Nadia Elkharadly: The Why of it All

Nadia LogoI’m not sure what it is about being a single, 30-something year old woman, but I’ve never felt more scrutinized in my life than I have been now.  My face, my weight, what I wear, what I do, and don’t even get me started on my romantic life (or lack thereof – that’s probably a column unto itself).  What I do, or, should I say, the many things I do, seems to be something of great interest to many people.  Moreso, the “why” of what I do seems to be of great interest to many people, in both negative and positive ways.

It’s a pretty standard question:  “so, what do you do?”  Generally when asked, it’s followed by an unspoken “for a living” or “for money”.  Most people have scrutinyan answer to that question, and the conversation ends there.  I, being an apparently difficult and complicated human, have several answers to that “what do you do” question.  I have a day job that pays the bills, I have dabbled a bit in filmmaking and reality television, and most of all, I am a writer and editor; dubbed a journalist by some.  “Wow“, I hear sometimes as the reaction to this laundry list of life tasks.  I do admit it’s a lot.  Going to work every day for 8-10 hours, coming home at night, sometimes just for a quick change of clothes, to feed the cat and guzzle down a beer if I’m feeling hungry (beer – it’s the music journalist’s dinner in a bottle), before I head out to a show somewhere, camera in hand.  The nights I come home and stay there are usually spent with my eyes glued to my laptop, editing photos, writing reviews, writing this column, editing articles for Addicted (check it out!), with the TV droning in the background, sometimes until the wee hours of the night.  Then I go to bed, usually far later than I should be, and wake up and start the whole thing over again.  And, frankly, I fucking love it.

workaholic_name_badgeI’ve been asked countless times why I work so much and so hard, when I have a good job that pays for my life (and usually my side jobs).  Why don’t I just work a 9-5 like everyone else, find some guy to settle down and make babies and live a “normal” life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that normal life concept – if it’s what you truly want out of life.  I have to say I’m not even really sure what I truly want out of life yet, but what I am sure of is that currently, I’m loving my life, and a huge part of that is the music, media and entertainment work that I get to do.  An even bigger part of that work is the people I get to meet and work with, and the connections and opportunities that I help to forge, and have in turn been created for me.

bobcastI’ve always been a pretty social person.  I love meeting people, I love engaging and interacting with them, and most of all I love bringing people together, connecting people in a way that helps both parties involved.  Whether it’s harassing Bob into listening to bands to guest-play on The Bobcast (like my friend Tyson and his band Rebel Hero, pictured here), to introducing artists and managers to my platonic soulmate Mark Munroe so that they may benefit from his social media maverick magnificence, to writing reviews about up and coming bands to support the work they do, and to do my little part in getting them out there, I just love helping people get ahead in this crazy bobcast2.industry.  That’s a big part of why I love the Toronto music scene so much; everywhere you go, every bar, every show, you see musicians out there supporting other musicians.  Whether it’s promoting gigs, giving out of towner’s places to crash while on tour, even helping set up and tear down gear before or after shows – the sense of camaraderie and love that’s  in the Toronto scene never ceases to amaze me.  It’s not an easy thing, achieving success in the music/entertainment business, and no one’s going to get anywhere on their own.  In the end we have to look out for each other, help each other and support each other to get where we want and need to go.

Unfortunately, life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  As supportive as you want and try to be, there are people who will take advantage, disrespect you, lash out at you, and effectively shit all over the positive and happy thing that you tried, or are trying to do.  That happens in work, in life, anywhere and everywhere.  And when that happens, it feels like a punch in the gut, let me tell you.  And just as all the “whys” I get asked about myself annoy me, asking “why” what was done was done, despite only the best intentions initiating the negative action results in further frustration, angst and hurt feelings.  Even more unfortunately, the more you put yourself out there, the more people you meet and the more you try to do, the more this type of thing can, and will happen.  It’s happened to me before, and it’s bound to happen again.  And the fact is, in the end, wondering about someone else’s actions and motives is pointless.  They may be malicious, thoughtless or wholly unintentional.  In situations like these, the lesson is just that my time, and my trust, needs to be given to those that deserve it.  Maybe someday I’ll actually figure out what that means, but until then, live and learn!

liveandlearnIn situations such as these, or any others where negativity, disrespect or outright hostility is thrown my way, what I can do, what I aspire to do, is not to question my aggressor/offender’s actions, but control my own reaction.  In the end, there’s no point in trying to figure out why people do what they do.  All I can do is control how I deal with it, and turn and face the world with strength and assurance that I did the best I could do.  And once that clusterfuck has been dealt with, the next thing to do is refocus on the good, the positive, and the amazing supportive people out there that I see, speak to and deal with on a daily basis.  Because, let’s face it, for every person out there punching you in the gut, there’s a lineup of people behind them ready to give you a hug and a high five.  And I’m lucky enough to have so many of those people surrounding me.  So really, when I’m asked why I do all the things I do, really why I keep doing the things I do, I can honestly say it’s because of all the incredible people I meet while doing it.  Excuse me while I wipe the girly happy tears from my eyes.  But I do want to take the time to thank all my amazing friends, family and everyone else I’ve encountered on this journey.  I’ve learned so much along the way, including why, exactly, I’m doing it in the first place.

Frank Gutch Jr 2Just one last thing on the subject of being supported in my endeavors, I also wanted to publically thank fellow DBAWIS contributor Frank Gutch for the incredibly kind and encouraging email he sent me last week.  I’m a great admirer of Frank’s writing, and am constantly in awe of his musical knowledge and his unquenchable thirst for new music.  I was truly touched when Frank asked me where to find my other work online (outside of our shared outlet), and am always so grateful and touched by any advice and praise he imparts on me.  So thank you Frank for your support, your wisdom and your kind words.  You’re a true music lover and praise from you is one of the highest compliments a fledging writer like me can receive.  It truly inspires me to keep at it.

Until next time,



Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS_ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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