You know what I’m talking about.
That awesomely liberating moment when that last stitch of clothing hits the floor and you are completely and utterly gloriously NAKED. If this moment had a soundtrack (and often it does) there’d be a moderate rhythm and a whole truckload of wah.
Alas….today’s column isn’t about THAT kind of naked. Today I want to talk about the “nakedness’ that we feel when we attempt to do something that we fear. The raw truth about feeling stripped down, a little insecure, totally vulnerable and forging ahead in spite of the fear.
I recently experienced something that humbled me to my core. I decided to dig deep, and venture far outside my comfort zone by interviewing a very successful guitar player for this website on camera. I did my homework and prepared for the interview. I did my utmost to ignore the nagging voices in my head that told me that I was going to suck, that I was going to embarrass myself, that I had no right whatsoever to leave the relative safely and anonymity of my laptop and venture on-camera. I ignored those voices and forged headlong into the interview.
When I first met my interview-ee (who will remain anonymous) he was so warm, accessible, down-to earth and relaxed that I breathed a sigh of relief. Our interview was to be shot in an overflow coat-check room that we accessed by walking through the winding corridors in the basement of the club. We joked about having “hang-ups” about the space and shared a couple of laughs before the camera turned on. I was truly happy to be there, and looking forward to having a great conversation with him.
As soon as I heard the word “rolling”…I became extremely nervous. So nervous in fact, that I couldn’t stay in the moment. My head was racing almost as much as my heart was and I just couldn’t seem to pull it together. He was extremely kind and answered all of my questions gracefully. I knew that he knew that I was just falling to pieces inside, but his calm demeanor carried me through the interview. When the camera clicked off I exhaled, and shook my head. I was so disappointed with myself I could have crawled under a rock.
I told him that this was new territory for me, and how I’d decided to push through my fears and do the video interview. He was amazingly supportive and offered some kind and encouraging words that I won’t soon forget.
In the days following the interview I cried. I was so upset with myself. The nagging voices that had told me that I was going to suck had been right. I secretly wondered if I should have listened to them. I definitely never ever wanted to feel like this again. I never wanted to feel this vulnerable, exposed…this naked ever again!
I had to have countless talks with myself in which I reminded myself that I would need to be as courageous to watch the final video as it got put up on the website, as I was when I first decided to do the interview. It’s no use going into something with courage, only to cower partway through. I had to dig deep…
…And that’s when it dawned on me.
Musicians and lyricists take these kinds of risks regularly. Whether it’s weaving deeply private thoughts into lyrics, presenting new song ideas, singing a new song for the first time, performing, dealing with the magnifying glass of the media…In whatever form, musicians get naked for their art regularly. They push through their fears, the doubting voices, and their nerves to deliver their music.
Before the first note is of a show is even played, most musicians already have my sincere respect for every naked moment they’ve faced and hurdled to get to that point. If the music moves me, on top of everything else, then I celebrate!
As for me….yeah…I figure I’ll be getting naked again really soon…and yeah…I’m scared shitless….hmmmmmm…who’d have thought that stripping down would teach me so much?
To read more about Ashton click HERE