I had another A-HA moment this week.
Imagine what we could do if we were never shy or fearful.
My whole life has been governed by fear and feelings of not being good enough. I guess it comes from growing up in small town Newfoundland/crappy school system/Catholic upbringing/born under a bad sign/some other excuse. Regardless of where it comes from, it’s there.
Putting myself under a microscope, I can see how it affects me. Take a look around this website, there aren’t many pictures of me. The band is called The Complete, not the Kevin Williams band. There’s long gaps between The Complete’s releases.
I actually have plenty of songs in the pipeline that are better than anything I’ve done yet. In a moment of self-examination I can see the reason why they’re not out yet. I second guess myself. It starts with “is this the right guitar sound” and ends with “I wonder when the deadline for law school applications is?”.
Take a look at the “Dream” video. I pestered the director to put as little of me in my own video as possible. If that sounds nuts, it’s because it IS nuts (especially now that I’ve said it out loud).
Whiny stuff aside, that feeling of not being good enough has also the single most driving force in my life. It’s the reason I can play like I can. I thought I had no business being in music unless I was a monster guitarist. But then I realized I needed to be a ridiculous drummer as well…..and then I figured I might as well learn how to engineer records.
But taking an honest look at myself here is what I see: I was using that stuff as an excuse to feel like I was working, without having to actually put myself out there. I mean, do you really need to know how to sweep pick like Yngwie if you want to play rock and roll? Of course not! You need three chords and something to say.
I can count maybe 10 times I’ve really gone far outside my comfort zone, and the results are usually amazing. Stepping in front of a microphone for the first time was hard (people might think there’s all kinds of studio trickery you can use. Trust me, there’s no fooling a microphone), singing songs about things in my life, getting in front of a video camera (that one was rough). But I’m Captain Happypants when it’s all said and done.
*(Funny enough, getting onstage doesn’t usually bother me. Actually, that’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done [and I’ve jumped out of an airplane]. That’s one less uphill battle I suppose.)
But you know what? Doing that stuff is never that hard. Even if something doesn’t work out, it’s never really a horrible failure. It’s not like my arm fell off after the first crappy vocal take. The whole film crew didn’t kick me in the junk the first time I flubbed my lines. Girls don’t fling poo at you when you ask them out (…usually). It’s the fear beforehand that slows us down. I suppose underneath it all we’re still just animals and fear helped us to survive when we were running away from pterodactyl’s and shit.
I think the thing to do is to just stop worrying about what others might think, and do whatever the fuck I’m going to do anyway.
Fuck you, fear. I’m kicking YOU in the junk from here on in.