I shouldn’t have to live if I don’t want to.
Here’s a picture of frustration for you, and a personal metaphor.
I’ve been considering my inability to play the guitar. In theory, this instrument should not evade me. I should be able to play it. It isn’t like it’s difficult, or a mystery. Except, I just can’t. Like being able (or, rather, not able) to cope and function in life, the guitar remains a source of failure.
It would be nice, helpful, perhaps profitable, if I could play such a portal and versatile instrument.
It would also be fantastic, helpful, etc., if I could make and answer phone calls and face social situations (i.e. going out my door), not either fall apart in or, alternatively, avoid stressful situations (stressful situations = life), not wish with every breath that it’s my last breath.
But, the guitar won’t let me play it…no matter how I’ve tried. And, life is just as contrary and hostile.
I can still make beautiful music, of course. Just as I still have moments of happiness, small victories while, ultimately, losing the war. But, the things out of my reach affect me greatly.
For the musically (or, humorously) challenged, the title of this post is a play on words… the guitar being a fretted instrument. Don’t fret. Ha! Get it?
Why can’t I make the guitar and life sing for me? Well…it is what it is.
Not sure how to end this one. To stay with the music analogy, this post feels rather open ended and not resolving to the home chord…but, eh, I do that in songwriting all the time. So, yeah…life being as it is, I find it fitting to leave this…
So, the mad compulsion to blog has lifted; I’m not feeling any desire to post everyday. Other obsessions linger, one being this matter of divesting myself of the American accent.
Some may criticise me in this endeavour. Those are people who identify me as American. But, that is not my identity.
True identity is a spiritual thing having nothing to do with where a person is born or grew up; the soul has no nationality. Therefore, I feel no loyalty to my native accent and I wish, as someone who makes much of tune and tone, to replace it with what I know to be more aesthetic to the ear.
Thus, I’m training my tongue with proper elocution exercises. And, I’m finding it a strenuous workout indeed.
When I told my husband about how these exercises strengthen the tongue, he remarked that, perhaps, he ought to try them, too. He said it with a sly grin – the perv (and, I love him for it) – and I mentioned something about the “cunning linguist” and we both dissolved into laughter.
Ouch. My tongue hurts. This certainly isn’t for the faint of heart…or mouth, as the case may be. But, my determination persists. I must make my tongue know what my ear understands, and I must make my ear all the more sensitive.
To do this, I am talking to myself… I mean more so than usual. Practising. My social anxiety presents a serious obstacle to my endeavour…it all tends to fall apart when I go out my door and I am immediately put under pressure. My speech just starts to sound better…and, then, damn it, I have to talk to someone! Irony, anyone?
I suppose, the thing is, I hate labels and boxes and typecasting. Someone hears an American accent here, and suddenly there’s the box, the confinement. I’d like them to see me before there is a judgment made that doesn’t apply to me but will be attributed to me nonetheless simply because humans are too stupid to look past something so superficial.
Elocution used to be taught in schools. There used to be a standard. Now, well…I suppose one might say that standard is just another box. But, I won’t play devil’s advocate here on my own blog. Here, this one place where I have my say. But, at the very least, I don’t think a desire to improve one’s speech (whatever the reason) could be considered, in any way, a negative thing.
The aim is merely to improve. Perfection is not in my reach. As I say, practice may NEVER make perfect, but it CAN make BETTER.
Better. I’m not getting any. I mean with the health issues. But, this – the accent thing – is something for me to focus on. I know, I know. Right now, it isn’t a focus, it’s an obsession, a compulsion…a madness. I’m mad.
Yes, I’m mad. I’m not even allowed to be eccentric. Because, you have to have money in order to be eccentric. I know what I am: ill. But, surely a sick person with a lovely accent is better than just a sick person.
So, until this present obsession lifts (i.e. I get too frustrated with myself for continual failure), or I get my lyre harp (the other great obsessive craving of right now), I will work on this project of ridding myself of the American accent for which I have developed such a personal distaste… and, it would seem, my tongue’s going to ache. And, hopefully, at some point, others in the outside world will be able to hear all the hard work. I can, you know, only hope.
Please, forgive me if this post gets a bit fragmented. But, pieces, all over the place, that’s what I am right now. I often think how great it would be if we could defrag our minds as we do our computers. I think meditation can help in that… but, it isn’t fool proof. And, under the word human in the dictionary should be the simple definition: fool. But, I digress, and I simply beg you to stick with me. I have a question for you, but you’ll have to be patient and wade through my frag-mental stew.
I wax very philosophical at present. It started this morning with thinking about harmonics, vibration, and the nature of the universe. Deep stuff, yeah. How we’re instruments. Out of tune with ourselves, subsequently out of tune with the whole orchestra.
This analogy continued with thinking about the music we make and listen to. As society deteriorates, how the sound of that disturbance – that humongous discord – has been recreated by heavy, thrash and grunge metalists. I saw this music in a new light. There are those musicians/artists who hold on tightly to the sound of order and beauty in their music, because it is what they crave and desire; it is a wish for it to be as it should. Then, there are other artists who are “telling it like it is”, so to speak. That horrible (to my ears) harsh sound, is how the universe, how life, how we human fools sound!
I’ll take the analogy further. You can’t play anything worth listening to on a broken instrument. Musical instruments are fragile.
I could go on. But… I won’t. I’m tired and the burden of a broken soundboard is too great. I think I’ve made my point anyway.
Which direction do you stir your coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. in? Clockwise or counterclockwise? (This is the question.)
This morning I suddenly became aware that I always naturally stir counterclockwise.
Surely, there must be some psychology behind the direction in which we stir.
There are, most likely, studies about it. Certainly, some neuroscientist should be getting paid to find out why one stirs this way and another stirs that way.
So, what about you? Which way do you stir?
Last year I embarked on a journey of – what I, a big Doctor Who fan, called – regeneration. Not actually being a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey (more’s the pity), it is an ongoing process rather than a blast of light and an instant transformation.
What began as a declaration of freedom from a group of confining and judgmental people, has evolved into a continuing discovery and expression of the real me, and what suits the real me.
I think that many of us who go the way of body art and modification aren’t merely rebels. Certainly there are individuals who fall into that category. But, for me, the outer transformation is a reflection of the inner person. This is me taking off the masks.
I’ve discovered blue hair suits me. The most natural thing in the world. If my soul had hair, it would be blue.
I’m a wild thing which has been royally fucked up by being born on this planet and forced to live here. I don’t cope or function well here. But, here I am, for now. And, as long as I am, I choose not to hide, but rather to express, this tattooed, pierced, blue-haired soul.
Extreme. Whenever I’ve encountered one of those survey/questionnaire thingies that ask you to “describe yourself in one word”, this is the word I usually choose.
The conflict arises when, in the endeavor to be a spiritual, soul conscious person, I am faced with the seemingly contradictory word: balance. A basic spiritual principle is “all things in moderation“.
When you take a look at moderation, it would appear that one could not be extreme and moderate at the same time. But, if that’s the case, no extremism allowed, I have found in my personal experience that moderation and balance quickly devolve into legalism. And, that’s just another form of extremism. Where, exactly, is the balance?
In addressing this for myself (I do not presume to tell you what you should do), I have come to the conclusion (after much consideration) that my way forward is to accept and embrace my extremeness (it’s a word now). However, I will not give myself over to complete abandonment to the extreme only, as I have done in times past. I intend to engage on a path of tempered extremism, exploring ALL aspects of my nature and enjoying what I can – both in the spiritual and physical realms.
In continuing to meditate and focus on the inner being, while allowing myself freedom to enjoy the full range of my sensuality, I will have a balance.
That’s the plan, anyway.
I remember a long time ago when a publishing company wanted my mother (author and artist Ginilou DeMarco) to write her books under a non de plume (for the slightly less aware, an alias; for the just plain stupid, another name), she didn’t want to do it, and I couldn’t blame her. Part of having talent and sharing it is getting the credit for it as yourself. But, more and more I’m thinking that maybe, just perhaps, that is our ego talking: our bodies have these names, but our souls do not. And, so… I am considering releasing my next album under another name.
I love my name. I always have. My name is cool. It used to be very unique. It isn’t anymore. Unique, that is. It is still cool (but, of course, I am biased). I was proud of my name even back when people never got it right because only a very small handful of people had named their child “Autumn” (much less “Autumn Dawn” – I believe, I was the first…I may be wrong. But, of all the Autumn Dawns I have subsuequently found out about, I am the oldest…making me the original since 1974) and I got called every other name starting with A instead of my name. Or, worse (and this still annoys me to this day, because I still get it occassionally), they would call me only by my middle name. Ugh. My name is Autumn Dawn. Or just Autumn. It is NEVER “Dawn”!!!
In learning soul consciousness versus body consciousness (the internal and eternal as opposed to the external and temporary), I know that while this is my present name, it is not, however, who I am. This body’s name is Autumn Dawn, but I am a soul. And, the thing is, my music has never been successful under this name.
Now, the talent maybe associated with my body, I know. But, creativity is a spiritual quality, an aspect of the eternal identity, the being or soul. And, specifically, music is definitely a spiritual thing.
So, these are my reasons for considering a release in another name. Authors do it all the time (when they want to), and look at Prince, or the artist formally known as, Symbol, or whatever he is calling himself and releasing his music under these days. And, many musical artists chose from the first to go by another name. Of course, I know, Prince may not be a perfect example here, because he was successful as Prince… but, yeah… anywho. Hopefully, you see my point.
While I am proud of my lovely name and proud of my gift (music), it isn’t much of a gift if it isn’t getting the exposure and getting out there. A gift should be giving. I have tried. I have failed and failed and failed. Well, “Autumn Dawn” has failed and failed anyway.
Thus, this serious consideration to release an album under another name (not sure what just yet). I would really very much like to hear what other people (you, my readers) think about this. Talk to me. I’d appreciate some feedback here. It’s a big decision.
Eyes closed, wind in her hair, a look of…relief on my daughter’s face, as she spun on the spinny-see-saw-thing at the park; I could tell, this wasn’t spinning; this was flying. This was a moment of blissful freedom. I watched her, remembering that feeling.
There is a school of thought that I’d like to adopt that says that everything that happens is an opportunity to learn, to grow. This is that optimistic thinking which asks in any situation, “What can I learn here?” This is the type of attitude that clings to the hope that there is a reason – and a benefit – to everything.
What I know is: Life is hard and, ultimately, no matter your philosophy, it is unfair. Even with the balancing of everything through karma, the fact that I exist and have to go through these lessons, whether I want to or not, is unfair.
Yes, I want to cultivate a learning consciousness, a more positive outlook… it’s either that or sink deeper and deeper into despair and hopelessness.
May I find and nurture peace within myself, may I actually learn the lessons I’m meant to – let me find a purpose for the pain and struggle that is existence. But, please, please, please…let me also have moments like these, pockets of freedom, my eyes closed against the world and its sorrow, the wind in my hair…give me relief. Let me fly.
An original “soul-consciousness” meditative song by Autumn Dawn Leader.
For more music and info, please visit: http://www.autumndawnleader.com
“Although my body remains earthbound…
my soul has wings.”