10/25/21

My whole life I’ve been told to be less. Teased for being upset the boys wouldn’t pass me the ball in peewee basketball..told to be careful with my tone in highschool band leadership training because even though I was right, my tone of voice was judgemental…told to calm down, told it’s not a big deal, told to relax, told to follow, told that all I know how to do is fight and when there’s nothing left to fight I’ll just fall over. 

Now I find I’m fighting myself. 

All of these memories rush through me when I feel called to stand up for something, and it’s paralyzing. It mixes in with my critical understanding of the world, and I see myself shrinking, being confined, and I want to fight it so badly….but it seems I believe the messaging now. It’s inundating presence has finally seeped through, and I worry if I speak out I’m being aggressive…again. 

All of these memories rush over me when I try to create, when I yearn for creative collaboration with peers. Have I been so unpleasant to be around that now no one wants to make music with me? If I were a better musician, more attractive, or just quiet, would they put up with me? Not even would they want me. I’m so desperate I just wanted to be tolerated! 

Damn

I didn’t used to be this way. 

Years of being told to be less, seem to have done a number. 

I used to be brave. take chances. I used to take up space

Why am I believing these memories? How are they serving me? Are they protecting me? Maybe it’s time to let them go, and find a medium between who I was and who I am…a person influenced by passion yet that can taking a moment to breathe and see a bigger picture.

Is this possible?

P.S. On the thought of collaborating, I recognize that in reality it’s likely not about me. Please don’t mistake my vulnerability and insecurity above for hubris that everything is about me. It’s quite possible the fact of the matter is I’m no longer in school and therefore no longer in forced situations with different people all with various musical endeavors to complete. I’m in my 30s, and everyone is busy. If I want to create with folks, I’m going to have to make that happen…and I’m trying, really. But every time something doesn’t pan out it takes me a minute to lick my wounds and get back out there asking folks who are just as busy as me to share their time and energy. 

P.P.S. I’m participating in a local baking competition that is a fundraiser for a non-profit here in Pontiac. I’m hella scared. I love baking, and am in the process of turning it into a side hustle, but if you can think of my imposter feelings as a musician (something I have decades of training and experience in), imagine my feels going into this with like actual culinary folk…help! 

It’s a Death by Chocolate event, and I’m making some pretty killer cupcakes. I hope they’re good enough to hang with the others’ bakes at the event!

Maybe this is all over sharing.

Since July 30th I’ve been trying to put together another post to share. In August I came pretty close, but chickened out. I wonder if others feel this feel. It’s like simultaneously feeling strong and weak? Confident and terrified? Intelligent and ignorant? I’ve been told that I come across as very self-assured. It feels so very odd to me when people say that because I know that I am constantly questioning myself, always doubting whether to speak, to act, to write, to perform, to create…I’m so tired of being in this space. It’s exhausting.

To that end, I’m going to try and put some of it out there. I’m going to try and be brave. 

I’ve been feeling some big feels lately…like I don’t know what’s next, which for me is terrifying. I’ve been questioning my career, wanting to be an “aritst” but feeling like I’m not good enough for the label. Ruminating on how there are so many injustices in our society, and feeling guilty I’m not fighting for them all, while at the same time coming up against some serious burnout in the field I’m currently in. 

I sometimes day dream about running away from it all and opening a bakery. I can’t quite figure out what in my brain thinks being a small business owner would be more peaceful. Lol. (Side note: I do lean towards wanting to turn my hobby of baking into a side hustle. I’m waiting to see how that all plays out with a few projects in motion) 

Anyways, I don’t want to burnout…but after over a decade of music school I find that I’m way better at emotionally beating up on myself  than taking care of myself. How do people do that self-care thing I’ve heard so much about? What is a, how you say “break?” Seriously though, I take 15 minutes to watch a Sailor Moon episode and eat my lunch, and I’m over here calling myself lazy. 

For the record, I’m working on this with professional help, but I haven’t been able to reach a place of peace yet. For years, I’ve believed that I’m not funny, definitely never considered myself attractive, and I’ve always felt like I’m not particularly talented/intelligent. In all of the ensembles and studios I’ve been in, I never was “the best” player. I was always amazed at the brilliance of those around me, my friends especially, and wondered why they let me tag along. As a result, I’ve told myself that my value as a person comes from being a “hard worker.” I had (have?) convinced myself that people only keep me around because I’m reliable, because I “have my shit together,” but not because they actually like, respect, or enjoy my presence. It’s ridiculous. I know. And I’m trying to undo that harmful self-talk, but it goes deep…and well…is a daily struggle.

(Even while typing this, my internal self-talk said “Is it ridiculous though?” Jesus, I’ve got work to do.)

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to perform for a small crowd here in Pontiac with Consuming Arts. We weren’t the main event, but I was stoked to be out there trying to do the thing. During our set, I shared a little more than I think I ever have publicly on the state I was in writing music a while back, and afterwards multiple people thanked me for being so open as they expressed feeling similarly. Fast forward to grabbing a bite to eat after the show. Somewhere between picking a place to sit, and the prime rib sandwich this thought pings in my mind “Why did you say all that stuff, Tia? You’re so stupid and whiny. No one actually cares about you, and now they just think you’re weak and crazy.” Do they? I have no idea? Do I think that about myself? Most definitely. Do I know I shouldn’t think that about myself, and can in fact point to an overwhelming amount of evidence disproving it, but I still feel in my heart of hearts that it is true? Also most definitely. 

Maybe this is all over sharing. Then again, maybe it’s an attempt at being genuine in a world full of theatrics. I’m not sure where this is going, but I’m likely to get too scared to post again if I don’t wrap it up soon.

I’m not giving up. I’m not 100%, or really even 50% okay, but I intend to keep keepin’ on. I’m doing the work on myself. I’m exercising. I’m making attempts to be creative, develop relationships, and not think the worst of the world. I need help with that sometimes…seeing beauty around me, recognizing it within myself. But I’m trying.

Another school year, another degree

The Fall semester is here yet once again. Summer has come and gone. This past summer was full of many musical moments with students and performing alike. The camps were fun, the waking up after the sun had risen was arguably even better, but it’s back to that grind of graduate school. This semester is different though. I haven’t announced this publicly anywhere yet. I think part of me was still unsure it was real. But, I’m starting a second masters this Fall as I work towards completing my doctorate at MSU. I am now also working on a masters in Musicology – and very excited about it, I might add…nervous…but excited. I’ll graduate some day, but for now I’m going to dig in and learn as much as I can.

 

M.I. Concerts – TONIGHT, 7:30PM

Hey everyone,

The past month has been crazy getting this show together along with the usual hustle and bustle of school, teaching, the election, and just living in general. BUT show day has finally arrived. I really hope you’ll be able to make it tonight, or will tune-in to the livestream (planning to “go live” on facebook). So if you haven’t done so yet, head over to facebook and “like” the M.I. Concerts page so that you can find the live stream later today! I think tonight’s show is going to be a great success, giving those Michiganders who, like me, have a had a less than stellar time since last Tuesday a little reminder of the excitement, possibility, and bonds that Michigan has to offer.

M.I. Concerts is from the community and for the community, Michigan inspired and Musically driven. I hope you’ll join me along with my very talented and hardworking colleagues this evening for some contemporary chamber music in a bar…because that may be a little of what so many of us need right now. The arts and friendship. Let’s celebrate local. Let’s celebrate good beer. Let’s celebrate music. Let’s celebrate the power of just being in the same room with other people. Lets celebrate nature and industry, relaxation and a hard day’s work. Let’s celebrate Michigan.

See ya TONIGHT at the Lansing Brewing Co. (518 E. SHIAWASSEE STREET, LANSING, MI) for the very first M.I. Concerts event at 7:30pm!

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M.I. Concerts

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the recent radio silence on my page here. I’ve been busy!! For those of you who don’t know, I’ve got this really neat project going on that I’m trying to get of the ground, M.I. Concerts. It’s a contemporary chamber music series with a mission is to create and nourish new music through events that are Michigan-centric from the composers and performers to the venues and inspiration. M.I. Concerts brings music to the people by curating events in places like breweries, art galleries, and coffee shops. Please, please PLEASE like the M.I. Concerts page, and share it with your friends! Let’s get some love generated for New Music in Michigan!

The very first (of hopefully many) M.I. Concerts event is next month at the Lansing Brewing Company on Thursday, 11/17/2016 at 7:30pm. Admission is free! Please come out to support the Arts in Michigan, get yourself a wonderfully crafted beer, and enjoy some music created by your fellow Michiganders!

I hope to see you there,

Tia

Consuming Arts

I’m very excited to be collaborating again with Chelsea Koziatek at another one of her Consuming Arts events!

Delicious Food, Wonderful Music, and all local!

Enjoy a meal provided by Red Haven’s locally-sourced restaurant inspired by the performed music. Local composers and musicians include Philip Rice, Justin Rito, Tim Patterson, Chelsea Koziatek, Tia Harvey, Suzanna Feldkamp, Jennifer Pittman, and Sam Davies.

There is a reception at 6:30pm and the dinner will begin at 7:00pm. The ticket cost does not include tax or gratuity. There will be four courses served with paired drinks plus the reception.

Each dish was artisically designed by chefs at Red Haven to accompany the performed music.

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Multi-percussion and live electronics: A Collaboration

Composer (and friend) Doug McCasuland and I have been collaborating for a while now on a new piece for multi-percussion and interactive electronics.

Today felt like a major turning point in this project that started out as a trip to a junkyard! We met today to tweak the set-up and play through some of my part. I also got to hear some of the electronic sound world this piece will be existing in (so cool). The piece has some very interesting interesting inspiration: sound pollution, waste, landscapes, personal struggle. More on that at a later date. I’m looking forward to premiering it later this month at my recital on 4/23! It really is so cool.

It’s moments like these that remind me why I’m doing this whole music school thing. It doesn’t take away the frustration, but it’s a welcome reminder of what brought me to where I am today. Music. Art. Thoughtful responses to the world in which we live.

Stop Telling Women To Smile

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure lately from many different sources (strangers on the street, but also colleagues at work and school) to smile constantly. And ya know, that just…isn’t me. This project by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is really powerful, and although it’s directed at street harassment, I ask that we all consider how we might be encouraging that culture in our everyday interactions with people we know.

“I’m not here for you….that’s not what my existence is about..”

http://stoptellingwomentosmile.com

Hope

…and then there are days when a colleague in your percussion studio asks you for recommendations on academic resources relating to feminism because they are interested in learning more.

Many days being an activist/critical thinker are frustrating. Activist Burnout Is Real. We can’t reach everyone, I can’t reach everyone. It’s been an uphill battle (that I may or may not still be in the midst of) learning which conversations have the potential to be productive, and which ones will only leave me with yet another glass of wine when I get home.

But it’s not all bad! Sometimes you reach people. Sometimes just by talking about these things, individuals come to you for guidance (or just an open mind for listening) when facing something they’re unfamiliar with maybe regarding their sexuality or of that a loved one. And sometimes you get the warm-fuzzies because someone (who you didn’t know was really at all interested) asked you where they can learn more. It’s hope for me that things will change. It’s hope that maybe I actually can make a difference. It’s hope for me that this world will get better.

hope