I’m not just a writer by trade, I’m also a budding musician. I love music and have been playing guitar and singing for about five years now, and I want to be a singer in some way, shape, or form.
Whether I’m the guy who everyone asks to sing at weddings and events, or I can simply have the confidence to sit outside on a park bench and play for some extra money, I want to share my talent with those around me. That’s always been my goal.
I’m not going to call myself the best musician out there, but I’m confident enough to carry a tune and jump at the chance to sing whenever the chance arises.
Or at least… I was.
I took one year of my life and devoted myself to Freelance writing, and at the end of that year, I was doing pretty well. So I figured if I want to be a serious musician worthy of an audience, I might as well take a year and focus on music.
I posted my dream to take a year to improve, a few samples of my music, and a request for advice to a guitar related Subreddit and figured I’d get some good tips on what to do as well as support for my year-long quest. And while I did get some good advice from friendly musicians that I have been using, I also got some rude comments.
People insulted my voice, my musical and guitar skills, they even attacked the people who liked my music. They seemed to ignore the whole fact that I knew I wasn’t where I could be and wanted to improve, and instead focused on forcing me down.
Sure, there are trolls and jerks on the internet, but this was a new level of rude for me. Criticism, if it’s not delivered gently, is like a poisoned blade. The initial stab wound hurts, but my introverted and highly sensitive mind ruminates over the hurtful comments for days, prolonging the agony like a burning poison. It’s not something I can control, it just is what it is.
Anyway, I focused on and copied down the good feedback, deleted the thread and put it from my mind, and started getting myself back onto my musical high horse. However, I soon found that I had lost something that I wasn’t sure I could get back.
I’d lost my confidence.
Unlike before when I learned guitar for the first time, I had all the resources (books, exercises, video courses, one on one help from teachers) to truly make this musical year one that would help me grow as a singer and musician. What I didn’t have was the passion. I wasn’t excited about what I was singing, the exercises were boring, and music became more of a chore than a fun hobby.
I knew there was a singer inside of me, and he wasn’t going to just up and leave if I simply gave up on music, he was going to keep pushing me to become the best singer I could be and achieve my dream of having an audience. So walking away wasn’t an option.
As I struggled to figure out how to regain my lost confidence, I turned to comic books to fill the void. In a run on Thor by Tom DeFalco (Specifically, The Mighty Thor: Issue #418 “Fear Kills”) Hercules (who for you non-comic readers out there, is presented mostly as a strong and loyal warrior and friend to Thor) has been dealing with a crisis of confidence following a string of recent defeats by the Wrecking Crew, Ulik the Troll, and other foes as well as paralyzing bouts of fear during his adventures.
He even confesses this to Thor’s mortal identity Eric Masterson by saying “How can I explain my fear to thee? I am a God, a God. We are not supposed to be afraid.”
As the Prince of Power attempts to deal with this, Thor’s old enemies, the Wrecking Crew, break out of prison and ambush Hercules. They beat him up, and when Thor arrives on the scene, he decides to fake a defeat in order to restore his friend’s confidence.
Hercules banishes his fear upon seeing his friend get beaten and singlehandedly takes the four superpowered beings down, saying something that really resonated with me in this panel:
“No warrior can win every battle, but he can try to succeed. He can have faith in himself! Hercules failed because he stopped believing, never shall he do so again.”
At that moment I realized the criticism wasn’t standing in my way, nor my own fear of failure, because I knew deep down I could achieve my dream. Only I was stopping myself because I had stopped believing that I could be a musician. I’d stopped listening to that little voice in my head, and it was sapping my confidence.
So, I took a moment to truly listen to myself, and reaffirm what I already knew. When I started out my Freelancing career, I had a bumpy road, moments of doubt, and confidence issues, but I stuck with it and am now on the road to living one of my dreams. Why would music be any different?
Then, I stood up, grabbed my guitar, and started playing. Like a rush, it all came back to me, and my confidence and enjoyment of music was flowing through me in full swing.
I now know and believe that I can be the best musician I can be, and I’m going to use every friend, resource, and guide I can muster to make that dream a reality. I know that I will never give up again.
For now, I’m going to keep improving and when I relaunch and revamp my Youtube channel on August 1st of 2019, I’ll show the world what the singer inside of me can really do.