As alluded to in earlier posts, Chi and I are heading towards a split. Well…he is trying his best to continue holding me captive, but *I* am heading toward the split. Will the Panache Orchestra be able to survive? As a close friend recently pointed out,
…it seems to take up a ton of your time, create massive amounts of stress, and is ultimately doomed.
Listen while you read to “Parting Shot”, another new, unpublished piece about an argument between a man and a woman.
One of the most insanely frustrating and heartbreaking things about this whole debâcle with the impending divorce is that both of us have clear visions of how we want to further expand and develop the music we’ve been creating together for 15 years; and that has been impossible while we’re living together due to Chi’s unwillingness (or inability) to contribute to household overhead and maintenance or devote funding to that end while forcing me to have to function as his 24-7 life support machine. That sucks up all of my time, energy and the money I earn working a day job to support the whole house, which in turn sucks up practically all of my economically productive time and energy, not to mention motivation. Nevertheless, I still feel that breaking apart to the point of killing the Panache Orchestra will leave those aspirations unfulfilled, which would be a terrible waste.
In any case, that still does not constitute sufficient grounds to stay in a relationship that makes me this unhappy and where there appears to be no realistic possibility of ever getting my needs met while at the same time depriving me of practically all opportunities for personal fulfillment. Unfortunately working with Chi has proven to be such a crazymaking, frustrating, distressing nightmare that it almost cancels out any benefit from it for me. He is so deeply messed up that all I can expect from him most of the time is random dysfunction. I also find it artistically suffocating and intensely frustrating having to contend with his insistence on trying to dictate every fucking note I play, doing only his music, and the arbitrary, shambolic way that he goes about it. That is characteristic of his deeply narcissistic “Life is a one-way street that only works in MY direction!” mindset. I have discovered over the years that it is indeed possible to get high quality output out of Chi, but at a steep cost: having to endure endless infuriating, childish bullshit, which is excruciatingly fatiguing, and I have long since run out of patience for it.
Not that I am regularly producing anything worth us doing together (no time, energy, peace, space, clarity or motivation to do so!); and the couple times many years ago that I came to him with something I wrote, his reaction was so utterly off-putting that I never tried it again. Ever. Fuck it. If I am ever going to do any of my own music (assuming I still have any creative inspiration left to compose anything worthwhile!), it’s going to have to be with other players or by my own damn self. I now fully understand the reason why there are so many solo artists using loopers and machines to do their own music!
The number of times that I am bored and frustrated and impatient, just going through the motions and waiting for the rehearsal to be over so that I can get away from Chi and get on with my evening where I again just go through the motions waiting for it to be over, and suffering through performances with him greatly outnumber the occasions in which I actually enjoy working with him. Additionally, Chi seems to believe that variables such as the pukey economy and unwillingness of gatekeepers of festivals and such to book instrumental acts are things that I can actually control. But why not? For reasons best known to himself, he seems convinced that I am omnipotent and can make anything happen that he wants, but don’t merely due to laziness and perversity (Gee, he’s sure coming from a great place to criticize other people for being lazy and perverse!) or just to piss him off.
At any rate, I must break free from him so that, among many reasons, I can explore my own potential as a musician. I absolutely need to be free to do what I want and get my needs met, both personally and artistically without the duress of another person constantly hovering over me dictating at me what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. That said, in addition to a potentially catastrophic asset loss and major legal harangue over liability for his existence and immigration/ visa issues, another significant holdup with cutting Chi loose is my reluctance to lose him as a teacher.
At least musically, Chi has been my guru (master teacher), or sensei, for as long as we’ve been together. However I don’t think I can do this Asian-style ascetic live-in disciple thing all that well. At a certain point, Sensei becomes a hostile occupying force when their omnipresence completely overshadows you and makes it impossible for you to live your own life…or maybe that’s the point: preventing you from living your own life, because you’re supposed to emulate them in spirit and behaviour as well as whatever discipline you’re studying with them. Discipline was never my strong suit anyway.
And so around and around I go in this diatribe between myself and myself, that had I only worked even harder and sucked it up even more and given up on my need for livable housing and wanting a garden, and instead did what Chi wanted me to, i.e., do nothing but music (at least to the extent possible what with being forced into having to support the whole house and do every damn thing to keep it functioning while living piled on top of each other in miserable, degrading poverty and want, in addition to having to do everything with the administrative and marketing/PR shitwork for the band — about 10 full-time professionals’ worth of work that I absolutely detest, not to mention deal with the endless amount of administrative hassle Chi generates just by existing!) while he did his dysfunction and generally refused to engage in any revenue-producing activity or do any fucking thing to earn his keep…although I would almost certainly have become a much better musician, would that have changed the outcome? Probably not.
Wait a minute…WTF???!!!! Why is it ALWAYS ON ME to have to do every single fucking thing to make everything work while he just sits there expecting to be spoon-fed off a golden plate while creating endless unnecessary problems? Oh, that’s right (smacks forehead)! That’s why I am divorcing him: because that is COLOSSALLY unfair, and I have long since run up against my tolerance for it!
Let’s break it down: creating high quality art takes a lot of energy and focus as well as inspiration, not to mention TIME, and it takes even more time and effort as well as MONEY to render it into a tangible form that can be seen/heard/shared/etc.; and in order for me to be able to produce at a high level of quality and volume, or at all for that matter, I need, among other things, a clean, peaceful, orderly, livable home. I need a space in which I can at least feel comfortable and at peace (i.e., free from intrusive background noise and incessant harassment and duress from someone inside the house!). I also need adequate workspace with adequate lighting, and ready access to the stuff I need in order to produce creative output and be able to FIND IT (!), and even if the space isn’t particularly artistically inspirational, it should be at least neutral, instead of inspiring disgust and constant extreme frustration and annoyance.
In addition to the above, I also need adequate REST, for fuck’s sake! I can’t function well amidst continuous, ongoing chaos and drama and stress and fatigue, having to make do with an average of 4-5 hours of sleep a night, with much of that often spent tossing and turning, dreading the miserable time I am going to have slogging through the day job and despairing of the situation I’m trapped in, what with having to “live for two” and suffer routine domestic abuse. If he wants me to function like a high performance vehicle, then he has to stop using me as a fucking garbage truck!
Well, as long as I’m ranting about this, that’s another thing that has always baffled and annoyed the bejeezus out of me since Day One: Chi seems to be operating based on a truly bizarre belief that everything is supposed to somehow always magically work out in a way that is perfectly ideal and convenient for him without putting any real effort into it to make it happen, and in fact usually doesn’t seem to even take into account the practical steps that need to be taken on the ground in order to realize an idea. More bizarrely still, he apparently has a profoundly entrenched belief that it is up to other people to turn themselves inside-out to make his shit happen for him while all he is supposed to do is sit there churning out pie-in-the-sky ideas. He’s also really big on making the perfect the enemy of the good, virtually ensuring that nothing ever gets done, and when he’s not doing that, he sabotages what actually does get accomplished by doing a slovenly, half-assed job of it.
After all these mental contortions, I do not see any way that I will ever be free to do anything worthwhile musically or otherwise until I end Chi’s occupation of my life. End his occupation of my balance sheet with his voracious consuming and lack of any significant offsetting contribution. End his occupation of my home with his squalor and disorder. End his occupation of my timeline and mental bandwidth with his oppressive dependency on me and insistence on making me do every. single. fucking. thing for him and with him. End his occupation of my psyche in the way that he poisons it with his abusive behaviour and toxic energy and constant chaos and trauma-drama, leaving me so desperately stressed out and angry and resentful and exhausted and depleted that it cripples my capacity to function down to less than 10% of what it would be if I were free of that toxic burden.
If we can find a way to live in separate locations where we still have access to our instruments and maintain our relationship in such a way that we can manage to get along well enough to meet regularly to rehearse and develop new repertoire, we might be able to salvage our artistic collaboration. That’s a very big “if” though, especially since it depends on Chi finding a viable way to support himself (something he has not been able to accomplish in nine years, and I am already struggling to support the one home that we currently share, so funding two separate households is out of the question!) and find someone else to help him with his endless administrative problems.