The Stories We Tell

We tell ourselves a lot of stories. Fairy tales, mantras of success, “what I should have said”, dreams and plans… there always seems to be a story going on under in our minds underneath what seems to be a normal interaction, or a quiet moment. Sometimes, these stories help us, propel us forward and keep us inspired when it’s hard to find motivation.

Sometimes though, the stories are cement blocks around our feet.

I spent a little time over the summer diving into Wwise, an audio middleware program that helps composers and sound designers create interactive audio in game engines like Unity and Unreal. They have a series of lessons on their website and a certification test if you want to take it and whether I took the test or not one of my goals for summer break was to go through all the lessons and pass the quizzes at the end, and begin to get a grasp on this software.

And I was expecting to flail, a lot.

I’ve spent a couple of years now (almost, 22 months) working in Unity. I’ve taken part of a class on C# which I need to get back to when there are fewer projects in the way. I struggled a bit with some of that class, and with some features in Unity but eventually got the hang of things and have been feeling pretty comfortable. Still, I expected frustration and tears when I started this new thing.

The class took me 4 days. It was 7 units long and I did 2 units a day, maybe a few hours at most each day.

No flailing, even when the class material didn’t match the current version of the software I was working in and menus were called different things. I did well, and felt good while I was doing it, but by the end of those 4 days I was still Surprised because it hadn’t been too hard.

And it hit me.

I have spent my life learning new software, for work, for fun, for music or writing or building a basic website. I’ve had jobs which changed platforms and software regularly or where I had to use 5 or 6 completely different things each day. And every single time I’ve picked things up pretty quickly.

I had been telling myself a story, the story of a woman overwhelmed with new things to learn and struggling with code and tech and all of the things. I had somehow narrated myself into struggle. It was… odd. I’ve always prided myself on being quick, but even while evidence was pointing that way I held on to the idea that I was going to fail, and struggle, and I held on fiercely.

There IS a lot to learn. In the past couple of years I’ve learned my DAW, begun to figure out the ins and outs of instrument libraries, using a midi controller, Unity, C#, Wwise, Audacity, and a Lot about the way game music is used and that’s not even getting into the sound effects and design side of things. And I LOVE Learning these things. I feel alive and awake and happy when I’m discovering something new about audio. But this story… it’s still there. It keeps me from pitching for jobs. It leads me to procrastinate instead of diving in to a project or a class. I’m telling myself a story and it is holding me down.

What stories are you telling yourselves?