The Unbelievable Stark Contrast Between Me and…me.


It’s time I wrote about this.

A few months ago a friend of mine I have known for a few years now came for the first time to see me perform. Her amazement at the difference between the person who makes and performs music and the painfully awkward, strange person she sees almost daily at the schoolyard reminded me of something I need to make clear to those of you who have been avoiding coming out to a gig for years because you just think ‘someone like that couldn’t be very good.’

IMG_20150928_125813[1]I see it all the time, in the people who have seen or talked to me elsewhere and then seen and heard me perform. The shock. The sheer amazement. That not only a singing voice can be so vastly different to a speaking voice, but that I could actually entertain people instead of repel them – it’s one of the many reasons I would like to be a hermit that never darkens the outside world EXCEPT to step on a stage and perform.

Your misinformed preconceived ideas of what consititutes a person who is talented, able to perform well and entertain people, is sorely wrong!

The fact is, many of the most talented people in the world suffer from some form of social anxiety or are neurologically untypical in some way. The great majority of artists (really good artists) draw their inspiration from their pain and difficulties with this ridiculous thing we call life.

Of course, the reverse happens.  People who have seen and heard me sing before getting to know me better are just as flumoxed by my inability to handle what other people just take in their stride as ‘normal’. But, that’s not as bad, because I’ve already won them as fans, and their inability to comprehend my inability to function in ‘everyday life’ is not so much of a problem…except when it is.  I also remember immediately after Robin Williams committed suicide, an uber extroverted positive type friend of mine remarked something along the lines of, “I don’t think he could have actually killed himself – he was so funny and seemed so happy.”  I love this woman, but this statement is pure ignorance.  Depression just doesn’t work like that.  And, more often than not, the great comedians are the ones that struggle the most with severe clinical depression and thoughts of suicide. One who only sees the talent and doesn’t see the struggle is in danger of losing the whole person.

I was also talking to another musical friend of mine last night.  She is very talented.  She is highly educated and intelligent.  She also has Aspergers and suffers from severe anxiety, among other things.  We were both lamenting how we have encountered the attitude (even from health professionals) that ‘we are too intelligent to be mentally ill.’  WTF????!!! This is just ridiculous.  Would you tell a well-educated and articulate person with cancer that they were too intelligent to have cancer?

So yeah, it works both ways…but, what I am mainly focusing on in this post is the former problem of getting people who avoid coming out to hear me because they can’t believe that someone who isn’t capable of making a phone call and struggles to get out of bed in the morning would be able to entertain them from a stage. PLEASE, get rid of the preconceived (ignorant) notion. You’re missing out on some good music.

Now, I realise, I’m probably preaching to the choir here. And, those of you who read my blog have already been won over, while those of you who are thinking ‘someone like that couldn’t be very good’ are also the ones who would never ‘waste your time’ reading my blog.

Do I sound a bit angry?  Sorry/not sorry.  It’s just frustrating.  No one wants to be judged on just one aspect of their personality and ability.  And no one wants to be judged on their DIS-ability.  Yes, I have issues.  Yes, they are a pain in the arse and make life a burden a great deal of the time. NO, they do not stop me from being a talented person worth listening to.

And that goes for everyone who is ‘different’ in some way.

Take your bloody filters off.

Accept both sides of the coin.

We are fucked up (so society would say), but we are also awesome.

A Thriving Imagination

I recently rediscovered Instagram and, in doing so, the world of “micro videos”. It’s keeping me creatively occupied during this particularly trying time, offering bursts of talent, like shops giving out tiny samples of perfume or food.

It’s the creative flavour of the month, a needful outlet; a challenge, to encapsulate, in a mere 15 seconds, the essence of a song and/or performance.  A calling card, of sorts. Maybe these bite-sized music videos will catch the right ear, or maybe they’ll collect virtual dust like so much of what I do…but, for now, they’re a fun way for me to express.

I say challenge up there, like it’s a good thing. In artistic and (specifically) musical endeavours, this is so. In general, however, I don’t like a challenge. Life overwhelms me at the best of times; I’m just not good at it…this living thing. I struggle. But, art…

I may not be able to handle the struggle, but what I can do is make things of beauty and value in answer to the struggle…not an answer for, but in answer to.

Life is cruel. I hurt. I cry. And then, I create.

Maybe, just maybe, I win after all.

For Better or Worse


Anniversary presents are nice, but it’s the every day giving that makes a marriage.

When you make those vows, you’re so hopeful that there will be more health than sickness and more richer than poorer. Life often has other, crueler, plans.

Often growing up means growing apart, too. Or, worse, you refuse to grow at all. Problems arise when one or both can’t accept the person as they really are and keep trying to make them into whatever fairytale vision they had for the other on that vow-day.

Marriage ain’t for everyone. For it to really work at all, through all the shit life throws, requires the one thing this world lacks so greatly: love. But, people’s idea of what that is is so far from what it really is that it’s no wonder problems abound as they do.

Convention sometimes must be thrown out the window. Accepting the reality of your partner and supporting them in whatever self-discoveries they make. Allowing exploration instead of fearing it.

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary. I’m ill and we have no money to celebrate. Yeah, that sucks, but if I had to choose between the big, yearly, token gifts and the every day gifts I receive from a man who I know loves me, I’d go with the latter every time.

He brings me coffee in bed every morning because he wants to soften the blow of another morning coming.

He makes me laugh and laughs at my jokes.

He still makes love to me. Not out of some obligation. But because he still really wants me.

He ignores people who say he’d be better off without me (including me when I’m the one who says it).

He supports and celebrates my music.

He takes care of me, even though it’s not easy being a caregiver to one so ill,  and does it without making me feel like the mistake/waste of space I so often feel I am.

Expensive gifts are nice…but they can’t replace these priceless ones.

The Importance of ‘Getting It’


When faced with the very real possibility of becoming homeless, the threat of losing my piano was an overwhelming and thoroughly devastating thought. And, was it not for a friend who told me that, if we have to go into emergency accommodation, she would keep my piano for me, I am sure I would not have been able to prevent my breakdown.

See, this friend gets that my piano is not an optional possession. She said to me, “Not having your piano would be like losing an arm, like not having part of yourself.”


Some people could not understand my distress at being faced with this loss…of, what to them, is just a thing. They said things like, “Well, it will be different, but you will deal.”

No. No, I would not “deal”. My piano isn’t a want; it is a need. And, life being the bastard that it is, sometimes we don’t get what we absolutely require. Sometimes we lose the necessary, the very necessary. And, when this happens, it is not possible to simply deal.

This friend of mine was the first person, other than my husband, to acknowledge the gravity of the matter. Her offer and comfort mean so much to me. More than that, it’s her understanding that is so very precious to me.

Could I live without my piano? Could I survive? Well, fucking hell, of course, I could. But, survival is very overrated. A loss like that would mean being forced to go on in a grief-ridden, crippled state. A fate very much worse than death. That I will not be forced to do that at this time is a relief beyond my ability to describe.

Well meaning people don’t help when they say, “you’ll survive”. The only thing that helps is understanding and a willingness to, well, help. That is compassion. That is friendship.

Watch “Is It Me You’re Looking For? (The answer-phone message for those of us whom phone calls make ill)” on YouTube

I’m not really sure if my inability to cope with phone calls is more to do with the avoidant personality disorder or with the social anxiety. Whichever or both, I don’t do phone calls. And so…this is my new answerphone/voicemail message.

The Treasure of Pleasure


Poor health can make one always look on the darkest side, and cultivating an awareness of pleasure can end up lost in a world of pain and suffering. So, in an effort to cultivate that awareness, as part of a mindfulness practice, here is a list – in no particular order – of 10 pleasurable things I have experienced today:

1. String resonance
2. The smell of mint and tea tree shower gel
3. A friend I can talk to about anything
4. Orgasm
5. The taste of coffee that felt like liquid velvet in my mouth
6. The scent of my son’s hair
7. Tender and passionate kisses
8. ‘Krave’ cereal
9. Watching ‘Interstellar’
10. Discovering the game ‘Blendoku’

It isn’t about some positive thinking nonsense of ‘accentuating the positive’ but, rather, noticing the pleasurable, taking delight in the delightful. Being mindful of anything at all that is nice, or just isn’t crappy. It’s easy to notice the shit, because it’s loud and obnoxious. The nice stuff can be there, but soft and subtle. Therefore, it takes looking for it and making over it. And, that’s what I’ve done here.

What’s It Like?

I wonder what it’s like not to hurt.
What’s it like to wake up and be glad that you did instead of being heartbroken that you did?

I don’t want to be here. Life feels like a prison. I’m being punished. Existence is a punishment. I have a life sentence. No possibility of parole. No rock hammer. No poster. Just an endless stretch in Shawshank, getting fucked by Boggs.

What’s it like to be glad you woke up, instead of filled with choking sorrow that you did? What’s it like to blissfully greet another day, to be grateful morning’s come? What kind of sado masochist do you have to be to enjoy this relentless torture?

What’s it like not to long to have someone love you enough to help you die? To help you escape.

What’s it like to be pain free and hopeful and all peachy and rose tinted? What’s it like to have been strong enough that life didn’t break you and make you jaded and cynical?

What’s it like?