Tag Archives: Music is life

Thirty Day Writing Challenge, Day Seven

Ten Songs I am Loving Right Now…
(how in the world do I only pick ten!?)….
Also in no order…
Also will only try to pick one from each band/artist that is my fave…

  1. “Remember Me” from Coco Soundtrack
  2. “I Came. I Saw. I Believed.” by Anti-Flag
  3. “Spanish Moss” by Against Me!
  4. “Ladybug” by Breaking Benjamin
  5. “Do You Really Want It” by Nothing More
  6. “The ’59 Sound” by Gaslight Anthem
  7. “Other Worlds” by Trivium
  8. “Nowhere Fast” by Incubus
  9. “What More Can I Say?” by ’68
  10. “We All Need More Kindness in This World” by We Banjo 3

**BONUS: “My Life in the Knife Trade” by boysetsfire,
“Sacrilegium I” by Zeal & Ardor, “Frequency” by Starset

music

What do we do when the ones who save us leave?

*trigger warning: depression and general fucked-upness follows*

Join me in a bit of time travel. Let’s go back about seventeen years. I was eighteen years old (Jesus, why does that make me sound old?). I was mentally in the darkest place I had been in up to that point. I don’t usually speak of this time, so for some, this may be news. But, that ends tonight.

I hadn’t quite figured out how to live with the loss of my grandmother. I was bullied, relentlessly, every day in school. I was called every name in the book except nice white girl, which I very much was. Due to this, I was quiet. Not shy, just never felt worthy of talking. I had very few friends with whom I could enjoy life and be myself without much worry about judgment, but if I am being honest, I assumed they were judging me also. I knew I liked boys, but I also knew that I had liked girls, too, and I wasn’t sure what to do with that one. I had crushes on people I ought not to have crushes on, and unrequited was the only relationship status box I could punch.

If I would have had seven stitches of self-confidence back then, I would have had the strength to ask for help – to cry out that I knew I was fucked up inside, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know that I could say a word because back then, mental illness wasn’t a thing we were aware of. Boys would be boys. Girls were bitches. Everyone else was weak. No one could win. I acted like I was fine when inside, I was a mess. An absolute mess. It was awful. I felt hopeless, truly helpless, and worthless.  I was a wreck.

So, I did what kids did back then. I sat in my bedroom and wrote incredibly shitty poetry while listening to music as loudly as I could while imagining various ways I could end my life. And that was how I saved my own life. I’m here because music was there. Writing is something I have always been good at, and I am here because I was doing it then. As I wrote and listened, life seemed more worth it. I got stronger because those words – those artists – gave me the strength to live. I couldn’t do it on my own and didn’t know how to ask for help, so I did what I hoped would work…

In 2000, a good friend of mine gave me a copy of Hybrid Theory by a band I had not heard of until then, Linkin Park. I heard this guy named Chester Bennington tell me that it was okay to be fucked up in the head, that I could still be alive and feel the way I was feeling, that I wasn’t a freak – I was fine in being not fine. There was something inside of me that pulled beneath the surface, like he said he had, and he had also felt insecure. But, he was clearly a successful musician, reaching out to millions, and if he could pull his shit together long enough to live and keep going, then man, I could, too. Something in his voice made me know that even though he had pain, he was going to be fine. And I would be fine. His voice was unlike anything I had ever heard, or will ever hear again. His words gave me the strength to know that I, also, could live and find a place for my head. I would also find somewhere I belonged.

I saw Linkin Park live a few times. Their sound was pure addiction – energy, smart, driving, light with dark edges. Their stage show was remarkable. I am pretty sure I had more than one of their t-shirts and a hoodie, though their whereabouts are long gone. I bought their CDs, and I still have them to this day. Hell, I still follow them on Instagram and Twitter! I was just looking through his Instagram a few weeks ago, commenting on how silly he could be sometimes. I mean, so full of life. So silly.

So, when the news came in that he had died by suicide this morning, I was completely knocked sideways. I fell into tears. I remembered his voice telling me that he was one step closer to the edge and he was about to break, but he didn’t…until he did.

We may never know why today happened the way it did, and we don’t need to. It’s none of our business. We only need to know that it happened, that he fought and fought and fought so hard and was weary, tired of the fighting. And the only way out of the fight was a permanent one. And it’s not our place to judge, just to remember that we never know what is going on behind someone’s smile, someone’s laugh, even someone’s tears.

When the people we turn to when we need a little saving end up leaving us, what can we do? We fucking live, that’s what we do. In spite of the challenges we face in our own lives, we fucking live. We live large because that is what those people would want for us. They would not want us to face the same dark hallway that they have walked – they would want us to fucking live. Suicide is not a sign of weakness, so we must not let it make us weak, either.

So, that’s what we do. We cry. We laugh. We mourn. We celebrate. But, we never forget that we get to fucking live. And that, my friends, that is the gift. It’s hard. It’s SO hard sometimes, but we honor those people and their gifts and we live for them. I still have dark moments – I don’t think anyone is ever bright all the time, anyway – so in those dark moments, I remember to try to live a little louder that day. I must. So many depend on it. I depend on it.

Life is energy, and when one life ends, their energy is dispersed into the Universe. Their light does not go out, it goes on. So, we have to carry the light for Chester Bennington, and those others we have lost for whatever reason.

I remember feeling completely helpless. Hopeless. Broken. And it was Chester who told me it was okay to not be okay. I have to remember to be that voice for others as well, as often and as loud as I can be (and I can get quite boisterous). So, my friends, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be a little fucked up in the head. Show me one person who isn’t.

So, for you, Chester, and for others we have lost along the way who we have turned to at one point or another for a little bit of saving, I give you my promise to live every single moment like it’s the most precious fucking thing I have ever touched. I will live. Promise.

 

Until we meet again, Chester. I’ll keep on living.
Find my cousin Kevin, please. He’s been gone four years today…

chester

But, I can’t lie, this one fucking hurts.
Just ….

Take me… it’s the only way…

There is a laundry list of things I should be doing tonight, including laundry, ironically enough. I have two interviews sitting on my recorder app that I need to transcribe; they’ve been there for over a week. I know they’re there. But, it has been an exhausting week in my world, and I have not had the brain power to even sit down and listen to my own voice talk to someone else with, assuredly, a sexier voice than mine and type out all of our words. I need brain power to accomplish these things, and it has been in super short supply as of late. So, I am aiming for tomorrow and Wednesday to be done with them so that I can stop having that “but you should be doing this” nagging sensation I can’t shake. Step one, admit you have a problem. Step two, fucking fix it. AmIright?

So, I am sitting here with my earbuds in listening to some of my favorite music instead of enjoying the silence of everyone in my house being asleep (including kids!). Silence for me is golden in that I need it and crave it, but it also makes me incredibly uncomfortable if I have too much of it. Though I am an introvert who craves the silence, I often find myself not wanting it all the time, or thinking I want it when what I really want is to be left alone to do what I want to do, which is usually ignore everyone and be lost in my own world. I don’t do well with a lot of quiet – I fill it with chatter or music most of the time. Music is the one thing that keeps me moving forward when I am so damned tired I can’t breathe…

tire

Why has this week been so exhausting? Well, you sly fox, I will tell you. My middle kiddo has been having an incredibly hard time sleeping. And what I was chalking up to situational anxiety about her leaving Kindergarten (y’all, she’s hyper attached, as most kids get at this age), it turns out we are pretty sure she’s managed to pick up pinworms. Yep. Pinworms. Don’t Google. It’s gross. But know that playing in the dirt and being outside and, ya know, being a kid can lead you to pick up the most common parasite to humans. Cuz if someone is going to have something completely fucked up and weird happen to them, it’s me, and clearly, by extension, my children. Yep. My superpower is not one anyone else wants, that’s for sure!

Of course, to add to their endless appeal, pinworms get more active at night – cue the sleeplessness – so, here we are… Oh, and did I mention the whole family gets treated since they’re super contagious?! YEP! EVEN BETTER! So, I am washing sheets and clothes and the whole fuckin’ nine yards to hopefully kick these little guys out of my kiddo (and keep them from the rest of us, thankyouverymuch) so that maybe one day I can sleep before I die… goals, amiright?! I mean, I don’t *think* you can die from exhaustion, but I am telling you what, sometimes it feels like I am trying to continually be a trailblazer.

And I KNOW it’s driving my kiddo crazy, which doesn’t help. Because, as any parent who doesn’t suck at this game can tell you, the WORST THING is not being able to help your kid or fix her. I mean, I feel like the worst mother alive because I am powerless to this madness!! It sucks so bad to know that I am doing everything I can, and it’s still not enough. It is maddening, and I feel worse for her than anything because she is downright miserable. NO ONE is winning in this battle currently; it sucks all the way around right now. It’s getting a little better, but slowly, and I’d like it to hurry the hell up and stop sucking completely.

So, while I am not sleeping and doing all of these things, I am also trying not to die and kill anyone else in the process. This is why I need Jonathan Davis in my ears right now, begging me to “Take me…it’s the only way” while bebopping my body along with the beat and dancing along like no one is watching (cuz unless I have a creeper neighbor, literally no one is watching… and I really hope I don’t cuz my stripper song just came on, and I cannot promise I am not making an ass out of myself). I mean, it’s a need at this point!

I am training for my first red carpet event in July 9 (AND IT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL, GUYS, THAT I AM SUPER EXCITED FOR!!!), and I want to look as fuckin’ hot as I can (which, I mean, really… let’s be real. I’m a solid 7.5 on a good day, so I’m not really shooting for the stars here). I am working out as often as I can, but again with barely having brain enough to move forward and keep that momentum going while walking, working out hasn’t happened the last few days. Thank gods I am also managing my diet because I am still handling a good portion of all of that.

I miss working out; I do. I stare longingly at my free weights and kettle bells with warm affection in my eyes, and then I realize that warm affection is also running down my face in the form of exhausted zombie-mom drool because I can barely form a coherent sentence. In that moment, I remember that I probably shouldn’t try to do much, lest I actually hurt myself. It doesn’t take much for me to hurt myself (I mean, I sprained my wrists by falling off a rock and broke both of my middle fingers by falling down stairs while studying for a Shakespeare final, so…I present enough evidence here). Safety first!

Nothing good can come out of me while I am exhausted, so I tried to table my to-do list in order to deliver the best product I can for the musicians and bands I work with. I am a tireless perfectionist on my best days, a control freak with massive perfection issues on my worst. Daddy always told me not to half ass anything; after thirty-five years on this planet, I have no desire to start now! I have tabled my own training in order to get my mental house in order and past the fog of the tired… it’s been relaxing, but also stressful because I KNOW I NEED TO DO THESE THINGS….

So, annihilating pinworms…tackling to-do lists…typing transcriptions…washing laundry…keeping the kids happy and healthy…I need to get it all done! Oh.my.god. I am so tired; I can’t hang!! But, I am resolved. NO matter what, tomorrow, it’s gettin’ done. I am grinding it out (puns intended all over). I am going to get back on the horse, no matter how I feel. Time is passing whether I am all in or not, and no one likes excuses; results are generally preferred.

You-Can-Have-Results-Or-Excuses_-Not-Both_

But, sometimes excuses are so tempting,
you can’t help but show them off, ya know?

Look for the light that leads me home…

As someone with borderline commitment issues (yet also ten years into a marriage, riddle me that), I have waffled on this whole blogging thing, and for good reason. Life gets busy, and I get busy with other writing projects (that novel that’s collecting dust, the international rock and roll magazine of which I am managing editor and journalist, shitty poetry, etc). However, today I took the initiative to, once again, purchase my domain, add a new fun theme I kind of dig, and am going to try to make this a more regular place for my words. They need a place, and inside my head isn’t working for them anymore, ha!

For the time being, I have damn-near completely abandoned the idea of being a novelist for any length of time because I hate rejection, and it’s all I have been getting. I really, really hate rejection, and thanks to being bullied relentlessly as a youth and my passion for my writing, I am super sensitive to someone telling me that my writing sucks. The worst thing someone can tell me is that I suck at this. Truly. I am not strong enough to hear it. It makes me ache and fills me with doubt, and I don’t like those feelings…at all. Again, avoiding feelings. Notice a pattern?  It isn’t healthy, but it works!

I mean, I’ll still try to get these things published. Ya know? I am not sure why some days. I don’t see a real “payoff” here. And no, “SO people can read it!” isn’t the payoff I am meaning; hell, I could publish the thing here and people could read it, ya know? My long game is not strong enough to really get concerned with it, so for now, it’s whatever. It’s out there. If it gets picked up, hell yeah. Let’s go. If not? Not gonna cry in my beer over it.

I’ve considered picking up other projects along the way (a long-abandoned novella, a few shitty short stories) to keep myself moving forward in terms of writing. I know it’s a good idea to do that and keep moving forward, and I will get to these things post-haste. I have a good one on the docket I am going to revisit. However, it will never replace my passion.

My passion is in music writing. My passion is going to concerts and telling people all about them. My passion is interviewing musicians and getting to know them beyond, “That one guy in that one band.” My passion is getting a new album in my hands and telling everyone why it’s great (or not). My passion lies inside music – it always has. And being able to combine my love of writing (my first love), with my passion for music, is currently the only thing that makes sense to me at this moment. Sure, it’s super “idealistic,” but who says I have to be realistic all the time? Not I! I REJECT IDEALISM!

Yes, I have a job in the education industry. If I am being honest, as much as I love my students and what I do, it isn’t as fulfilling to me as losing myself into the moments in a concert, in the lyrics of a song, in the eyes of someone at the show who really gets it – who understands that I am there because I need to be because they’re there, also. They feel it. Nothing will ever be as fulfilling to me as that, I feel. I need it. It is why my heart beats – live music experiences are what I am made for. Writing is what I am made to do. No matter what, I will always feel this way…. always.

Music has a way of taking me somewhere, especially live, that I do not want to come back from. It is the therapy I need for when I am weary, the motivation I need when I am frazzled, the love I need when I am hurting. And, for better or worse I suppose, I get to experience it with my gig with the magazine I work for. I am currently laying the “free” in “freelance” down with it, but I have to imagine that maybe, just maybe one day, something would come along where I could get paid for it. Wouldn’t that be a trip!? … what a dream. Getting paid to do this would honestly tickle my multiple fancies all at once. Maybe one day… but, I’m not sweating it. Life happens as it ought, and I am always down for the ride. The destination is never important to me; the journey is the good shit.

For now, I will continue to lose myself in the music. Music will always remind me to

Look for the light that leads me home.

This, this is my all-time favorite band, Breaking Benjamin.
And, this video takes me places I can only revisit in memory…