A Significant End To A Significant Year

Well Christmas is over, and 2010 is nearly gone.  I’ve found myself almost without words as the accumulated pressures of a challenging year have come to a head in this strange season.  It’s  supposed to be about love and celebration of family and community.  For some people it is, but for many it really isn’t.

So many people seem to be having fun, but so many others have either committed suicide, or longed to have the courage to do it, or have just buried their head in the sand and hoped with all their might that tomorrow, next week, next year will be better.

I didn’t contemplate suicide, nor did I bury my head in the sand, but I did something this year I’ve never done before: I said to myself it’s enough now.  Enough of the pressure, enough of pretending I’m doing okay when I haven’t been, enough of trying to be brave and cheerful when really I’ve been terrified.  Enough of letting other people’s view of me determine who I am, and of trying with all my might to pass some kind of unarticulated test with impossible standards that nobody in the world succeeds in living up to.

Enough of worrying what people will think of me if I don’t “achieve”.  Definitely enough explaining myself and apologizing for who I am.   Enough of not taking my life into my own hands and making decisions that I know are right for me.  Enough of letting other people take the power in a relationship.  Enough of hoping my mother will stop hurting me.  Enough saying “do I have the right to seek the backup I know I need?”  Enough fighting debating am I right, am I wrong?

Well Christmas is over, and 2010 is nearly gone.  I’ve found myself almost without words as the accumulated pressures of a challenging year have come to a head in this strange season.  It’s supposed to be about love and celebration of family and community.  For some people it is, but for many it really isn’t.  For many it’s just about pretense.

So many people seem to be having fun, but so many others have either committed suicide, or longed to have the courage to do it, or have just buried their head in the sand and hoped with all their might that tomorrow, next week, next year will be better.

I didn’t seriously contemplate suicide, nor did I bury my head in the sand, but I did something this year I’ve never done before: I said to myself it’s enough now.  Enough of the pressure, enough of pretending I’m doing okay when I haven’t been, enough of trying to be brave and cheerful when really I’ve been terrified.  Enough of letting other people’s view of me determine who I am, and of trying with all my might to pass some kind of unarticulated test in my head with impossible standards that nobody in the world succeeds in living up to.

Enough of worrying what people will think of me if I don’t “achieve”.  Definitely enough explaining myself and apologizing for who I am.   Enough of not taking my life into my own hands and making decisions that I know are right for me.  Enough of letting other people take the power in a relationship.  Enough of hoping my mother will stop hurting me, stop manipulating my financial vulnerability.  Enough saying “do I have the right to seek the backup I know I need?”  Enough fighting and debating am I right, am I wrong?

2010 marks the year of me being the poorest in about 15 years.  My prospects have seemed to have gotten dimmer and dimmer, my dreams have seemed very far from being achievable.  I’ve tried hard to resuscitate them, and at times they’ve flickered with a spurt of brightness.

But I haven’t been able to sustain those dreams, and I’ve been getting increasingly desperate about it as I’ve got more and more frantic about money and the passage of time until they’ve become like some far away country I once visited a million years ago.   Now at the end of the year I’ve no creative energy left at all.

It feels like the lowest point, which is a painful place, but it’s also the one where you face the truth of all the things you’ve clung to that are actually killing you.  Things like beliefs that you don’t have entitlement to meet your needs, to put boundaries down, to draw your line in the sand,  whatever it is.   In this low place I’ve suddenly faced the stark reality of how much energy these beliefs (and my acting on them) take out of me and that I can’t generate it any more.  Ever again.  I can’t come back here. People can’t always see from the outside when you’ve hit your limit.  But you can, and that’s all that matters.

I’ve been waiting for people to tell me it’s okay to claim my boundaries, my life, what I need.  I’ve been waiting for my mother to realize what she’s doing and to want to stop because she loves me.   It doesn’t work like that.  I have to say it’s enough, this is my line in the sand, especially with those who don’t want me to draw it.   You can’t wait for them to give you permission, because they’re never going to.

I’ve said it’s enough before, but never in this way.  I’ve never felt so completely and utterly sure that what’s exhausting me isn’t my circumstances alone, it’s that I haven’t believed I had the right to a solution that made sense to me.   I’ve always either been kind of pleading with God, my mother, my family, the Universe, or I’ve been raging in disempowered protest.  But now I can feel that I’ve hit the core within myself, a place where I’m saying if I don’t change this, it’s over.

It’s a kind of quiet thing within, neither a protest nor begging nor pleading.  I guess it’s just saying here, to me,  in this moment of being with myself as 2010 draws to a close and I stop trying to please a merciless God and instead I let life embrace me, it’s okay to be real about what you need, it really is.  Whether it’s emotional or material.  Just claim what you need.  It’s yours for the taking, it’s your birthright.

It’s all about connection – Michael Buble, where are you?

You can listen to the audio of this blog.   Just click on this link:   2nd blog audio sept 18 2010

Lately I’ve had a whole lot of frustrated emotion building up.  Stormy Weather.

Remember Robert de Niro in Analyze This, when Billy Crystal suggests he let out his frustration on a pillow?   Well, I didn’t quite take out a gun, but I did let loose on pillows.   What a pleasure!  Not trying to control my anger or think beyond it or talk myself into being rational.  Just being  enraged and letting it out with my body.  On an inanimate object; leaping about, shouting whatever angry rude things came into my head.  Very rude, actually.  Being as bad-ass as I could.

Call me crazy, but I’m not built to push that stuff down.  When I do it gets compressed within; thoughts become contorted, imagination goes wild in very irrational ways.  Life seems grim, and I feel quite disconnected from people.  I can’t think, talk, discipline or meditate my way out of that.  But when I let off the steam in private in a big way the clouds clear, the sun comes out, sense and sensibility is established.  Nobody gets hurt, life looks good and I’m ready to connect again.

Well, putting my 1st audio together and launching it brought about a lot of connection, that’s for sure.  Thanks to everyone who commented and gave such great feedback.  I love you!  Here’s the most basic truth about life: when people tell you they love you or they enjoy something you’ve done it makes you very happy, gives you faith in yourself.   Makes you want to take on the world, of course it does.

Lots of people suggested a radio show of some sort.  Fantastic idea.  I could have a phone in time,  do interviews, have different topics, explore the world of people, maybe do skype.  I could even have an agony aunt section – love that idea.  I guess it would be a kind of radio magazine, with different sections, different time slots.  Somebody even suggested a “singing for my supper” slot.  Good  idea.   Online busking.  The coward’s way!  So what, what’s wrong with being a coward.

Of course that presumes I could record songs that sound half way decent.  If yesterday and today are anything to go by, I won’t have much supper.   I downloaded a backing track for Stormy Weather and sang along, but it sounded pretty ghastly, and I couldn’t get the recording levels right.   Ended up having to have another tantrum.  Well, today I did it again, and it’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do.  It’s going to take me a while to learn how to do anything that’s even vaguely polished.  But that’s okay.  It is what it is.

And I love this radio idea.   Of course I have to build a following, but that will come.  Yes, I like this road I’m traveling on.  The best thing about it?  It’s all about connection.

If you like what you heard and would like to contribute something to keeping this dreamer alive, click the donate button and follow the instructions.  I don’t get to see your banking details.  If you want to know more about my dreams and what I need help with, click here.

The truth shocks but it sets you free

The day I worked out how to record, two things happened.  I thought I would blast through the atmosphere with excitement at techno achievement;  and I wanted to die when I heard what I sounded like, because it was horrible, horrible horrible.  A bubble I didn’t even know I was in burst.  The truth was a shock.  The worst thing was, I sounded false.  Aaargh.

I wasn’t being who I am when I was singing.  I was afraid that who I am isn’t good enough so I was trying to be, at different times, like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Bessie Smith, Diana Ross, even Dionne Warwick.  An impossible task.  But all that time, the part of me that wants to express through singing was getting smaller and smaller, until I didn’t even know if it existed at all.  Couldn’t find it.

I hadn’t realized this was happening, until I heard myself.  Then I thought – but that isn’t me.  And I wasn’t sure I knew who me was.  Correction, I absolutely didn’t know.    So I let myself not know.

I recorded reading that day’s blog, and let that be enough.  Had loads of fun.  Over the last couple of days, with a lot of help, I’ve decided to let myself be, and not try to be anybody else, not try to achieve.  Just come home within and be absolutely real.  I decided I won’t try to force the singing me to emerge.  If it happens it happens.  I let go.

I reviewed my idea of what singing with emotion is.   People always make such a big deal about that, and I confused it with volume and technique.   Truth is, I didn’t really know what the hell they were talking about.  I was singing from my head, not my heart, and I didn’t realize it until I heard what I sounded like.   I wondered what my kind of singing sounds like, feels like.

This morning I was sewing and thinking about the recording of my blog and a v. short bit of singing I did, tongue in cheek.   A couple of lines of a song popped into my head.  I started recording and the rest of the song popped out.  It’s quite a short song, but it was real.  It’s called “Life on the other side”.  My voice sounded so different.  Still wasn’t polished or anything, but it sounded like a me I’ve never heard before.

The truth does set you free after all.

I want to establish myself as a vocalist, a script & blog writer & a novelist.  I also long to be independent again, earning by doing something meaningful.  If you’d like to help (with a donation, or if you have equipment you don’t use any more, or even if you have suggestions)  Click here to read more about what I need help with, and also what my dreams are, how I got here and where I’m going.

I’d Rather be Drinking Coffee

The moral of the story is you don’t have to work so hard.  Why bother with telling the story if you can just get straight to the moral.  V. funny.   For over a week inner voice has been niggling and whining, enough with the pressure. Have been trying to ignore it, pestilential thing, doesn’t it know I’m running out of time!?

Yesterday my day went something like this.  9.00 am:  drag myself out of bed totally uninspired and suspiciously  tantrum-ish.   9.01 am: check blog stats.  Minuscule! 9.06 am: can’t see the point of anything I’m doing, or that any of it is going anywhere.  Am just a foolish dreamer with No Prospect.  Feel total absence of flow is all my fault.   9.02 am: ignore  irritating voice and write my list of what I have to do.  Sing, finish script 5th draft, play piano, figure out recording glitch, blog, blog articles, SW article, sew pair of pants, emails, FB –

9.10 am: realize whiny niggling voice is yelling savagely and tsunami tantrum about to explode.  Well volcanoes explode, tsunami’s overwhelm.  9.11 am: tsunami volcano explodes / overwhelms v. messily and satisfyingly.  9.23 am:  shred list.    9.24 am:  Pour myself a cup of steaming, delicious, aromatic cup of coffee and Let.  It.  All.  Go.   Said to myself today it doesn’t matter, honey.  If you’d rather be drinking coffee and doing nothing of any significance then that’s just fine.

So, having drunk my coffee I spent the day listening to music and sewing a pair of pants.  Two things happened.  One I’ve got a new item of clothing whoopee, and two I realized that most of the people who have recorded aren’t that totally brilliant.  It didn’t stop them.   Right.   So, today looks a whole lot brighter and I’m ready to roll again.  And wouldn’t you know it, 14 times more people read blog yesterday than the day before.

This is where I neatly and brilliantly insert the moral that I opened with.  You see?   It doesn’t have to be so complicated and torturous.   Any of it.

This donate button is about helping me enable my childhood dream to be a singer.  Click here for more info.

How to stop time

Lazy Sunday.   Yesterday I sat down at the piano, intending to let myself play for a couple of hours.   M fingers were stiff, and my brain dull.   The music seemed a million miles away.  I didn’t have that sense of open plains inside myself that I usually do with the piano.   I had a kind of panic telling me I didn’t have time to do this, I should be working on trying to earn money, or promoting my blog or writing my script.

But frankly I didn’t feel like it.   I let the panic be and carried on playing.   After a couple of hours I was loose enough for the pleasure to awaken in  body and mind.    And then nothing mattered.   Thoughts drifted through, but I didn’t pay any attention to them.   My heart relaxed.  I let go.

I played all day, had supper, watched some TV and played on until midnight.

The world receded, and time stopped.

Moving on for real

I’ve been thinking about the concept of moving on, today.   When people say you have to force yourself to let go and move on, I always wonder, why?  What’s wrong with being where you are?  Why can’t you just be here, do what you need to do, until it evolves naturally into another place, another state of mind?

I wonder if it’s because when we’re stuck we have a lot of emotions, and generally we aren’t very good at dealing with them.  That makes them very uncomfortable, so it’s natural that we should want to force them away.  Many people think we shouldn’t have emotions at all, that they are negative.

I don’t believe it.  We have got them, and we don’t generally have anything that’s useless to us.  Evolution takes care of that.  Usually, the less we use something the smaller it gets until it disappears – this is true of all living organisms on this planet.  However, no matter how little we use emotions, how much we repress or try to ignore them, they keep getting stronger and stronger!  So perhaps they’re actually very important.

I think they are anyway, especially when it comes to this business of moving on.   I think we stay stuck in the past because we need something, which is what our emotions are telling us.    If we figure out what that something is and give it to ourselves the emotions dissipate and we naturally move on.

Imagine you have a garden and you go away for a month.  When you get back, the person who was going to water for you didn’t keep their promise.  Some plants are okay, but others are wilting.  Wilting tells you there’s something wrong in their history (the past month) and their current status (they need water NOW).  Well, you don’t tell the plants to move on, do you?  Of course not, you give them water.  Then they move  on naturally, they stop wilting.

Plants wilt, we feel.  I think when we can’t move on our emotions are telling us we need something.  We stay stuck until we figure out what that need is.  When we give it to ourselves or get it from someone else, our emotions go away of their own accord, we stop being uncomfortable.  Before we know it, we’ve moved on.

And we have no need to come back.  Moving on.  I think it’s a consequence of identifying what I need and getting it.  I don’t think it’s a positive action in and of itself.