I'm working on me.
Yes, again. Sigh.
I'm not reading self help books (yet), I'm not getting all motivational posty on the facebook.
I am taking time to reevaluate myself. My life. My...stuff.
Hence, the shaking the dust off this dinosaur again.
Oh, yea. So last week, I got a brand new and not so small tattoo. It's beautiful, to me. It says Change your Mind, in an infinity loop, with some music notes. Every day I look at, as I try to not itch it, and I take a breath and say yes, I need to change my mind. As Ken Block says, 'It's not your life, but how you choose to look at your life'
So on that note.
This week's thing I'm thinking about - I need to quit comparing myself to others.
I know that I've been doing this more often in the past 12 months than I ever have before.
Here's an example. I'm writing it out for you, to bring it to light in front of my own stubborn face.
So, I love this band, Sister Hazel. They have a pretty incredible fan base; The Hazelnut. From about 1995 - 2005, I've been my own Hazelnut. I have friends that like them enough to go see them. I have friends who like ME enough to go see them. I've seen them by myself, many time. For me, my fandom was singular. I was ok with that.
Fast forward to 2015. Things were on the ups in my life, and to celebrate, I treated myself to a dream - I bought myself a ticket to Sister Hazel's Hazelnut Hang, in Isle of Palm SC. I'd never been to an event like that, and I'd never been to SC, so to me it was a win win.
Disclaimer - the 'Nuts are lovely and friendly people. This is about me, and not them.
So. I go to the Hang alone, having connected online with some super friendly 'Nuts. I fell in with a crowd who are way more dedicated fans than I am. They go to all of the shows in their home states, and surrounding states. They road trip to many other shows. They go to both the Hang and the Rock Boat every year. The band members recognize them, if not flat out actually know their names.
I regressed that weekend to about 14. I wanted to be a part of this magical group, and I wanted in NOW.
I went home and bought a bunch of them gifts. I started buying cards and mailing them out monthly to these people. I did everything short of sending singing telegrams to various states and people with the message PLEASE ACCEPT ME NOW.
For the past 12 months, I found myself comparing myself to them. As individuals, as a group, as a fan, and yes, as an outsider. I tried to count the number of SH shows I'd been to in the past 20 years. I have a terrible memory, so I have no idea. I read more about the band members, learned their wives and kids names. This was not me. I respect all artists, musicians are like Gods to me. But I know better. I've been around musicians for over 10 years at the Old Town School, so why was I being like this?
Because if I could compare myself to them and find myself on par, I'd find more value in myself.
'I had been weighed, I had been measured, and I had been found wanting'
I sucked. No super fan am I. I stopped listening to SH as much, and I thought less of myself.
Why don't they like me? Why don't they want to hang out with me?
Forgetting about the friends I already have, almost forgetting about the whole point of the love - the music.
Then, a funny thing happened. The band's new album came out. Hm, sounds like it has some Country flavor to it? I did a tiny bit of research, and yes, they were trying out a new feel for this, their 13th album. Cool.
I liked it. I loved some of it. I didn't like a few of the songs. A video came out for a single, and it turns out, I hated the video. A lot. I got passionate again. I decided to voice (ok, write on facebook) my opinion of what I thought of the video and why. I honestly commented when the band members asked what we thought of the video.
This was it. I realized I didn't have to like all of it. There are songs of theirs I don't like at all, this was no new revelation for me. What it was - a wake up call.
I tried my best. I was my best. I stumbled around Isle of Palm last year a mess. This was a dream trip, I was interacting with the band all the time, and at the same time trying hard to get a group of people to like me, because when I compared myself to them, they were better than me. Better fans, better friends, more fun, more alike.
Why, at 40, did I suddenly think that was important? Why did I hold on to it for so long?
Why was I comparing myself to this group of people? One against so many is never a fair equation anyway.
I had set myself up for failure.
This year, when the Hang on sale date came out, I knew I wasn't going to be able to go. Life had taken another nose dive at the end of last year, and I needed to recover from that, and buy a new(er) car. The money I would have spent on the Hang had to go to that car purchase. And it did. And I love my 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe that gets me safely and consistently to and from ETown every week day.
This past weekend was the Hang, 2016. I followed every post, watched every video. I got a little upset that I don't get concert calls from anyone. I cried a bit, because I knew what I was missing.
What I didn't do was wonder if they'd like me more if I was there.
I hope they like me, just as I hope anyone that I have such a big thing in common with will like me.
But, personally, I will stop comparing myself to them. Collectively and mostly individually, they are great human beings. Very kind, very welcoming. I would have been so confused last year if Cheryl hadn't taken me under her wing and answered all of my questions and introduced me to people. But I do see now, that the reason they seem SO so so cool to me is a little bit Cheryl, a little bit Meg, a splash of Bama, a dose of Greg..... and I'm just me. And I've just seen the shows I've seen. And maybe I'll get to go to the Hang again, and maybe I won't. I know I'll never go on the Rock Boat (not my thing). And that's ok.
Because deep down, I know that I'm still pretty cool myself. And that needs to be enough.
And here is my new tattoo.