It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I'm sitting on my balcony with a cup of green tea , staring at the skyline. Two weeks of gigging has made me a caffeine person again, and I'm not happy about it, but I am happy about having gigs again. The pandemic has undoubtedly thrown a magnifying glass on my introversion, but the satisfaction I get from seeing people have a good time, dance, sing, and hug each other far outweighs my exhaustion post-lights and sound.
Four different cars are blaring music, blasting bass-heavy hip hop tracks, creating a delightful cacophony. It's keeping me awake. It's 12:55pm CST here and I can barely keep my eyes open. Yesterday, I slept 6 hours, taught 5 hours of piano lessons, drove to the burbs to play a 3 hour solo show, then drove to the Gold Coast to round out the night with a 2am gig. I couldn't wind down 'til 4am, and my body clock kicked me away again at 10.
I'm not here to complain. I'm honestly grateful to be back to doing what I love. I just forgot how much energy it takes.
I wonder how everyone else feels about re-finding their footing. We really slowed down for the better part of 15 months. I heard an interesting NPR conversation last night on Consider This called "How To Human Again". It's subtitled "advice for the long transition to post-pandemic life." One of the questions/observations the experts addressed was from a man who decided that he liked his new introverted life. He felt healthier when he wasn't running around. Another call-in (a musician, interestingly enough) noted that he was now uncomfortable with small talk. One of the experts noted that we should do away with small talk altogether. I couldn't agree more.
I spent the last year discovering that I hate participating in social events that don't feed my desire for actual artistic, human connection. This made me feel embarrassed about all the times I went to parties and get-togethers and stared at my feet, wondering what was wrong with me. It also made me feel embarrassed that I agreed to do these things that weren't a good fit for my personality or priorities. One of the experts on the NPR show advocated the normalization of saying (and accepting) "no" as a complete sentence. No reason is necessary, no apology is warranted. We should, as a society, be okay with the following conversation.
Person A: Would you like to go to dinner with me and some friends?
Person B: No. (And perhaps a "Thank you for invitation" in the spirit of friendliness.)
Because here's the thing: different people have different needs. My best friend needs to go out 6 nights a week to feel energized and happy. If I go out once a month, I'm done for. This may be, in part, due to having such an extroverted job, but I've also realized that I love to spend my free time writing, reading, creating artistic content, and hanging out at home with my husband and two leopard geckos. I don't really like talking about anything besides music, art, mental health, and food/wine. I don't like to play dress up or make believe, and whether that's a costume party or a nice dress at happy hour, I'm out of place. I thrive on real, meaningful connection, not forced social obligations.
Anyway, I thought that episode of "Consider This" was very timely and important. If you have a cool 13 minutes to spare, check it out.
I think it's time for me to have another cup of tea and do some mixing. I have to get that book and EP out by September.
Until tomorrow, stay well, stay safe, stay kind, and set those boundaries.