George Carter
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Accepting I’m An Artist

| Tuesday 12th March, 2024

Woke up this morning and after a little incident acting out the toxic shame of CPTSD with some self-bondage and masturbation, I turned to music.

(I’m still trying to figure out if BDSM and kink are a result of toxic shame, or if shame results from acting on BDSM and kink impulses, or if they are actually independent but conflated in my own mind and psyche)

By jumping straight into music, I have wrecked my morning routine for the day… I should do my stretches, then turn to my morning pages. But ‘should’ is always a trap, right?

“Follow your natural rhythms” says my therapist.

So while I had my morning poo I was running scales and drills on the penny whistle. And since I had my B-flat whistle in my hand, and it sounds lovely, I then played a couple of tunes… Star of the County Down and Inisheer. What a way to start the day, a musical poo.

I like to think the spider that was standing in the bath was enjoying it too. After all those hours stuck in a slick canyon of incarceration a little music must have brightened its spirits?

Then after whistling for a while (and wiping my bottom, AND washing my hands) I picked up the guitar. I’ve always said I don’t get along with the guitar—too many strings, not enough fingers—but I met someone yesterday at an acoustic night who I really resonated with… she learnt piano, then flute (spending five years in an orchestra), the ukulele and has now picked up a guitar.

The bit I resonated with?

Listening to an amazing blues player at the event, she said “The trouble is, I expect myself to be that good after a week of playing.”

Yep. I hear her.

So… yeah, I am not that good. I am learning. I am allowing myself to learn. (As Julia Cameron says, “You can’t get better and look good at the same time.”)

And I surprised myself.

Played through “Happy The Man” by Genesis and “If I Had A Million Dollars” by Barenaked Ladies. Made up most of the words to the former because I haven’t learnt them – but it was the guitar part that was important. Really played both songs with awareness. If I just move my thumb here, does it make that chord easier? Does it make the strings ring better? What if I squeeze a little harder there?

There’s a difference between learning, practice and playing, and this was somewhere between learning and practice… making adjustments to optimise the results (learning) and then drilling those optimisations (practice).

But here’s the most important thing…

My childhood conditioning told me I wasn’t an artist. I was the sensible one, the scientific one, the reliable one.

You know what? Fuck that. It was wrong. I’m emotional (did a great job of suppressing that), I value freedom and expression above most other values, and I’m really talented in many, many ways (see, I feel guilty just for writing that true fact about myself!)

I am slowly accepting that I am artist and I will proceed with that in mind at all times.

I am hanging around with more artists, letting go of my parents’ and society’s judgement that they are lazy, promiscuous, broke, idealist, selfish…

It’s a long journey, but life has truly been blooming since I have at least begun to accept the truth about myself. It’s not easy… my old life has come to an end, my world has dissolved and I am flung into the unknown. And I’m relishing every moment of that insecurity, excitement, fear, loneliness, companionship, connection, creation, spirituality, highs, lows…

Where angels fear to tread? I think that’s a phrase. I don’t really know what it means, but it seems apt here.

(Oh… and the spider is still in the bath… better go put it out now…)


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