Tag Archives: Music

30 Day Writing Challenge, Day 19

Thank God no one said this has to be consecutive days haha

Write about my first love…

My first love was music….

In short, music has…

  • Showed me it was okay to feel what I was feeling
  • Shouted my feelings back to me to remind me it was fine
  • Showed me how to love myself
  • Given my life purpose
  • Allowed me to grieve
  • Celebrated with me
  • Allowed me to figure out who I am
  • Figured out who I was for me
  • Saved my life more times than I can count
  • Helped me make sense of this world
  • Given me direction
  • Provided an escape
  • Provided a new perspective
  • Been my only friend
  • Been the only thing that makes sense
  • Showed me what love sounds like
  • Allowed me to accept myself
  • Allowed me to let go
  • Showed me how to hold on
  • Supported me without question
  • Never left me alone
  • Showed me what I need
  • Showed me what I do not want
  • Accompanied me on adventures
  • Quieted my tears
  • Allowed those tears to flow
  • Helped me write
  • Helped me live
  • Held my hand
  • Introduced me to countless friends I will never forget
  • Woven itself right into my life
  • Run through my veins
  • Hushed me to sleep
  • Rocked me awake
  • Helped me focus on what is important
  • Written alongside me
  • Brought me to my husband
  • Allowed me to do what I love
  • Inspired me
  • Motivated me
  • Encouraged me
  • Danced with me
  • Been inked onto my skin
  • Been imprinted into my brain
  • Filled my dreams
  • Pushed me to go faster
  • Encouraged me to slow down
  • Given me places I belong
  • Walked streets with me
  • Rode in cars, buses, subways, planes, trains with me
  • Pushed me to be better
  • Pushed me to do better
  • Taught me
  • Understood me
  • Allowed me to understand myself
  • Answered my prayers
  • Been my light in the dark
  • Loved me back, unconditionally

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Thirty Day Writing Challenge, Day Twelve

Five Blessings in My Life (no people, my rule):

  1. Unconditional love from my children: I never wanted kids. It wasn’t until my cousin had his children that I even warmed up to the idea of children. And when I saw his oldest daughter for the first time, I knew I wanted children of my own. Now, with three daughters of my own, I have three blessings, every single day, even when I feel like I don’t deserve it. My greatest blessings call me “Mommy,” and sometimes, I’m the best Mommy ever…and sometimes, they tell me I am anyway.
  2. Music: Without music I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t know some of my favorite people. I wouldn’t have had some of the incredibly amazing experiences I have. I wouldn’t know what love is, what it feels like, what it sounds like. What words to use when life is bad, good, and everything in between. I wouldn’t know how to put words to the incredible feelings inside of me. I wouldn’t be who I am without the music that I love. And that means more to me than just about anything else.
  3. Unending support from my friends: When I don’t deserve it, they support me. When I completely suck at life, they love me anyway. When I need an ear, they all have them. When I am down, they lift me up. When I am scared, they shine lights for me. My friends remind me who I am. My friends remind me of what I am capable of, even when I don’t believe them. They help me rise. And I will rise for them, without hesitation. Any day, in any way.
  4. Protection from my guardian angels: Between my grandma Alice, my Poppa, and my cousin Kevin, alongside the baby I lost along the way, I am surrounded by the most loving and supportive people on the other side I could ever need. When grandma Alice died, she took almost everything out of me. I had nothing left when Kevin died, which upset me because I was only 18 days postpartum with my youngest. And I was so overwhelmed with everything, I feel like it’s taken me this long to really mourn his passing. Poppa passing was the last straw for my sanity in many ways; I still am not really okay with him being gone. Grandma Alice and Poppa were two people who loved me unconditionally, no questions asked, and losing them was really devastating to me on many levels. I still talk to all of them sometimes; it reminds me to stay connected to those who are on the other side, waiting for me and caring for me. My baby passed very early, so I didn’t feel a lot of connection to him (I always say he was my boy since I don’t have one here in this world). But, going through losing him was absolutely terrible, and something I don’t wish on anyone. I am surrounded by love in the next life. And I know they keep their eyes on me in this one.
  5. My writing: Saved my life. Still does. End of story.

On the good days, count your blessings. On the bad ones, count them twice. 

Blessed_Quotes7

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 ….

Time will not take the life from me…

I know I have talked about the fact that I write for an online rock n roll publication. I also know I haven’t gone into much detail about that. So, I want to do a little about that tonight. I did the thing I am most proud of to date, and I want to chat about it.

I have always been a writer. I have always been a rock n roll fan. So, when the chance in October of 2015 arose for me to join the staff of the most kick-ass rock n roll publication on the Interwebs, RockRevolt Magazine, I jumped at it! I reached out to the editor to see if they needed help writing/editing, and they did, and here I am. And to say I am blessed beyond belief with all of the amazing things I have had the chance to do for them would be the understatement of the year, for sure. I mean, it’s insane to me. Still unreal.

I have gotten to go to shows for some of my favorite bands and write about them! And people read what I write! I get to interview some of my favorite musicians, and then people read that, too! I get to review albums, and people read them! And I even have done a book review or two, which you all know I love!! It’s insane to me! I mean, really…truly…insane. I know writing is something I am pretty good at doing, but to think that people all over the world get the chance to have a little piece of me in their eyeballs is a bit crazy to me. It’s surreal. I mean, totally surreal and something I will never ever take for granted ever. Ever.

So, let me tell you a little something else. I am a HUGE Breaking Benjamin fan. I know I have talked about that before here. Probably more than once. And, with my gig at RockRevolt, I have had the opportunity to go to some of their shows and review them. I have interviewed their drummer (he was my second ever interview!), Shaun Foist. I literally had an out of body experience when I interviewed their lead singer, Ben Burnley, whose music literally saved my life twice. I mean, that was a huge moment for me. And I have had other huge moments and had the chance to write about other bands and artists and albums for other bands and artists who mean the world to me, for sure. But, my favorite thing I have ever done is here:

CLICK ME FOR THE FAVORITE THING!!

Please do me a favor and read it, share it, and love on it.
Please. It would mean the world to me.

Now, backstory. I had the chance to talk to the one guy I have wanted to talk to for quite a while, Aaron Bruch, bassist of Breaking Benjamin. And, he is as gracious and humble and wonderful as I ever thought he would be. We talked and talked and talked about everything and anything, and we had an absolute blast together, as I thought we would. It was everything I wanted and more, and I don’t want to gush too much and be all weird about it, but know that it was the best conversation I could have ever imagined having with someone about their talents and passions. So, so good.

I wrote the interview a little differently than I would originally do so, and made it a narrative story instead of a question and answers list. It seemed to fit his style of communication more, as the entire time we talked, it was like he was telling me a story. And though it made more work for me, I wanted the readers to feel like they were sitting there and talking to him as well. It was a bold move, and I believe it paid off.

People have responded so well to it! I am hearing from people who have known him forever, telling me how the story reminds them of good times and memories with him. I can’t believe how well it has been received!! As it turns out, our conversation is getting a ton of attention from all over the place. The feedback I have received is humbling and overwhelming, and I just wanted to find another place to share it with the world. This is my blog, so why not share it here?! You can also click my name on the piece and see other things I have done as well. It’s all been a very, very good time that I love being a part of.

It’s not every day that you get to literally do something you’ve dreamed of doing your entire life. And the fact that I get to do that is incredible to me, and I can’t express how grateful I am every single day that this is my reality. Honestly, two years ago I was just a fan of music and bands, and now bands know me and want to work with me. My life is super weird, friends. Blessed isn’t even a word that fully encapsulates it. So, please, do me a solid and check out my article I linked in here. Share it, please, if you’re so inclined. It’s so appreciated, trust me.

Just a little video love from my favorite band to you..
Never let time take the life from you…

You never know where you’ll end up! 

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…

Sometimes the party takes you places that you didn’t really plan on going…

*blows into mic*

Is this thing on? I can’t believe it’s been, like, over a year since I’ve tapped this keg of awesome. Life has been incredibly busy lately (clearly), and this hasn’t been a priority. I could lie to you and say that I will make it one, but why waste my time? I don’t know if it will or not; we’ll take this relationship day by day.

In today’s news, I am celebrating myself today. Two years ago today, I lost a pretty significant piece of me, and I haven’t really been able to celebrate/mourn that since. I had every intention of celebrating it last year, but I was waiting for another operation on the docket to fix the broken down parts of me, so all pomp and circumstance went out the window. However, today is the day.

Two years ago today, I had my hysterectomy to remove the part of me that had been so tied to my identity for a long time prior. I did not have a choice; it had to be done. And with that operation came the need for another last summer to help tie up some other things that attempted to exit the Southside, so I guess two years ago was the start of a downhill slide for me physically and, honestly, mentally.

My uterus was a place where I grew and nurtured three beautiful babies, where another baby didn’t quite make it, and where countless other pregnancies could have taken place over the course of my life, but for one reason or another, did not. Women are pretty keyed-in to their inside parts, and the uterus is a pretty important one in terms of womanhood; it’s the incubator of life, which many consider to be a woman’s real superpower (I do not, but that’s another story). And in losing that piece of me, I didn’t realize I was losing a sense of self in a way.

My uterus coming out led to a chain reaction of other issues, one of which I will carry with me for all of my days in terms of a chronic bladder condition. No longer will I be able to just live comfortably or eat whatever I want without fear of pain. Discomfort is pretty much a common thing around these parts nowadays, and that really has a way of messing with you. My mind has been fuzzy, lost, confused, sad, angry, hurt. It’s hard to keep your wits about you when your basic needs of comfort aren’t being met. It’s hard to smile sometimes when, really, crying is the only thing that makes sense, the only real way to express the turmoil inside.

I haven’t been the same since this whole process started two years ago – how could I? I’ve withdrawn in many ways and threw myself out onto limbs in others.  I have felt lost, abandoned by my own body. I have felt betrayed, scared. I’ve begun to feel anger again, which is something I thought I lost when Poppa died. I didn’t realize how good it felt to FEEL things again – I’ve tried for so long to not feel much. It’s easier that way. Cutting off emotions is honestly one of the easiest ways I have found to get by with all of this – doesn’t sound healthy, but it’s effective as hell.

I have felt sorry for my husband who cannot fix this even if he tried. In a way, my losses are his, as a part of me that I knew and was accustomed to has grown dimmer. He didn’t ask for his wife to, quite literally, fall apart at the seams. But, I did. And for that, I am sorry for him. I see the look he gets in his eyes sometimes when I am in pain, or when I lash out due to just being so uncomfortable in my skin that anger is the only thing I can produce. And it hurts me to know that in this way, he can be hurting as well. It isn’t fair, but neither is life. We don’t get to pick the winning side.

My girls are used to it, often asking me what I can and can’t eat. We’ve named my bladder so they can check in on it and see how I am feeling. They are very in tune to me, so when I am having an off day, they know. And they are such good kids; I don’t deserve them, that is for sure.

Today, though, is for me. I am going to do something I have wanted to do for almost a decade. I am also going to take myself to lunch. I am going to celebrate the fact that, regardless of my physical inadequacies, I am still here. I will still be here. Even when I am doubled over in pain and feeling the sorriest for myself I have ever felt, being here is better than the alternative. Sometimes a little wallow in some self pity is a refreshingly necessary swim. However, I am ever grateful for each day I am on this planet to raise a little hell and do a little good.

My body has failed me time and again, but my mind is my weapon, sharp as ever, ready to fight. And come what may, I am a force to be reckoned with. In two years, I have managed to lose so much that it’s hard to categorize it all; my light may have dimmed in some big ways, but it for sure is still glowing – ever present. I am reminded of the song that has been buzzing about my head for about four days…

“Sometimes the party takes you places that you didn’t really plan on going.”