Fell off the World Cup wagon for a week - have seen a few games, but I've been pretty distracted by real life. I will get back to it. Watching World Cup games, at the very least, makes me feel connected to the world at large, relieves me, at least momentarily, from my perpetual alienation, and I really need that feeling, especially now.
I quit one of my jobs recently. It was the one that was causing me the most unhappiness, the most stress, and the one that was distracting me during my free time. This job was also the one that provided me with the bulk of my income.
Over the last few weeks, I've been through a lot mentally. I've been hyperactive, jubilant, relieved, relaxed, complacent, lazy, worried, and consumed by despair. This job took up a huge amount of space in my mind, and leaving it has unleashed a lot of emotion, both positive and negative.
The process of self-discovery is ultimately the process of figuring out what can be changed and what will always be the same. It's not easy. Because, theoretically, everything could be different, but so could nothing. To what extent are characteristics truly fixed, and when does one choose to try and change oneself versus changing external circumstances?
I may never know all of the answers, both generally, and specifically, but I am starting to feel sure of one thing: I am not one who can keep work and life separate. I have to do something I would do for free for money. Doing something I don't like to pay the bills... it's always the same: I am unhappy, I push myself harder and harder to be more disciplined, to stick with it, etc., and the harder I push, with more and more pressure, the more I retreat, the more I dissociate, the less I am "there". Towards the end of my time at my previous job, I was so vanished that I didn't even recognize people I knew when they would come in to the restaurant to say hello.
Ultimately, I am better off. But now I have to face the consequences of my actions. Between what was my second job and existing money in the bank, I can at least eat in perpetuity. I have at least another month of rent. I will find another job soon. There is no need to be concerned about me eating, about me facing homelessness, etc.
While I can merely survive, and will eventually thrive (relatively speaking - I'm still single, in a city I don't like, working in an industry that doesn't pay that well, far from making a living doing work that enriches my life, and far from most of the people, places and things that I care about), it will take me a long time to catch up to the damage I have done to my discretionary income by quitting a job without having another one (yes, an impulsive decision, but: see above, see the last year's worth of bitter, angry posts).
Now, "discretionary" is a hard word to define. Well, not really, but the size of a residence, the quality of food eaten, the amount expended on goods and services; the line between essential and indulgent is defined differently by different people.
This is all a preamble to the following: I have placed a donation button on this page. I could use some help right now, but the help I need is very specific and it might seem, depending on where you see the aforementioned line, that what I am asking for is too much or too little.
I have a very small bedroom music studio. I have some nice equipment, and some cheap equipment. To some, it would be seen as an excessive amount of gear simply because it is possible to compose and record music without using all of the equipment I have. To others, it would seem to be a pitifully small studio. To me, it is almost exactly the amount of gear I need to make the music I want to make.
Because I have never made that much money, virtually everything I own was purchased used. In some cases, it was because a certain piece of gear was the only one that would make or process sounds in the way I wanted. In other cases, it was because purchasing used would provide me access to gear that could perform at a high level without compelling me to spend at a high level. Finally, in other cases, it was simply because I didn't have the money to buy something better.
Virtually every single piece of gear I have has been in for repairs. Maintaining my studio has been like a game of whack-a-mole - as soon as something has come back from the shop, something else has needed to go back in. This process, of constant research, of bargain-hunting, of searching for parts, of endless trips to repair shops, has been emotionally draining to say the least, and I've been going through it for five years now. For the most part, I have skipped vacations, avoided nights out, etc., just to try and realize my dream of making the music I hear in my head, and this process has almost convinced me not to bother making music anymore. It's only because I am finally, mercifully, almost done, that I can even continue to hold on.
I have placed the donate button on this page to obtain assistance in finally completing my studio because completion is almost in sight. Sort of. Ultimately, I will never be finished. There will always be another cool pedal to try out, another synth to play with, etc., and yet the list of essentials, the things I simply need to be there when reached for, is almost complete.
So… what do I need?
Well, there are two things:
1. Realistically, I don't expect a lot of donations, but it would be nice if I could pull off getting the three pieces I have in for repair out of the shop. I have a synthesizer, a sampler, and a delay unit waiting for me eight miles away, and I don't have the cash to retrieve them. I also have another sampler (soon to be sold, see below) and another effects unit that need to go in. Total cost is around $450, not including the repair of the second set of devices (just the deposit).
2. In the fantasy-land that exists in my head, a world in which I actually feel like I could matter to a lot of people, I imagine myself actually getting enough money to buy the drum machine I have my eye on. Drums have always been the weakest part of my studio, and, so far, none of the machines I have used have provided me with satisfactory results. My most recent solution was the purchase of a vintage sampler which has a great sound but, besides the fact that it is now broken, it is a hassle to use. If you ever find yourself romanticizing the days of floppy disks, well, don't. The drum machine I want will make sampling and the storing of samples much, much faster. It costs… wait for it… $1,550.
I don't expect to make $1,550. There are, also, many, many much-worthier causes out there. I guess I just mentioned option two out of ludicrous hope, and also the knowledge that at least a few people out there have gotten large amounts of money together with crowd-sourcing. I'd much rather get 100 donations of $15 than a small handful of large ones. The way my mind works, if someone were to actually give me $1,550, I would feel guilty. Towards that end, of conserving my sanity, and also because I can't promise that anyone will get anything in return at all beyond a thank-you email, I want to specifically request, on the off-chance that someone would actually consider making a larger donation, that no donation should exceed $77.50, or 5% of the larger total.
I feel weird even doing this, but I need to move forward with my life. It's unfortunate that that has meant leaving another job. I'd rather work and have the money. Beyond equipment, there's travel, there's clothing that fits, there's an apartment with enough space for a sofa, there's, well, the future, and it all has to wait.
As for the donation button, assuming everything works out for the best, well, it may stay up (there are always more books and records...), but I can't foresee ever asking for a large and specific donation again.
Thank you for your time.