I’m Not Complaining (a poem, of sorts)

I am a wreck, a ruin – a life-ravaged soul, aching, longing to be free.

I don’t mean to complain.  I’m not complaining.  I’m hurting, can’t you see?

Am I broken, or was I never meant to be here at all, that I cannot handle this life?

I know nothing any longer but the weariness and longing, the exhaustion too intense to fight.

And, the metre’s out of sync, and the sorrow’s out of bounds,

my fatigue is fatigued; waking leaves me drained – let me sleep away my time –

and there goes the rhyme, along with the metre –

again, I’m a failure…

but, I’m not complaining; that should be plain to all.

I’m hurting, longing, aching –

and, like this poorly written verse,

my end is not forthcoming.

©Autumn Dawn Leader 2015

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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.

It’s Getting Harder

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I’m deteriorating. I want things to improve. I want to be getting better. But, it’s just not happening that way. It’s getting worse, more difficult…looking more and more hopeless and desperate, relief nowhere in sight.

Little Improvement

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But, improvement is still improvement even if it is only little. I should be pleased with my progress so far, and not beat myself up for the slow going nature of said progress.

I’m speaking of my accent, of course. If you’ve been following my recent posts you will have read of my obsession to rid myself of my native American accent, and replacing it with the tone of my residence. Living in the UK for over a decade now, I had hoped – assumed – that my accent would naturally soften and, by osmosis, I would gradually, but surely, lose the harsh American sound to my speaking voice. Like in so many other things, I’ve been woefully disappointed. After so many years with so little softening, I’ve come to the conclusion that hard work and retraining is the only way to get what I want. But, hard work is what it is. Very hard work.

I have undertaken elocution exercises. And, I am finding, like all physical exercise, it causes me a great deal of pain. My whole head aches with the effort.

Today, after the school run, I decided I would record some of this baby step yet painful progress, with the idea to share it here. I went to the computer…

I haven’t recorded anything since we got a new computer and everything was different. My recording software, the operating system. Different now. I’ve been avoiding recording anything lately because… well, I didn’t have anything desperately pressing on me to record (people still aren’t beating down my door for my music), but more because of the changes to what I was used to and could use well.

The new computer was given to us…and, I’m not ungrateful…but, it hadn’t really been given with helping me out in mind, but more for my husband and the children. Granted our old one was on its last circuity legs, but I was on firm footing with it and it was only that familiarity that allowed me to use it to record two albums and all my singles. It was a crap piece of machinery, but I did do true wonders with it.

So, school run done, I approached the new with trepidation, and…

Autism reared its head and I found myself unable to navigate the changes.

Frustrated and in tears, I walked away from the strange and hostile hardware and software. Talk about your technical difficulties.

Now, I have a voice recorder on my phone, but I can’t, for whatever reason, upload what I record there. I can share it via whatsapp message, but it won’t go anywhere else.

I resorted to downloading the soundcloud app on my phone, so I could use my existing soundcloud account.

After several attempts at getting it right, the above recording is what I settled with sharing here.

What I recorded yesterday, on my phone voice recorder, sounds better…truer. But, this is what I could manage today. It’s one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and one that particularly resonates with me.

Shakespeare is a benchmark, a starting point. The language and rhythm is helpful to mastering the necessary cadence. I know, I’m far from mastering anything here. And, there I go, beat beat beat, smash, hate myself for…

all my inability.

Can I go to bed now, wretched world?  No. Now, it’s nearly time to pick the kids back up from school.

I’ve wasted a whole day. My God, how miserable.

But, even pain sounds better in an English accent. Too bad my pain is simply and acutely painful and doesn’t yet – and might never – have that “better” thing going for it.

I leave you with the Bard and my imperfect voicing of his brilliant words.

Dangerous Encounters (or, “encounters are dangerous” OR, “the OTHER SIDE of social anxiety”)

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Pardon this, my exercise in futility.
Some may relate, others will think it insanity.
And, it’s true that madness is never far from me…
But, still, I bet I’m not alone in my quandary.

I’m not alone in this aloneness that must be.

© Autumn Dawn Leader 2014

What if I like you but you don’t like me? Eh, not that likely…if you don’t like me I’m not liable to be especially enamoured of you either. So, this is more of a gnat-buzzing-around-the-face annoyance rather than a problem. And, if for some reason, I do really like you while you don’t like me, I’ve had years to get used to rejection. I’ve built up an immunity.

But…

What if I like you too much? And maybe you like me a bit. And then I get attached. Or, worse, you get infatuated.

It might not ever happen again. I’m getting old. But…

And, infatuation aside, what if there’s some spark of friendship? What if I like it? But, you’ll get tired eventually. They all do. I’m no one’s “bestie” or “bff” or whatever the cool kids are calling best friends these days.

No. I’m no people person; that’s for sure. And, when I meet new people, there’s a chance for strong dislike. My dislike of them because they’re human. They’re dislike of me because I’m me. And, the thing is…that’s ok. There’s no danger in this.

No, the problem comes when there is a liking one way or another…or mutual. Because, it rarely ends well…but, it always ends.

Baffled

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I envy them, and I honestly don’t understand.

Today has been one of those days where I’m in physical, mental and emotional pain. I’ve spent a good deal of it in bed, but also a significant amount of it in artistic endeavour and expression. There is pain, yes. But, thankfully, there is also creative flow – that, if nothing else, has given me something to post on my Facebook page…and here, of course.

There is comfort in that creative flow.

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I’m grateful for it, the art that takes an idea and gives it a form, a – for lack of a  much better word – life.

An imagination can torment. It can also create great beauty. And, sometimes, these things go hand in hand. At least, it’s something.

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Friends

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Not the sitcom, of which I was never a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, there were times that I caught it and was mildly amused. There were even times that, being forced to watch it, I had a good laugh (Smelly Cat comes to mind) but, overall, it was never going to be one of my fave shows. But, I digress.

Friends. This is a tough one for me because of the few times in my life I felt like I had found that lifelong friend, only to end up deserted.

Now, to put this into perspective, I’m talking about someone local, someone I can see and hug and hang out with. I do have (have managed to maintain) at least one dear close friendship (someone who knows EVERYTHING about me and still loves me and wants to be my friend), but this is a long distance thing. To find (and keep) a friend to trust, who lives close enough to visit regularly and do stuff with, this is another story.

Of recent times, it was a young woman with whom I shared the passion for making music. There were other things in common (like an off the wall sense of humour and an absolute obsession for all things Tolkien). And, whenever she needed someone to talk to, I made myself available. I became very attached.

My friend and I performed musically together. For me, strengthening the bond. And, at least once a week we got together for a walk in the park or a chat and cuppa.

But, when I became more open, more myself, sharing more of how I was really feeling about the mental illness and sharing my real opinions on life in general, she went away. I could’ve kept her as my friend had I not been myself…but.

I miss her. But, I wish her well. Sometimes, I still post something funny (that reminds me of some private joke we had) on her Facebook wall, not to get her to come back into my life, but just to acknowledge and give thanks for those good times. No longer will I beg for friendship, crying, “Why’d you leave me?”

But, this sort of thing makes a person cautious, scared of friendship in general. Especially to a person who gives their all in a relationship.

Maintaining a certain level of detachment, while sharing your soul with someone you feel a connection to, is difficult. I fall for my friends. I fall hard.

So, lately, it’s been odd when friendship – not just one, but PLURAL – has arrived at my (literal front) door (one under very unusual circumstances) and I feel that falling feeling again.

Of the most unorthodox of the meetings (actually, because of the unorthodox nature of our meeting), we have found someone we can trust to talk about EVERYTHING with. No need to hide aspects. And, amazingly, she lives a few streets over from me.

So, here I am, finding myself with a friend (more than one even) again, and even a social life! This is odd. For me.

And, it’s very scary, too. Lovely. But scary because of its loveliness, its preciousness.

I think I will always miss that musical friend, even though I know she has very much moved on, but, I have to admit, being able to truly be oneself with someone is more important than making music together. Because the friendship where you can be yourself is where real harmony is found. And, if that’s the only music I get from this, I will take it and be grateful.

So, here I go…I think this is lifelong friendship here. But, I’ve thought that before. I just don’t want to mess it up by being me…but, apparently, I can’t help being me. Sigh.

http://www.autumndawnleader.com