I used to love the holidays. There was a time when the wreaths that hung on doors, all the christmas trees that glowed in the windows, and all the lights excited me. I enjoyed that christmas felt like it lasted all month long, encouraging people to be a little nicer and less naughty even if there wasn't a Santa (whom I actually believed in until I was about twelve). Then I grew older, worked a couple years in retail and all the magic of Christmas was gone. These days, the closest we get to a miracle on 34th street is grabbing the last fifty inch flatscreen half off. I have seen the ugly side of the holidays. When the greedy in us rears it's ugly head and has us standing in crazy lines and showing up for black friday on Thanksgiving night before we've barely digested our turkey dinner. It's not entirely our faults, though. The driving force behind the consumerism in this country is to draw us further away from the heart of the holidays, or rather cloak it all in materialism. At the very least, we should be kind to one another, to love those closer to you a little more and appreciate their existence, as well as your own. To show gratitude for the little things, and remind ourselves some have it far worse. Remember, while you're scoring all those deals on black friday (but really thursday) most of the employees helping you left their families at home on Thanksgiving, and spent the evening making sure all you shoppers got what you 'needed'. So next time you're catching that warm and fuzzy commercial that's advertising a one day department store sale remember what it's really about. And always be nice to your sales associates.
One of my most treasured methods of self healing was writing letters i'd never send. never meant to be read, or seen by the eyes my words were directed to. it is my favorite coping mechanism that allows me to say everything i need to, in all my gloriously clever ways without being interrupted or losing my train of thought. almost like free association writing about my pain, or anger, etc. i even wrote a song about it once long ago, ORCHESTRATED by a more general, "to whom it may concern" agenda. i haven't done this in quite some time though, and I even managED to somehow step outside my comfort zone and actually mail one of these elusive letters. not that i regret it or anything, but it certainly didn't reach the party in the way it was supposed to and didn't help my cause much. come to think of it, i had this peculiar dream around the time i sent the letter that sort of speaks volumes now, but i didn't completely understand at the time. I remember seeing a room filled with nothing but letters hung up on the walls, and in piles on the floor. Actual physical letters of the alphabet, all 26 randomly hanging around not really spelling anything but just garishly THERE. something caused this very room to BECOME suddenly infested with all kinds of insects. I WAS forced to hire an exterminator, because the insects were spilling out into the rest of the house. a house that of course looks nothing like my own, as it often does in dreams. anyway, i think now i understand tHE LETTERS HOUSED IN THIS ROOM REPRESENTED EVERYTHING I EVER SAID OR WANTED TO SAY, ALL THE WORDS I NEEDED TO BUILD, WHILE THE INFESTATION WAS SYMBOLIC OF ALL THE INTENTION BEHIND THEM ROTTING AWAY. I HAD TO FUMIGATE ALL THE NEGATIVITY. i think this dream came to me to remind me to REBUILD THOSE words, WITH NEW INTENTION.
TO WRITE LETTERS AGAIN FOR NO ONE BUT MYSELF.
Today is this blog's one year anniversary! a commitment i've made to something should always be celebrated, so I wanted to reflect on why I felt inclined to begin a blog of this nature in the first place. Looking back on some of my posts there is a definite ongoing theme, most of it intentional and the rest just plain old ranting and venting. it makes me want to thank those who have been curious enough to take a peek. Although this isn't my sole outlet of expression, it is much different than anything else i do. I hope the tone and the pace urges you to read in between the lines, to read beyond the personal things i admit to my anonymous readers. This little site i call home has almost become a confessional box. every post being a little paper i scrawl on, fold in half and stuff inside. Embellishing on your secrets publicly while still keeping them a secret is a true art. so for those who have tuned in for a while, i thank you again. and for those who have stumbled upon my words ACCIDENTALLY, i hope it tickles your voyeuristic pleasures enough to keep coming back for more.
To end every sentence there is a period. Flames burn out, every book has a closing chapter, and for every film the credits roll. Everything ends all in good time. But what happens when forces cause it all to drag, like some endless carousel that continues to turn whether there are passengers or not? What do I have to do to get off the ride? we must be aware when life reaches out and allows us to let go of something. there is a click, a moment when the light bulb goes on and you see the truth. The hard part is figuring out how and sticking to your guns, as it is a grueling process. to be instigated, and yet rise above it is no easy task. SURE, MY WILL POWER IS TESTED DAILY. OF COURSE THERE ARE THINGS I COULD DO BETTER TO ABRUPTLY PUT THIS CYCLE TO AN END. But then those moments come when you question if it is truly time to let go. Am i ready? You are if you're asking yourself. Just face it, you can almost see it fade to black. It's time to submit to the hard truth, succumb to the final point...
all endings come with new beginnings.
My fairy-tale is fated towards disappointment. It takes place in no kingdom, no grand palace. There is no satin pillow to rest my head. There is no charmed courtship, no scent of roses. No title, no crown to suit my rank. It lacks all the things one love's about a good fairy-tale. Although, It surely suffers from it's cliches. The subtext being as fragile as a slipper made of glass, it's a grim representation of the fantasy in the tale. Evil spells and wrong turns. Getting lost as time runs out and the clock strikes it all downhill. Sweeping up ashes, and living in shadows. I guess if the shoe fits one should wear it. When the last final page is flipped and the book closes, I only hope it will stand as a reminder. A lesson to learn from the way all tall tales are meant to.
My spark is back. I am re-ignited by all the potential. Being surrounded by those which have inspired me and supported me is undoubtedly the best thing that has happened to me. It's really happening. All the hard work I've put into this project, all the soul I have poured into the music. All the treachery that has plagued my wounded heart will soon be paying off. The prophecy is almost fulfilled, these characters I have built will soon be revealed. The story will unfold in the most lovely packaging, with only the most poetic prose. My Grand Opus will soon find you all. Nothing will be the same. I won't be the same.
Flashback to three years ago, when I had just begun to find myself artistically, and allowed my imagination to take me for a ride. When I used everything I had, every naive notion to exploit my personal life. I don't know why I always felt driven to prove a point. To simply say, "this is what I meant, this is what was going through my head." To romanticize my sadness and ridiculous mistakes. To transform my mundane existence into a hollywood movie. By this point, the role of mad villain seemed to look good on me, and I ran with it. It changed me creatively, it made me feel like I could do anything. The woman that lost her shit was really a young girl who lacked experience and wisdom to pull herself out of her guilt. I remember this song didn't come to me right away, it took a great deal of pondering and marinating. Why was it that I did what I had done? Why had I felt caged, and cornered into holding on to what I had already let go of? I wrote it to set myself free of the guilt of wanting more. Wanting something new. I remember dying to know what it felt like to be in love. My little teenage heart beat like that of a hopeless romantic, waiting to be whisked away by it all. But by the time I had written this song, I felt crazy for wanting to throw it away on a whim. I felt crazy for being so in love one moment, and completely over it the next. I felt so cold, and worried if it would be like that forever. The fact of the matter is, love is a subject hammered into little girls early and thoroughly. There is neglect in the gesture of leaving out the little details growing up, that sometimes wanting other things is more important. That love will find itself to you, and your job in life is seeking out your own happiness. Make yourself the strong female you're going to need to be when love knocks on your door. Know who you are and what you want before someone comes along and causes you to question it. My first love was wonderful, and epic. But I was so dependent on it for a while, that I longed for independence. I wanted to need nobody. There is no guilt, or shame in that. The truth is, this theme perfectly correlates to my current existence. Love is fine and dandy, but not if you're going to lose your shit.
Unless of course losing your shit helps you write songs.
This is coincidentally a follow-up of my last post. It should be titled "This explains it all" because it only makes sense this watery moon cycle would drown me. Duh. This article was so eye-opening it helped me understand. I'm even more thrilled my newly purchased crystals are being cleansed this very moment under the symbolic supermoon. I've been feeling drained lately because I am. I released all these emotional toxins and I'm still not through. Self-healing is a journey worth taking. Which I hope finds you all tonight, being cleansed under moonlight, starting fresh with a clean slate.
Last night a strange feeling washed over me. It was so strong it carried into today, creeping like a fog over my thoughts. They are a powerful thing, our thoughts. I spend too much time dwelling on things that make me unhappy. Mistakes, outcomes I feel I can't control...my current reality. A positive outlook keeps us afloat, and always wins out in the end. But sometimes I get so tired, I wish I could sleep forever. I realize a lot of my positive affirmation is a ploy to gloss over my pain, lacking genuine intent and manipulating myself to believe I'm making progress instead. I do certain things like going out and drinking, dancing; Because in my head a good night is the best distraction. Attention is the best distraction. That mental block disintegrated last night. Nothing can distract me long enough from the core problem. The unsettling feeling that my unhappiness is self-inflicted. That I could at any time, change my outlook, or focus and put my stubborn heart to rest. That I have so much to look forward to, so many opportunities and gifts from the universe. Yet, I torture myself by thinking of everything I don't have. Sometimes, I'm so sad I feel almost sick. But I realize I am my own cure. My dreams and ambitions acting as medicinal hope, because I wasn't put here with these visions from the better part of my brain not to breathe them into existence. I wasn't put here to be consumed by sadness, and not overcome it.
I used to watch this movie endlessly as a kid. I'd hoped someday I'd know the feeling of being part of a sisterhood. A lasting friendship, to span decades and share everything with. Luckily, I did...I grew to have an intense, everlasting bond with my group of girls. Such different personalities, like those from Now & Then, but so much in common. Sure we tease each other, poke fun at the deepest personal things outsiders don't know; We argue and bicker. You do what it takes to keep it alive throughout the years, fighting tough times and lows. There is, however unconditional love and support at the end of the day. Through thick and thin, we stick it out because without them life would just not be the same. Even if one of us tells the other to fuck off, we're always here. No matter what.
I had the honor of being blessed to see a very intimate performance of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga the other evening. It filled me with so much emotion, I was so overwhelmed by their connection and banter. Tony, a legend in his time and ours, who has lived it all and now recording a jazz album with Gaga, who is probably the greatest performer of our generation is just epic. This is so overdue, yet the timing couldn't be more perfect. Her career has unfolded so masterfully, it only depresses me. Could I ever live up to such perfection of a performer? There I was, sitting in my seat feeling guilty for being sad because so many would have killed to have been in my place. It runs deep though, and it's only stemmed from my own fears. In reality, she's doing now what I have wanted to for so long; Bringing the music of old to this generation. Jazz is not dead. The era of glamour and sophistication is not dead. She lives it everyday, and so do I. Although I'm sad it's not me, I couldn't be happier that it's her. Who cares who it is that shines the light on past influence of our culture, as long as it's shined, right? May that grand spotlight keep shining, because I'll be ready soon to join the ranks of the renaissance men and women who are still doing it the way it was done back in the day. It's delicious...it's delightful, and man it's de-lovely.
It's crazy to imagine how time can pass between two people and change nothing, yet it can all shift in the blink of an eye. One moment, one soft sweep of wind while watching the sun wake up, when the world feels like it's not turning. After so much pain and ache, we created our own sun rise, bringing light to all the darkness we had casted on ourselves. We washed away our grudges in a way that it doesn't matter what the future holds, or how we travel there. It matters that we can look upon our faces and see the hate and anger melt away. More time will pass and once more nothing much will change, not at the core anyway. The hourglass will be turned upside down after it fills, the same way the sun will go on rising. We can plan for the future in so many ways, prepare for any curve ball that is thrown in our direction to make us lose our balance with harmony. In reality though, there is only so much preparing one can do. My favorite hollywood romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton proves this in the most beautiful way. Those two went through everything. Money troubles, jealousy, alcoholism, divorce, remarriage, deaths, and everything else in between that tested their love. Somehow though they always found their way back to each other. They wouldn't see each other for months, maybe years but the minute they were in the same room, no one else existed. They're connection and chemistry stood the test of time. And even in the end, when Liz was forbidden to attend Burton's funeral by his widow, she visited his grave and wept as if she had been the widow. In her heart she always would be. Time didn't exist between those two. It never changed who they truly gave their heart to.
I witnessed many forks in many roads today. It was unlike those fairytales where the obvious choice is presented by a sunny, friendly road versus a winding, creepy one. No, it was more conspicuous and mysterious. The danger had not presented itself so willingly, not at first. It appeared after the choice had been made, almost like a storm rumbling above me. I had a birds eye view, though I would have preferred to have turned away. But it's almost like we can't avert our eyes to disaster, to that fire or that accident. Once we actually get a glimpse, we can't undo it. So many signs we see and receive in a lifetime, yet the most dangerous are the one's we don't notice. Because getting lost is a terrible misfortune, and even worse when there's no one to ask for directions. Sometime's we face the road alone, or that choice is forced upon us because a safe and sunny path can turn dark depending on who you take with you.
Matty Walker is a character that taught me a very important lesson at a crucial age. By being the type of woman that would "do what was necessary" even if it meant lying, cheating, or concocting some badass plan, she taught me no one comes first but yourself. Body Heat is a film I've blogged about in the past, but it's so good it's worth referencing every time. In times when I need to remember what to place at the very top of my priorities, this character tells me all I need to know. I won't reveal any spoilers, but let's just say her go-getter attitude helps her achieve what we witnessed her life goal to be in her high school senior yearbook, "To be rich and live in an exotic land" at the very end of this shocker of a movie. And at the expense of a poor man who falls madly in love with her, no less. She scapegoats him only to leave him in prison at the end, alone and rethinking every detail of their affair. Wondering how he could be so foolish, and how she deceived him in such a cruel way. I'm always reminded that in many situations, I want to come out like Matty Walker, and certainly not the heartbroken jailbird.
I'll never forget when the time came to update some close friends on my progress with the album, and I played them song by song, most reactions were "It's amazing but, I hope your next album is happier" or "Wow, you've got to make more feel good music next time." Thinking back to almost a year now when I began this journey, I kind of laughed and agreed. And while I do believe every artist needs to be well-rounded with diverse material in order to maintain longevity, I will never, and I repeat NEVER indulge this again. Simply meaning: I sing the blues. I rip my fucking heart out for every song, and write the words down in my own blood. I won't waste my time telling all you lovely people to put your hands up in the club, because you have enough "musicians" out there reminding you to swallow your pain along with that shot. To close your eyes to your shame, or heart ache or whatever the fuck is you feel that makes you want to escape. I'M here to remind you to face your pain head on, deal with the process of overcoming it, because the longer you pretend it's not there, the more it will eat away at you. Yes, in the future I will explore other parts of my artistic expression, but at the moment my purpose is to share this enormous depression I couldn't shut my eyes to, or swallow with my whiskey.
I'll make "happy" music when I actually fucking feel it. Namaste.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...
That famous opening line written by Daphne Du Marier in her gothic suspense novel Rebecca is haunting me lately. My dreams always take me to strange places, maybe known to me in a past life, or perhaps foreshadowing a future visit. I believe we leave our spirit every place we visit; A piece of us remaining there and in return we take a piece with us. It affects us, swelling our memory with what we would do if we could go back. This is touched upon in Rebecca mostly relating to the grand English estate known as Manderley, in such a way that the grounds so eloquently described becomes a character of it's own. I intend to find a Manderley of my own, even if in my imagination, so enchanting I could escape whenever I choose. A place only the mind of a dreamer could thrive, a garden to plant more magic. A true utopia, an artist's escape.
One can only dream
I always get this rush before a performance. Adrenaline pumping through my veins, making my heart beat so fast I almost go deaf. Being onstage is a high better than any drug could provide, and more fulfilling than anything else I do in life. Surprising an audience, or stirring emotion and seeing it on their faces is the most rewarding experience. I haven't felt it in so long, I'm hungry for it. I'm itching to lose myself in a performance; To become possessed with the message I want to convey, or whatever story there is to tell. I'd like to think it comes from a form greater than myself, that beckons me to express everything that is within me.
When I take the stage, I feel closer to God.
Check out my interview with Physical Graffiti and rehearsing for the showcase she will be hosting on June 21st. I'm always excited to be a part of her showcases because it gives me a sense of purpose and place amongst the local talent. Every show is like a little movement towards bringing awareness to all the amazing artists right in our backyard, just trying to make good music. It feels bigger than me, and I couldn't be more proud.
Check out more performers here