This post from March of 2004 kind of sums up that entire year. March would have been, oh… 10 months after I graduated college, and I was no closer to getting into grad school. If I recall, I still had the inclination that I would somehow get there, but time and motivation, not to mention my chops, were rapidly falling away. That period was Reeva Dubois at her most bitter. Of course, I hated waiting tables, but I was so enamored with independence and self-sufficiency that I refused, I say REFUSED, to make good choices.
It’s kind of an embarrassing post to read, though. Was I really that immature? Besides the fact that I spend a lengthy paragraph whining about how my teachers and peers didn’t support me like they were supposed to (I mean, HOW DARE THEY NOT KISS MY ASS ALL THE TIME!), I sure enough wove an immense tapestry of excuses for my failures, none of which point the finger at my lazy, insecure, douche-baggy face.
At the end of the post, I wrote about hoping the regret would gradually slip away. Well, it hasn’t… really, but the feeling is somehow different. I don’t regret skipping out on grad school necessarily. What I regret is not having the cajones to just DO IT… “it” being what I loved. Now, I’m pleased with the knowledge that I no longer blame anyone for the fiesta del failure that became my life post-grad; not even myself. I’ve let it go.
Ok, so i've discovered - quite by accident - that all i do is work. Work Work Work. I have logged almost 40 hours of work in four days - last time i checked, that wasn't legal for unsalaried labor. I have Three shifts left to work, and it doesn't look like i will have to work them, which is good, because that means i will have a couple of unexpected days off. The off days will hurt my bank account, but my feet are in utter ecstasy. They scream as if to say, "Why, you fat heifer, why!?!" They don't understand that if i don't run them ragged, i don't get to do fun things like pay rent.
Today, one of the singers that i used to accompany in school came into the restaurant to surprise me. Totally unexpected. I was touched that she made a special trip just to see me. She asked when i was off - and i responded, never, she laughed, and i was like, i'm not kidding. But anyway, she asked what i was doing and blah blah, i told her, and for the first time, someone informed me that giving up on grad school was not a good decision. After i explained stuff to her, she was less opinionated on the subject, but the damage was done. I think that the people i talk to often, who have heard the whole story, have conceded to NO Grad school, just like me. But everytime i tell someone who hasn't seen me in awhile, they act all surprised and shocked, and they want to know Why Why Why - and they say the worst thing they could ever say - "Ryan, you are SOOOO talented - why are you throwing it away." Its like kryptonite! The second those poisonous words are spoken, the doubts rush in again - and of course, they were always there. Somehow, i have managed to find ways to push them sooo far back, that i don't hear them anymore. I knew that these moments would occur, but not so soon, and not soo strong. I mean, grad school is definitely not an option for next year, i've already missed the deadlines, but how does my brain cope with this double jeopardy. I feel like my brain is argueing with itself all the time.
Maybe, just maybe, i studied in an environment that wasn't supportive enough. Musicians are so screwed when it comes to self-esteem. The people that know you get tired of telling you how good you are, probably because the last thing they want to do is inflate your ego - i mean, lets face it, musicians can barely control thier ego by themselves. My parents are so unmusical, that after about 8th grade, they didn't even know if i was good. And, yes, the congrats and hugs and kisses after a performance are gratifying, but you come to realize that people are going to congratulate you whether you did well or not. What are they gonna do, come to you afterwards and say, "Congrats - you sucked." No, they wouldn't. So you begin to feel as if all those words are insincere, just sort of something people are supposed to do after a performance. I spent the last year of college playing wwwaaaayy too much, and my self-esteem actually went down! I'm not saying that perfect strangers who tell me how talented i am doesn't make me feel good, it does. But musicians need to hear that from their peers and teachers, the people that actually know! And i just never heard it enough, i guess. I heard a lot of, "Yes, that was good, but we have more work to do," or, "That was a really difficult piece - you gave it a good go." Ummm Thanks?
Anyway - i guess this decision will never rest easily in my mind. I know that i have to just suck up the regret that will inevitably come, but i'm really mad at myself for literally walking into like a spiderweb.