I Know It’s Only Rock and Roll, but I’m Nervous

Posted: May 27, 2011 in music, Random Writings, Somewhere in between phases
Tags: , , , ,

It’s amazing how bogged down we can get with our own anxiety and self doubt. I woke up this morning and mentally ran through all the possible failure scenarios for my show tomorrow night at the Hotel Utah.  Just a month ago I was impressed by my ability to do what I’m doing and eager to share it with an audience.  This morning I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking when I decided to do this show.  Do you really think you can pull this off, asks that nagging little voice in my head. And the truth is, I don’t know.  It will be what it will be.  But I do know that running failure scenarios serves no purpose, or does it?

My oldest son is starting junior high next fall.  Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in kindergarten, his early school years were rocky to say the least, but at the transitional IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting I attended this week, the teachers and administrators declared him a success story.  Later that same day he and I attended an orientation meeting at the junior high for all incoming students.  As we walked out of the meeting I knew that look on his face.  He was worried.

 “What’s wrong,” I asked.

 “I think I’m going to get bad grades and detention.  It sounds like it’s going to be hard,” he said.

 I know my son pretty well, and while my impulse was to give him a big ol’ “Oh, you’ll do fine!” I knew that a blanket of soft, fluffy platitudes wouldn’t even begin to cover his anxieties. Instead I decided to break it down. What if he did get a bad grade, what could he do? He could work harder on his homework; he could ask for help from his teacher or his parents. He could make sure he understood what was expected of him, even if he had to ask a lot of questions.  Why did he think he would get detention?  Which school rules seemed hard to understand or follow?  And so it went all the way home.  At the end of the talk I told him about the IEP meeting and how his teachers spoke highly of him; he’s been getting good grades, seems to excel at math and has even developed a few friendships.   He seemed pleased to know his teachers liked him and he even gave himself a pat on the back for being a good math student.  Did this dispel his anxiety?  Not completely, but it seemed to assuage his fears in that moment.

Getting through a short set at Hotel Utah is about a zillion times easier than navigating junior high (and I’ve already done that, so there’s a whole different perspective on the situation).  Still, I’m nervous and so I’m going to follow my own lead and run some of those failure scenarios and figure out what I might do should any of them come to pass.   

As far as I can tell, rock and roll is all about swagger, getting your super ego blotto and taping directly into your inner wild child, the id.   There’s not a lot of swagger to my plan.  But then, my inner wild child is 42.  Perhaps creative problem solving is the new Jack Daniels of the middle aged synth pop set.

Or not.

I’ll let you know.

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Comments
  1. Suzette says:

    Paula,
    I AM impressed with all you are doing, your talent, and your willingness to put yourself out there tomorrow night. The songs you have written are lyrically complex yet totally catchy, the music behind them is enchanting, and you are all of the above. You will indeed have your “superfan” in the audience, so hopefully that will help. I think it is cool that you are running through your failure scenarios and realizing that it indeed does serve a purpose because rather than free falling anxiety you are addressing those scenarios with realistic fall back plans that enable you to feel more confident. I really love your statement that “it will be what it will be” because that is very true. So much of the time in life I paralyze myself because I so want to control the outcome of things that when I cannot, then I just take no action at all. Just giving oneself up to an experience and realizing that it will turn out however it will, based not only on things you can control but on that ephemeral combination of forces that are outside our control is an act of faith and of bravery. You are getting up there armed with great material, a great voice and great friends to back you, so I have a feeling that “what it will be” is GREAT! But in any case…what it will be is evidence of the fact that you are a strong woman who takes risks,

  2. Suzette says:

    cont…
    who is vibrantly creative, and whose determination to be artistic while also being a wonderful Mom is an inspiration to all of us Moms who struggle with that eternal existenstial angst of endevoring to be a “good” Mom while also being mindful of the fact that we have identities and aspirations which sometime stretch beyond the conventional role ascribed to us by society. I love how you did not invalidate Xander’s concerns by offering him empty platitudes but rather allowed him to process his fears while also supporting him by guiding him to realize that whatever challenges may face him, there are actions he can take to address whatever comes up, with the support of his Mom and Dad and the school. That is so far above the usual prattle of many parents who just want to quiet down their kid’s concerns so they don’t have to actually acknowledge them or deal with them. Xander is already ahead of many of his peers despite the Asperger’s challenges, because he has a Mom who is actually there for him and who will be his advocate and his support system no matter what middle school throws his way.

    I love your writing Ms. Boyd-Sutor…keep it coming. Thank you for being an honest voice in the motherhood trenches…and most of all…thank you for being my friend! Can I have your autograph…?

    Suzette

  3. […] the record, my show at the Hotel Utah went pretty well.  I’ve been tyring to find some pictures, but alas, there are none.  My […]

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