In the past year I have felt more vulnerable than ever before. 2016 was a tumultuous year for me personally. I took every bit of pain, sorrow, anger, and imbued my music with all of it. 2017 hasn't been so unkind to me, but I am learning and re-learning many things that I didn't necessarily want to face. I am investing my time and money in to a dual project - EP and album. Plus, I am trying to navigate the world in my 30's.
Why does that sound so awful? Well, I really feel as though I am more comfortable in my skin than I was in my teens or even 20's. This musical journey is opening up old wounds and forming new ones. I'd like to think I have a high threshold for pain, but I really don't like that feeling because it could leave me broken and allow the world to leave me broken as well.
I'm not really one to reveal a lot about myself, but music some times does this without even trying. I have been writing music and singing since I was a child, and often I've wondered what courage it takes to put yourself out there, not really knowing that the world is cruel; not necessarily due to ignorance, mostly because we all want to feel accepted. I have experienced more rejection in my life than most people ever experience. Am I jaded because of it? Absolutely not, but I some times wonder why I go to such extremes to cut myself open, and leave the rest to bleed.
When you are a child there are many things you are not prepared to face. As you age and enter adulthood, you have either experienced enough that you are thick-skinned or you have not had enough to gauge the good from the bad. This reminds me of an old boyfriend who once told me that I "[have] not been burned enough." I don't get why you have to be torn to shreds, and burned to ash to understand something. In a world of cruelty, I have always had music to which I could escape. Music is my morphine, my drug, my euphoria. This is one bridge I'd never want to burn.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, being vulnerable means you have to strip away the mask, and trust the unknown. I don't particularly care for uncertainty. When you have OCD, it can really take a question and turn it into a mental doomsday. I am trying to trust the process, and engage fully without any qualms. This isn't as easy as it sounds. In fact, it brings out stubbornness and frustration that doesn't benefit the process. I know things fall apart, but I can still stand up and pick up the pieces.
If being vulnerable means that I am supposed to learn something from all of this, then I will be an A-student because I have not known success as much as I've befriended failure. Today, I praise my successes because of the failure which left me vulnerable and defeated. I stand up proud and embrace the challenges ahead. I am vulnerable because I am human. I am vulnerable because I am an artist.
- Antonio Dudley