Sometimes you have to give yourself a mulligan. That's the major lesson this week. If you're like me, you're so - too - hard on yourself. I sat down to record this episode on Monday as usual, knowing full well that I wasn't in the right headspace. I wasn't sure what I wanted to talk about. I have some other stuff related to music and freelance work that is stressing me out a bit. The combination of all that just left me in the wrong frame of mind for recording, but I tried it anyway and, predictably, got a mediocre result. I would hope to be self-aware enough by now to take that result for what it is, brush it off, and know I could take another swing later.
Instead, I let it get me down.
I go very quickly from "not my best episode" to "you're an awful podcaster and you're embarrassing yourself" in scenarios like that. And then I ruin my day. The tension bubbles up. The self-doubt. The internal tongue lashings and the increased pressure. It's a toxic cocktail and I drank it. Later when I was supposed to be enjoying pickleball night, I had a spell of playing horrendously badly and that got to me too. At the end of the day, I did a personal review and was not pleased with how I handled everything. So I took a mulligan.
Sometimes that's the answer. Let that day go and allow yourself another shot. It's mercy. It's compassion. It's mature, and it's mostly what you would do for someone else, right? Then a funny thing happens: you wake up on Tuesday morning feeling more yourself, you remember a funny meme you saw about Black Friday, and the threads of an episode come together where you can talk about Pieter Bruegel and van Gogh, and you can try to say their names properly, and then you can talk about being trolled on TikTok more articulately than you did the first time around.
I'm glad I took a second shot at the episode. I really like looking at and discussing art, even though time didn't allow me to go as deep as I might have liked on Bruegel's The Triumph Of Death. There are ways that I can improve this podcast, and digging a bit deeper on that sort of thing is one of them. Alas, it's all still a work in progress. I shall try to keep improving, come trolls or haters or armies of zombie skeletons.
Thanks as ever for listening. Contact me here if you have feedback, thoughts, episode ideas, music recommendations, or heaps of lavish praise!
There can be only one goodie this week. It's Bruegel's bizarre and poignant Triumph Of Death painting. Remember it the next time you're ready to go to war over a cheap microwave at the Black Friday sale!
Pieter Bruegel - The Triumph Of Death (1562)