Self-Expression is Tough.

For some reason, I feel this prodigious pressure to update this blog more frequently than I feel I am capable of doing. I cannot help but to notice that this pressure suppresses my ability of creative expression. It never really dampers the creative thought process. This leaves me with these thoughts…completely legitimate and expressible thoughts…with no ability to do so without an immense amount of frustration. It sounds like “common” writer’s block, and it probably is, but I wonder, “Why is it that it is so frustrating?”

I have had writer’s block before and have gotten rid of it sometimes the same day as its onset. Most recently (and it seems like it has lasted for months), I have been tussling with my songwriting. The words are always too direct/indirect, the melody is too cliché, the chord progression is too simple, etc. I have been tearing my Self apart. Notice the use of Self and not “self”. I have been so critical of my inner most being. The core of who I am has been getting jumped and beaten down at the corner of Chord Progression Street and Thought Process Boulevard every time I sit in front of the piano. “It is not fair! Every other music therapist I know can write awesome songs for their Self and I can’t!” Honest-to-goodness I had that thought every single frustrating time I would sit down to write music for my Self…for me. Writing songs for clients has always been easy. I can write you a song about the days of the week, the ingredients needed to make a sandwich, or a song about the step-by-step process of putting money in a drink machine, but by golly, up until today and for the past few weeks, I could not have played a song I had written for myself to process my feelings. How did I drag myself out of it? Why is it that today when I sat in front of the piano to write, the music flowed from within like water from a spring?

I acknowledged that I was ignoring myself vicariously through putting everyone else’s needs in front of my own. Even while writing this I want to include a section about “how if self-expression can be difficult for a music therapist, how difficult do you think it can be for a client”…but then I realized that I needed to write this for me. I haven’t been tending to my own wounds. I cared too much about what others would think of my music. I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book for recreational purposes…it has all been journals, articles, and textbooks for reference. You can’t take care of anyone else until you’ve taken care of yourself. So for you therapists reading this, if you feel the same way, acknowledge that the frustration you have in regards to expressing yourself may not lie somewhere else, it may lie within.

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4 responses

  1. Sometimes, you’ve got to let good enough be good enough. The chase for “perfection” can kill you, because true perfection is unachieveable.

    So, if you’re putting unrealistic demands on yourself, it’s important to sit down and look at this. Look at why. And what would be realistic. And can you live with that.

    Balance is one of the most important things in a healthy, happy life

    Catherine
    Foresight

  2. Thank you for this post!

    As a use-to-be songwriter and a current spiritual blogger, this is the demon I consistently find holding me in a half-Nelson.

    I often feel like I am using an audience of others to impress as a proxy for impressing the one person that counts. Yet trying to impress myself implies a lack of acceptance of the validity of my own opinion about myself.

    Again, I so appreciate your words as it reminds me that this is not as uncommon of a battle as it sometimes feels. Thank you for the reminder through this post of where to look for the true source of strength and inspiration

    • You’re welcome. As a sometimes songwriter and often spiritual blogger, I hear what you’re saying

      Sometimes we do need to impress ourselves- to have our work reach the point where we can feel staisfied, like we’ve accomplished something worthwhile with the effort we’ve put in. But it’s also important to be compassionate with ourselves as well. Not every song, or poem, or piece of wooden furniture needs to achieve perfection to make our work good and worthy, and to express what greatness there is within us.

      Sometimes you do have to reach for the moon but be happy if you only fall amongst the stars…

      So, we do the best we can.

      And that’s all we can do.

      And fortunately, good eneough is good enough

      Catherine
      Foresight

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