I just turned my phone off. I’ve grown way too attached to it, or attached to what’s on it. (I was at a job for seven years, and was fired for being on my phone.) I have the usual apps. I have three dating apps. My friends tell me one is better than the other, so I downloaded them all. I don’t ever follow up, and follow through, with who I match with. I matched with Llari, while I was in LA, a very sweet girl who recently moved to downtown LA. She tells me she’s adventurous and likes museums, and we get to the point in the conversation where she shares her location. She lives about 15 minutes from where I’m staying. After a couple messages, we agree to exchange numbers. But after that, I honestly don’t put in much effort to meet up with her. I have no exact reason why. Maybe it’s because I just like to interact with someone in other cities. It gives me a slight confidence boost that I’m “liked.” But then, I don’t want to fuck it up by being weird, so I just fade back into my life.
I live my life online and offline in a sort of way. I post on Twitter and Facebook, while catching up on shows on Hulu, alone. I’m pretty sure this is normal, but we all have self doubt. I guess the self-doubt is why I’m always posting–seeking gratification from the outside world–on this little device I’m addicted to. I keep liking and getting happy when I get a match, but I hardly ever ask any girl out. In the back of my mind, I always think, Why does she like me anyway?
My name is David. My stage name is Max. I’m a rapper. That’s it. Everybody has side hustles to get by and I do too, but at the end of the day I am a rapper. Local to those who live in Virginia. Rising to some–either or, a serious one. It’s a reason I’m addicted to my phone, but like to be alone. People will ask, “What do you do?” I’ll reply, “I make music.” They’ll then ask, “What instrument do you play?” And, I’ll say, “I don’t. I rap.” Depending on the environment in which the conversation is taking place, it’s a cool thing or a sure deal breaker. Some will think you’re a target or a way to make money, others think you’re completely the opposite: a waste of time or not a profitable associate. Girls will think you’re a fuckboy or the next big thing, depends on how many rappers she’s dated. But at the end of the day, there are a lot less genuine people when you’re a rapper. I have encountered those that believe, but when you don’t deliver they’ll pitch options for your future. (Key word: YOUR.)
That’s when the self doubt comes in.
I’ll grab my phone to tweet or post something to offset those doubts. I look forward to that next show or trip to document on Instagram. I want to release that record I have in the stash to get those plays I need to feel better. Or…I just turn my phone off.
I have to love the good and bad of this lifestyle, to keep going. Every album, show, event, interview, song, video shoot creates anxiety. Everything creates anxiety. Not having money for your bills creates anxiety. But let me tell you, no matter how big or small the stage, having one fan know your words, can fix all of that. The hope of one day having the whole stadium knowing your words, can heal all the anxiety from years of grinding. But, crazy how I can replace the word “fan” with “girl.”
My ex-girlfriend would come to mostly every show of mine, and even bring her group of girls to rowdy up the crowd. She supported me and my dreams. One Christmas, she purchased my new studio equipment. After a couple years though, that anxiety started back up, but in a different form. We got in a big argument one night about security and our future, and what am I going do if music doesn’t work out. The next morning, I found myself at a community college enrolling in school. Me being Mr. “All or Nothing,” I took it one step further; I went to enlist in the Navy. She burst into tears when I told her. I thought I was happy with the decision, but when it came for me to actually go to camp, I thought about my rap career, not about her or our relationship. Within months we were officially over. We were together for about three years. That was the last relationship I had that lasted more than six months.
I still don’t know exactly why I don’t reply to girls’ messages or take relationships seriously since. Maybe I don’t want to have to choose anymore or again, or have to explain that my real name isn’t my stage name. It could be to avoid being hurt when it doesn’t work out, or hear “Where’s your mixtape?” jokes. I like to think it’s because I “love” music and this journey, or I’m “busy” being a rapper. Maybe it’s because I can get the satisfaction of love from likes and re-tweets if I continue to interact with the world in my phone…at least for now. I do know, turning my phone off is a lot easier than avoiding someone in real life.