It's a reasonable question. We ask it of ourselves from time to time. I did earlier this week.
While rummaging through the rabbit hole that is YouTube, I came across a video of Gerry, John, and myself playing at City Winery NYC from 2013. It was the only time I played there, about four years ago this month. I remember it well, feeling like, "Okay... this is good. This is a huge step in the right direction. Let's keep this going." It was celebratory. It was magical. We were opening for the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers, and I felt like this was a springboard to bigger opportunities.
There was a little sadness in my heart while watching the video. I think it stemmed from feeling like I'm in the same place that I was in back then - like I haven't advanced. I felt a little hopeless wondering why I haven't played there again, wondering if I'll ever have a career to substantiate playing venues like that, in front of audiences that big. I was circling around a hole of self-pity wondering why I wasn't "further along." All the demons of self-doubt came swooping in. These were shitty feelings I haven't felt in a long time.
"What am I doing?" It's a question that comes up once in a while. It came up the other night. I usually ask it of myself when I feel like I'm doing something wrong. I should ask it of myself when I'm evaluating what I'm doing right. In the context of the other night, while feeling sorry for myself, I asked it - you guessed it - in a negative sense. What are you doing on the couch watching a video of yourself? You haven't gotten very far, have you? That's as good as it's ever gonna get, and you haven't even done it again. What are you doing? Such negative thoughts. Not a good head space.
It's been a few days since this little bout of self-pity. I'm back in a better place. I just wanted to share this story because I know other people, other artists, feel this way once in a while. I wholly appreciate that things could always be worse, and that is always one of my first considerations to help myself get back on track. I guess I just wanted people that are experiencing self-doubt to know that other people experience it too. We can hold each other up and help each other out, sometimes just by sharing our stories.
Here's to doing.