This is my current favorite song. Amanda Palmer is one of many artists who embodies an aspirational quality for me as an artist. She has this “I don’t care if you like it, here I am” quality about her. She just does thing that are so raw and real and honest and doesn’t seem to worry about what people think of her.

I’m sure she does have her insecurities and doubts–we all do–and I’m not trying to idolize or idealize. But she’s always seemed so fearless. For instance, this story makes her one of my fucking heroes. So what if she can’t play a concerto–she still wins at life and she makes the whole thing work for her by virtue of owning herself.

I am a timid perfectionist. Which is a shitty way to be if you want to be an artist. Learning to play instruments has been particularly difficult for me. I read music and I understand a fair bit of theory. But my clumsy fingers just won’t do what I want them to do. And I don’t want to practice. Not because I don’t like playing, but because I’m embarrassed that people can hear me play so badly. I’m kind of afraid to take lessons, because it means playing for someone on a regular basis, and that is fucking terrifying.

Which is why I like the “Ukulele Anthem” so much. It’s good for me to hear “Stop pretending art is hard” and “Play your ukulele badly” and “Even if your grades are bad, it doesn’t mean you’re failing.” It’s a reminder that there is so much more to life than seeking perfection and trying not to look stupid and worrying about what people think. It embodies what my former partner-in-crime used to tell me. “You can’t get better and look good at the same time.” I probably need to write these things on blackboard over and over, like Bart Simpson.

Part of what I want with this project is to find the joy in what I love again. I’ve had a hard time with my art lately, because so much has not been enjoyable. And a lot of that is due to the pressure I put on myself to be perfect. I want to be more open and specific and fearless and to just do what I love, without worrying so much about how I am perceived. And now, I’m going to quit bitching and go play my ukulele.

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