On the 10,001st try
I don't really have a story today. Well, I have stories, I just don't have the energy to write one. I could feel my energy fade the moment I decided to write less about struggle and more about happy moments. What is it about happiness that is so boring. I am not depressed AT ALL. I have a fantastic live and I love being happy but it doesn't inspire me to write like struggle does. Most of my life has been one impossible battle after the next. Of course, I have been happy when I overcame whatever hardship I was facing but writing about how thrilled I was to accomplish something feels less exciting than telling you about all of the dragons I waylaid along the journey. I do see the beauty and wonder of life and appreciate all of the joy but it all blurs into the background behind the moments of pain. My daughter told me that she needed strong negative emotions to create something. Is it genetic or does everyone feel like this?
Sometimes I think it is the nature of life on earth. Every living thing has to fight for every scrap of life. Adversity makes life stronger. Not too much though, that could prove fatal. We need just enough to keep on pushing forward towards change. If we become too happy, then we grow fat, weak and useless. I saw a meme on the internet today that said "The difference between a novice and a master is the master has failed more times than the novice has even tried." That's how the laws of nature work. Everything grows through failure. It's hard to see it when you are in the middle of it. After you have risen above a bit, it's sometimes hard to remember where you were.
I remember standing on stage at one of the stadiums feeling particularly cynical. I hated pop music. I especially hated Japanese pop music. I didn't hate all of it, just the the stuff that was produced and marketed for mass consumption. It always seemed so empty of a soul, which was something I needed in music. I don't mean soul like Motown, of course, I mean the life energy each artist calls to themselves from extra dimensional sources. Jpop sounded like a long string of different musicians singing the same chords and melodies. I felt this way despite being on stage with one of the countries biggest pop stars.
One day we were about to begin one of the band's newer songs, "Nando Demo". The lyrics were about getting back up and fighting the good fight no matter how many times you fall. The chorus went, "If you fall 10,000 times, On the 10,001 time you stand up, something might change." It was a happy, uplift pop tune, the kind I felt particularly allergic to until I was smacked hard across the forehead. When the intro of the song began, a woman sitting in the front row, just in front of me, began to cry like she was releasing all of her pain into that moment. When I saw that I realized how much of an ass I had been. The music we were playing meant something power to that woman. It allowed her to channel whatever darkness was eating her up inside out to be carried off by the sound of us singing on stage. I had been a fool to be so cynical. Her tears tore me down so that I could stand up again a new man.
Now I know that the truth of life is struggle and the truth of artistic creation, like music, was to build worlds into which people could temporarily release their hardship. From that day on, I treated each performance not as a professional on duty but as an angelic messenger carrying out the will of the universe.
Someday I will tell you how I went from tea fetcher to performer. It was a long and very arduous road upon which I fell and got beat down many many times. After every stumble, I stood up and kept moving forward.
(Obviously that isn't a photo of me. It is a photo of Kelvin Sweby from British rock band, The Heavy. He was a very cool guy and very interesting to talk to. He gave me permission to take his photo.)