Confession: Every once in a while, depression comes around and steals my joy. It shows no mercy and it tells me lies about myself that I, unfortunately, start to believe. Sadness turns into defeat. Defeat turns into hopelessness and pain. Pain turns into anger and anger turns into hope. If you’re lucky, that hope helps you fight back. They don’t call depression a battle for nothing. It’s a straight up war with yourself and the world it builds around your brain. Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m human and if you’re an avid reader of The Daily Listening, chances are, you are too.
A large part of the reason why I’ve been feeling so miserable lately is due to the fact that I feel like I’m not enough – for this industry and honestly, in all aspects of life – and that I’ll never be as great as I want to be. I’ve been feeling like I solely exist to suffer while everyone else is acing this test we call life as I sit back and wonder what I’m doing wrong. I’ve been clinging to Garbage‘s “Empty” off of their new record, Strange Little Birds, so dearly as it poignantly mirrors everything I’ve been feeling lately. It only proves just how much I love Shirley Manson and why Garbage has been my absolute favorite band since I was 14. It’s like she always knows exactly how I’m feeling. It’s insane!
Feelings of emptiness and not being worthy of this life have really been weighing me down. I feel like I’m not accepted for who I am and whenever I reach out to someone, I’m given a lecture on what I should be doing rather than just the simple comfort that I need. I don’t exhibit most of the qualities that people my age possess and the more people I meet, the more I feel like I’m actually meeting the same person over and over again with a different face. I started to believe that because I wasn’t an easy clone, I was worthless but now that my vision isn’t as clouded, I’m realizing how important I am and how special my traits really are – kind of like Tris’ role in Divergent.
I look at my peers in my industry and a lot of them are so accomplished already. I often wonder if maybe I started too late. Maybe if I had realized this passion of incorporating my writing into my love for music earlier than when I did at 23, I’d have a better job by now. I get tons of praise, and while I appreciate that, not gonna lie, lately it’s just not enough. I think about how successful everyone else is and if I wasn’t so anxious and introverted, I’d probably have those same opportunities. But then, I think about if I even want what they have in the first place and to be honest, the answer is no. While they all may have larger social media followings and the same way of approaching how they write, I’d much rather have a more personal approach to my own writing and let that touch the lives of the small following I do have.
The people I admire are selective about who they work with and more often than not, they’re the ones not taking every job but choosing the ones that are better suited for them in the long run. This is how I’ve always operated but lately, I’ve lost sight of that. Do you know how much time was wasted recently on things I really didn’t care for? I thought it would be better for the site, but in all honesty, it just made me hate my job and in turn, made me a stressed out lunatic trying to figure out how I was going to cover everything in a timely manner. Then, of course, came the lingering thoughts of, “Is any of this worth it?” “Who’s reading this?” “Do people actually care?” “Have I exceeded my limit?” “Is this all I have left?”
There’s no crime in being selective – I do it all the time whether it be choosing who I surround myself with or when choosing a significant other (not that any of that has been relevant in a while, but you get the point). I never want to lose sight of where I want my career to go ever again. As a self-starter, it’s harder than any normal job if you’re not self-motivated and lately all I’ve wanted to do was lie in bed and shut the world out. But I’ve always craved the freedom to not be confined to a routine every day and somehow along the way, I just kind of woke up and realized that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Plus, I don’t have to ride the subway in the morning! I know there’s more out there for me and maybe there’s even another job I’d do well in but that doesn’t mean it’s for me nor will it be the answer to finding happiness. A big part of finding inner peace is learning to let go of the expectations we instill in ourselves from early on along with those that others force upon us. Just because we see others killing it in their field doesn’t mean we’re going to find joy in that if we run towards that ourselves. Success, joy, happiness – any of that can’t be found on a one way street, despite what society may tell you.
Maybe it all stems from my mother drilling, “Do better!” into my head ever since I was a kid. I get comfortable for a while, then something jolts me awake and I feel like I’m not doing enough and that everyone is way ahead of me. But this is not a race. My life is not meant to be a competition to see how much further I can get from everyone else. I spend way too much time worrying about things that haven’t even happened that I’m forgetting to focus on the present.
The truth of the matter is success is subjective. My definition of success could be very different from yours and that’s okay. I look at Shirley and the boys in Garbage and I feel a kindred love towards them as they’ve been at this for 21+ years yet here they are wondering if they’ll ever be great, ironically through a fantastic track that has captured the hearts of fans new and old alike. They’ve had numerous Grammy nominations, toured the world, done extremely well on the charts, have millions of adoring fans who hang onto every word and most of all, they’re the reason why a lot of us are alive today. That, to me, is success personified.