I felt like shit before we went out to play. Hopeless, helpless. I can’t work on my play. I’m trying to think of ways for us to make more money, but there are none I can think of. No quick fixes. Patreon, but who would support us in the way we really needed? We’d need a significant amount of support to be able to support ourselves. I could ask people for help, my family for example, but don’t want to rely on them for help. I’m so scared and I don’t know what to do. We can’t survive on tips alone. It is barely enough to get by right now. It’s weighing heavily on my mind every day.
I got ready to play and did my makeup as always, but eventually I sat down wondering why I was even bothering. I’m worried about turning any lights on continuously, as it will add to the always unexpectedly ridiculous electricity bill we can’t afford at the end of each month. I snapped this one and only photo of the day. You can read my feelings on my face. What are we going to do? I just wanted to cry. I don’t know why I was putting makeup on. It doesn’t do anything for us. It doesn’t increase our money. It doesn’t help us. It can help my mood, but not today. My mind was elsewhere. I am preoccupied by money these days. I hate it. I need to pull myself out of it, but I can’t seem to. Usually I’m thinking about being creative and trying to write and draw and prayform beautifully. I have managed to keep my thoughts away from money since we got here. Just do my very best and things will get better, but two months of doing so badly it’s finally getting to me.
When we bike to the park to play, there is hope today will be different. There is hopefulness. Today was the same. Tori arrived all dressed up and so did Pascual. He had his hair slicked back and was wearing spats and a tie. Very nice. Both of them would help to sell CDs as best they could. While I was talking to Tori, a man and his wife bought two CDs and a download card from Thoth, That always lifts my mood and gives me hope to day will go similarly in terms of people’s generosity. I was more bubbly and full of good feelings as we started, but it didn’t last. We had a crowd for the first song, but it again was very slow. Crowds here and there, but not generous. I remember writing about these kinds of frustrations in Edinburgh in 2014.
I got more and more frustrated as we played. Same old same old. We were trying our best, people were watching us, but not coming forward. Every time I said we have our music available after a song, no one even inquired about it. The couple who’d bought two CDs came back to watch us for a while and bought another one. We told them they were making our day. The wife keeled next to me and I explained how hard it is for us not to sell CDs and we can’t survive on tips alone. “No, God no you can’t.” she said sympathetically. A sympathetic ear for once! So compassionate, and she didn’t really say much else than that. Just a little compassion goes a long way, especially right now when we’re struggling like this.
Bill couldn’t come today as he sprained his ankle on Monday slipping in the rain. Poor thing! We missed him. I hope he heals up soon so we can see him again. He is struggling too. Everyone struggles. When things are bad like this, the worst feeling is feeling alone, because no one can help us. Only we can figure it out. People could step forward and be especially generous all at once, but that doesn’t happen. We survive by a few people being generous for the many others who choose for whatever reason not to be. It’s been this way as long as I’ve been prayforming, almost 10 years. It hasn’t changed. People are greedy and ungenerous. That’s why I hesitate putting any of our music up for free online, as people would just listen to it and not give anything back, as most do in the park. I don’t trust people to surprise us by being generous.
I don’t know how we manage to keep things going. How do we manage to keep traveling and living in all these beautiful cities. NYC, San Diego, SF, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and London only from prayforming in public. I always fear that will end somehow. The only way it would end is if we stopped doing it. We’ve been to San Diego, San Francisco, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, NYC, Malaga and Nashville just this year alone. I don’t want to stop traveling, no matter how hard it is, because it’s the only way we can keep playing. I hope things get better. I hope we can find another way, a way to fix this problem. We’ve been in worse experiences. When we finally find success, people will be wishing they supported us more. We need to figure it out. We will be stronger in the end. What won’t kill us will make us braver, stronger, more polished, more shiny and more beautiful. There has got to be a way. Please God make things better for us.
You know what, F*CK IT! I’m a person who sings music no one has heard before in public parks and I’m living in a world that doesn’t give a SH*T about it, but at least I’m f*ucking doing something!!!!!!! At least I’m trying to do something noble and giving and good! People’s lack of care doesn’t stop me from being immensely successful at it either!!! I’m a f*cking artist! I make art! I try to inspire people! I AM FREE! I wish more people supported it, but ah well! That won’t stop me from doing it, regardless! I can’t control what people are going to do. We are doing more than most people!! Anyone can enjoy what I do, and frankly, they should count themselves lucky!! Every person who ever had or will see us perform live in public is one lucky mother f*cker! In history, people will wish they could have been in their shoes!! People should be falling over each other to help us and house us and put on shows for us, but they don’t! We do it our f*cking selves, and we’re the better for it! I’m proud that we do!! If you wanna do something right, you’ve gotta do it yourself, G o d d a m n i t !
The only way to do anything with heart in it, especially these days, is to do it yourself. Most people are too concerned with making financial gain over making anything with soul. We are not. We sacrifice for our heart work, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t successful in our own way. In order to follow your own carved out path, you have to go and do it, and do it fearlessly, and not compare ourselves to the status quo. Just go and do stuff!!! A lot of people won’t get it. That’s fine. (Some do though. We cherish those people. They are special.) I don’t listen to anyone who dissuades me. I don’t let that stop me. We need more brave artists in this world; people who are willing to stick their necks out for art and truth and beauty. That’s what makes life worth living. Not money and fancy houses and cars and that bull s*it! Wake up people! Get your heads out of your butts! Support art and music and goodness!
We are incredibly successful for being street performers! We get ourselves around the world by ourselves! We are doing enough, giving enough and working hard enough. I get feisty like this because it’s just Thoth and me against the world it seems. It’s so rare for people to stand up for us. Those who do are really special people!( THANK YOU!) We are two people fighting an uphill battle to create a life that is different from any person in this world! We go out and share our art and our music with as many people as we can. People should be grateful, instead of judgmental and mean and condescending as they sometimes are. Thank god that rarely happens!
The best thing to be done is to try and create as much as I can and not think about how little support we have. It’s depressing and debilitating. It’s not how much anyone cares, it’s the work we produce that really matters. I’m a human being and I want to be loved, but creativity is the only thing I can do that gets me through my dark feelings. All artists feel this. I’m not alone. I’m brave enough to write about it and be vulnerable. It’s can be debilitating to put things out there day after day, year after year and to look too closely at how little energy is received than the energy that is given to do it. It’s a given. Artists give more than they get back. Only the lucky ones, the overrated ones, get more than they give. That is the nature of being an artist, but we don’t have to like it. We want to be loved. We want our work to be appreciated. We are sensitive and vulnerable to criticism. All we want is love and support.
I wish we had more support, but really, F**K IT. That doesn’t stop us from being successful and making beautiful art and music anyway! We don’t need lots of support to do what we do. It would be nice to have more of it, but we can survive without it. When people come see us perform, it makes all the difference for me. There are a handful of people who care enough to make our life feel less lonely and help us in the beautiful ways they do. From giving us a place to stay or coming to see us prayform, to simply commenting on our vlogs and on this blog and supporting us on social media. We can’t do indoor shows or tour with a band, but we can go out to the park and sing every day and support ourselves through that. That is a blessing. Our friends who love us make all the difference. I do wish more people loved us, but F**K it! Some do, and for that I am grateful. We’d need many, many more people like them in order to be more successful, but we don’t have that. We had a handful of supporters, and that makes our life magic, even in the smallest ways. When friends come to see us in the park and stay for the entire time and talk to us afterwards, we feel loved. I wish we had more fans, but F**K it! The few fans we do have do love us and appreciate what we do deeply.
I wish we could perform indoors more often, but F**K it! We don’t have to in order to survive. We do fine performing in public! At least we have that. There is something beautiful about giving our art away and random strangers give back to us out of genuine love of what we do and not by cohesion or force. We are free in public. We are actually pretty famous in Balboa Park and other places we play! We don’t have the influence to get people to come to indoor shows. I actually don’t know how to get people to come to indoor shows. The beauty of public performance is we don’t have to worry if people will come. They always do. It is a much humbler was to perform. I constantly have to look in the mirror of humility by performing in public. That’s why I have so much pride, because I have to believe what we are doing is important, even if it many not seem to be. It is for me. It is for Thoth. It is for those people who truly understand what we’re doing. You know who you are. Thank you.
I wish people supported the vlogs and the blog more, but F**K that too! Despite how frustrating it is at times, it’s not stopping me from making them. I’m doing it for myself. I can’t make people support us more. I can only do the work every day. Work and create and do stuff!!! It is shocking how some people feel entitled to taking our art and giving nothing back, but it shouldn’t surprise me. We are a naturally selfish society. I will always give. I will always hope for people’s generosity. I will never give up. F**k those who think anything other than good things for the work we do. Thank you to those who truly see us and appreciate us. I cannot make anyone like us or respond to us. I can’t control people’s actions. I can only do good works and be a good person. That is all.
Realizations about Selfishness, Not Taking things for Granted and Needs for Validation
I’ve been having an enlightening time since last I wrote.
I’ve had some kind of catharsis. A realization. A growth. A deepening of knowledge of self. I have many short comings. Many faults. I am not perfect. I am not a selfless, pure soul, always giving and never taking. I have a need to be my rawest, truest, most fucked up self and for everyone to embrace and understand me. I want to be able to expose myself emotionally to everyone. I want to be naked, figuratively, to the world. Yet I also fear that. I fear that people will see what I truly am; a deeply needy, obsessive, doubtful and sensitive human being like anyone else. I fear people’s judgments.
No one owes me praise or compassion or love, or anything for that matter. I don’t deserve constant attention just because I’m talented. Hard work is a given. It is necessary and expected in order to create anything greater than myself. I don’t want to be someone who is selfish and constantly needing outside validation for every small thing I do. I want to be a strong, hard working, creative, inspiring, productive and self motivated person. Also compassionate, sensitive to others and giving. The truth is that sometimes I am not. I can be selfish, inconsiderate, full of myself, needy, lazy, greedy, etc. That is what I can fall back on with such ease if I don’t work every day to combat it.
My deepest fear is that I will turn into my mother. I’ve been watching her and how sick she is for this entire month. It tears at my heart and shakes the core of my soul. It makes me doubt all the positive things I see in myself. It makes me wonder if I am doing the right thing. If everything will be ok. If I will die all alone and unloved. If anyone loves me at all and if I’m not just a bother to everyone around me. I can also doubt myself in a deeply disturbing way. To the point that I wonder if I made the right choice to make a life commitment to something when I was just 21 years old. If I’m following the right path. If it will make any difference for my life or for other people. If it’s worth it. I have been talking to a few close friends over the last few days about my doubts, which have been coming up while we’ve been in Nashville this month. I’m finding that I am not alone in my feelings. A friend last night said “You feel as much trapped with a house then you are without it.” Since both my parents own a home, cars, and have all the trappings of a normal life (even though they were both freaks like me at one point), I wonder if I shouldn’t have the same. I don’t want to settle down though. I want to be free. I need to me more grateful for what I have. I need to remember how blessed I am and I shouldn’t give myself such a hard time.
I am an artist. I’ve always been an artist. I can’t be anything but an artist. I live my life as art. All I do is art. I have needs. I need support. I need love and understanding and friendship and unconditional love for who I am. I need to be able to tell people what I need when I need it, even if they can’t give me exactly what I need. I have people who give me that. I can’t take that for granted. I need to be vulnerable and open and raw and honest in my interactions with the world. That’s how I’ve gotten everything in my life. My friends, my husband, my lifestyle. That’s how I play music.Sometimes I feel like I’m invisible, like I’m an island unto myself. Like no one can relate to me because I am so uniquely me. I have friends though. Talking to my friends has really helped me realize I am not alone and that my problems and fears are not unique. Everyone has the same fears as me, no matter how much they have. The grass is always greener, right? “But you need to remember that for some people you are the greener grass.” a friend said last night. I am living a blessed life with a beautiful husband and some really amazing friends. I can’t forget that or take it for granted.
I don’t talk to many people about my feelings because I fear judgment and rejection and denial. We all do. The beauty of life is to be open and exposed and vulnerable. That’s why certain actors move me and certain singers touch me. It’s as if I can see inside them. The barrier that people usually put up to protect themselves in daily life isn’t there. That’s what I strive for in my work. That’s what I’m striving for in my videos. That’s what I am. I am a vulnerable human soul longing to be accepted and understood by other human souls. I am so blessed that some people do truly understand me. I want to be an inspiration to others, not someone who constantly needs validation from other people. I want to be strong, but sometimes I’m just not. I am weak and vulnerable, open to attack or judgment. I take it hard too. I don’t do myself any favors by writing and performing and living the way I do. I make myself incredibly vulnerable every single day and I get hurt very easily. I can over think people’s words and actions to a highly debilitating degree, especially when I’m not prayforming.
I want never to shut down my feelings because I’ve been hurt too much. I have everything because of my openness. I have gained so much because I have been real with my needs and wants. I face myself every day and try to work through my short comings and faults and make myself a better person. I am thoughtful and pondering and brooding. I think a lot. I question myself. I am honest with myself. I am honest with others. I try not to hide what I feel and think and believe for fear of being misread. I always try to give without expecting anything in return. Sometimes it is impossible! Sometimes I just need someone to listen to me. A shoulder to cry on. Someone who really cares about me and sees me for who I truly am. Someone who can love me for who I am, flaws and all. Thoth gives that to me every day and I give that to him. My friends give me that. I am blessed.
The world is very cold and uncaring. It is easy to cut ourselves off from love. It is easy to be cruel and hateful and incompassionate. It’s easy to build walls around our hearts and our feeling and our emotions. If everyone said what they meant, told people what they needed, loved and gave and cared more fearlessly, the world would be a truly beautiful place. We need to be more loving, more deeply open to each other, especially during these times when the world is slowly caving in on its self. Instead of clicking “like”, I talk to our friends face to face or write to them and tell them we care. We show people and tell people what we truly feel.
On Theater as a Vehicle for Compassion
I have always been obsessed with Phantom of the Opera. It is the ultimate tale of obsession. What has struck me recently is just how f’ing obsessed Erik is with Christine, in the musical especially. Up until the first moment of contact, when he brings her down to the lair, he has only taught her voice lessons. He has never had a conversation with her, or that’s what I’m led to assume. He has only been able to coach her from behind the mirror. She doesn’t even know he’s a real person yet. So for all these months that he’s been coaching her, he’s been lusting after her endlessly. Fantasizing about her… And all this time he’s been designing a lifelike doll that looks exactly like her, which he reveals to her when she first comes to his lair. I didn’t realize how f’ing creepy that is! He’s probably been masturbating to the doll, sleeping with it, maybe even having sex with it. When he finally has her, he shows her this doll in the wedding dress and of course she faints! What Erik wants, more then anything in the whole world, is to marry and be loved by and have sex with Christine! That’s all. That’s his motivation from before the musical started until it ends. Clear, simple, and really, reeeeeeally creepy.
Obsession, lust, desire, revenge, murder has been the subject of so many great musicals, opera, books and movies, yet these are characteristics we as human beings don’t look upon favorably. Isn’t that funny? All the fictional characters I love in theater are characters I’d be pretty creeped out by in real life. I wouldn’t find it endearing if someone made a mechanical doll of me, kidnapped me, hypnotized me, killed people for me, blackmailed me or threatened to kill my fiance. Nor would I like someone who grounded me up into a meat pie or transformed into a murderous maniac. Even gentler creatures who were immensely deformed would probably frighten or sicken me in real life. The arts transform these twisted characters into people we can feel for. That’s the beauty of theater and books and films. We can feel for those we probably wouldn’t in real life. Compassion. Empathy. That’s why I love theater.
I can create and play a character who in real life no one would like, yet through the medium of theater or music or art, you can get to know them and maybe even grow to love them. Same as why I love Erik. He would be an immensely unpleasant person in real life, yet I love him because the works created about him give me a look into his mind and his heart. I can see and understand why he does what he does and feel for him when he looses the only thing that matters to him. Michael Crawford said in his final performance speech:
“It’s wonderful to play a man that you can *care* about him loosing, and if we all cared about each other in that way, it would be a terrific place.”
That’s the beauty of theater, it brings deep compassion, care and understanding out in us.
On Long Term Creative Commitment
I’ve been avoiding social media since Christmas. I’m trying to teach myself to work on things that take long time daily commitment to accomplish. I’m good at things that take a day or two (a vlog, a blog, a sketch, a prayformance, a makeup look) but I struggle with things that take a long time. A play, an opera, a book, a painting etc. Things that can take many weeks, many months, or even many, many years. I tell myself I need to get things done fast, or I won’t get them done. I have only been able to complete an opera because we were commissioned to complete it and Thoth was always there. I have never finished a project on my own. I am refocusing my life to be able to do that. There are many things I want to do in my life. Write a book, a play, another opera, etc. I’d also love to paint a finished canvas. All these things take longer then a day. I must find a way to work incredibly hard without needing any outside validation or anyone seeing what I’m doing. I get so much praise when we prayform. I’m used to that, but it can be debilitating when creating without it feels impossible. I must. It is the only way to create the great work I have in me. I know I have something truly great in me that I can’t even imagine now.