a priori/a posteriori

Monday, April 16, 2012

Recording an Album, 3 (3 pm on a Monday)

I wish I had a better update for you. Maybe I’ll write more after this. But it’s been a really rough past week, emotionally. Not in any sort of life-changing way. It’s just been a week of sensing adversity, and not responding well to it. Which is really annoying - y’know, since it’s up to me and all. I could be responding well to adversity right now. But I’m not. I’m just kind of doing nothing.

It’s not even terrible adversity. It’s just the adversity of knowing I’m going to have to look myself in the mirror on June 8 and 9.

That’s not even necessarily a bad thing. I’ve grown a lot in the past 18 months as a comic, and as a performer. And in the past 6 months in particular. I’ve written a lot, I’ve performed a lot.

Logically, it shouldn’t even matter what happens. Whether my shows on the 8th and 9th are fun, and go well, or they are a huge disappointment - either way, it’s a great thing for me to do. It’s a great chance to grow, and learn, even if it’s in the form of something seen from the outside as a “failure.”

So why can’t I just shut the hell up and get to work on it? Why can’t I get to work on this project? Why can’t I sit down and start putting together what exactly I want to say?

I don’t know. But I hate it. It’s been the same story since I was in 3rd grade. I remember not doing my homework in 3rd grade. I remember kind of wanting to, but just not doing it. I remember kids like my friend Conor, who were in CAP. CAP was “Communication Arts Plus” - the group of kids who were advanced readers and writers. And I remember being relieved that I wasn’t a part of that group, because they got extra work, and I didn’t want to get found out. I didn’t want the world to know that I wasn’t that smart.

At least I think that’s what I was thinking. Who knows how many times I’ve re-written my childhood by now. I’ve probably edited it more times than the Bible, just trying to make it fit into the story I want to tell about myself. How can I tell jokes and make points about the world if I’m not even sure what I was thinking in 3rd grade?

But I think that’s what I was thinking. I just didn’t want to get challenged. I never wanted to get found out. I’ve always been terrified of failure. It’s why I’ve never learned a second language. It’s why I never learned how to play an instrument. I can’t deal with the failure. So I just don’t do anything. So I don’t have to admit to the world I suck at anything.

Instead, I just suck at everything.

It’s 3 pm. On a Monday. The 16th. Of April. 2012.

Each of those five things are unique and specific reasons I am a piece of shit. Do you understand? I can’t even look at the time without hating myself for 5 different reasons.

Say what you will about how unproductive it is to hate yourself, but that’s impressive.

Lots of people drown out the voices in their head with booze, or other cliche’ vices like that. But much more often, they drown them out with something less public, and less sexy. They just watch four hours of Bravo every night, or that channel with all those shows about unsolved murders. Or they invest all their self-worth and emotional focus into Sports Teams A, B, and C. Because that’s the city where I grew up, goddammit, and that combination of colors means something to me!

I am fighting the urge to do that, because if I do - for whatever reason - I feel like I won’t be able to look myself in the mirror. I feel like I won’t want to blame myself, so to avoid the stare in the mirror, I’d quietly blame the woman I settle down with, or the co-workers at my office for not having the courage to admit they want more, too. I’ll hate whoever I need to, to avoid admitting that it was up to me the whole time.

There are people who want a husband or a wife, and want to have kids. I don’t hate them. I genuinely don’t. It makes me happy that they’re happy (just don’t have more than 2 or 3, or you’re being an asshole).

But I feel more and more like I don’t fit into that narrative. And I don’t know what that means. If I’m Charlie Chaplain, or Richard Pryor, or Plato or Socrates, then I feel like history will remember me as not being crazy, and delusional. But what if I just end up being some dude? What if I end up being some guy that makes CDs, and nobody really gives a shit, because my mind wasn’t that unique, and my life isn’t that special, and frankly, because the world didn’t need me in the first place?

The funniest part about this, to me, is how cliche’ my I’m-afraid-of-being-cliche’ fears are. I know I’m not alone on this. I know I have no right to complain. There have been thousands, and millions, of people before me who have felt the same way. We just don’t know what the hell the point is. And it’s frustrating. Maddening, even.

I don’t have a good answer. Except that, mercifully, we’ll all be dead soon. So I guess in the meantime, I might as well try to put on a few shows.

I imagine I’ll be happy again soon, maybe by the time I post this in about two minutes. But I wanted to make sure I captured this melo-dramatic version of myself. The past week has been brutal, emotionally. I’m not proud of how I’ve responded to the idea of capturing and documenting what I claim is my “life’s passion.” I should be happy about that...right?

But I am what I am. And if I’m an entitled, delusional, white-privileged, perspective-lacking cry-baby, then I want it documented. So here I am. I’m not responding well to adversity. Recording an album is scary.

Or, put in simpler terms: I’m failing.

Bryson Turner

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