being myself and catering to the public had been heavily skewed towards the latter. I wouldn’t allow myself to go beyond what is expected of me, sticking to composing styles that have become more and more stale with automatic, reflex, mindless usage. Trying to get a dead horse to run.
The thing that I must admit though, is that this skewed perspective is mostly my doing. I confess to having an inflated ego that tells me, “Oh no, I have to work on this album and that album since my fans are getting sooooo disappointed waiting for me. I have so much to make up for!” and some shit like that. I imagine the world is waiting for me.
The truth is, this pressure I feel … it doesn’t even exist.
While it’s true that there must be very few who are actually waiting for the music I put out, a part of me was never able to understand that I can still be human. I can fuck up. The world isn’t perfect and so aren’t people. Growing and maturing is a constant process that never, ever stops. Mistakes are there for us to learn, but they’re not for looming over your very being, haunting you day and night and never letting you be truly at peace.
I am weak. As a youthful child brimming with passion and dreams I was able to put out so many things in a small amount of time. I promised things that at the moment I feel I could reach. I felt invulnerable. Here I am, seven years later from when I really started this journey — sad, tired and self-pitying over my inability to ride a dead horse.
The silliest thing that I have done in that amount of time is to stick to that dead horse, without ever glancing to my sides and seeing that there are many other horses for me to ride. Horses I’ve never ridden before, sure, but new experiences in and of themselves.
New paths to race on. New obstacles to tackle. New joys to experience.
New ways to live.
Music had always been about expression. I forgot about that and how important it is. I know that I can never go back to how I used to be, making things like video game remixes as I did before. It’s just not possible to replicate the exact same style, specifically because as people, we learn new things. It is in those new things that we grow, and it is within that growth where you experience the best kind of success.
From hereon out, that’s what I want. That’s what I’ll aim for.
I know that the best of me lies within there.