You know you want to touch me.
Then why won't you?
"You are the face of trauma and disappointment."
No, I'm not. I gave you focus. I gave you purpose. I gave you stories to tell.
"To who? Children I never had? Brothers and sisters I never had? People who have grown away or out of my life who have their own lives and stories to tell?
To who will listen. You are more interesting than you think.
"No, I'm not. I'm just another person on this earth who never lived up to their potential, whose gifts were squandered on the wrong people, projects, and lovers. Who got screwed over and left behind. Who is watching friends die, knowing my time is coming, too."
Have you not traveled the country with me? Have you not played prestigious events, gracing stages in legendary venues, making us come alive?
"Yeah. Like so many others. So what? That was long ago. No one cares."
Then why do your parents tell anyone who will listen for more than 2 minutes about you being a rock star? Why do your friends respect and support you?
"Because that's what parents do. I am not a rock star. Never was. I was a kinda-known regional musician, sort of. My friends love me for who I am and will support what I do like I do for them. They may have thought my music was terrible."
Then why were you on the radio and picked for conferences and other special events?
"That was sheer hustle."
If so many others were doing it, then why did so many of them not have done the things that you have done? It's more than hustle. Why are you arguing against your achievements?
"Okay, you have a point. But that was long ago. I was one of very few doing what I did, and no one remembers. I get no props."
How is it my fault that you equate social relevancy to what drew you to me in the first place? That once you felt the outside world had moved on, you gave up on me? You gave some people more grace than you're showing me, and they did you dirty.
"Because I can forget them. I can't avoid you."
You HAVE avoided me.
"Every time I see something that reminds me of when I was active, it's like a needle in my heart. When I hear a song from one of my bands or a song from a favorite artist I used to cover comes on the radio. When I see great concert pictures or read an interview of a musician I admire. When I hear a song with a great bassline that I know I can play. When I hear a terrible performance, and I know I can do it better. When I see kids my age when I started all over the internet playing their hearts out."
That's when your hands scream for me. So does your ego. But instead of scratching that itch, letting your fingers do their magic, you bite your nails down to the quick and drink too much wine. Why?
"Because you are another thing that I have failed at."
You were great at me. Maybe you didn't fail. Maybe people failed you. This world has shown it needs its creatives but will shit on them at every opportunity. You know this. Why are you letting it beat you down? You still have a lot to offer.
"I can't compete. I'll never be as good as I once was; I won't stand out, especially with everything on the internet. I believe I write well, and it is saving me mentally, but I also feel like I'm writing into the void. I feel like I'll never be able to catch up with technology, and even if I did, I don't have the confidence to put myself out there."
That sounds like a "you" problem, not a "me" problem. If you feel you are too old, too fat, and too ugly, I can't help with that. If I gave you something to hide behind, gave you that shield, gave people something to look at other than "just you", I'd say that worked well for as long as it did. I gave you confidence. If you put that away when you put me in my case, that's on you. At some point, you have to take ownership of your insecurities and do something about it. FOR YOU. If you think nobody cares, no one is listening, and nobody is watching, then LIVE like that. What do you have to lose? If the past is painful, appreciate the present and craft the future you want.
"What if I fail again?"
Those who love you will continue to do so. Those who support you will continue to do so. Those that won't, can be forgotten, right? It would be best if you defined what success means to you in order to consider yourself a failure. If success is by someone else's standards, then you have damned yourself before you've even begun. Right?
You've done a lot of self-work. Many never do that. So that is an achievement. That is a win.
"That doesn't pay the bills."
You have always found a way to do that. Life and karma have been good to you in that way because you aren't an asshole. You took care of people. You helped others when you were barely surviving. Money will come and go. And the self-work has made you a better person. You also downplay your struggles. You've been through a lot, and you need to acknowledge that and give yourself some credit and grace for getting through it...
"My struggles pale against others."
Didn't your friend - who fought cancer three times - tell you never to compare your pain to someone else's because it's not a competition? Your pain is your own, and do not downplay it because your pain matters?
"Yes. She did say that because she knew I was hurting, but I didn't want to talk about it because of what she was going through. The fact that she gave me that support when she was suffering blew my mind. It's so unfair that someone like that can pass away while so many evil people seem to live forever..."
That is a sad truth. You're going through some things mentally and emotionally now, and I am still your best therapist.
Then touch me.
"I'll play three notes and then cry my heart out..."
Then cry. Bring your pain to me. Write with me again. Get those words off of the paper and onto my strings. I got you through a shitty adolescence, turbulent young adulthood, and difficult marriages that both ended in death. If I handled your sweat and blood, I can handle your tears. This is your chance. You have a new chapter in life. You feel your mortality more than ever, so make these coming years count, whatever they may bring. Okay?
About the Creator
Gen X writer of published music reviews now putting my fiction, non-fiction & the occasional poem out there. Every piece I write, regardless of genre, is a challenge accepted, and crafted with care and love. Sit a spell & enjoy!
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!