Grief is a demon that forces you to overwork.
My manager specifically told me take the next couple weeks off, not to post anything, not to do anything, shut it all down and the first thing I do is start tracking songs, accepting projects, a studio session and performances.
It’s messed up when you know you have a problem, in the middle of it, taking inventory, seeing how it affects your current relationships and also seeing how long it manifest into a huge problem.
My issues with work addiction (or being a workaholic) has started in college. My determination for legacy and impact led me to great places even some dark ones. Started with getting into college radio for a semester then ended up becoming the music director for the station. Same year, took on a play-production I truthfully didn’t know much about at the time. Same year, being apart of ShadowsOfSociety full-filling duties there as a producer and organizer. Same year, keeping up my spoken word career as I got my first two big gigs opening for Michael Reyes and Rudy Francisco amongst dealing with 5 different deaths in my circle including family.
That year for the first time I experienced a full on mental breakdown. Scared the shit out of my roommate at the time. He’s one of the greatest and funniest guys I ever met. I hate when I think about this, being in such a state, he witnessed me destroying our dorm room because I couldn’t handle life anymore. I went to the hospital that night and was under watch.
The emotional strain work can place on an individual, never really thought about how that can affect many areas in one’s life aside from the obvious of being stressed out. During the incident I was placed on watch, reflecting back how much did my work load really contributed to my S.I.? At the time, I always attributed my problems with me experiencing several deaths that summer. Holding myself back from expressing emotionally and it came out with how I looked physically. How I dressed presented myself etc.
Nowadays, I see I have a ton of work to do. I’ll be excited the night before. Get up the next day exercise and everything. I sit down start working. About 15-30 minutes later my body would slow down and eventually stop. I suddenly wont have the energy for it. I try to start back up but then it requires even more energy to bounce back. It starts a hassle. Why am I struggle to move my arm? Why am I struggling to think straight? Why am I getting anxiety to make these business calls, sending out emails and reaching out to people?
I get frustrated.
Love ones are feeling as if I’m not as attentive anymore. Not remembering conversations. Forgetting things. Not doing what I say I’m going to do. Then comes the isolation. The paranoia etc. The capacity I have my relationships have dramatically lessen and to call myself out my brain goes to “it’s their fault for ______.” I have to own up to my mistakes. I’ve always done it, just haven’t been thinking clearly as of late.
A great fear of mine I have nowadays is that my body is one day going to shut down on me in the middle of something. This all happens to come on the hills of traveling abroad for the first time ever in my life. My entire family NEVER been outside of the US except maybe one cousin to London. Thats it. For my art to take me there is huge in itself. While this abroad trip can be a great vacation quite a few shows got scheduled and an A&R from a well-known record label is going to be present watching me how I perform and do. The pressure is on. Shit ain’t never got realer in my life. Couple ALL THIS with some other wild out of box unexpected news regarding this trip I can’t reveal now. In summary, this trip has potential to greatly change me and my family's life. Every year since I started noticing sign of things going in a certain direction everything around changes. 2024 I am going to be in a COMPLETELY different position. What exactly that looks like I don't know, but the change is going to be huge.
It's tough to think just about a week ago I was about to cancel my abroad performances. I was done. I noticed my mood swings and exhaustion becoming more apparent. Looking at people different, who I’m around etc.
As I say all this, I want everyone reading this to understand: this shit gets real for artists. We sacrifice for this to be our livelihood, as it affects our livelihood at the same time. I been looking into a mental clinic lately. The behind the scenes work is no joke. My manager told me “this year is going to be the hardest you ever going to work in your life.” Every-time we get on the phone talking about how I’m exhausted he be like “man I told you.” But he’s great support. He keeps me aligned even if it’s something i don’t want to hear.
A good friend of mine told me last night, “you went through 3-5 years worth of things in just a few months.” That never processed. I never thought of that. She sees the self-destructive side of myself coming out attempting to drink. I told my peoples don’t ever under any circumstances let me drink. Thats just a sign I am not doing well, because I don’t drink. It's out of character. I do look at some people sideways that has let me drink in the past.
My manager keeps telling me the run I’m going on is legendary and the year isn’t over yet. There’s a lot more plans no one knows. Huge ones.
I hope whatever darkness that currently lingers will hopefully be the last of it.
This line from this old Logic song gets me every-time I hear it- “work so fucking much, my greatest fear I’ma die alone.”