Back when I was In Elementary School I went through this little phase where I signed my name KATHY MCCARTY THE GREAT (inspired, I am sure, by the Russian Royalty figures Catherine the Great and Peter the Great….why didn’t the others call themselves The Great? I guess ALEXANDER THE GREAT did.) It is always fun when I pick up one of my ten billion books, such as HARRIET THE SPY, and I find on the flyleaf “This Book Belongs To KATHY MCCARTY THE G*R*E*A*T!”
It was probably around this time that I began putting stars between letters to signify I really mean it. (Of course this could just mean I haven’t matured very much since then.)
I figured is I was going to title a post “My Unbearable Trauma” I should at the very least sign it “Kathy McCarty The G*R*E*A*T” to, you know, to keep the theme of GRANDIOSITY going.
ANYWAY: So what happened to me the other day was, I helped a friend bake a cake to donate to some worthy cause. I did it to help my friend, I wasn’t really clear on the cause, except I knew it was some Good Cause that deserved a cake. I ended up delivering the cake, because it was on my way home. So there I was, bopping along, feeling really fine, delivering the cake. A Very Fancy Chocolate Cake. The lady that I delivered it to was REALLY NICE, and she kept lookin’ at me….and then she said: “Are you Kathy McCarty?”
I don’t get recognized very often, but it does happen, and I said, “Yes. Anyway here’s the cake…” but instead of escaping, we continued to converse for a while, and it turned out the cake was for the Ann Richard’s School for Girls Leadership (not the right name, but it’s close). And this nice lady said, “You know, we have women come and speak to the girls sometimes, do you think you might like to?”
And I don’t know what happened to me at this point. It was like my entire world, my psyche, underwent a horrifying contraction, a spasm, A VERY PAINFUL SPASM! I almost couldn’t keep my EYEBALLS FOCUSED, seriously, my brain couldn’t even comprehend what she was asking, it was so horribly discordant with my world-view, It HONESTLY was like she was TALKING GIBBERISH.
LIKE SHE WAS TALKING GIBBERISH.
SERIOUSLY. I don’t know how to emphasize this enough, the extent to which this question BROKE MY MIND.
I managed to stammer out, “UHHHHHHHHHH……….Wouldn’t you rather have someone……SUCCESSFUL?”
And I started fighting back my tears. Literally, choking back SOBS that were aching to break forth. I made my face into a mask (I am good in emergencies) and I am afraid to say, sort of argued with her about how incredibly Inappropriate it was to ask Me.
The Lady was rather taken aback (Of course she was!) as I explained to her that, essentially, can’t you see that I, uh, didn’t make it? She said, “Oh but Dead Dog’s Eyeball is a great record, and you won awards for it, and sure, a musician’s life has it’s ups and downs….” and I broke in (and I am NOT proud of this) ”I HAVE NEVER MADE ONE THIN DIME IN MY ENTIRE CAREER DEAD DOG’S EYEBALL BANKRUPTED ME I HAVE ALWAYS WORKED HORRIBLE HORRIBLE JOBS TO PAY TO PLAY ARG ARG ARG EMOTIONAL VOMIT SPEWING FORTH LIKE A GEYSER.” (But calmly and with a frozen face.) And in my mind I was thinking something along the lines of, “What would I have to TELL these little girls? I mean, SURELY you don’t want someone like ME to talk to them, because, you see, I failed, and the only sorts of things I could say are things like, “Follow your dreams and work really hard, and YOU TOO can end up a 50 year old WAITRESS. You know how they tell you you can be anything you want to be if you work really hard at it? Well…that is not always true.”
Even I wouldn’t want to tell little girls depressing shit like that, it just happens, sadly, to be my experience. Which sort of disqualifies me from being any sort in Inspirational Speaker. You know?
I MEAN WOULDN’T YOU RATHER ASK SOMEONE ELSE?
So I beat it out of there, pausing to sob uncontrollably in my car. And while I was driving. And I thought:
“WHERE IN THE FUCK IS THIS COMING FROM?!?!?!?!?” Because I had just been, as I said earlier, bopping along and feeling happy in my life, being positive and accomplishing things and undergoing spiritual growth et cetera. And I really was blissfully aware that I had a HUGE MOTHERFUCKING VOLCANO OF AGONIZING TRAUMA within me. APPARENTLY, right below the surface, if you just happen to have the Magic Key to unlock it from it’s VAULT! That it had been in for like OVER A DECADE or something. Wow!
So I went home and continued to have a massive FREAK-OUT for the rest of the day, talking it through with Dave, by which I mean choking out broken syllables with my sob-wracked vocal cords between my quivering lips in my continually streaming face, with occasional angry yelling and fist pounding for EMPHASIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I have come to the Conclusion that I need to get a Better Perspective on all this. For starters, even if only to make myself FEEL BETTER, I need to re-evaluate my idea of “Success”. Because according to the definition I currently have, I am not one. Because I never achieved even my most modest dream of eking out a working-class living via my ARTFORM. I think I would have felt pretty successful if you know, I had been able to quit waiting tables; if I could ever have called my time my own, even for a few years. That would have felt good, I would have felt successful. As reasonable as that is, I think I have to lower my standards of success even further, or just change them radically, so that it stops hurting me. A good starting point might be: Did my work ever make anyone ELSE feel better? Because I KNOW it did.
Just writing that is making me cry again, so I had better end TODAY’S INSTALLMENT of the ONGOING….for lack of a better word……WOUND CLEANING! There, that made me laugh. But the Idea I had is, I should write about this on my website, this process of fixing my insides so that I am not carrying this around anymore. Who knows, if I can manage to work through it and change myself, maybe I will be able to write songs again.I mean, it has only been A DECADE…that is probably long enough to register it with the Universe that I AM ANGRY about BEING INSUFFICIENTLY APPRECIATED.
(comments that are insufficiently appreciative of my Greatness will be spammed. Also you will not get a present.)