Article by Erin Cosgrove
“There is hope, and forward progress is possible even in the darkest times.” – Erin Cosgrove
Blank- As I stare at this paper with nothing on it, it reminds me of how I feel right now. Empty, unfilled, defeated, and quite frankly a whole lot of nothing. Nothing, like what’s on the blank paper in front of me; the feeling I’ve had for weeks. Feel the same way? You aren’t alone. It’s devastating when you feel like everything you have worked for just went down the drain, but at what point do we reach our breaking point and say enough is enough? Last week I started to reach that point and realized I had a choice. I could either drink away my sorrows, which started to get really expensive because I can’t drink cheap wine, or get off my couch, stop binge watching Marvel movies and DO something about my feeling of worthlessness.
Before the pandemic I was working with my team to create the perfect strategy to make my next single and music video a HUGE success. My agent, manager, managers assistant, publicist, producers, as well as myself were working countless hours each day late into the night to secure every festival, interview, radio play, news article and public appearance our connections could get us. The song released March 15th, 2020, a date that will seriously remain stuck in my brain for decades; when the world shut down for a second time in my life, but this time it wasn’t just a couple days, it was for… oh wait, we still don’t know. So here I am thousands of dollars deep into a new release that was supposed to hit the charts and propel my career to the next level, and I’m now sitting on my couch with no interviews, no radio plays, no appearances and absolutely NOTHING to show for all the hard work we all put in over the past 6 months.
How do you even find the strength to start again, to rebuild all that you’ve worked so hard for? All the money lost? How do you stop feeling like the world is crashing in on you? Your anxiety is through the roof, you can’t see your friends or family and everything you live for is gone until who knows when. Do you write? Do you cry? Do you drink until you cry some more? How do you take the baby steps to doing things that make you feel accomplished again? How do you make yourself feel good again? How do you make yourself want to continue to do the things you love most?
Everyone is different when it comes to ways they cope, some enjoy being hugged and held and told “it’s going to be alright”. Others need to just sit and cry it out and then there’s people like myself that let their mind wonder into a world of solitude and just want to be alone, by themselves as their fears, anxiety, insecurities and defeats eat them alive. So where do you start? For me, this is what has been working to cope with all those weird and ridiculous tricks called failure, my brain likes to play on me.
- Let It Out
Cry, scream, yell, write, drink, be alone, exercise etc. Do whatever you need to do without physically harming yourself or someone else to let it go and accept what is happening. For me this is not a permanent fix, I have to repeat step one a lot, but it gets me to step 10 every time and that’s all that matters.
- Consume Lesser Amounts of The News
While I understand being up on current events is important. Only do you homework when you need to. Watching the news to find out more people have died and that they are extending the quarantine, is NOT helpful. Cut people, and negativity out of your life, whether that is a permanent thing or temporary, stop it now! If someone is constantly sending you negative articles or talking about it on a regular basis, tell them to stop or don’t respond to their messages. I recently had to tell a good friend to stop messaging me unless they were going to talk about something other than COVID-19 because of how toxic the conversations were getting. Trust me, it won’t hurt their feelings, they will understand
- Talk About It
Get on your IG story, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok or whatever social media platform you use and talk to people about it, ask how they are doing? What they are doing? How is their dog? Talk about something else so you change the topic in your mind. It’s amazing how much you tend to forget about your own problems when you hear about what someone else is dealing with as well.
- Write Down Your Accomplishments
Get a pen and paper and physically write down your accomplishments, your break throughs and your high points in your career. List every single thing that has gotten you were you are today. List things like, “finished my first song today” or “moved to LA by myself” or “was super happy when my ex’s mom finally heard my song on Spotify and commented on my IG page” list things that make you feel good and powerful; list things that make you love music and that make you remember why you want this as a career over that bankers job your dad wanted you to get. It’s amazing how incredible this will make you feel!
- Google Things To Do
Look for things you can do to get you working again- whether that’s making music, doing a photoshoot, live videos you can use for later, editing, making new flyers for your next shows, contacting bloggers, media outlets etc. Find something that keep you and your career moving forward, DO IT!
- Actually Do It
It sounds simple but I can’t tell you how many times I just “don’t want to” and it’s not that it’s hard, it just takes time and ALWAYS takes longer than we’d all like. I’m sure y’all can relate to that one. “Sure I’ll make a video of me playing a new cover and post it tonight” 10 days later- that song is still sitting in a file on your computer that you haven’t edited or touched, but at least you recorded and DID something. NOW finish it. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2 weeks late, just DO IT.
- Finish It
After you FINALLY do what you said you were going to do, you will feel more accomplishment than ever before. Why? Because these are the little things we are living by right now, and every little baby step helps you mentally and physically whether we believe it or not. Who knows, that video that you posted to Tik Tok last week could go viral, and boom, just like that you now have representation, a manager, and are being considered for big events this summer.
- Keep Your Faith Strong
This is a hard one even for someone who was raised in a very Christian household. Knowing there is hope and a reason for everything sometimes gives you a sense of peace and comfort. Some may not agree, but when you have something to believe in that’s bigger than you, it kind of all puts it into perspective.
- Repeat Step #1
I know it sounds stupid, and cheesy and so dumb, but if you’re anything like me, which I would assume most musicians don’t fall too far from that borderline crazy tree, it will help. In all seriousness though, if you are truly struggling to the point where you can’t get out of bed, take the time to speak to a professional about this, I promise it will help wonders. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone that can help you. Don’t let something so silly, like quarantine, prevent you from living your best life!
- Don’t Give Up
Congratulations for getting this far! You’re mission is real. Keep pushing forward and keep a positive mind, practice positive thinking and a positive outlook no matter how hard it is…NO ONE can take your gifts, talents and accomplishments away from you!
There is hope, and forward progress is possible even in the darkest times. Yes, it’s much harder and you feel less accomplished than you did before, but the light at the end of the tunnel is coming very soon and you are not alone. Keep pushing forward, know your self worth and don’t give up. The storm will calm. 🙂
Article by Erin Cosgrove
image credit: jukan tateisi
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