My Path: The Questioning and It’s Beauty

by jesssmithwriting

Part One: The Questioning
There are days I am absolutely sure of “where I am going”, days I don’t for a moment question my path. Then there are days where I wake up very unsure of myself.

Singing/performing music has always been my retreat from the beautiful escapism. When they say “music is my drug” it comes off cliche, but it truly is my drug. I go somewhere outside of this planet, some place where I get to exist in my most raw and vulnerable form. A place where people’s perceptions of me are irrelevant and more importantly my perception of myself is irrelevant.

I always believed that because this was what I was most passionate about, in order to be happy in life I HAD to pursue music as a career. This is now something I question regularly. And THIS is my deepest secret. I always judged people who questioned their art. I thought that meant they didn’t care enough, didn’t love it enough. So now, karma is coming full circle as I question my career and critically judge myself.

I have come to learn that it is not so much my ART that I question, but the industry I have to enter if I choose to make a career out of my art. There is so much about the music industry and “show business” that honestly disgusts me. Show business is not about art, show business is about MONEY. And I am NOT about money. I innocently (and accidentally) fell into this with honest intentions, to make art and share it with the world. I did not realize the business side of what I was entering into when I made the choice to pursue this dream. The show industry is built upon ideals that in NO way, shape or form align with Who I Am.

People ask me “Jessica, why don’t you go on one of those singing shows? Go on Canadian Idol or something?” And I always respect that those asking this want the best for me, so I respond with something along the lines of “oh that’s not really my thing, pop music.” What I am truly thinking is “that is the nearest thing to selling my soul.” While I have much respect for the talented contenders of these shows, I see what a twisted scheme the whole thing is. I watch a young, innocent, talented kid enter a competition to achieve their dreams and come out a generic PRODUCT. They choose their most suitable/marketable bubble for each contender and SELL. What some people don’t realize is that once you win a competition like this, there are contracts that bind you. When some labels sign you, they assume the right to “OWN” you. There are countless stories I have heard/read about where artists lose rights to their music, where they are told what they can and cannot do, and what kind of art they can and cannot create. When people are desperate to achieve their dreams they don’t pay attention the rights they are possibly signing away. THESE are the reasons I question what I am doing.

MUSIC I love, with all of my heart. It has saved me over and over. The music industry on the other hand, is so far removed from reality, in the worst possible way. And I am afraid of it. I am afraid of having to become something I am not. The reality is, I will NEVER become someone else’s product. I will never allow someone to tell me who I can or cannot be. I will NOT pretend. I have spent so much time and energy discovering Who I Am and learning to love that person, and to lose that now would be detrimental.

I have never shared this with anyone, and I am afraid to. I want to be the girl who “always wanted this” and “always will want this,” but I am not sure right now. I am not sure if I am willing to be a part of an industry in which it’s ideals do not align with Who I Am and what I value.

Part 2: The Beauty in the Questioning
At first it scared and threatened me to be questioning the one thing in my life I was so sure of. It felt unstable. This was always my “thing” I could fall back on, when nothing else felt guaranteed. So I panicked, obviously, in true Jessica style. Do not think, do not breathe, just panic… After doing this for a little while and recognizing that I was solving nothing, I took a deep breath and told myself I needed to look at what I was scared of, what I was questioning. That is when I learned what I discussed above, that I was not questioning the art itself, but rather the industry. This was a relief because it meant I never undervalued my work and what I was creating. Where the beauty lies is that had I never questioned any of this, I may have blindly entered into a career/life that goes against so many of my beliefs. Now I at least have the foresight to be prepared and have built a shield to protect myself from anyone/anything that may try to mould me into THEIR idea of what is “right.”

I read an article written by a man named Ryan Coleman, in which he discussed the positives in questioning ourselves and he said “questions structure and guide your thinking.” If we do not question, than we are likely floating, oblivious to our reasoning for our actions. Now, post-questioning, if I decide to continue pursuing music as my career, I know that it has been a very conscious and well informed decision. I also know that I have now created a safety “moat” around me, keeping out people who do not align with my beliefs, no matter what business venture I take part in.

It is through questioning that we discover the importance of things in our lives. If we do not take the time to discern, then we are unaware. Pursuing something mindlessly, having never looking at the other possibilities keeps you in a bubble. And while that bubble may be safe, who knows what you might be missing out on. Now, on the other hand, if we take time to question the things we love (careers, relationships, etc.), there are two options: A. We release whatever it is we are questioning, because we realize it no longer serves us. OR B. We question and come back with full force, stronger than before, because we NOW know how important it is to have that “thing” in our life. There is absolutely nothing lost either way, and that is the beautiful part.