Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

CC CHRONICLES: Thick Skin & Lookin’ Within

Published by cctadmin on July 30th, 2015

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I was walking home along the boardwalk yesterday; enjoying the sun on my face and in particular, time to think about and reflect on what it means to have ‘thick skin’. I’ve heard it said that to have thick skin is a ‘gift from God’; that it takes time and learning to acquire it, and finally, that in order to face life’s rejections, haters and obstacles, it’s all but essential to have it. The very definition of ‘thick-skinned’ is “insensitive to criticism or insults“.

Why the contemplation? Well, I can identify things I want in my life; like strong family connections, a healthy relationship with my partner, financial security, education, a home and a fulfillment from music. The list goes on. I’ve never expected any one of those things to come easy; and in fact, they never have. I continue putting time and effort into my life’s ambitions with a quiet confidence that there’s worth in that patience and dedication.  Hopefully that worth is the joy experienced along the way.

On the other hand, within our passioned pursuits there is also much opportunity for disappointment; the ‘nothing comes easy’ part existing in the form of obstacles like a door-slam to the face, criticisms or the many hoops we often have to jump through in order to succeed in our goals. There’s always an opportunity to give up. Rationally, I understand that ‘nothing comes easy’; stumbling blocks are a given; and it’s with this I contemplate how to acquire a hardened sense of logic.

I recall how scary it was in my youth when I was just forging out on my own and having to establish security; similarly, going to University in my 20’s and facing all sorts of intellectual pressures. Being an independent artist without management or a band to my credit also beholds tests of my inner strength. Given this and more I can acknowledge the ‘thick skin’ I had to personally attain in the face of these things yet, on my walk home, I still couldn’t help but feel briefly overwhelmed at the realization that ‘thick skin’ is not only a goal in itself; it’s an on-going process.  There is no end.   I may have some of it, and I’ve strengthened over the years but I could use some toughening up even still.

It can be discouraging; I certainly began that walk feeling daunted about some of my musical pursuits in particular. In fact I felt downright deflated; but it only took some time and reflection on route home to consider that like anything else worth having, I was, and I am going to have to remain patient; I’m going to have to keep my head up and trust in the process of my future pursuits. Regardless of weather things in our lives turn out exactly as we want them to or not, I’d really rather keep trying, keep getting back up on the horse and giving it another go – than opting to fall to my knees in defeat. With that in mind I found a way to turn around my inner doubts and see them all as part of this process. It didn’t necessarily take away all my discouragement however it did just enough to have me feeling less defeated.

What do you guys think about the thickness of your own skin?

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CC CHRONICLES: Questioning what you bring to the table

Published by cctadmin on October 21st, 2014

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Do you ever feel like such a phony?

Sometimes I do, and I particularly felt it last night.

To begin, my first love in life is music; listening, writing, playing, singing and recording. Though music has had a significant place throughout my entire life, I am by no means a formally educated or trained musician. In fact, low confidence as a kid compelled  me to avoid things like choir or the band because of fear – as a result my passion was largely confined to my bedroom, where I could feel at ease to explore it independently.

Fast forward to present time and I’m a far cry from hiding away; the years have been good to me in terms of being able to slowly step outside of my shell, embrace the experience of working musically with people. What a joy these past 4-5 years have been; finding inspiration through the gifts of so many talented people but also being able to hone in on my own skills as a singer, songwriter, performer.

When it comes to ‘playing’ with others, I do not discriminate – in general I’m just happy to work with anyone willing – and I can certainly appreciate how each individual comes with their own unique skillset. I’ve learned that I thrive most in the presence of artists who come equipped with experience and this stems from appreciating the guidance of those who have learned how to hone their skills.

However, on a bad day – I feel like a big phony. Well perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, and not entirely true – but I certainly recognized a feeling of being a bit of a ‘fraud’ or imposter after last night’s rehearsal and I had to sort that out in my head.  I knew it was crazy.

You see, I’m playing in a couple of bands at this time – both of which include artists I admire incredibly; either they come from musical families in which their skills have been fostered for years, or perhaps they’ve had formal education in music or simply have played in a group setting for long enough that they have a ‘voice’ in which to communicate with each other. Not a voice in the singing sense, but the voice of communication and direction, which is definitely a component to playing with others. One must know how to take cues or express the finer details involved in bringing music to life, i.e., know what they’re talking about.

Generally speaking – the folks I play with, I find are SO multi-talented; it’s not unlike them, as musicians to play several instruments, and with great talent too. Not only that but I hear them discussing things like tempo, keys, transitions, etc. – it’s amazing to me and I see that as such strength. A strength that I don’t have.

The lamest part of all: I allowed myself to go to that place in my head, (where as I’m listening and observing the dialogues taking place as we unite to create our show for December), where I could hear thoughts like “Beyond your ‘voice” you have nothing to contribute or bring to the table CC”, or “You can play guitar, but not on par with these people…” At times I really just felt silly, quiet and awkward because of my own deficiencies, which I felt, were fully exposed.  The fear of not being ‘good enough’. Cripes hadn’t  I already been there – done that?  I kinda laugh now.

The night was incredible – and the music we’re playing is downright pulsating with life and so the overall feeling I am having is definitely one of enjoyment, make no mistake. What I’m talking about, I realize has little to do with the specific group/scenario for which I’m referring to – and its more about that inner feeling of being an weaker-than. I’ve heard it referred to by some as ‘imposter syndrome’, a sort of psychological phenomenon in which it’s said people are unable to internalize their accomplishments, despite external evidence of their ‘competence’. By no means am I certain about anything, but after reading up on it I was intrigued by the notion of how those who really do struggle with this ‘phenomenon’ remain convinced they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof is apparently dismissed as ‘luck’, timing, or as a result of deceiving other into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be…

I am not self-diagnosing but I can’t help but take something from all of this. What I do know: we all have our innate ‘gifts’ and in the context of playing in a group with other people perhaps any of us ask ourselves “Yeah but what am I bringing to the table?”.  Each and every one of us, regardless of however formally trained or experienced we are within what we do – also has room to grow.

In the end I remain proud of whatever gifts I may have, and I also make a commitment to myself to continue moving forward despite any of these insecurities, because these feelings aside – I want to enjoy making music and be a part of something joyful. That alone is worth the icky (and changeable) feeling of inadequacy.

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you are special <3

Published by cctadmin on September 24th, 2014

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