I press play on Unluck, track one, side one of James Blake’s self titled album. As the song progresses I begin to feel the tension building in me. The notes and chord progressions are just off, so wrong. As the dissonance washes over the office I feel the need to turn it down so as not to upset my co-workers ears. The interesting thing is that, I’m using them as an excuse to turn it down. The music is making me uncomfortable. It’s such a departure from the clean, syrupy-sweet perfection of modern pop music, or modern music in general. It makes me squirm, like watching people argue in public or hearing a baby screaming its lungs out on the bus. These things break the quiet status quo that I’ve become used to. Habits form quickly, and don’t break easy.
I get easily frustrated with myself when I can’t do something that, as I see it, everyone else can do. One of the most common sources of frustration is my difficulty with programming. I had a moment last week which I want to mark. I think it was important.
On Thursday I came across a really minor problem in Tito which involved IF/ELSE statements. Looking at the code I realised that with a slight tweak I could probably fix it. I made my changes, did some testing and was right. Problem solved!
This is so important because I tend to forget the struggles I’ve gone through learning new things. There was a time when looking at rails code was completely overwhelming. There was a time when looking at CSS or HTML was the same. So the fact that I understood enough to fix a bug means I must be getting better.
The frustration I feel is pointless. It’s simply me being impatient. I have proven to myself time and time again that I am incredibly capable. I just forget that on occasion.
So if you’re like me, and you beat yourself up for not being able to do something, consider what it took to get you to this point. You’ve overcome a lot, you’ll do it again.
As a child, when we decided to have a night in and rent a video from our local Dublin spot—RIP, Xtra-vision—I used to wonder why my family would spend time searching through the shelves for the film we wanted. At some point I decided to stop searching and began asking the employee behind the counter if they had what we were looking for. It was great. They could immediately tell me whether the video was in stock; if it wasn’t, they’d usually give me a good recommendation for something else. And no matter what, we were always finished a lot more quickly than if we’d kept looking ourselves.
For the couches you let me sleep on
For the crazy nice things you said about me
For the conversations that lasted until the morning
For the jokes that made me laugh ’til I was sore
For the things you said that changed me for the better
For the warm welcomes
For the heartfelt goodbyes
For the best hat ever
For the help bringing my ideas to life
For the hugs when we hadn’t seen each other
For the belief in me when I had none in myself
For the advice when it was asked for
For the advice when it wasn’t
For the kiss when I took a chance
For the trust when it really mattered
For the support when I broke down
For the dose of reality
For the best year to date
“Looks like I need to start again…”
And so began a slow process of internal argument and questioning. Why is it that every time I try to design and maintain a personal website, I fail?
I have been travelling around North America for a little over three months. To say it has been fun is an understatement. My experiences during this time have genuinely changed my perspective on the world and how I can have an effect on it.
The plane touches down in Toronto, on time and in the dark. I’m calm now but there was a time earlier in the day that I wasn’t.
The actual passing of time versus my experience it is such an interesting thing to me. I’m quite a punctual person and the moments leading to me getting somewhere on time run away from me at speed, yet when I’ve arrived everything immediately slows down as I wait for the other person to turn up.
I wrote this about 3 months ago but had no where to put it. Now that it has a home, it’s great to re-read it and feel just as confident in my ability to learn new things and improve as a designer.
After coming back from Canada and restarting my freelancing I’ve ended up having a little money again. It’s not much, but enough to start back doing something I’ve neglected for a long while and that is buying music.