Breaking the Record with Roan Yellowthorn, Part 57: Recharging

Breaking The Record 2020
Breaking The Record 2020
Jackie McLean of the indie band Roan Yellowthorn grants us an inside look at the making of an album from start to finish in her ‘Breaking The Record’ column.
Stream: “Acid Trip” – Roan Yellowthorn

I am the first to admit it: I’m a workaholic. I like to be busy. Sometimes, however, I think that my need to constantly push myself to work and produce is partially an avoidance tactic. Being busy all the time allows me – forces me – to avoid confronting how I’m actually feeling. Usually, thinking about how I feel causes me some measure of pain. Not necessarily because I’m always in some kind of psychic pain (although, to be honest, I often am), but because feeling my feelings in general is kind of a painful experience. It’s complicated and complex and messy and fraught. It requires thought and time and attention. It’s difficult. Maybe you understand.

Just jumping into the Breaking The Record series documenting the making of our album from start to finish? Read part 1 here!

This is why writing songs is an especially therapeutic process, because I don’t always let myself really feel what I’m feeling. And songwriting necessitates that I do. And that I honor what I find.

But the thing about working all the time is that it causes a person to become really burnt out. I’ve been feeling burnt out. For a long time. This past year has been really tiring. Along with everything else going on, I’ve been working remotely from home at a non-musical day job. I spend a lot of time on the creative and business sides of music. And I also have two kids. I am lucky to have these things in my life. At the same time, I often feel like I’m just giving and giving and giving. Bleeding, even. And just repeating the process day after day. It’s a lot. I’m usually pretty hyper-vigilant. I answer emails quickly (for the most part), get things done as quickly as I can, I push myself to do more even when I’m tired and don’t want to. I feel the need to overperform and overdeliver just to be good enough. I never want to disappoint. I try hard.

I think a lot about what I should be doing, what I could be doing. Falling by the wayside is what I want to do. I know this is all mostly out of fear – my need to please and my desire to impress. It’s a fear of rejection. Of indifference from others. Of abandonment. And, frankly, it’s exhausting.

I’m trying to recalibrate. To recharge. Because life is not enjoyable when you’re a husk of a human. When you have nothing left to give. When you feel so disconnected from yourself that you lose sight of who you are and what makes you happy. That’s no way to live.

I’m trying to recharge. My method is to rest. It’s something I usually feel really guilty about doing. But that’s silly because everyone needs rest. So I’m letting myself rest when I can. It’s kind of radical. I invite you to recharge with me, if you’d like. Rest. I hear it’s good for the soul.

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Stream: “Acid Trip” – Roan Yellowthorn

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