“I Just Feel Like a Loser Sometimes”
Part of this morning was spent listening to an interview with Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland from Coldplay on CBC’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi. I am one of those people who has always unapologetically loved Coldplay. I realize that they have grown too popular to be respectably cool anymore—that they are too mainstream, too commercial, too pop, too successful, too rich, too catchy, too whatever. I don’t really care. I have loved every album they have put out so far, and their newest offering, Mylo Xyloto, is no exception, whatever pronouncements might come down from on high via the musical intelligentsia.
The interview itself wasn’t great, truth be told. Ghomeshi is usually very good at asking provocative and interesting questions, but today the conversation seemed to always circle back to some variation of “so what do you think about how great and popular and influential you are?” But there was one part that I found particularly intriguing. At one point, Chris Martin made a comment something to the effect of, “sorry I’m not answering your questions very well, I’m having one of those days where I just have no self-confidence.” Ghomeshi seemed genuinely amazed that such a comment could come from the mouth of one of the frontman of one of the most popular bands in the world. He asked him to explain further. Martin replied, “I just feel like a loser sometimes.”
Well, if Chris Martin feels like a loser sometimes, what hope do the rest of us have, right? Jian Ghomeshi certainly seemed to have a hard time believing that Chris Martin could possibly feel this way. I, on the other hand, had a hard time believing that Ghomeshi was having such a hard time believing it. It just seems like a given, to me. And I guess I found it weirdly reassuring that even the Chris Martins of the world—people whose names and faces are plastered all over the place, who are spectacularly wealthy and influential, who have abilities that most of us can only dream of, who receive praise and adulation at almost every turn—feel like losers sometimes.
Which, I suppose, is just another way of saying that it was good to hear Chris Martin is a very human being who has very human experiences. We all have days where we wonder if we’re any good, if we’re past our “best before” date, if we have anything remotely useful to say, if what is required of us far exceeds our competencies and interests, if we don’t have the energy or creativity to thrive as we would like to, if that negative comment we heard or read really does describe us accurately, if those nice things we heard or read were just said to make us feel better, etc. I know there are people out there who never seem to lack self-confidence, but I wonder if anyone really is immune from the creeping, stealing, deflating feelings of self-doubt.
A while back I began to keep a file that I have very eloquently named my “Feeling Crappy” file. I simply fill it with nice things that people have said about me at some point or another. Letters, emails, comments, memories… it doesn’t matter. Anything will do. For some reason, I have never had any difficulty in remembering (or inventing) the bad stuff. I guess at some point, I just came to the conclusion that because there is more than enough negativity out there in the big bad world, not to mention in here, in my own brain, it’s worth hanging on to and revisiting whatever good and life-giving voices and experiences come my way.
Maybe Chris Martin has a “Feeling Crappy” file too. Maybe he should start one. I don’t know. Interestingly, both Martin and Buckland said that they no longer go on the internet or read reviews of their albums, articles, etc. Some of it is just too nasty. Even the guys from Coldplay, apparently, have to choose to listen to the right voices.