Chicken Soup for the Bouncing Soul

Advice Columns | Apr 12th, 2004

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This may be a question you can’t answer, but what the hell. My boyfriend is in a band and will hopefully be going on tour sometime in the future. I have a huge problem with jealousy, which I realize is an issue I have to work on on my own. I do trust my boyfriend, but he’s never been on tour away from me for over 2 weeks. Is it a given that musicians cheat on their significant others while on tour? Is there any way I can make myself feel better about him being on tour surrounded by lame groupie sluts? It bothers me to even think of his band having girls on the bus after shows. How do the wives/girlfriends of the Bouncing Souls deal with this separation and jealousy (if any of them are jealous at all)?
Thanks, Adriane

Well, first of all it is not a given that all band guys cheat. A lot of them do, but plenty of them never do. To drive yourself crazy worrying about something you can’t control is no way to live. It’s an especially bad policy to ever try to control another human being, it only causes unnecessary stress and tension for both you and that person. The only thing you truly possess is your Self, it’s what you entered this world with and what you’ll leave this world with. How do you want to spend YOUR time while he’s away? Don’t waste a minute of it worrying and stressing about things (people) you can’t control, those are moments of your own life wasted. See this a great chance to work on this lesson, find serenity and happiness. Enjoy your time off!

I’m a struggling artist/graphic designer. I’ve been out of college for 3 years and I can’t seem to get a job in the graphic design field or any field for that matter. My confidence is shot to shit right now and I don’t think my stuff is any good. What should I do? Help me Obi-wan, you’re my only hope.
— Bryan #2

Bryan #2,
First of all, if art is your calling, never stop doing it. There are a lot of jobs in the ‘art field’ that can never satisfy your inner need to create true art, that glorious self expression that really satisfies the soul. Always remember that this is the most important thing. If you continue at it (drawing, painting, whatever you do), always pushing yourself to get better, you will be happy. As for money, just keep looking for a job that actually satisfies that part of you as an artist. They are few and far between, but never give up. In the meantime, you may have to compromise, like most people in this world; get whatever job you can to pay the rent. Just hold on to yourself and remember what makes you happy and that world wont sweep you away into its miserable orbit. You’re asking a guy who forged his own path with his own original art and music. Over 15 years it got good enough so that a lot of people dig it, but it took that long to develop. At some points I was homeless for it, but not a second of that time was wasted because I made finding myself and expressing myself the number one priority. It’s a great way to live, although maybe not for everyone. Meditate on what really makes you happy and make that your priority. Good luck!

I am tired. I am tired of being unappreciated. I am tired of being talked back to and cursed at. I give respect and hope to get it in return but often to no avail. Can you guess my occupation? I am a teacher. I spend most of my Sundays working. I wake up at 5 am every weekday and by the time I get home I am yawning. I often fall asleep as early as 6:30. I put in 100% and get back very little. Often I wonder, why am I in this job? I make shit money and I get no respect. My principal is a bigot and crazy traditionalist. I went into teaching because I was a punk as kid and hating being treated like shit because I was different. I hated high school with a passion but returned to help “misfit” kids like me realize that they are actually quite normal – unlike how they feel because people treat them differently.

I wanted to teach kids about the past so that they could make a better future. But really they can give a shit about History. Most of them just care about our crappy commercial culture. Most have little depth. My decision to be a teacher was about not selling out. But Im not sure that my decision is so true or realistic anymore? I could have easily went to law school but that is bullshit. I didn’t want to be one more lawyer destroying our legal system to make a buck. I wanted to do something that truly matters, that could truly change the world – one child at a time of course. I don’t feel like I’m doing that. I just feel tired. As someone at my age with a totally different perspective, what do you

Love creates will, will creates energy. If you’re doing what you love, you will never feel tired. Sounds like you’re cracked right now. No need to overreact, getting cracked comes from being put in toughest situations, ones that try your innermost self and push your limits. Cracking is a blessing in disguise, it’s only then that the spirit grows and true wisdom is gained. You will learn great lessons (about yourself and thus life) from how you respond in these situations. In your letter, you are reacting, that’s ok to vent, but it’s not the whole truth, you’re outside of your center. In being so tired it’s easy to lose sight of why you got into this in the first place. The fact is, there are kids in your school that you definitely can help, I know it. Making a difference in just one kid’s life here and there would make all the rest of the bullshit worth it, this is what drives you. In the immediate sense, I’d say you need some kind of rest, a mental break to recharge your batteries. If there is no actual time you can spend away from work, look into meditation. It may sound corny to you, but I’ve heard just one half hour to one hour of meditation can be the equivalent to hours of sleep, it can regenerate you, recharge your batteries – just a suggestion. If not sitting meditation, some form of meditation, some activity that puts you into that zone of no-thought. Your mind needs rest to balance as much energy as you need for this big job. Somehow you must do this.

As I recall, in every class there was always one teacher that everyone liked. If it’s not you, find that person, how do they pull it off? There’s a lot to learn all around you. Look for what’s GOOD in the pop culture these kids are into, and almost anything can be tied into what you’re teaching, a history lesson, with effort and creative thinking. You must first be inspired yourself about history and why it’s important, that enthusiasm can be infectious. With time, effort, patience, and above all love you can create the ideal learning environment of your dreams. I believe that anything is possible, because Ive created my own world out of nothing; you have to be able to embrace the world you see as something you have to power to change.

Basically everyone on this earth has to work, and no one’s job is absolutely perfect, there are ugly sides to every occupation. It’s easy to fantasize about escaping your particular lot in life, but in any occupation there is work to be done and lame shit to tolerate. Dont lose sight of why you got here in the first place. If this indeed is your calling, do the best job you possibly can, remember good work is it’s own reward. I wish you all the love and strength you need for this massive undertaking. It’s not unappreciated, it is so important.

Hey Bryan!
My name is James, I’m 16 and I’m from the great city of Boston. I just want to start off by saying this… thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my confused heart. Your music is incredible and so true and heart felt. it has gotten me through so many tough times and you have no idea how much your music has touched me. Anyways, I have this friend, her name is Kelly. She is a beautiful, funny, and all around great person. Her first show she ever went to was the show that you guys played on October 30, 2003 at the Avalon in Boston. She was an instant fan of you guys. She has been having some trouble lately. She has been really depressed and shes not doing well in school. She cut her wrists a lot, and shes seeing a therapist for it, but it really hasn’t helped much. She just feels so hopeless. Because she is in therapy, she can’t cut, which is good, but she’s just been having like withdrawal symptoms. She has become so dependant on cutting that it has controlled her life. Now that she can’t do it, shes been taking pills. Last night, she took a handful of pills and smashed her head on her bathroom sink and bathtub, right before passing out. She wants to die, and it’s so horrible. My girlfriend and I are best friends with this girl. We have been trying SO HARD to make her feel better about herself, but not a lot has worked. I will take any advice I can get. Please try to help me here! I’m just so scared for her, and when Kelly gets all depressed and suicidal, my girlfriend seems to get depressed also. Anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for even reading this.
Your biggest fan,
James Zozula (i have a cool last name, huh?)

James, as her friend you need to spend as much time as possible with her, showing her all the love that you can. The reason I say this is because there was a point where I was so depressed and confused (and suicidal), and the only reason I stayed around was for the people I cared about. This is not a guarantee (that it will be the same for her) but it’s a very important role you play right now; sometimes (most times) friends are everything. She can beat this, but not if she checks out before the fight. It sounds like serious depression, you cut to feel, I know that numbness, and I can say it’s not forever. Life’s always changing, it’s the way of nature. If you don’t like it now, every day is a new chance to create something better for yourself. Find what you love and make that priority number one, no matter how many people tell you it’s wrong. This would be some advice I’d tell her. These are just words but still some of the only tools you have. As far as her condition, I’m not formally trained in any way and therefore am not suited to solve anything here. It’s (obviously) really important that she doesn’t pick up a new addiction out of this, try to keep her away from the fun drugs and booze. That kind of “self-medication” can lead to a whole new set of problems down the road. If she’s on meds, they may be the wrong ones. If she’s not on meds, maybe she needs a certain kind. Her therapist may be a useless dick, and she needs to try someone else. These are just all the thoughts that come to my mind. Hope any of it may have been helpful. Love to you, your girl, and Kelly.