Being at peace with being nobody – part 2

This is part 2 of this article, for proper context, see part 1….

So there I am, browsing youtube, looking at videos of people playing like SRV, and that familiar feeling of dread starts rising up inside of me.  "I need to start practicing, I need to catch up. I need to be better than them all"  But rather than indulge those feelings, I began to step back and ask some tough questions.

Why do I feel the need to be the best guitar player?
If I was the best, what would I want people to say about me?
Why would I want them to say it?
If I was the best and nobody knew it, would I still be happy?

As I began to think about these questions, I realized that the desire to be the best and get attention has been a major driving force in my life.  It has caused me to have bad experiences watching other bands because I have a hard time being in the crowd and not on stage.  To this day, I don’t really enjoy watching live blues music, because it’s so hard for me to just be there in the crowd, like any other normal person.  I know that I could get on stage and play just as good if not better than whoever’s up there playing guitar.

But why should that stop me from enjoying the show?
Why is it so hard to see someone else getting attention for their skill?

The hard truth

Thinking about these things is very hard.  It’s uncomfortable.  But so is being jealous.  It’s hard to be at a good show and want to walk out because something inside of you is screaming "I SHOULD BE UP THERE", "I CAN DO THAT TOO", "LOOK AT ME!!", "PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!".

I don’t ever remember wishing I was on a "best-dressed" list.  Because I don’t care.  I enjoy dressing nice because I like the clothes.  I could care less if I’m known for it. But why? Because I don’t think that how I dress makes me any more valuable to anyone.  I know it doesn’t make me any more important.  I am not a better person when I dress well. Through the uncomfortable simplicity of logic, I therefore realized the following hidden truths about myself:

I think that my guitar playing makes me more valuable as a person.

I think that my guitar playing makes me more important.

I believe I am a better person because I play guitar well.

I have a tremendous need to appear "special" to people and I believe that my guitar playing makes me "special".

Some part of me still believes that I was supposed to be the one to "make it" as the next young blues guitar sensation.

Where do I go from here?

God help me…..

 

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3 thoughts on “Being at peace with being nobody – part 2

  1. Wow, Anthony, your honesty is amazing. I love it. I know that we probably all deal with stuff like this, but are unable to recognize it or verbalize it like you do. God just loves a humble heart. I remember hearing something at a seminar one time that struck me at the time. It is our responsibility to deepen our calling or gift or ministry, it is God’s responsibility to broaden it. (I’m not sure that’s exactly how he said it, but something like that.) You are going through the deepening process right now.

  2. Patrick says:

    Damn, this is hard hitting. I’m sort of getting over the same thing. I used to be obsessed with mastering the guitar. Wanted to be “special.”
    But over the last half year the desire has just been slowly fading away. Leaves one kind of empty.

  3. Michael says:

    Hmm I think about this one quite a bit. I kind of look at the people who are successful at music/sport/whatever and to me it comes easily because it’s almost as if everything conspired to make it happen that way. They were always destined to have that talent. Maybe the talent developed more because of a lack of other talents or opportunities? If I was going to be the next SRV it would have happened without me (over)trying to make it happen.

    Everyone has a different path. Being on a stage and famous isn’t always a good yard stick of success. You could do more good by influencing people through a website or by helping someone cope with life by encouraging them to pick up their guitar again. Just some thoughts.

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