Making art

My friend Janna wrote this on Facebook:

Do you ever hesitate at the threshold of these big stories and songs… like, because you know that if you go in, you have to give yourself over and let them take you, and that’s a whole kind of ordeal?

They go deep and wake up the part of me that is desperately in love with being alive, and then somehow I feel worse afterwards because I am holding all of this love and don’t know what to do with it. I sometimes feel the weight of love like pain, I guess. When I am alone with it.

Another piece of my resistance to powerful songs and stories has to do with the wide-awake, deeply feeling, true-seeing part of myself that gets woken up by them, and the fact that I don’t find a lot of places with room for that part of me… or places where that part of other people is allowed to wake up in them.

So then, I find myself avoiding the art and music that moves me most because of this way that it makes me feel lonelier. But I think this is a pretty bad decision. It makes my life smaller.

Anyway, I wonder you can relate, and if so, how you contend with it. Like, if you keep exposing yourself to the art and music and stories that really move you. Or if you refrain until you have a medium for that resulting love.

And I responded:

That really resonates for me. For much of my life, when I’ve started to move towards something I’ve really wanted, I’ve been hit by a big wave of grief over not having nurtured it consistently from the start. And fear at allowing myself to want it so desperately.

The other day I had an amazing voice coaching session with Susie Rode Morris. It was so joyful and so many things fell into place — big progress! And then the rest of the day was a mess, I could hardly function, and I went to bed with a migraine.

Somehow I haven’t felt that way with the songs I’ve written this year. It’s been hard to make time for them, to let them be imperfect, to let them unfold… but the process has pretty much just been pure engagement and a kind of amazement that it’s happening again after so long.

So I think it depends on the thing, and how deep the messages are within myself that I’m not allowed to have it. For me, singing has the deepest roots of “you will never be good at this, why are you even trying” while at the same time it has the deepest inner voice of “you must do this for the good of your soul — and to share what the world needs to hear from you”. Which is why it’s taken me so painfully long to get good at it at all.