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Nothing But Failure...Do I Belong Here?
December 9, 2000
7:30 am
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Clay Rains
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Well, I doubt any body will want to read this since it drags on so long. I just can't put what I'm going through in a few sentences. Since about the age of 12-13 is when things seemed to go bad. First I'll say...No I'm not a drug addict, dying of cancer, divorced, abused child...nothing like that. In fact, people seem to think of me as being pretty "squared away". I've heard described by friends, family, and others in my community as very intelligent, attractive, educated, positive, well adjusted, talented, helpful, easy-going...and the list goes on . A lot of people seem to look at me as if I've "got it all". But I might as well be a drug addict, abused child, or whatever, because there are a LOT of them that are more satisfied with thier lives than me.

The problem is, most of these people are not there all the time to see what it's really like. The truth is that although, I seem to have all of this going for me, my life has been riddled with failure after failure. Its been like a roller coaster ride for me the last 16 or 17 years of my life. Things go bad..I'm down a while but I always get right back up, then I'm knocked back down only to get up again. But the bad times have been getting longer and more intense in the past years and the times of good spirits are fewer and farther between. Just like a woman's labor pains except its bringing anything but life for me.

I'm almost 30 and have done nothing but wash, cars, shovel manure, change oil and even worse. I did get a job in radio as a news writer/DJ/announcer within the past two months (not my "dream career" but a major step up from where I was), but I'ts a small station and an entry level job and I, now at age 29, have to live with my parents because I can barely afford to pay my bills on what I now make.

I am grateful for what I have and don't mean to sound otherwise. But I realize after 29 years, I haven't really accomplished much, since a 19-year-old girl was hired straight out of high-school to do the same thing I do on another shift at our station. I don't have to work in the winter cold, summer heat, come home covered in grease, dirt and god knows what else, or worse, risk losing an eye or limb in some machine now...But I'm actually not a whole lot more interested in writing news stories and giving the weather than I am greasing trucks and sweeping floors.

All I've wanted to do is sing and play in a band. If I can't do that, I don't know what I'll do. I can't picture going through my whole life with the ability and desire to do something, yet spend my life trapped, doing something I am not interested in at all (to me that's the next closest thing to hell)I really don't want to live if I can't...And I mean be in a real band, with skilled musicians, many diffent styles, original songs, that has a chance of going somewhere, where I can do what I want. I'm now in a bar band doing what everyone but me wants to do covers of "Mony, Mony" and "Mustang Sally"... far from what is exiting to me. I am at the point now, that I am out of ideas and don't know what to do to achieve these goals. Other than a good friend, Brandon, who is a drummer, I can't even find anyone else to form a band with, let alone think of a strategy to chase a record deal.

I've done plenty in the past. Most notably,I spent around 10,000 dollars on an album project, which took over three years to complete. After it was done, I sold at the most 75 copies of it. That's a large reason that I have to live with my parents. I'm now in a lot of debt because of that. I won 1st place in a singing contest. The prize was to go to Nashville, where I was supposed to hang out backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and sing at Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree after the Opry that night, wich would be broadcast on the radio and where a lot of famous entertainers would also be performing.

As it turned out, the famous Opry Star later told me I could not sing but could get me backstage at the Opry and introduce me to a bunch of entertainers and what not. "Well, no big deal that's still a great oppurtunity", I thought. About a month before I was planning to visit Nashville, this famous Grand Ole Opry member died of a heart attack. The venue that held the contest said they would have someone else help me(but didn't). I was turned away when I got there. And left Nashville in no better shape and farther in debt.

Now even my drummer friend Brandon, will probably be gone soon...he's getting married now and says he's not real interested in his former "first love", drums. In fact, most of my friends are doing their own thing. Even if they're not, my schedule and location now keeps me from ever seeing them. I usually go driving around aimlessly by myself or generally killing time. Or more often, the best escape... sleeping.

Maybee I should find a girl too? Well, I know that's not the answer. I don't really want the married life. I'd be even further trapped then. I don't really want a steady girlfriend or wife right now. It would be nice to go out on a date once in a while though, to have something to look forward to on my days off, maybee a social life of some kind?

I just can't find to seem any girl interested in a second date. I have been nice,outgoing, upbeat,been myself yet, here lately, if I'm given (not after I ask for it, but am offered it) a number and I call the first time, I'm often lucky if they'll even act as though they wanted they even want to talk to me. One even claimed she didn't remember me! I was even e-mailed and called by one girl who asked for mine. She was a waitress at a restaurant my band played at. She and a friend wanted to come see us play at a big New Year's ball last New Year's Eve. So I gave her friend my only free ticket and bought her one. She never showed up. After I e-mailed several times, she gave me an excuse about an asthma attack (I later learned she does not have asthma!) I've got plenty of stories like that. I had until now passed it all off as just the wrong type of girls. I imagined a lot of them, where out to make a boyfriend jealous or after money and didn't realize my "status", that I wasn't some successful college grad with some great job, who sang in a band for fun.

But recently I have met a group of genuinely nice girls at a play I recently peformed in and had been in in a few years past. They saw me drive up in my beat up, 1971-model car that hit on about 2 of 6 cylinders and still went out of their way to talk to me. They knew I was a practically dirt poor, blue-collar guy. Without even knowing me, they'd come and sit down next to me and start talking away,invite me and insit I come to their parties,and would trade phone number with me. They all acted as if they really thought a lot of me. I was rarely invited to parties in high-school (especially not by girls). Two of them, even though there where dozens of people, greeted me as I walked up the front steps and took me around, introducing me to everyone I didn't know. One even said, "You need to quit hanging around St. Joe (where I lived at the time) and start coming up here and hanging out with us on the weekends!" I was blown away by all of that! But after knowing me a while and being around me, they don't seem to act that way anymore. Their still nice to me and might say "hi" if I see them, but other than that I don't hear from any of them now. When that happens with girls like that, I can't help but wonder if something is wrong with me.

The lady that ran the play always asks me
"SO are you married yet?" I say "No", She says "Not even close?" I say "No, not even close" She asks, "Are you seeing anybody?" I say "No" and then as most people do after hearing that, sort of stares blankly at me as if I'm from another planet or theres something wrong with me. She then always brings up the fact..."Well you'll find someone...You know a lot of these little girls around town, that where in the play with you and came to see the play really think you're somethin'!" They're always talkin' about you!"
I feel like saying "Don't worry they usually get over it pretty quick."

People are always saying "Oh,you're good looking and you sing in a band.. I bet you have a bunch of girlfriends!" Well I did have one girlfriend in kindergarten. But other than that I've never gone on any kind of date with a girl more than once and I could count those on my fingers. I do wonder why though, why don't I? Imean, I could pass it off as teenage awkwardness, the "geek syndrome" in high school, but what's my excuse now?

It never bothered me before but when I see kids going to they're proms and homecomings and all that,and anytime I cover an event like that at work in my news stories, it kind of makes me kind of sad anymore. I mean, I didn't care that I never went to prom or anything like that at the time, and actually I don't regret not going to them, because high-school was pretty unpleasant for me anyway. I just wish I could have gotten to participate in some of those things at a school I liked and fit in at. But who's to say my luck wouldn't have been the same anywhere?

I've had been negative around these girls in the play, I was always myself and am cheerful. It just kills me wondering why. Like I said, I now see that it might not have been all me in the past but these girls aren't like that. I even told one of them that I was planning on going back to an area college and I had just got a job at a radio station in the area. I said that I would have to move in with my parents again up here, which is close to the town they live in. I then jokingly told her that a friend of mine was kidding me about that saying that women would think I'm a "loser". She immediately, broke in and said, "Oh no, I think that's a great idea, you gotta get ahead any way you can!" "I wouldn't think that." I can't understand it.They approached me first and even went out of their way to make me feel included. I'm beginning to think that it may be that women have a kind of sixth sense, and can recognize failure, something that's not quite right. Maybee they've taken a closer look and realized what I am. A 29-year-old guy,with a few talents, a few college classes under his belt but other than that has no purpose,no future has failed at everything he's tried.

I now feel constantly feel, ininspired, lonely and bored. There are a few people to talk to, but I don't think they realize the full scope of things or understand just how I feel. I'm basically told to "cheer-up" and what not, as if there is some magical switch I can turn inside my mind. I wonder, and really doubt if they realize what it's really like. I wish it was that easy.

I usually am not like this, I get down like this, as many people do, and later spring back into shape. This current mood, though, has been holding on a long time now. I find myself wishing constantly, every day, that I'd never been born and wondering why I was.Like my life is a cruel joke of some kind. I thought it would pass but I can't seem to shake it. It's almost like its permanent now, like I'm in a hole that I can't crawl out of. I imagine you that read this will simply think. I'm unreasonable or just plain out of my mind. I guess I'm probably writing this more for myself. It would be nice if I could find some answers.

December 9, 2000
8:35 am
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eve
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Hi clay,
sounds familiar. Now, I've never been or wanted to be a musician, but some of my friends are, and try to make a living of it.
I can tell you some of what they did:
- Ro. stopped playing the guitar and went to psychotherapy for his depression. He is now studying to be a sound engineer - and makes his living by odd jobs and working as a dj. 7
- R. is still playing in a band (they keep splitting up and coming together again), but he now makes his living a a computer programmer. He still dreams of being a star, but he'll settle for making the music he likes.
- C. made it, he really makes a living out of playing music. But it's not the kind of music he was trying to do. He did some sucessfull children's records. In the evening he is still jamming whith his jazz band.
- M. and O. stopped making music and are making money instead
- R. married J. they are having children and leading a rather ordinary (boring) life now.
- A. found a part time job as a secretary, and still makes some money whith her music, she also teaches music to jouths.

I guess the thing about music is that you can't really plan a career. In every other field you'll be successful if you try long enough and hard enough. But in the music buissness you simply can't tell. So I guess that you'll have to make up your mind: what are you ready to do - in order to make the music you like to. I'd suggest that you take some time to improve your 'non-music' career. Because: if you find a job that is better payed then you'll have more free time for doing what you want.
Good luck to you!

December 9, 2000
3:42 pm
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lazydazy
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Ok-I have to make this quick...
I have always wanted to be in a band but because my anxiety around large groups of people, it is somewhat impossible for me. I've always wanted to play the guitar and sing. I cant play the guitar, I can play the piano if I have music in front of me and I just enjoy singing. I listen to music Ani Difranco, any other girl singer that rocks and think how liberating and free it would be to do what they do. I give you credit for doing what your doing and loving it. You have a dream but sometimes there comes a point where you have to give in and make sacrifices.
Your job at the radio station is a start. You could do that and do what you love on the side. Stick with it for awhile, gain experience and then move onto something you love. You could move and find a job as a d.j. for music you like that may pay more money, think outside of the box, be creative.
Also, hang out with people that make you feel good about yourself. I hate when people get older and then they feel it's "crunch" time. LIke you have to hurry up and do what others your age are doing. I always felt like...when your not looking, when your not searching, things will just come to you. Don't compare yourself to others!(probably the hardest advice to follow!)
Maybe your not where u want to be right now, but you can always plan so that soon u will...
ill write later...

December 9, 2000
7:32 pm
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Sally123
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I always say to people "I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up"...it's funny, I have a good job, but it's not what I want to do...I still don't know what I want to do and I'm 35..ha ha. Maybe I'll figure it out.

You're young...believe me, I know more single guy friends, than girlfriends....two of our friends are both older than you and living at home...I know more people older than you that aren't serious or "close to marraige either"...

As far as getting a better job, why don't you try to maybe go back to school. Learn a new trade, something you're interested in. I went back after I was 30....and I avoided it so long, but you know what, even if I took one class a semester, I didn't waste that time. I still go to school when I can. But because I have a young child it's sort of hard right now because I prefer to spend the time with him...just do something different, don't put too much pressure on your dates being "the one"...just be casual, take it as a fun night, and if it goes further, great, if not, oh well. It'll fall into place. Take some positive steps. Even if you don't figure it out, you'll have accomplished some things...believe me, it's true, most of our friends are single. Women and men....in their late twenties, thirties...and going through the same thing...it's a different world today, people do things later than 20 years ago. They don't get married young, they jump around careers or jobs because there are so many different opportunities out there now that it's hard to choose. Good luck.

December 9, 2000
8:25 pm
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vr
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I'm in my 40's and I still don't know what I want to be. I would love to be a singer but I'm pretty sure if anyone heard me they would run away screaming! I did get a degree at age 28 and another diploma at age 38 - don't ever stop learning. While I was going part time to university I drove a packer for the highways dept in the summer and fall. after I got my degree the only job I could get was as a temporary clerk. I was very depressed about that and hated it but kept at it because I needed to eat. After a year and a half I got a permanent job as a writer with the same company. That was ok but still not what I was trained in. But it paid the bills and I was even able to buy a small house. After 8 years I finally got a position as a Recruiter with the same company, alot closer to what my training is in - psychology and human resources. I did that for 4 years, then was a project manager for 2 years, and now I've quit that company and joined another as a Staffing Consultant. So my advice to you would be - never stop learning, find a company you might like and get in any way you can and work your way up and, if you can't like your job, find something else to keep your interest - night classes, volunteer work, hobbies - and regarding the other thing you mentioned, you might meet someone at one of these places.

December 10, 2000
2:15 am
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mn
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Hi
I was once told by a guy who's an owner of a small enterprise or something ("successful" anyway) "you are nothing, because you are doing nothing"
then I thought "well, I'd rather be nothing than being like you!"
That was 3 years ago and I'm still "nothing" by his standard, but I wouldn't be any happier if I was what he would call "something".

I think you are one of those rare people who are truly honest with themselves...not failure at all. I know it's difficult to live like that in reality, and unbearably lonely...but there are lots of people who can identify with you and would be your real friends if you met them...that's the point. So my would be the same as vr, if you get your life going, yourself circulating, you'll meet someone and you'll see it's not "no future" that you have. There is future for anyone alive, if you can't see it now, just let it be, but don't let it die by denying it.
I'm saying this because I often feel the same you do...my life is a bad joke...here comes Pavement (I bet you know that song)...but with a more optimistic note. You haven't even seen your last quater yet.

December 17, 2000
6:41 pm
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rachel_25
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It seems like you are depressed and have had a series of troubles. Sometimes when we think negatively about ourselves we draw negative attention to ourselves. You should try to get some counseling for your depression, I mean, you sound like a nice guy, but you have alot of negativity and low self esteem which is dragging you down.
You say you like to play music, why don't you do it as a spare time thing for fun and see where it takes you.
You have to have more motivation in your life and be more spontaneous and easy going. It seems like you worry too much. Instead of listening to people who tell you that you're no good keep trying. It can be difficult but many famous musicians have been where you are and perserverance, hard work, and determination are the key.
I think you should try some depression counseling,if you don't like it, find a counselor who you like.
And girls might think you are not interested in them if you don't seem in a good mood or are feeling negative.
You can do it, I wish you alot of luck and remember alot of people have been in your position and have made it through. good luck!

December 19, 2000
11:20 am
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janes
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Okay. You are down. Now go up. What a great place to start in the music business...a DJ. Start being a DJ at reunions and weddings and where they will hire you.

Failure? Never! You have found jobs you don't like right? Now work on the ones you like.

Start taking St john's wort...works for me!

STOP thinking negetive thoughts!!

Just read a book called....Change your brain Change your life..Dr. Amen Read it...

Nutrition and exercise too.

You sound so negetive...but you needn't be...Life is a journey and many people don't start out where they end up. The choices are yours...better or worse.?

Stop comparing your self to others. They are not in your skin. They never will be. If you had gotten the job you have now...when you were young...would you appreciate it?

Want to sing? then sing...weddings, churches, etc. If you have a dream...go for it...start small. Pay your bills and get where you want to go.

How proud you should be that every time you get down you get back up. You are a survivor and you don't need any ones pity.

Bloom where you are planted....look on the bright side...You love music and now you get to play it for others. Use this as a stepping stone.

But get to work on your attitude of failure...stop belieiving the bad go for the good.

good luck.

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