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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

day 43: courage and what it means to be an extraordinary machine

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow."  Mary Anne Radmacher

I'm continually asked to qualify what possesses a man to wear such personal affects in a public forum. Translates to: WTF w/ teh blog? This is an interesting question because the answer is fairly complex. The best answer is, I'm learning every day why I write this blog. The process itself informs me and the process will let me know when I'm done and what I've achieved. Today's reason may not be tomorrow's but as long as I have your attention, let me explain a bit of why this process persists in me this week.

   Truth be known, this blog-writing thing terrifies me. Some days I sit with my cursor over "Publish Post" for minutes at a time. I constantly question if I'm making the right choice making all of my most vulnerable moments a public tribunal. Ironically, that horror and fear is part of what makes me eventually hit publish. I'm a believer that courage not tested is not courage at all. Writing this is a way to test my will. In some strange way I feel like I need to scare myself to keep moving forward. It's even something I practice with my vocal students. I talk about it in day 26, but basically the process involves putting yourself in ever more nerve-wracking performance environments. Keep pushing yourself into things that make you nervous and eventually you can conquer that fear.

   In television land we call this "extreme sports". These are men and women who have learned that they are prewired to seek the next challenge and have made a career out of it. We call them thrill seekers, and seek they do. We idolize them for their daring because they are the fulfillment of the occasions we didn't rise to, the goals we let slip from fear of failure (or in this analogy, fear of bodily harm).

   In a way, what I do here fulfills that same purpose. I write these posts for a million reasons but part of it is that I find it really challenging and I love to dare myself to be that vulnerable. It's not as cool as watching someone try to jump 100 school buses on a motorcycle, but it's just as important to my career as a musician that I challenge myself and do things that scare me. Especially things that explore the murky depths that are me. That's the kind of stuff I want to write songs about, that's the stuff that, for me, taps the human experience. It's not just something I'm prewired to do, it's my job.

   This blog won't be here forever and I won't always choose to put the trials of my life on display. Eventually I will reach the goal I haven't yet set and move on to something that pushes me even further. When I get there I will be terrified, and hesitant, and possibly (probably) pee my pants, but I know I'll get through it. Today it's not something big. Today the scariest thing is just imagining getting up tomorrow and fighting the good fight. It doesn't need to be big. But it will never be easy. That's how you know it's courage. And that's day 43. In the bag.

Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine

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