Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This is What Happens When You Do Things

So I used to have my own band. Way back before I was a parent or a member of the Wheel or married or even knew the man who is now my life partner/father of my child/drummer of my dreams. I had my own band.

They were called the Firebrands, and we were called Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands.

Now I'm not trying to pitch you anything music or record-related, so don't stop reading! I know, I know, I've been blogging so much about future records and gigs that you may be a little weary of the hard sell. There'll be no selling today. Only musing.

See, back when I had my own band, I was the head bitch in charge. I picked the songs and the musicians and booked the gigs (though I did get a booking agent finally! Go Comboplate Booking!) and promoted them...and it was so much fun. I met my musical brothers and sisters. We played gigs all over the country, driving countless miles to play for peanuts in cities we'd never seen before. We were adventurers with amps, explorers at the helm of our 15 passenger van. It was truly awesome.

And it was a poop load of work. I worked all the time. I was a women obsessed. Just as is my husband. He and my mother planned the majority of our wedding so that I would have time to prepare for a record release.

True story.

But along with the fun and the work came the anxiety. Super short of breath and tight stomach panic that seemed to be with me at all times. Because what if I was working so hard, only to have my efforts meet failure? What if I booked the gig and promoted it and rehearsed the band only to had no one show up (which totally happened)?  What if I wrote the songs and made the record and promoted it and then no one listened to it?

What if I worked my youth away making and playing music but never met any kind of success? What then?

And then I got the gig with the Wheel and it was like I had been released! Because I was a side guy. And side guys don't really have to do much more than show up and play well. They're not responsible for booking or music choice or promotion. We. Just. Show. Up.

Yes, it is as rad as it sounds.

And so I joined the Wheel and changed job descriptions from "in charge" to "I don't really know because I don't deal with that." I kicked back, high-fived my husband, relaxed and watched more "Law and Order" than should be legally allowed. For years.

Anxiety? Not so much.

But now I have a baby. Relaxing has really shifted meaning for me. I had days, weeks even, where I accomplished nothing of importance. Now, I'm lucky to grab an hour of down time before I pass out.

And we have some time off the road. So I figured I'd you know, make a record; book some gigs. And guess what?

Anxiety? Yes, very much.

Dude, I thought it was gone. I hadn't really experienced this kind of overwhelming panic in like, forever. But last Wednesday, on the way to the gig...well let's just say that I was less nervous about giving birth. I've been telling friends that and I know it sounds like a line, but it's true.

With birth I was all "Y'all, I've got this! What me worry?"

And yet I was a wreck driving down I 35 on a Wednesday evening.

What gives?

I think this is just what happens when you, and I say "you" meaning "I," actually do things. And by do things I mean take initiative.

It's scary. Sweaty palms, mind a-spinning, fear of failing scary.

I'm pretty sure it gets better. The more I do the less terrifying it will be. Right? Or maybe I can just break on through to the flip side and feel excitement that is tails to fear's heads.

That would be nice.

I guess we'll see.

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