Hey, folks. Sorry it’s been a bit.
I really wish I’d gotten to post last weekend. I had a draft going, I was on schedule to meet my deadline, and it should have been fine, but sometimes life gets in the way. And after the absolutely nuts month I’ve had, I just needed a few days to put my head down, get a few projects off my plate (or headed in that direction), and try not to freak out.
I was mostly successful.
I’m hoping to be back to my normal posting schedule from today onward, though I may play with the exact time I publish to see what works best (let me know if you’ve got a preference). But this week, I just wanted to take a minute to talk about mental health, especially as we’re heading into the holiday season.
In my entirely unprofessional opinion, musicians (and students generally) don’t talk about mental health enough. It’s easy to just brush it all off as stress and force yourself through to the next task and then the next one, but if you look around, it’s easy to see people are struggling. Sure, it’s flu season, but we also aren’t in a place where we can eat our fruits and veggies and get enough sleep and have a manageable task list instead of an unending mountain. People are pulling all-nighters just so they don’t fall behind. I am behind. And sometimes I look at my homework and my TAing and my creative projects and my other work and how oh yeah, I’m supposed to practice and compose every day—and there’s just too much going on.
So I stepped away for a little bit. I took a few days off from posting on social media (because brands are great and all but sleep is even better). I spent time with my partner and my brother and a whole bunch of family. I did a couple nice things for myself. I didn’t fix everything, but I gave myself a little bit of an energy boost—not enough to get me through to the end of the year, but probably enough to get to the end of the semester.
I still have a grant that needs to be filled out, a concert to produce, another three or four shows to perform in, too many assignments to grade, scores and parts to clean, a major piece to learn, and a web design project to do, and it’s going to be a stupid amount of work. My body is breaking down on me in ways I’m still trying to understand, and I don’t know what that’s going to mean for my playing or my life moving forward. I’m also approaching the three-month mark from my grad recital, and I’ve got a ton of planning and composing to do in preparation. I’m going to leave 22 and enter 23 in the midst of all this chaos, in a body that feels like a 45-year-old’s, in a mind that’s still figuring out how to navigate the world. Some days, I’ll have to cut something out.
But the point to all this? I’m not good at taking care of myself. I’m so used to putting everyone else’s needs before my own that I’m really, really bad at admitting I need a break. So here’s me, admitting December 15th cannot come soon enough.
And here’s me, asking: how are all of you doing?