Gratitude by Big Red Machine is the theme, but I’m going to interleave paragraphs here.
The irony isn’t going to be lost on me here. Last post: why do you work so much? Answer: I’m fine with it. Current status: unsure if I’m fine with it. The workload has rapidly stepped up recently and it’s kind of been drowning me. It really feels like a lot of the goals I set out for 2019 just got immediately crushed and brushed away. There’s too many factors to list here, but I have since realized that the responsibility lies with me. There are all decisions that I make, and I have the authority to do, well, what I want. I want music and I want to relax and I want to feel good again and not just tired. So I did that.
This week was one of the most highest amplitude ones I’ve had in years. We have a major design review coming up at work and it really caught everyone off guard. For the first time, it seemed like no one was having fun anymore. People have had rough days or even weeks, but it’s always been a team that was pushing, not everyone. This week it was everyone and it really hit home this Friday. Everyone was stressed and pissed, snapping at each other and just not in the mood. To be explicit, so was I. I’m certain all startups have times like this, but wow, this one was brutal.
It’s pretty difficult to not look around and really think if this is what you want to do. I normal listen to punk stuff on the subway ride to work to get pumped up (but also, just always) but it cut a little deeper this week. It’s not quite selling out but man it just didn’t feel good. I remembered what it was like back when we were all friends and I felt like even though I wasn’t in control of everything, I had at least could manage it. Right now I’m just flailing left and right and debating if I’m dropping or ducking all the balls being thrown at me to juggle. I needed a way to get back to what I really wanted to, except first I had to figure out what that was.
Well, I’m lucky I have friends who are awesome. The full large band thing hasn’t quite worked out due to the above schedules, but smaller two person sessions have. Since everything is easier with less people, we’ve also experimented with writing our own stuff. I feel like I opened my diary of secrets that I’ve been clutching to my chest for eight years. It’s horrifying, it’s terrifying, I hate it but… I really need to do it! They said they were interested in playing this open mic gig – should we try it? I always have stupid lofty visions of my own songs, so there’s no way it was gonna be ready. They wrote some spoken word lyrics and we turned it into a song in one night. We performed it live the next night.
The open mic was awesome! It was a large group of friends that I effectively crashed and they were just free-forming constantly. Drama, comedy, music, poetry, all welcome. We did our song (piano/cajon/hi-hat/tambourine/vocals) and we killed it. I forgot how good it feels to so succinctly nail a performance like that. Still reeling from that mentally. I was in such a high that I volunteered to do a little improv drum duo with another person (they also had a cajon). It just felt amazing. Went out afterwards and had a few drinks with a different friend and just talked about how I was feeling. It really all clicked there to me. No one else is going to sing your songs, so you better fucking do it.
But wait dear reader, it actually gets even better. Saturday night was a concert I had been waiting for months - Direct Hit! was playing!!! They are the greatest punk band alive right now and you should go listen to everything they have. They are an infectiously fun band that straddles hardcore, punk, pop-punk, and alt rock. Their albums are true rock operas in every sense. Just go listen to them below. Regardless, I somehow convinced around a dozen of my friends to come to the gig. I had been spam inviting everyone but honestly, was expecting to go solo.
So many moments made this concert magical. One, the band is from Milwaukee and (somehow) has never really made it big. They didn’t expect to have anyone know them, or at least there was genuine shock on their face when we gave a huge “FUCK YOU GET PUMPED” as they were setting up (their motto). My favorite band with some of my favorite people in a mosh pit - what more could I ask for. It was a straight injection of joy to my bloodstream. It was the most satisfying release I could have asked for. I understand that it’s probably healthier to be able to get all your feelings out with words, but sometimes you just need high velocity physical contact with strangers in a small bar in the tiny corner of the world doing their best to drown everything else out too.
fuck you get pumped