I don’t expect many people will read this piece, but it’s one I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I’ve been typing and erasing over and over, trying to make the words come out right; but there’s no better time than now, I guess.
I haven’t written a song in over a year, and it hurts so much. All I’ve ever wanted to do in this world is write songs. I wake up every morning with the hopes that today will be the day. Every week it’s a goal of mine to sit by the piano, or pick up my guitar and sculpt music with my hands. Every month I look back and and feel like a damn failure for not coming up with anything decent.
I know I know how to write. I know the chords, which combinations sound pleasant to the ear. I know the verses, choruses and bridge structures. I can technically make something happen, but the spark is lost. Don’t get me wrong, I still write every day. They just aren’t coming out as melodic.
For those of you who were here a year ago, at the very beginning of Pop of Colour, it was a blog that taught songwriting. There’s just only so much you can talk about songwriting structure, as every genre has its own styles and every artist is unique. I re-launched in December 2016 as a music industry publication, and have been writing non-stop in that department – but it hurts.
My whole persona with my blog is that I’m an artist too, not just some business girl who bosses bands around. People incredulous with my business success will ask me if I still write music too. I tell them yes, then cry when they can’t see.
It’s not like I don’t know where this comes from. I’ve been a writer my whole life, and building my world into lyrics and melodies has given me reasons to live when I was suicidal. Now that I’m getting better, by songwriting abilities are fading away. I don’t want to go back to that dark place; I don’t think I ever can. So here I am, writing about mailing lists and interviewing successful songwriters, stuck.
When I was 17, I wrote a song for my then-boyfriend where the hook was “everyone deserves the love sung about in country songs.” Well, I was wrong. The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. There are people who treat others badly, and still have everything handed to them. There are those who dig their whole lives and never make a dent in the mountain. And then, there’s a girl who sacrificed the only good thing she’s ever had for a long life.
I’ve struggled with serious mental health issues since I was a teenager. When I turned 18 and was no longer eligible for children’s medical care, the system abandoned me. Two years, two months and twenty days later, I saw a doctor for the first time. I cried. Over the years I’ve had a list of medical labels placed on me, but the big, official one is Borderline Personality Disorder. From what I understand, it’s called that because it walks the border between a mood disorder (like depression or anxiety), and a hallucinatory disorder (such as schizophrenia). I remember several occasions where I would hallucinate while under stress – at its worst I had to quit a part-time job because of it.
My days go either really right or really wrong. I feel empty if I have nothing to do, so I juggle too much, even if I’m too sad to have the motivation to do it all. I work harder than everyone else I see around me, to keep it together, pass school and build a career. I keep telling myself to have the mindset of an athletic champion; I’ve even started going to the gym. The morning I wrote this piece, I gave my physical all in a combat class, imagining the faces of the sexist boys who call me names behind my back with every punch or kick.
Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time is be an advocate for mental health. I’m not talking “think positive” awareness campaigns, I’m talking “let’s find the cure if we can, and help people currently struggling no matter what” movements. I don’t know where to start with that – maybe writing this very piece is the first tiny step I can make in changing the world.
But, where does this leave me with writing songs? I’m so grateful the publishing deal I was almost offered when I was 19 fell through. I think I need some time away from the instruments to breathe, before gently picking them back up again. I take my medication at the same time every night, and continue getting such a kick out of helping musicians reach their dreams and goals. Readers: I love you all so much.
Once again, I don’t imagine this piece will be very popular. Today, I’m not the music industry expert giving hot tips to building the perfect EPK, or interviewing a cool artist. I’m just a girl who gets lost sometimes in the big universe outside her arm’s reach, and right now, for the first time, I’m okay with that.