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It's been a while since I have produced art, for myself or anyone else. 2 years ago, I was finishing up my album when I was forced to confront some personal dragons that had seemed benign until then. I underwent the sort of self-realization that completely deconstructs your life, at least temporarily, until you figure out what pieces actually belong there, and which ones just add weight. 

In the beginning of this period, I tried to keep the music machine rolling at full force. A few months in, however, I found no joy in my art. I was devastated to find I had chased away the magic I once felt in connecting with the piano keys.

The piano and I have been soul mates since I was a toddler. Discovering my instrument was like discovering an extension of myself, and music filled me up. I think that it was somewhere in my teenage years, perhaps even before then, I began to weigh my passion down with my fears and desires. I feared I was valuable only because of my music. I wished to become successful enough to prove my value.

If passion and inspiration are whole grains and leafy greens, fear an desire are microwave dinners. Fear and desire will seem useful as fuel at first, but fails greatly in comparison to the nourishment of inspiration. Without seeing or comprehending what was happening, fear and desire became the main motivation behind my career decisions. Inspiration made occasional appearances, as if just to let me know it was still alive in me somewhere.

About a year ago, I finally began to understand why something I used to love was causing me to suffer so much. I had figured out that I was asking my art to prove my value. Even though the nature of this dilemma caused me great anxiety, I felt that this was the wrong sort of energy to put into an album release. So, with a finished album in the can, I put any forward movement on hold indefinitely. 

Getting out of your own way is a hell of a task. Finally though, after months of quiet, self reflection, love, family, friends, community, healthy foods, exercise, meditation and patience, I feel like creating again - just for the sake of creating. 

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Katelyn BentonComment