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Creativity, Recovery, and Imposter Syndrome

31st January 2019 No comments

Hello from the polar vortex, it’s been a while. Most of you who have subscribed for a long time and supported me/Thirty Roses know the backstory behind it. For those who don’t here’s a somewhat short recap: I’ve always loved the music industry, since I was a little kid. In the early 2000s I worked on marketing campaigns for Zero 7, Maroon 5, Telepopmusik, Gorillaz, and others. Then life happened and I just sort of… stopped. 

A couple of years after my fiancé died, once the fog began to lift a little, I knew I had to do something to get a break from grieving. I enrolled in an online music business class so I’d have something to think about apart from death and loss, and from that moment on my career catapulted. 

I began writing columns for respected industry web sites, my own website (Thirty Roses) became a popular resource for musicians, I began a managing one of my favorite bands, became a Grammy member, and all kinds of wonderful things . There was no plan, it all just happened. 

My career evolved and I went from writing articles to being interviewed and essentially becoming a virtual assistant and jill-of-all-trades for musicians and other creatives, helping them with the aspects of their careers which they couldn’t handle on their own. 

In the summer 2016 a dear friend and tremendously talented woman hired me to help with her Grammy campaign. She was wonderful and I was so thankful she entrusted me with her story, but Grammy campaigning showed me an ugly side of the industry and many friends and colleagues which I’d been able to insulate myself from in my little corner of the world. 

Upon returning from New York for last year’s Grammy awards I found out I had a large mass in one of my breasts. It was a non-cancerous mass but it was full of atypical cells, thus increasing my risk for cancer tremendously. I underwent surgery for removal and reconstruction but the recovery was more than I had bargained for. 

After the Grammys derailing me somewhat, then coming home to a health issue, I did little with Thirty Roses last year. No writing, no new clients, no more daily updates on the happenings in the industry I loved so much. I worked with a few podcasters sporadically but not with the regularity to which I’d grown accustomed.

When the Grammy nominations were announced in December of 2017 I had a tinge of excitement for the first time in a long time. I like several of the nominees this year and a beloved friend got a nomination (Go, Lucy!). I’ll be heading to Los Angeles for the awards next week and am excited to share the experience with my boyfriend as it’s new for him. 

Lately I’ve been wondering in what direction to next take my career. Ultimately I love helping artists and assisting on their journey in some small way but, in a somewhat contradictory twist, I don’t particularly care for running my business as a business. As much as I recognize the importance of this, I’ve struggled with monetizing something I started out of passion and, frankly, desperation. Thirty Roses truly saved me and helped pull me out of the worst period in my life and I always feel somewhat conflicted about it being a “business”. 

Last night I got an email notification that someone had scheduled a Calendly appointment with me. I knew who it was immediately as she and I were in the same ‘championing for indie artist’, circles and thought maybe I was misreading a mailing list newsletter so I sort of put it out of my brain. This morning I had a missed call from her and quickly recalled the Calendly notification. I immediately replied to her, apologizing for having missed our call, and asked generally what she’d like to talk about. It turns out she’d like to invite me to be a speaker at an upcoming summit she’s hosting with prominent music industry leaders to advise on what role a virtual assistant can play in helping indie artists manage their careers.

In all honesty, it sort of sent me reeling. I’ve felt so distanced from this  world and, even when I was in the thick of it, struggled greatly with imposter syndrome, never quite feeling like I was worthy of being in the company of the people I was privileged to call colleagues and peers.

I mentioned this in a trusted group and Paul Csomo (of the award-winning and much-lauded Varmints podcast ) sent me the following bit of perspective, which Neil Gaiman shared on his blog

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

As has happened to me several times in the past, life has taken me out of the music industry and the universe draws me back in. Somehow I always find my way back to music and those who make it, which isn’t something I take lightly. 

In summation, I wanted to let you know I’m still around and finding my way back. As always, thanks for being you. More than anything, thanks for remembering me. 

~Christine 


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