Don’t Deny Your Own Success
Sometimes you hae to take a step back and look at all the things you have going on… the things that are dragging you down and making you stress out to the max, and walk away from them.
Because surprisingly, as hard at it is…once you do…its like weights come off and you just finally start floating higher, and you can finally reach where you want to be.
i recently had to do that, with alot of my projects. i was starting to teach dance classes, trying to have a ‘ normal’ existence for family acceptance and personal attachment reasons. Keeping a business going that was long dead and needed a fresh new approach i’ve been fighting accepting for years, and finally letting go of toxic people and projects built up around them because i was too afraid of being a ‘failure’.
and you know what, letting go of it all..IT SUCKED.
BUT..it finally freed me up to focus on what matters, a music career i’ve been in an odd way, denying even is as important as it is.
I Don’t see myself as some big public figure, or dare i say the “f” word. So i kept on taking on these local projects, and would be surprised at people reactions. mostly “ what are YOU doing here?” Or how so many people AUTOMATICALLY know what it was i did without mentioning it.
well, i WAS a Pro Dancer before i was a pro recording artist but…i guess that doesn’t matter in the social media days. You’re only known for what pops up in search results. I didn’t see that coming.
Applying to jobs in town like, as if they weren’t going to google and do background checks.
“ Well looking up your background a few online pages popped up with questionable events, are you performing in these shows? and there are some risque photos…” One girl even showed me an old promotional model picture on her tablet in the office. and what do I do!?
“ you like those pics!? That outfit took me DAYSS to make!”…i found out very quickly that i pretty much suck at ‘regular’ job interviews…
Why was i fooling myself? WHO WAS I TRYING TO IMPRESS!? WHAT IN THE FUCK WAS I DOING!?
Just because I didn’t see myself as some massive success…doesn’t mean that i wasn’t or that my musical hobby..that my art…didn’t mean a fuckton to people. Suddenly, i realized…these ‘regular’ gigs weren’t working out because i wasn’t a ‘regular’ person.
im an artist, im a fucking weirdo creative hyper person who just ended up somehow making a life out of art, which i never fully appreciated nor saw until recently.
maybe its because i’m turning 30, and that tends to make you step back and evaluate your life. Maybe it comes along with all the other weird ‘ suddenly adult’ moments like, choosing to go home and go to bed instead of going on an all night rave booze bender…
but either way, it really hit me like a truck to the face and i’m suddenly , going “ why in the hell didn’t i let go of all this shit sooner!?”
the main reason?…people.
I’ve always been into the Utopian “ we can do this together! hurrah!!” ideals when it came to creating things …clothing lines…dance troupes…shows… i blame my hippie and raver lifestyle in high school for that one.
it never EVER actually worked. I also learned i make a terrible friend but a REALLY good scary boss lady and the two are drastically different.
working with and around a lot of people makes anybody anxious. Shit, we wouldn’t have office culture if it was all sunshine and rainbows. Letting people go From your life/Projects/Jobs and the emotional result it can toll is its own nightmare fuel.
I recently had to do it and got up the balls due to mostly business shenanigans with a side of anger and hurt, but then realized how amazingly drama free my world suddenly became, letting go of these toxic peopl ein my life.
If it worked for that, maybe it will work with these big baggage of dead projects i got too!?
I Finally accepted one of my ‘ hugely successful in its day’ clothing lines Spacepod, had seen its last day and has been dead in the water for awhile. No longer being able to compete with I HeartRaves, RaveReady, and every massive Lengerie company doing what i did easier cheaper and faster…i threw in the towel.
it isn’t easy seeing a dream die. or accepting that you ‘failed’ at something. but actually, it wasn’t an end all. It was just a stepping stone, because now that i had finally given up Spacepod, other opportunities came calling. one being another DIY indie line that was all about Cyberpunk, Fetish, and working in weird wacky materials i’ve been wanting to do for YEARS. I finally had the time to develop things , new amazing things that are actually doing well because i wasn’t spending my time obsessing over and beating a very dead horse.
In the end, it wasn’t a failure as much as something i had to let go of , to move on.
EVERYBODY has these things. and often it takes something horrendous to get people to act on it.
I had to loose two parents... to finally get ANGRY enough to learn to not give a fuck.
This angry new person had drive that i didn’t have before, because i was too afraid of letting people or myself down. But in that FEAR, i WAS DOING JUST THAT!
Finally accepting that my family will and never has EVER understood what in the hell i do with my life gave me the confidence to really stop hiding things. I brought them into the digital age, thinking seeing everything online will finally make them wrap their heads around the fact that its not all make believe, i really do perform in big shows and really do put out music through labels! see! its right there! click the link!
it ended up backfiring in my face as grandma posted comments about how i need to cover up more and parents are commenting embarrassing rants about me using profanity online.
I had to stop trying for everybody else and try for ME.
If we are taught to let go of things before it takes some life crushing horrible fallout to make it happen..so many more people could achieve what they want. I had to learn this , as many do, the hard way.
because if IM happy, my followers and crowds are happy and thus they are the reason i’m doing this crazy shit in the first place. Who am i do deny them all of my time!?
Ultimately i was hiding my success from myself out of fear i’d go the route of some other friends i lost to the big EGO monster the industry so famously pushes down artists throats. I’ve known really awesome people that have become monsters overnight, and it scared me, i never understood why anybody would flip so fast. But after being at the top of my genre and seeing how promoters, some labels and general starry eyed people act aroound you well, it was clear some people reveled in that and it will change a person’s perspective of themslves. It honestly freaks me out a bit.
I think the difference is CONFIDENCE and really, learning how to self-evaluate and learn from dumbass mistakes, and being able to move on from them.
currently im still dealing with some emotional leftovers from grieving over the loss of my mom in law, so yeah im pretty angsty and sometimes sad — my lyrics have gotten pretty damn dark lately, my writing has been really terrifyingly honest and the music video…nuff said.
but im still the same weirdo. You know me for awhile, you hang around me enough, you see the same hyperactive talks-to-much way to over-caffinated weirdo i just happen to have a job that requires me to bounce around on a stage in front of alot of people sometimes and be attached to devices to document it to the world.
some things people don’t tell you going into this business. they only tell you the GOOD things. Fans! Groupies! PARTIES! money! ( ha…that’s an entirely different article..) Travel! WOO!! they DON’T tell you or prepare you for the ways people act around you, the sacrifices you’ll end up making if you are close with family, the weird way your world gets smaller and smaller, and how even though you may still see yourself as some local weirdo the rest of the world sees and reacts to you as if your Thor or something and how that FUCKS with your head…
but the realities are that it takes a FUCKTON of work…and ALOT of “Failing” and “ letting go” of shit before you really REALLY start taking off.
SO don’t be afraid if you are feeling like that project is just..not working and its time to walk away. It probably needs to end so another better one can begin and you won’t be distracted. Or that promotion isn’t looking good and ya know what? maybe you don’t NEED the added stress it would effect on you. Maybe that far off dream isn’t so far off, just hidden behind a pile of junk you need to finally throw out, and without it there, its just a reach away.
Sometimes I feel like i’m the only weird asshole who was denying my own success. Please tell me i’m not the only one.
Originally published at zoevanwest.kinja.com.