I Deserve Joy.
Hello and welcome to my first "personal" blog post.
If we haven't talked then let me give you a quick introduction. My name is Anusha and I'm a typically "busy" person. I'm an event planner, I have a podcast, I write music and I work full-time to pay the bills. More often than not, people (including those who don't know me that well) will often comment on the fact that I look busy. And I get that. On paper, I am 'busy'. But this week has taught me a lot around notion of being "busy".
Last week, I got off the phone with a music industry advisor. I sought him out as I wanted to know how I should start organising the many different aspects of my 'brand'. The advice he gave me was helpful, I am going to utilise it but he said "I can't tell you're a musician, it's just a bunch of posed photos". And he's right, you can't. It upset me initially because as much as he had a point, I have put a lot of work in the content I do have available and behind the scenes. It almost felt like I wasn't being a musician in the 'correct' way and all the years I spent working on my craft were being wasted.
But the reason why I haven't posted any musician specific content is because I wanted to my music to be authentically me. I wanted to people to look at my work and say "Yeah, that's Anusha - eccentric, creative, loud, fun and talented". So, I spent so much time trying to find the best way to be me for an audience, that I didn't get to the point of releasing anything.
(Hands up if you're a creative and if you've felt this way!)
Now that I type this out, I realise how ridiculous that sounds. I created a whole event for creatives called 'The Passion Project' which was built to alleviate this same fear. It seemed hypocritical of me to be almost preaching the importance of not being afraid to be a creative in public - yet here I was - being petrified.
To make matters more complicated, this week I got news that has put my "music career" on hold. I got an illness around the end of November due to the amount of stress I was under. I was too busy to concentrate on this said illness that it has gotten worse. I'm okay, but I don't know what happens next because on of the requirements is that I have to be put on vocal rest.
So, here we are. All this work, being put on hold. Currently, it doesn't feel like life is falling apart, I just hate when plans have to be re-scheduled, especially when I have spent months on certain bits of work. But my main worry was - how will people know that I sing now that I psychically can't do that? How will I fulfil the 'requirements' of being seen as a musician when I have been instructed to rest?
It was only after a conversation with one of my good friend that put things in perspective for me. My physical health is more important than making sure my "brand" is perfect. I do not function for my social media, I need to be a functional human being to even get these tasks done. I would rather spend my time looking after myself then be fuelled by my anxiety to 'have everything together'.
I would like to add, however, that I still don't regret being "busy". I regret neglecting my health. But I don't have a huge support network. I don't have the luxury of working part-time or working from home. I don't have savings (my student finance went quickly!). So this is my reality. Yes I'm busy, but I have to be. Your "busy" is my survival.
Nevertheless, from now on, I'm going to work on my own terms. I'm going to work hard, take breaks and not be propelled by my anxiety to produce content. But that means things have got to change:
1. Passion, the event that I previously mentioned, is going to work differently. I used to put this on every season (I originally was going to do it every month but that was naive Anusha). In 2020, Passion is going to be bi-annual. I do the organising and the promotion of Passion by myself and out of my own pocket. It's one of my favourite events to put on but I refuse to bankrupt myself. It also would be unfair for me to hire people to work for Passion for free. That doesn't mean we're stopping! The first instalment of Passion is in Bristol and it is called 'Speak Up'. You can buy tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/87065748999.
2. The podcast. I love this fucking podcast. But how can I do the podcast without a voice? So next week, there will be no new episode. And going forward, I've decided to be more spontaneous on the regularity of the podcast. Like I've said a billion times when I'm recording, I created the podcast last year during a series of horrible events. It was one of the hardest years to date and this was my way of finding my way back. I'm cool now. Not great but better. The podcast has served its purpose so I want to change it a little bit. In the next few weeks, I will be deleting the podcast's social media and I will be promoting it on my main page. You can still find the podcast everywhere you stream podcasts (and it's at the top of this website). However, it's time for a change.
3. I'm going to have fun. I received a notification from Google Photos and it took me back to when I was 14/15 years of age. I went to an Alicia Keys concert and I had on my hand-picked Rihanna t-shirt on which I brought from River Island. And I didn't take a SINGLE serious selfie. Instead I was making so many silly faces. At one point I accidentally took a selfie with the flash on and it is still one of the funniest pictures I've seen of myself to date. (Random side note; Miguel was the opening headliner for the night and he decided to shout to a room of mostly 30 - 40 year old Alicia Keys fans "LONDON, DO YOU LIKE DRUGS". I understand he has a song called 'Do You Like Drugs' and that album won a Grammy - but maybe read a room? Then again, maybe Alicia Keys fans get down like that? It was still something that made me giggle).
I often reminisce about days where I used to have fun. It doesn't tend to happen nowadays. But I deserve joy. Spontaneous joy, pre-planned joy. So I am going to try and have more days like that Alicia Keys concert. And my content comes when it comes. No rushing, no trying to fulfil the demand of the industry. I would like to put my well-being first.
So allow me to re-introduce myself. My name is Anusha and I'm doing what I can afford. I'm doing what I want to do. I'm still doing what I love without sacrificing myself.