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My Body is My Work

As a kid, I was always making up catchy, silly songs from phrases I heard adults say, and singing them to my brothers. My older brother would often get them stuck in his head, and then claim them as his own. It was fine with me because I always had more. The same is true these days — I can create riffs and hooks endlessly. I’ve learned how to tap into that infinite potential and access the unconscious creative pool that lies beneath the conscious mind.

As I attempted to harness these little creative gems into more fleshed out songs in my 30s, I set a trap for myself. The body is the instrument, for all musiscians especially, but for really anyone who works with their hands and voice (which is basically everyone who does any work). I didn’t realize that in order to allow myself to continue to create freely, I’d need to first hone my primary instrument, my body.

Instead, I disrespected my body. Not absolutely terribly, as a lot of folks do with hard drugs and excessive processed food, but even still, I didn’t really appreciate what my body allowed me to do, and now that I am struggling to produce freely, I recognize that the work ahead of me requires me to first rehabilitate my body. I have become a sculptor, and my body has become my primary piece of work.

It’s something that I cannot stop talking about here because it’s all that I care about right now. I spent years teaching myself to sing freely, and when I was finally able to do so, I took for granted that I would be able to do so always, when the truth is that my body is a sensitive instrument, and always has been. Hanging out with people who perpetually disrespect themselves is a good way to pick up and normalize habits that lead to destructive behavior. The sad truth is that most musicians and artists are self-destructive, as are most New Yorkers. I learned from them, as well as from my parents, who were good people but who brought with them loads of heavy, unprocessed trauma. This is remarkably the first period in my life where I have been able to develop my own habits without an outside influence.

So here I am picking up the pieces and working my ass off to get into amazing shape so that I may one day share with you my creations again. I’m hosting a bi-weekly songwriters group these days, and I’ve been slowly finishing an album and producing demos. The songs are snapshots of the challenges I’ve faced over the past few years, and it’s very painful to reflect on, but I also feel like I’ll never move on until these songs are complete and out the door.

I don’t really talk to anyone these days. I probably have one or two conversations a week if I’m lucky, with friends on the phone. I spend almost all my time alone, and it really brings my down sometimes. So, if you ever feel like talking to me directly instead of just creeping on me here, please call. Some days I feel pretty good, but some days I’m wondering if I’ll be around much longer.