Monday, September 15, 2014

The Arbiter of pointless things.

Sometimes you take a gamble on yourself, and you lose.

I moved to this city about 14 years ago, which in retrospect is enough time to make a teenager. Luckily I've avoided doing that.

I moved here because there was a pretty exciting (I don't want to use this word, but it's 4:56 am on a Sunday night and I can't be bothered looking for a thesaurus) scene happening at the time, and I caught the tail end of it.

And then I just stayed.

I left a few times for work or holidays, but I kept coming back (because my things were here I guess). I had accumulated an intense amount of physical stuff. Like a literal bicycle factory. 

But I never liked this town, and the fact I'm still here makes me an idiot.

Back toward the beginning of those 14 years, I was working for bands, some huge, some niche; and even though the hours were ridiculous and you'd finish one show with 10 hours until you had to be set up in another country, I managed to create a lot of fun and adventure.

I met pretty much all of my idols, and the best thing for me was to feel a part of something dare I say, magical.

Those moments when the band would be playing something that meant something to the 30,000 people standing in front of them, and the transference of energy between the two was like nothing else.

Knowing that you'd in many cases made the impossible happen... You'd stopped the drummer and the lighting guy from strangling each other to death, driven non-stop for 3000 kilometres (apart from gas refills and toilet dumps), slept for 15 minutes, and somehow built a fully-functioning rock show in a paddock somewhere. And tens of thousands of people turn up, and suddenly... it's utterly magical.

I've banged on endlessly about some of the darker moments of my childhood already, so there's no need for repetition. But for the uninitiated, the synopsis is I've never had any self-esteem.

I've never seen anything in myself that I feel elevates me above the sweaty masses of humanity, the same sweaty masses that I just can't stand to be honest. Special people are so rare, and I'm not one, so I never saw any reason to claim I was worth anything.

One of the times I was most cut by someone else's words was when a guy I was friends with for a time said to me "You're not as good as you think you are."

It hurt because it showed he didn't know me at all, because I never truly believed I was good... ever. I do a good impression I guess,  but it's only one of those ridiculous masks that Sartre used to write about. It's the only thing that allowed me to leave the safety and familiarity of my house to take part in a world where everything frightens me.

The thing was, the whole time I was on the road (or backstage, or at the video shoot, or the magazine cover shoot, or the radio interview, or... you get the picture), I had this nagging voice in my head asking me how much of this ego-inflating mirage was enough?

When you hang out with celebrities, you become a de-facto celebrity, and even though people don't know your name or your story, because you're with the celebrities, then you're somebody.

And in a weird way, that's a very comfortable and nice feeling.

In a world where you can't even remember what your bedroom looks like, but you can navigate from memory the mazes that constitute the egress points of all the major airports, or what the water pressure is like in the showers of the world's five-star hotels; having people you've never met like you is a very warm and convenient thing.

And when you've been living that life for years, and hot TV presenters/models/singers/other breeds of celebrity you've had a crush on for the longest time turn up in your bed unannounced, it's really easy to forget the only reason those people are there is because of the band you work for (or if I was playing in the band, whoever the singer was).

It's so easy to lose yourself in an orgiastic confluence of neural pathways and psychic apparatus, that you start to believe you really are that interesting, that you're the type of person that these beautiful influential artistic people are drawn to, that somehow, in a world of AIDS, corrupt Governments, and the death of net neutrality, that it's somehow your destiny to be adored by those the masses adore.

Spoiler alert: It's not.

And the most wounded and scared part of my brain knew it.

I'm at a party. I'm recognized by someone, and to be honest, I have no idea who they are, so I just act like I do and smile and play at being interested.

And they introduce me to someone else, and I listen closely for clues as to how I may know the first person, and the second person is attractive to me. And because I'm at this party and was introduced by, oh look at that, he's the head of an International record company, the second person thinks I'm someone she should probably fuck, and so we do that.

And one part of me is all "Yeah, this is how life is for me, because I'm a pretty rad dude." and the other part of me is all "Holy shit, how can you not see that if you weren't somehow tenuously connected to all this, this person wouldn't stop to piss on you if you were on fire?"

And I asked myself how many big bands I had to have on my résumé before my ego was satiated to a point where I could maybe go do a job in an industry where they allow you to sleep once every now and then?

And I rolled the dice and said "Right now", and I left that life, and suddenly found myself feeling very sad when it was festival season and I had to line up for tickets like everybody else.

And the part that hurt the most was suddenly, not only was I nobody to the people I used to basically live with; but I was nobody to everyone else as well.

Suddenly even the normal people (italics on purpose) didn't see any value in me either, and I was left to wrestle with my own hideous personality and ridiculous sense of entitlement for a few years.

I had to navigate a world where I was no longer able to measure myself on who I was associated with, or whose entourage I was a part of; but rather what have I fucking done that's worth anything?

Spoiler alert: Pretty much nothing tbh.

And I don't mean live performances or newspaper pieces, or amazing travel stories (although I managed to accumulate more of all of those anyway) ; I mean wisdom, and discipline, and humanity, and humility.

Obviously I can't say if I've been successful in those endeavors, because if you say you have, then it means you haven't. But I've been working on it, let's say that.

I know there are people that check my blog and social media for any sign that I might be suffering, and that those signs are celebrated and treasured. I just don't care though. Because this is my life, and it doesn't come neatly packaged and charged-up, ready to use. It gets rough and confusing, and it hurts, and it's meant to. 

So I'm not going to hide my reality away on the off-chance it will give someone horrible ammunition to throw at me so they can forget their own rough, confusing, and hurtful life.

So here I am.

I'm an essentially broken person. I leave the house once a week for groceries. I make no effort to stay in touch with friends. I have no plans to change that. I've stopped striving to achieve things that will bring me fame or celebrity. 

I know my place, and it's not there.

I've been working really hard to actively cast away all the things (physical and non) that keep me anchored to this city, and saving to move to a place away from people and closer to nature.

Right the fuck up in nature, to be precise. Because that's where I feel like a human person the most.

And all the dramas, misunderstandings, relationship failures, competitive friendships, and nasty personalities can stay here and do whatever they want to do without me.

Because in the last few months, I have finally found the strength to stop making excuses (based on age and the comfort of my present lifestyle), and to leave this country for good.

And since I've made that decision, all the white noise has gone silent, and I feel purposeful in a way I have never felt before. If there's one thing I know about me, it's that when I have a mission, I'm like a dog with a bone.

And most importantly, that decision to walk away from my old life, where I was 'somebody', where people knew me... That was the best decision I have ever made. It just took me 15 years to see it.

Sometimes you take a gamble on yourself, and you lose. 

But not this time...