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Maybe I can learn to pray again..

photo by @katharinamuessle

I stopped playing music a few months ago when I discovered that the heaviness/burden I felt around it was actually because I was using performing to prove my worth. It feels like something in me switched off.. I'm not going to sing as long as the reason why I'm singing is to prove my worth. I understood my lifelong struggle with putting myself out there, the inner conflict, wanting to succeed so bad but not actually doing what it takes to succeed, not committing.. there was too much riding on it: my worth as a human being. That's simply too much pressure.. I've no idea what it means for my musical expression going forward but I cannot sing as long as singing is supposed to fix my self-worth issues. Unless I feel a genuine longing to sing for no other reason than singing itself, I'm not going to do it.. I might never sing again.

At the same time I'm experiencing very intense waves of grief, envy and longing when I witness those around me moving with music in an effortless way, bringing their gifts, sharing themselves.. I long for that sense of carefree musical expression..

See, I've been really really hurt in my journey with music. I had a gift and very early on I was told/taught that this gift is supposed to do stuff for me.. There were people who believed in me, who stopped believing in me; there were people who said awful things about me ("she sings well, but if only she wasn't so fat"); there were people who ridiculed me (during exams); there were people who haven't supported me the way I would've hoped. I have faced "failure" over and over again, failed recording projects, disappointments in collaborations; broken dreams... for more than 20 years now.. Never "discovered", never catapulted into a music career of my dreams, never quite good enough...

My "entry point" into music wasn't entertainment thought, it was healing. Music literally saved my life. It helped me feel through things that I wouldn't have known how to feel otherwise. It helped me express things I had no idea how to express. There's a song for every heartbreak, loss, every hardship I've ever been through.. whether I wrote it or adopted it.. And so even during the theater times it was never just about entertainment, it was about making people feel something, it was about giving them and myself the opportunity to touch places in ourselves that otherwise would seem untouchable and would remained untouched, frozen.. That's all I ever wanted, that's what it always was about - to give others the solace I have received from music of artists I was listening to...

But not "achieving" anything on a larger scale has been demoralizing and paralyzing.. If all I want to do is share my medicine, but no one actually wants my medicine, then what's the point of sharing it? As I'm re-reading these words a question pops up: "Do I even want it myself? For myself?"

I don't know exactly why it became about others in the first place.. Why it was never enough to just play for myself? When did my voice become burdened with the task of proving my worth? If no one would ever hear me sing, would I still do it? And if not, then what does that mean? Does it only matter if it's shared? Why? What would it mean if it was just for me? What if my voice was given just for me? To heal myself and no one else? To just express myself and for no other purpose? What does that mean?

When I made these discoveries during a vocal workshop I wept and wept: If it's not for proving my worth, if it cannot bring me money, success, fame, if it cannot make me feel loved and worthy, then what is it for?

Maybe I will be lucky to find out...

Maybe I can learn to pray again...

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