John Man, an earnest and disciplined young singer working diligently to forge a successful freelance career, was pleased to reach the end of another day without giving up.
“Once again,” he said, sighing into a bowl of instant noodles, “I’ve managed to stave off an overwhelming sense of soul-crushing, nihilistic despair that lurks just around the corner at all times.”
Though friends and family have often reassured Man that he has a great voice and he is even better than that wonderful Katherine Jenkins off the telly, he says that such comments only add to his ever-increasing confusion and despair. “I already suspect that all my efforts my might be futile, and then I see how far you can get without any effort at all. Why work on getting better when quality is clearly not necessary?”
Every so often Man enjoys some type of external validation which he clings to like a parasitic alien life form, but he says this is always short-lived. “I thought winning that competition a few years ago would make me feel good but now people are saying ‘oh he hasn’t won anything since.’ If a prize is of no lasting value, how can winning more of them be a solution?”
Nevertheless, Man says that the battle against his worst fears and his darkest instincts is pretty much constant. “Everyone else seems to do this so easily, and here I am practising for hours just so I can feel like I’m keeping up,” he said. “I’ve got a devil on one shoulder and my competitors on the other, and sometimes I forget why I got into music at all. These noodles are pretty good, though, so there’s always that.”
Though Man tries to be confident that at some point these thoughts of self-doubt and terror will stop, unfortunately he can’t see how they ever will. “Once a doubt takes root, it just keeps growing, forever,” he said. “But that’s ok; I’ll probably just criticise my colleagues mercilessly and do everything I can to undermine their achievements and treat them with a subtly passive aggressive mixture of false praise and condescending disdain whenever I can. That will make me feel better.”