Unfriended

I find myself irrationally upset about having someone ‘unfriend’ me on Facebook. I say irrationally, because it wasn’t anyone I was close to, just a casual acquaintance from the school run. But,  it’s someone I have thought of as very friendly, a person I shared a smile and hello and simple mummy conversation with in the schoolyard. Plus, she was the one who sent me the friend request in the first place.

I began to notice no posts from her, so I checked.

I’ve been unfriended before, but I have always known why… usually some silly drama. Or, it’s been an issue of someone not liking my position on something. But, at least I knew their reason for the unfriending, even if it does seem to be a rather extreme way to handle differences of opinion.

I don’t know why this bothers me so much, why it’s such a sting. Other than…

I guess it makes me feel rather worthless to know, that, without a word, she’d just ‘delete’ me like that.

And, yes, this is just me bpding out. I know. So, I guess I’ve answered my own question as to why I feel this way. But, it still doesn’t make it right.

Sigh.

The Ghost

wpid-20150731_153858.jpgShe didn’t sit in the dark corner of the room; she sat right in the middle, and a few, sensitive souls, acknowledged her existence.  Some of those less sensitive were aware of something there, but her presence only made them feel uncomfortable, while others ignored her entirely.  She haunted the room, alone and out of place. The one that has no place to belong to.  Neither here, nor there.  She spoke if spoken to, aware of her own out-of-placeness. But, where do you go when you don’t fit anywhere and, yet, aren’t allowed to leave and go to nowhere?

It’s true, she chose to haunt this place on this night.  It’s where the music was. And, she sang and played with the living, because the dream can’t rest any more than she can.  And, yet, the dream is as much a ghost as she is. And again, some listened, some heard and shied away, others laughed, and others ignored.

At times, she pretended she was happy, and that the space around her wasn’t empty.  She had finished with skulking in the corners, choosing instead to fill the centre of the room.  Let the living cling to the corners for a change.

She is me.

I don’t live. And, I’m not dead. I just exist. A lonely ghost. Out of the corners and poltergeisting the middle of the room.

Highs and Lows (and, How Time Can Make Things Worse Instead of Better)

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Mark and I arrived at the Festival excited and looking forward to performing. To abbreviate a long story, things didn’t go as planned. A rough crowd and a worse sound system ensured failure regardless of our talent and performance. Needless to say, it was a bummer. However, last night, when it happened, I handled it with objectivity and humour; instead of throwing a tantrum and dissolving into a torrent of tears and ragings against the bastard that is life, I was calm and positive. “Hey, it happens to the best. This wasn’t our night or our crowd. There will be other/better gigs.” I consoled my friend and music partner, even regaling him with one of my mother’s favourite gig horror stories. I wasn’t even faking it. I was disappointed, but I didn’t feel despairing.

But, that was last night. Time is supposed to help things. This is a myth. It rarely helps. It often makes worse.

When I woke up this morning, the despair sat waiting to pounce on me. I’ve been drowning in it since.

Last Sunday was such a massive high, and it’s difficult not to get hopeful from such experiences.

Life plays this cruel cat and mouse game. And, I’m sad and angry. And, so tired.

Tomorrow, I have a very overdue appointment with Mental Health. I wonder what new exercise in futility it will be. The Dr. I had previously seen is no longer there, then I missed an appointment back in May because I had forgotten the date and was too ill to get out of the house and deal with it. Now, there’s someone new to have to deal with. And, I have no hope to spare for the appointment. Perhaps, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but it’s most likely going to be a waste of time.

Did I mention, I’m tired? When I say I’m tired, I mean that every aching bone in my body is crying out with weariness.

I am still very thankful for those rare good times, of course. And, a little good is better than no good at all. But, those times always make me want and expect more. I get hopeful. I start visualising success (which “they” say is the thing to do).  And, then, the kick in the teeth comes…and, it’s overwhelming, gut-aching sorrow.

And, yeah, maybe there will be some more good coming…there will be the last Sundays. But, then, there will be the last nights and the tomorrows, too. And, I’m just so fucking tired.

I’ll leave you with this… because it’s what I do, and this song seems fitting…and, who doesn’t love some Mumford & Sons? And, because, I’m still pathetic fool enough to hope.

Grab A Note and Hang On

What actually helps someone suffering from mental illness and chronic pain? Nothing goes so far as a combination of friendship and doing what you love.

Just doing what you love to do, whether with anyone else or not, is a therapy. But, add in doing it with people you like who also love doing what you do, and doing that thing together…well, magic can happen.

Magic happened this past Sunday, the 19th of July 2015.

In a life that is long and characterised by pain, it’s these moments that are the saving grace, and they deserve to be celebrated. They bring the closest thing to hope and happiness that we get. And, therefore, they are exceedingly precious.

I wish us all many more such moments.

Grab a note and hang on.

To Quote Sir Elton John…

“Sad songs say so much.”

Autumn Live at Queen's Park

Yesterday, an exceptionally talented fellow artist, Robin Chapman (seriously, if you get the opportunity to hear this guy, do it) asked me if I was going to sing depressing songs on this beautiful day.  It was a beautiful day, and, yes, I was going to sing depressing songs.  Although, that’s not quite an accurate description. They are written and performed by someone with severe clinical depression, and they reflect a lot of my experience. But, you’re not going to catch depression from them, any more than you’re going to catch my irregular heartbeat.

I have an advantage in that people like sad songs.  Music is a safe place to express and explore what we call negative emotions and life’s pain (and, life is FULL of pain). All the better if you’re good at it (the music, that is).

Yes, I sang sad songs, but I was glad to be doing what I love (even if I did have to wrestle with a keyboard that didn’t want to cooperate with me  – bloody electronic things *&^£”!!! – and everything didn’t go strictly to plan); I was out in the open air, making music for an appreciate audience, and that felt good.

Two moments in the day stand out for me as precious. One was, when the last performer of the day, the delicious Mo Shotter, called me back up on stage to sing some improvisational blues with her.  So, we sang ‘The Queen’s Park Blues’ together. This was a magically spontaneous and pure fun.

The other was when I was singing this song:

There’s a point in this where you see me smile, and it’s where I look into the audience and see my 6 year old son singing my song along with me. It was one of those serendipitous moments, a fixed moment where time stops.

Things had come full circle.

I was on the stage and my child was in the audience proud of his mummy and, very happily, singing one of my sad songs along with me. And, I saw myself at that age, in the audience, proudly looking up at my mother…singing along with the sad songs…’I saw the harbour lights. They only told me you were leaving’…

Pardon me while I wipe the tears. Pardon me while I smile during a very unsmiling song. And, pardon me while I cherish the songs – and the moments – that say more than the sum of their words ever could. Because they interpret what cannot be said, but only be felt.

Creative Recycling

Years ago I wrote a poem that I’ve ended up using quite a lot on social website profiles in the ‘about you’ section. It was sufficiently mysterious while also being perfectly autobiographical, and it was easier to copy and paste the poem rather than to think of something else witty and interesting to say about myself. How better to represent myself as the arty ol’ farty I am than to describe myself with a poem? Even so, it’s been a long time since I revisited that poem or even considered it in passing.

Poets aren’t always songwriters and songwriters aren’t always poets. Occasionally, however, the two do meet together in the one, and you end up with Leonard Cohen…and me. Sometimes there are too many words and not enough music, while other times the words are not enough and there must be music to carry the few that are there. Ah, but now, I really do wax poetic. ;)

But, please, indulge me.

And, where do the lost and forgotten poems go? Is there a graveyard for the written and discarded rhyme? You may not remember those scribbled lines. But, rest assured, they remember you. You may forget the words, but the words never forget. And, if you’re quiet enough, you can hear their whispered echoes, reverberating beyond time.

And, this is what it is to be a poet.

And, this is what it is to be a poet who is also a songwriter…and, what it is to be me.