Behind The Name

by Zippi

I Still Don't Enjoy It

Outside Vinyl sat at the end of a table, to her sides sat some of her closest friends. It was mid afternoon and Vinyl would have to fly out to Vanhoover in only a few short hours so they sat about chatting and eating an early meal together while she was at home.

"So how are you doing Vinyl? Must feel a lot better now that you're able to be in the studio more often since you lessened your touring schedule." A grey pony with a black mane and treble clef for a cutie mark asked.

"I'm doing better, I've been feeling a lot more inspired and motivated lately." She responded.

"Well that's good, I know how hard you were having it before."


"Are you sure you've done enough though? You still don't seem like you're head is fully there a lot of the time." Another pony piped in.

"That's the thing, that's what I'm not sure about. I've done so much to try to feel better, to get back on track. But it still doesn't feel like it's enough."

"Mmmm." The first pony mumbled in response.

"I'm just not sure, I feel like shit, my management knows it, you know it, I haven't kept it a secret. Yet I just keep getting push back when I want to slow down or take time off for me."

No pony said anything after Vinyl finished, they'd heard this a thousand times and they didn't know what to do to help anymore, it didn't feel right but what could they do about it?

They all went back to eating, occasional chatter could be heard.

The buzz of a phone could be heard and a few ponies glanced in the direction of the sound. The phone was picked up in a purple haze and brought up to Vinyls ear.


Some muffled lines could be heard but not enough to tell the contents of them.

"Mhmm." Was Vinyls simple response.

More muffled sounds from the other end of the call.

"No I know, but I thought I said I didn't want to do that show. I was perfectly cle-"

A pause.

"-Wha..." No... I said- Yes and I don't care. I've said it a million times that's not what I'm worried about. I already changed my schedule from five shows a week to three, I'm not fitti-"

An upset look appeared on her face as she seemed to be interrupted again by the pony on the other side of line.

"-No... Stop, I said- No listen to what I'm saying okay? I'm not fitting in an extra appearance after I changed my schedule to do less shows, what makes you think that I would want to do more?"

She finished, a blank look on her face as she listened.

The ponies sitting at the table had gone quiet, a few listening in with worried looks. They'd heard it all before and they were all becoming more and more concerned for their friend by the day.

"You already asked me about this and I was pretty open with how I felt about it then, so why would you bring it up again if you're just going to try to fit it in and not listen to what I'm saying like you did when I initially said I didn't want to?"

Confusion shown in her features.

"That's not what I asked... Why do you keep trying to make room for this show when I'm so against it. It doesn't make sense. I've said I'm not willing to do it."

She sat there again not saying anything as she listened. A hurt look quickly showing.

"No like I said- No I've said it twice now why do you- No I've made it perfectly clear I'm not- I don't care- I... ugh."

She quickly hung up and plopped the phone down on the table with little care. She still looked upset and the other ponies all looked on, although trying to hide it. They knew Vinyl didn't want attention to be drawn to her from this.

She sat there, resting her head on a hoof and looking off in the distance, her brow pointed down angrily as she bit down on her cheek.

A warm coppery tasting liquid began to pool in her mouth, pouring from the torn skin inside her mouth. She didn't care.

No pony said much for a while. Vinyl didn't move other than occasionally looking around.

Blood began to dribble from the corners of her tightly closed jaw as she ground her teeth together.

She let her jaw fall open carelessly, her tongue lolling out a little. As she did so she did not change her expression or move an inch. The pool of blood inside her mouth started to pour out onto the table in front of her, creating splotchy stains on the wooden surface. She stood up, not moving her gaze as she stared down the length of the table. Her friends all quickly looked over from the sudden movement and once seeing the blood on the table, her stained teeth and the few rivulets cascading down her chin, began to ask if she was alright, concern in their voices and written on their faces. She ignored them and began to make her way through the group, trying to leave the table.

"Vinyl are you okay? I-" The grey pony asked, not sure what else to say as she pushed off from the table and tried to follow her troubled friend.

"Yeh." Vinyl interrupted angrily, not looking back as she made her way indoors.

The pony stood there, mouth hanging open a little, a sad look on her face and in her eyes. She didn't know what to say, what to do. The rest of the group still sat at the table heads low, they glanced at each other, sadness and concern apparent in their features. A heavy and upsetting air surrounded them.

They didn't like to see their friend this way.

She was flying out again, even with the more relaxed schedule it still felt too often.

Home doesn't even feel like home... More like any other rented villa or hotel room I stay at when I'm on the go.

I mean, having the opportunity to see the world and travel like I do is amazing, but it doesn't feel like I'm doing it right.

She sat there for a moment, looking out the window as the jet flew above the clouds. It was a nice day.

Why can't I just enjoy this, I've got it all, I've seen the world, I have the best job I could think of really. But there's so much that comes with it that I struggle with, It's never come naturally to me. I don't know what to do to fix it though, I feel like I'm insane.

Vinyl thought back to an interview she had done a few weeks ago for The Equestrian Times. She thought she'd done a good job explaining how she felt in it. But it seemed like her troubles still weren't taken seriously enough.

"You've just announced that you're slowing down with your touring schedule. Do you believe that this is a step in the right direction for you?" The interviewer asked.

"I'm not sure yet, I've needed to slow it down for a long time now and I've made some changes, I don't really know though if it's what I need."

The interviewer let it go quiet for a moment before following up, "Now we know that you've had your struggles over the years and that you've had to cancel shows from past tours for health problems, but what is it about all this that you struggle with most?"

She took a moment before answering, talking slowly as to come up with the right way to word it, "I've always struggled with the spotlight, I don't like being the center of attention and my passion has always been for music, the rest has kind of just come with it and I've never really found my place in it all. I haven't kept this a secret from anyone, I get really anxious before shows and its taken a toll on me."

"Oh yes I've heard." The pony asking the questions said as if just remembering something, a little concern apparent in their voice. "And what does your team do about all this?"

"I've told them all how I felt, especially my manager. He knows that I have a hard time with all this and he'll try to work things out so I don't have to worry as much, but a lot of the time it seems like they don't want to slow down or take a break even with them knowing and seeing how this all has affected me. I've told him, like, 'I will die' if I don't stop but I always receive a lot of push back from him and those around me when I tell him that I need to slow down, and it hurts, but there's a part of me that trusts him and what hes doing. I just don't know what's next..."

Vinyl came back to the present and almost immediately realized how sleep deprived she was. She hadn't slept in almost 24 hours.

Another part of the life.

She hovered over a pillow that lay nearby her seat and laid it on the window side of her, laying her head down on it afterwards and closing her eyes.

Vinyl stood in the back of the audience, as to not be in the involved in the crowd of ponies. She held a glass in her magic aura, occasionally taking sips from it as she watched the performance, enjoying herself. Luckily few ponies paid attention to her, she would get the occasional side glance and one or two ponies who would try to get her to do something, but most seemed so enthralled in the music, and probably under the influence of something, that they barely even know what was going on or that she was in the crowd. She didn't get to do this all that often, usually she was the one behind the booth, not in front of it, but she liked it more this way.

She stood as song after song was played, the lights flashed and ponies sang. The song currently playing was coming to and end and another could be heard taking its place, mixing seamlessly. A familiar hook sounded off throughout the whole arena and ponies yelled and cheered in recognition.

Vinyl smirked.

No way, does she know I'm here?

The iconic song rang out, reminding Vinyl of the times when it was everywhere. That had been a few years prior, that was still hard to believe.

Time goes by fast holy shit.

She remembered particular events from that time, like her now well known three hour set on the Eve of the Summer Sun Celebration at Pier 93 in Manehattan, her history making headline slot at Radio District's Music Hall, and her main stage set at Fantasyland. She looked back on moments like those as good times but something in her could never fully feel happy with them, they were career defining and dreams come true, but dreams she hadn't known she'd had. Years of nights like those had worn her down and taken a toll on her, physically and mentally and it was hard for her now to truly enjoy those moments, past or present.

After the song had blended into another and the show continued Vinyl decided it was time for her to go. She made her way through the back of the crowd and looked for an exit to the arena.

I should try and say hi to her later.

It wasn't every day that Vinyl was in the same place as some of her colleagues, with conflicting schedules and all.

As she left she felt pretty happy, for once she wasn't being presented with plans for the upcoming months or suffering from jet lag. This is what she needed, some time to take it slow, to feel normal and recover.

Vinyl sat in the back of the tour bus as it drove down a long open road in the middle of the night, it was rare to see any cars on the road with them. She had her guitar sitting on her lap as she strummed it, no real idea of what she was playing in mind. She looked out the window in front of her as the dark scenery passed by outside. She sat there for some time, as her friends talked and joked near the front of the bus, leaving Vinyl to have some time to think and be alone. She was never the type for small talk.

After some time Vinyls thoughts were interrupted as a grey earth pony walked into the partially closed off compartment in the back that had been Vinyls sitting space. It had three couches, one on each wall. The newly entered pony took a seat on the couch across from Vinyls, the wide window that Vinyl had been looking out of sitting behind her.

"So, how's it going?" The grey pony asked after a moment.

"Good." Vinyl said, taking a moment before continuing, "This road trip has really helped me a lot I think, Its made some things clear for me that I've struggled with for a while."

"Well that's great to hear. You've seemed a lot happier lately, I can see how you needed this." The grey pony responded, a tiny smile growing on her face.

"I've been doing a lot of research." Vinyl spoke up after letting the compartment in which they sat go quiet. "To try and make sense of the world around me and to maybe understand more about who I am too... Its given me some new perspective on it all."

"Mmmm? That so?"

"Yeah, I think I've realized that I don't just need to slow down, I need to stop, at least for a while. I've also come to terms with some of what I see as flaws after doing some reading."

"Do whatever you needs to be done, we hate seeing how you've been the last few years, it was obvious you weren't healthy." The grey pony assured Vinyl on her decisions.

"And I don't want to wait. I'm going to retire from touring, and I'm not waiting." Vinyl said matter-of-factly.

"Are you going to tell your team about this?"

"No, I've made the decision, they'll have to understand it."

"Okay, just remember there's no going back."

"I know, I've had plenty of time to think, this doesn't have to be permanent either, I just need to stop for the foreseeable future."

The other pony just looked back at Vinyl with a tad bit of concern yet trust in her eyes.

Nothing was said between them for some time and Vinyl went back to plucking at her guitar while the light chatter of the others could be heard from the other end of the bus.

She got up from where she had been sitting as the silence continued and made her way to her small compartment-sized room. She opened the door and was greeted by a small sized bed and a nightstand which sat beside it, against the bed lay her bag and a laptop sat upon the bed covers. Walking over to the other side of the bed she lay down her guitar in its case and pulled herself up on the bed, grabbing the laptop and hovering it over to her. Then she turned it on and opened its lid, creating a new text document. She wasn't exactly sure what to say but she knew it had to be said. Vinyl sat there for a moment, looking blankly at the screen as she thought.

Dear fans,

I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you for everything, for listening to my music and for coming to my shows, for buying my songs and supporting me, It means everything to me. Its been a long ride and I couldn't be more happy, you've all made my dreams come true and I couldn't be any more thankful... She started typing.

She didn't care how long the letter was, she had to get everything that needed to be said out.

Vinyl sat there in her room, on a bus in the middle of nowhere as she partook in a road trip across the nation, writing the letter of her retirement.