Pre-Release Blues or Crippling PMS: You Make the Call

There’s a heaviness all around me, lately. I can barely describe the emotional turbulence I’m combatting, much less act normal. I’m trying to respond positively to the many, many encouraging words being thrown in my direction. I’m trying to remain grateful, happy and humble. But, if I’m being honest, I’m feeling particularly bereft these days.

I don’t mean to say I’m lacking support, love or kindness. I’m not lacking money (well, that’s not entirely true but in the relativity of my last year I’m not in as much debt as I was); but there are many areas in which I’m lacking, big time.

Sleep would be the most obvious piece missing from my life at the moment. If anyone reading has ever worked in the service industry you’re no doubt aware of “Chit Dreams” as I called them back in my cooking days - basically your dream is entirely normal until you hear the dreaded paper printer of lunch or dinner service chattering in the background, which induces so much anxiety and panic that you wake up thinking you’ve overslept your alarm. Almost always, it’s the middle of the fucking night and now you’re so wound up there’s no possible way you can get back to sleep.

I’m basically living that dream, but replace the chit printer with my band all playing different instruments, the sound muting mid set, my hair catching on fire, pissing my pants on stage, forgetting the words, being unable to make it to the sound check for some ridiculous reason, not selling enough tickets, disappointing the audience and my family, and never being able to make anything as good as what I’m releasing on Friday, May 4th.

Of course, I’m well aware that all of these insecurities are reactionary points to me fearing the change and inevitable growth. I’ve come to the blatantly obvious realization that I don’t handle change well. It wreaks total and complete havoc on my brain and body resulting in an incredibly irritated, short tempered and inattentive version of my worst self. I’m mean to those around me and unable to express gratitude and kindness. I live in a world of fear and self-doubt.

By all accounts I should be completely stress free. I’ve rehearsed at nauseum with my band, done every possible pre-release promotion strategy possible, exhausted resources both financially and otherwise, laid off the drink (a little) to clear my head and kept a semi-healthy lifestyle to keep my head above water. But I can’t shake this crippling sadness, like I’m about to lose something I’ll never get back.

I’ve been talking to a number of people about the impending release, and as a result, the songs and what they mean to me. The more I explain it to people around me, the more I realize how personal this body of work actually is. Mike Bell of the YYSCENE aptly pointed out: “there’s a lot of turmoil in these songs. I can hear it.” He sounded concerned. Well, as concerned as Mike ever sounds. I guess it took me until that moment to realize “Shit. You’re right.”

The songs have an unmistakable heaviness to them. I sound like I’m breaking; I was breaking. So this is the truth I’ve carved out to share with people? That’s what I keep asking myself. Listeners of my last album might be disappointed that I haven’t lightened up, but this directly tunnels into a very particular sadness in my life, apparently.

I’m aware of the narcissism, blind selfishness and gag-inducing sentiments that this kind of self-indulgent writing will induce. If it wasn’t me going through these exact motions I don’t know how much empathy I could exercise, either.
“Oh please. You have all of the love and support one artist/person could ever ask for, what are you even complaining about?”

I’m not complaining. I’m… grieving. I’m weirdly grieving a loss of a part of my life that I still can’t fully explain. I think the thing that adds the most to this sadness is knowing that I haven’t even figured out what was breaking me in the first place, and I don’t know if I ever will. I’m having an existential crisis asking myself: is my purpose as a writer to define and paint the cracks within and of the world around me? Am I destined to be forever conflicted, shouting for resolution? Is this all just the worst possible case of PMS ever? Probably.

Whatever it is, I’m ready to get it out.

PS - if it’s my period, I’ll take appropriate measures before showtime. Everything else will be bared on stage for everyone to witness. See y’all May 3/4/5.

Mariel Buckley

Calgary, AB, Canada