Today I had a long talk with one of my best friends, Brian, regarding many things, including our podcast, our futures, goals, fears and graphically sexual improvised bluegrass songs. Among the many reasons I wanted to start a podcast, we discovered a new one today: to learn to let go of perfection and just create. He and I both tend to be perfectionists who don’t want to do things unless we can really do them to the absolute best of our abilities. Our podcast was always conceived as a sort of free form show with no real boundaries that was as close to the insightful, hilarious, wonderful, deep and ridiculously silly conversations he and I always have. Now, of course, that just isn’t possible to replicate because once you add a microphone and possible listeners into the equation, it changes the dynamic and there’s just no way around that, at least for us. The podcast just is what is is and will organically shape itself and grow and change as long as we do it. This means that since it is just us free form conversing, there will be moments that aren’t funny, aren’t insightful, aren’t in any way entertaining to someone somewhere and this is scary for us. We realized that it’s scary in the same way stand up comedy might be scary in that this is just us. It’s not us playing a character, or reciting a script or hiding behind any artifice. Therefore, if someone doesn’t like it, they essentially don’t like us. It is always going to be imperfect. And we must learn to embrace this and use this muscle.
I’ve found that for me and so many others, that quest for perfection, that fear of falling short of what you could be keeps so many people from doing anything at all. You want to make a film but feel you don’t have the money, equipment, talent or some other ingredient, so you simply don’t make anything at all. This could apply to anything. Music, painting or just life in general in whatever applies to you. If you can’t be (insert favorite director, actor, musician, artist, whatever here) then why do anything? Why put out something that does not reach our own lofty standards? Well there are many reasons. Creating for the sake of creating. Honing and practicing your art. You never know what roads could lead to which destinations. People have gone amazing places based on a “silly little podcast” or received huge development deals based on youtube videos with no production value shot on a webcam. There are a million ways to any destination and most likely, you will not see the road that will get you there. It will almost always be some turn of events you never planned for or expected.
Another example I spoke of today are the “Live Raw Acoustic” videos I periodically put out. These videos make me extremely uncomfortable. They are NEVER up to par in my eyes. When I am on stage with my band, I feel alive and in my element, but when I watch these solo acoustic, rough videos, I see so many flaws. I can see my own lack of confidence, my own doubts and hesitation. I hear the mistakes in my playing and singing and yet that’s the point. I don’t practice for weeks until I can hope to maybe give a much more polished performance. I just do it. It’s supposed to be raw and real. And I do it partially because it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why, but I’ve definitely got some rebellious streak in me that makes me sometimes want to lean toward the things I think need improving as opposed to just sticking with what I know I can do well with my eyes closed or things I can coast through. When I find something that I can’t do to my own exacting standards, it just makes me want to do that thing even more.
Every day I want to grow and face my own insecurities and shortcomings and hopefully be a better person tomorrow than I was today. I often fail. And that’s where the real trick is. Not beating yourself up for that either. Muscles don’t get stronger without using them and working them out past their current limits. I believe this applies to emotional and spiritual muscles as well. Sometimes working those muscles out is uncomfortable and requires putting yourself out there and being vulnerable.
What’s my point? Hell, I’m not even sure any more. Do something. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let the impossible quest for the ever elusive and mythical beast known as perfection stop you from doing anything at all. Do. Create. Be perfect in your imperfection.