Friday, October 28, 2011

I've had quite a week! Two nights ago I did perhaps the best show of my life so far, performing my first piano-vocal duo-show together with my keyboard player Alan Markley. Also, a week ago I gave a successful lecture, my first ever, where I debuted two new songs accompanying myself on guitar in front of an audience for the first time.

I've really been pushing through fears and insecurities and expanding my life in these past few weeks... I've been using a machete to hack at all the negative voices in my head that keep telling me that I'll never be able to succeed, that I'll never be able to do the things that I want to do, that I'll never be able to fulfill my dreams, that I will never be able to become who I want to be. I've drowned out so many of these voices already, and yet there is still much more to do. Perhaps it doesn't matter as much anymore where these voices came from--what matters is that they have to go. They're not factual, they're not real, and what's more important: they're not me. What I want to learn now is to make victory laps, to really celebrate my accomplishments instead of feeling guilty about them.

The Finnish culture taught me this:
"Oma kehu haisee." Loosely translated: "Complimenting yourself stinks."
"Vaatimattomuus kaunistaa." Loosely translated: "Modesty makes you prettier."(What??)
"Kell'onni on, se onnen kätkeköön." Loosely translated: "Whoever has happiness, they should hide it."
Having learned to think for myself in recent years, I think all those sayings suck ass. I think complimenting yourself is healthy, confidence makes you prettier, and happiness should be shared.

So, today I choose to concentrate on the progress that I'm making and the victories won through my hard work. It is an old mechanism in me that makes me apologetic after accomplishing great things in my life. I'd much rather keep making myself stronger and stronger through any successes I may have, than grovel out of guilt and a feeling of undeservedness. I do deserve success and happiness! We all do. Our successes are not anyone else's losses, they are simply our frickin' triumphs and a reason for us to be proud and happy for ourselves. Fuck anyone who can't share in our joy or tries to tell us any different.

Friday, October 21, 2011

nur·tur·ance (nûrchr-ns)
n. The providing of loving care and attention.

How utterly important this is for all of us!

All throughout my life, I have been put into anxiety-inducing situations such as live performances and interviews on TV and radio, concerts in front of high-power record label executives, high-level public appearances, with very little nurturance. No one ever taught me to do these things, or even offered me pointers, advice or support. I was just basically pushed onto the stage to do my thing, sink or swim. My first live appearance as an artist was at the age of 13 on one of the biggest live TV-shows in Finland. I do not remember having gotten any words of encouragement, preparation or even a private rehearsal in advance. I was just expected to set aside my nerves and perform, even at that young age. Inevitably, that performance left me with a feeling of sinking rather than swimming, and I hope to never have to watch the damn thing. I don't know that I ever actually have.

This kind of thing leaves scars. It left me with a bad association regarding performing--a feeling of inadequacy and aloneness. Despite the fact that I have developed into a world-class singer and a great performer throughout the years, this feeling of unpeacefulness has lingered.

This week perhaps for the first time I discovered that I don't have to be alone with my trepidations regarding challenges that I face in life. For the first time I received nurturance, support and help with preparation before a new task, and it totally altered the experience for me. This is what I've been missing all my life!

We all need encouragement and soothing, and someone who believes in us. The first time doing anything is challenging, but with the help of a healthy and loving friend, any challenge can be turned into an exciting adventure. The idea is to expand in life, to get through fears and constantly make life more fulfilling... Through nurturance from others we learn to nurture ourselves, and to me that seems to be the key to all the good stuff in life.(!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

I think that artists and freelancers are often envied because of the apparent looseness of their schedules, and the presumed ease with which they go about their business. They seemingly build their lives however they like, and the assumption is that it's all just very bohemian and artsy and cool. Everything about it looks very effortless and chic on the outside. I mean, even I assume this as I observe other artists.

But I trust that any artist who really wants to be serious about their work and their life, has to at some point become pretty structured about it. It can't just be loose and laid-back: we all need to show up, when we tell ourselves we will, and also learn to stop and let go of the work regularly as well. Otherwise, we'll be living with a lot of inner turmoil, with nagging shoulds of one sort or another in the back of our brains, day after day... Unfortunately I know this feeling first-hand.

An artist life that works, probably ends up looking much like a 9 to 5 job. When I have no structure, I end up feeling like I'm working All The Time; and thus exhausted, I'm probably not accomplishing as much. It's a hole I want to climb out of. Now. Also, it is easy to procrastinate, when no one is keeping me in check... It is easy to whittle away the hours, seemingly doing things, while not really accomplishing the stuff that I want to.. but it's got a serious consequence: my goals will not be reached. Yikes!

We all need a breather from our work--some time to grow, time to enjoy life, time to explore... By structuring my life better and creating free time, I believe I'll be a lot happier and more effective too. I feel very excited about this actually! I already see light at the end of the tunnel!

It is a learning process to balance an artist life, but it can be done. It's just not as bohemian and loose as it seems.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Feelings are like clouds floating by in the sky, some of them taking a little longer than others to dissolve, morph, disappear. Anger, sadness and fear, but also joy, serenity and love are all transitory emotions. None of them stick; they are all just passing through. Provided, I guess, that we aren't rigidly holding on to them.

I'm slowly getting acquainted with my feelings again, after suppressing them for most of my life. In the past, any time some more complicated emotions came up, I would always try to get rid of them and control them, which ended up turning them into anxiety. This is a complicated affair and is still challenging to understand, but it's starting to make more and more sense to me... When one distracts or diverts oneself with horrific fears, one can't actually see what the fuck is Really going on in one's life. Thus there is no need to fix what's wrong.

So, I am learning to let my feelings in, whatever they are. No more irrational fears to disguise what I'm feeling. Come in, pass through, go away.

And here's what I'm feeling: I am angry at all men. I kill them all on the train, in the park, in the streets (in my head of course, NOT in reality). Any guy I see from the corner of my eye or opposite me on the subway--I'll have a sword through them in no time. Anyone with a dick is fair game. Now that's a healing technique the self-help-books won't teach me!

So that's pretty scary, isn't it? I can see why that shit was hard for me to let in/out. But if I don't deal with the emotion, feel it and let it out, it will continue to fester within me, and the pressure-cooking continues...

No more pressure-cooking. I'm done with that shit.
I do not intend to be angry at men for the rest of my life. But being that this feeling in fact exists within me, I welcome it and look forward to saying goodbye to it. In the end, dealing with the feeling is a hell of a lot better than freaking myself out needlessly. True story.