Counselling, friendships and EA gig review!

Posted by blatantblithe on February 1, 2010 Blog posts | Personal | | 8 comments

This week my counsellor and I were discussing the five biggest problems that plague my life: envy, perfectionism, resentment, self-hatred, and the way I compare myself to others.  I don’t want to go into too much detail about the contents of my head here, as it’s not the right place to divulge such secrets, but suffice it to say that she helped me understand a lot of my negative thought patterns.  However, she kept reassuring me that there was nothing wrong with being envious of others, or comparing myself to others, and I couldn’t help but disagree with her.  I know she’s trying to help me get over my self-loathing, and trying to convince me that I’m not a bad person for feeling this way, as I keep insisting that I am a bad person… but I don’t think it’s healthy to be envious.  And for me, envy almost always leads to resentment.  I told her I was incredibly envious of a certain person because she was gorgeous, cool, and the lead singer in a band.  I said that despite not knowing this person, I resented her for supposedly having everything I wanted.  I also said that I was scared of people like her because they would make my loved ones realise just how boring and pathetic I really am, and then my loved ones would abandon me. 
My counsellor said that being envious of this person was not a bad thing because it meant that I could identify what it was about my life that I felt was lacking – now I know that I really do want to perform live, and I want to be more of a fun person.  But I knew that already.  I’ve known that I’ve wanted to perform live for years, but I’ve been too scared to.  And my goodness, who wouldn’t want to be less boring and more fun?  Finding someone who is everything I want to be doesn’t inspire me to work harder at improving my life, it just upsets me.  That’s a personal problem though.  Some people are motivated by negative feelings such as pain, envy or anger – if Hank is angry at himself for not being able to play something on his bass, that anger will drive him to keep playing and playing until he gets it right, no matter how long it takes or how much it hurts.  When I am angry, envious, or in pain, I burst into tears and mope in bed for a few hours afterwards, trying to calm myself down.  It will be a positive feeling that’ll motivate me to do well – if I manage to achieve something (e.g. work out how to play Killing In The Name on bass) I will feel proud of myself and that will push me to keep working and try to achieve something else.  I’m not sure why I react that way, because Hank’s method makes more sense.  I suppose I just can’t accept that any good can come from a failure, even though I know deep down that that is false.
It may be the case that envy is natural, and I certainly think that women are encouraged to envy each other, compete with each other, and constantly strive to be the most beautiful woman in the world, but I don’t think that makes it right.  I want to address these issues and learn how to control my melodramatic emotional responses; I don’t want to accept them as an inevitability.  Maybe I’m not a bad person for being envious, but I think I am a bad person for allowing my emotional responses to control my actions and affect others.  It is incredibly tiring and upsetting to see every woman as a threat, and I’m finding it really hard to break that thought process.  But this is hopefully where the counselling will help me, thinking through my problems and trying to detangle the mess in my head.  We’ve discussed a lot of important issues in the past 2 sessions, and she’s made some suggestions on what positive actions I can take to alleviate my moods.  She suggested that I should play a gig in the summer, and take a step towards becoming that person I want to be.  She told me to feel the fear and do it anyway, and by overcoming my fear, my confidence will grow with each new gig I play.  That’s a very scary thought (of course) but I know she’s right, and I know I want to do it.  So I will.  I’m not sure if I will try and play bass for a band over the summer (which would be great fun, but it might be hard to find a good band to play with in my area), or if I should try and be really brave and play a solo piano gig.  I’ll have a think about it, and discuss it with some of Hank’s friends so they can tell me what they think of the idea.

This weekend I finally met up with my friend Sarah, someone I met kinda through the Women’s Network and kinda through Facebook.  I invited Sarah to come with me to an Emilie Autumn gig in Rock City, and we decided to make a mini-weekend of it so she stayed over for a night.  I had such an awesome time.  We had a moan about the shit time we had at school, discussed our similar disappointing experiences at university, talked about feminism, boyfriends and soft toys (I introduced Flannel Piggy to her, my favourite little soft toy), and a load of other things.  It’s so nice to talk to someone who likes to listen, and who has similar experiences to my own.  :)

After a cup of tea at my place, we went to Wagamama and stuffed our faces (nom nom nom) and then went over to the gig, where we bought some merchandise, including a copy of Emilie’s new book, The Asylym For Wayward Victorian Girls!  I’ve been reading it this morning and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, even though the blurb made a lot of promises about the book that I fear will not be met, heh.  The gig itself, however, was pretty disappointing.  The main drawback for me was the fact that most of the music we heard came from a backing track and not from live instruments as we expected.  Sadly, even most of the violin and harpsichord sound came from the backing track, as during one song she started off playing the harpsichord, and halfway through the song she got up and the harpsichord was still playing!  She played a violin solo at one point (Face the Wall) which definitely was live because the distorted violin sound was buzzy and harsh, but when she played violin in other songs (e.g. Liar) the violin sound was exactly the same as it was on the album (that is, much clearer and less buzzy), which gave me the impression that she was just miming along (although in Liar she did play the intro live, and the rest of the song sounded like the album).  Not only that, but the sound lacked any impact whatsoever; it sounded tinny and rumbly, which Hank seems to think was due to the “classic smiley-face EQ” which amateur DJs and sound engineers tend to do, where they cut out all the mid frequencies.  I appreciate that a lot of the electronic/industrial music on the album would be difficult (or impossible?) to recreate live, so I understand why she chose to sing over the recorded version of I Want My Innocence Back, for example.  But with songs such as Misery Loves Company and The Art of Suicide, I can’t see why she chose to merely sing along to a backing track. 
I also assumed that the three girls that accompanied her on stage would play instruments, but in fact all they did was dance, flirt with each other and spit tea into the audience.  At one point Veronica played along to a recorded version of Unlaced while Emilie played the violin part, but both the violin and the harpsichord sounded far too perfect in tone and in accuracy to be live.  I personally think it would’ve been a better gig if she had an actual backing band who played instruments with her, even if they only played the classical instruments on the album (cello, violins, harpsichord) and provided some backing vocals. 
Another aspect of the show that bothered me was the amount of time they spent talking, flirting, kissing, joking around and playing silly ‘games’ (including the stupid “Rat Game” where Veronica brings a girl from the audience on stage and kisses her) – I would estimate that they spent as much time talking as they did singing/performing.  It just all felt very contrived and pointless, and that whole “I wanna kiss a girl…” thing that they all kept doing just made me uncomfortable.  Of course I have nothing against girls kissing (I’ve done it myself, and would probably still be doing it if I wasn’t with someone), but because it was all just for show, it didn’t feel right, and I kept thinking “please just play another song instead!”  It would probably have made me as uncomfortable if they were doing it with men, to be honest. 
On the plus side, the set looked gorgeous and they all had great stage presence.  Plus I was happy with the merchandise they were selling, even if I could only afford the book and a poster.  I had a look on the EA forum this evening and everyone there loved the show, so each to her own I suppose.  I prefer a great musical performance to a great burlesque performance, so maybe Emilie’s shows just aren’t for me.  Sarah and I were both reluctant to criticise the show at first in case the other person enjoyed it, but thankfully we both felt the same way!  Still, I was glad that we went together, because if we hadn’t then I would’ve ended up dragged Hank along, and I know for a fact that he would’ve hated it and I would’ve felt terribly guilty. 

We almost froze to death on the walk home (sooo cold – how do these scantily-clad party girls manage to survive in such horrible weather?), watched Family Guy in bed for a while, and I saw her off the next day, promising to meet up again soon.  This awesome weekend has really lifted my mood, and some of the conversations we had gave me a lot to think about.  In a good way.  ♥

What Else I’ve Been Up To This Week:
I started my new modules!  Literature and Religion and Women in American History seem like they’re going to be really interesting, but I’m feeling dubious about Modern Jewish Thought (although I had very little choice about that one).  I signed up to a house for next year with my friend Alice and her partner Adam, but I had to pay a £250 deposit – ouch.  I also had some nice letters in the mail, and one girl told me she liked issue 3 of my zine so much that she lent it to a few of her friends.  I thought that was really sweet.  Conclusion: a good week. :)

8 Comments

  • Saara said on Feb 1, 2010 6:41 pm

    This blog post has totally cheered me up after having a shitty day! & yay, I’m glad the weekend lifted your mood :)

    I’m actually really dreading writing a review of the gig after looking at the EA forums last night haha; I fear they might all attack me! Ah well, can’t please everyone, right?

    It sounds like the counselling is going quite well, I had similar discussions with my counsellor… talking through everything and putting it all into perspective helped me in the long run, so I’m sure it’s doing some good :) & if you play some gigs in the summer, I’m totally going to be there!

    I might come back to this post & comment again, my brain is seriously fried at the moment haha.

    love love xxxxx

    • Catherine said on Feb 1, 2010 8:51 pm

      I’m glad this cheered you up; I hope the rest of your week gets better.
      Yeah, I was half-scared that I’d get attacked for this post by EA fans, but like I said above, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Other people loved it for the burlesque aspect, and that’s fine by me. I still think EA is a really cool artist. You should totally write a review, you’d do a much better job than me as well, haha. I don’t know quite enough about sound to word my thoughts properly, so it’s not as good a review as I’d hoped.

      Aw, thanks for offering to come and watch me perform, you’re too good to me. Alas, I think I’ll need some support! :)

    • Catherine said on Feb 1, 2010 8:52 pm

      Oh, and by the way, the reason I didn’t write much about what we did/talked about was because I wanted to keep that private and between us. :)

  • Morgan Rackham said on Feb 25, 2010 5:57 am

    Hey! I’ve just found your blog through your other site links, and I think you might be my new inspiration! I completely agree about Valentine’s Day getting wrecked because of that you-didn’t-buy-me-something-so-you-don’t-love-me crap. I’ve gotten hugs for Christmas that I’ve appreciated just as much as any other gift.
    Also, I really like how honest you are about your inner thoughts/counselling session. I had started seeing a counsellor regularly back home (Canada) before I came here, and it still amazes me how much better I started feeling about a lot of my issues. I doubt I’ll be able to talk about them as candidly as you can for a long time, though, so kudos for that bit of strength.
    Love the blog!

    Cheers,
    Meghan

    • Catherine said on Feb 26, 2010 3:05 pm

      Aw, thanks so much, I’m glad you like reading my blog. :)

      <3

  • ian said on Mar 6, 2010 12:06 am

    Just back from the EA show in Bournemouth – and hated it, for all the reasons you say. For a show where all the music came from a CD the sound was poor. For a “band” who don’t actually have to play, most of them couldn’t really dance, and the whole thing was just a cheap/lame copy of stuff that’s been done before – many times and much better.

    It SHOULD be great, but it’s just not very

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