Hello dear reader(s)!
When you’ve been through what I have, or any bad thing (because the severity of my issues does not invalidate the reality of yours), you have to do your absolute best to take the good from the bad. To see the beauty in the ugliness, the light in the darkness, the cream cheese in the bagel (wait, that doesn’t work because I like bagels AND cream cheese)…well, you get the point. Life is going to do its best to beat you down sometimes, and sometimes the only thing you can do is take pride in the fact you landed a punch or two before you fell. Finding the good in the bad is the only way you can face major tragedies and still believe that life on this planet is worth living. Even with less tragic, but still bad moments, you have to take the good from the bad. And so it was with last night.
My friend hosts an open mic night at this small pub I have wanted to go to but for various reasons I have never been able to make. I usually have game night on Tuesday nights, so there was one reason. When I haven’t had game night, I’ve been too sick to go anywhere. But I was excited to go, because it would be the sort of people I could stand to be around (not club people), the crowd wouldn’t be so large I would have to worry about my low immunity, and it wouldn’t be so loud with no escape if it got that way. So when game night was cancelled last night, I decided I would try to go. My stomach was bothering me all day, but I decided to fight through it.
We arrived at the pub and everything was great. We listened to some of the music and hung out on the patio or down by the fire pit, but could still hear everything and it was all really good. I talked with my friend who was hosting (and playing a few times during) the event, and talked with his mom who is my mom’s best friend from when they were kids. Then another one of my friends showed up and I talked with her for just a second before she had to leave. I met a couple of new people and that seemed fine. At first.
But it wasn’t fine. It was more of the same old thing in this town. I started talking with someone who caught my eye, and she casually dropped that she worked with people who suffered with cancer. Thinking it was coincidental, I told her how cool that it is being a survivor myself and was hoping to move the conversation forward. Only it wasn’t coincidental she brought it up. She had already been told all of the things that had happened to me in the past few years. It seems my reputation had once again preceded me. The next thing I know, we’re talking about all of this crap that I really didn’t feel like talking about when I was just trying to go out and have fun. She is crying by the end of our conversation (not my stuff, I barely said a word about it, but hers because I guess she related) and I realize that any hope I had to be seen as something other than a tragic figure was out the window before I ever even opened my mouth. So when she got up, I just let her go without trying to make plans to talk with her again.
A while later, I was talking with someone else and she also knew what happened to me as soon as I said my name. There is nothing worse than saying, “Hi, I’m Josh,” to someone and they respond with, “I know. I’m so sorry about everything you’ve been through.”
“Hi, I’m Josh, I’m a fun person and a really genuine guy who was kind of interested in getting to know you better but you are only capable of seeing me as a victim. Take care.”
And it isn’t like I would keep my past hidden, I would just like the opportunity to introduce it on my timeline. In another setting. After I got to know that person a little better and they got to see who I was as a person as opposed to a story.
However, there was some good in all of that.
I have been second guessing wanting to leave town because of some of the better friends I have here. Even though I definitely need to leave my house and don’t like the area, in the back of my mind, the question of whether or not moving away was the best option was swirling around. Not anymore. No doubts at all, and that is a good thing.
Another good thing to come from this is I heard another songwriter with a voice that was even worse than mine, but he was up there singing his song which was quite good once you got past the singing, and he was doing it. Nobody was laughing or shaking their heads, but they were listening to the song he wrote. So I decided to sing in two weeks. (I want to practice.)
The last good thing to come from it is that I was planning on doing a song I wrote years ago, that I have been retooling every once in a while. But when I got home, I was so frustrated by everything, that I ended up writing a brand new song which I love, and I will be doing that song instead.
I will have a friend take a video of it, and if I view it and don’t Peter Brady too many times or otherwise suck, I will post it for you.
So yeah, last night was kind of shitty, but it was also kind of great. Hopefully I play and sing this song all the way through as well as I did with each part as I wrote it.
Wish me luck!