Can I Go Now?

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The older I get, the more frightened I become. Not of death. But of continuing to exist. Oh, I long for death. Please, death. But not this deteriorating going on. Please. I don’t want to be a pathetic, useless old woman.

The older I get, the worse my health is; the less good I am to anyone, the more of a burden I become.

Being a woman, I am scared I will outlive my husband. And, being unable to take care of myself, I wonder what horrors await me on this wretched mortal plane.

I am so scared. I am so weary.

Where is the mercy? Why can’t I go now?

Observations

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I don’t know if it was turning 40 or what, but I’ve had a couple of observations, realisations, revelations – whatever you want to call it – come to me. And, I’ve been thinking I should write them down, for whatever reason. Posterity, maybe. Thus, I sit here, tablet and stylus in hand, pondering…

First off, as a child, all I wanted to do was grow up. I suppose that’s not terribly different from the desires and mistaken ideas of many children; I was under the impression and assumption that adults were strong and respected. They appeared to be respected, even if they weren’t all that intelligent. I wanted respect.

I saw in the eyes of adults a disdain for childhood and the foolishness of children, and I wanted to be seen as I was. Even then, I had a hatred for stereotypes. I wasn’t the adult I wanted to be, but neither was I truthfully totally a child…

I didn’t always understand that my brain worked differently from other people’s.
What I did know was that my advanced vocabulary and unusual interests kept me isolated (and incomprehensible) to my peers, while my age kept me locked away from a true association with the grown ups I so wanted to be included in.

I was lonely. I learned both to dislike everyone while craving to be liked by everyone.

It has just dawned on me recently that the disdain I saw directed at children by the “high and mighty” adults was, in fact, a mask for jealousy. Oh, they thought it was disdain, but what they really were was jealous of the freedom (the freedom I saw as a prison) of being a child.

They knew what I didn’t (because I didn’t know they were wearing their carefully crafted masks) that age doesn’t bring respect, it doesn’t make you any more likable – or capable. Age brings responsibilities you may or may not be able to handle. It brings knowledge but not necessarily wisdom. It brings a loss of innocence which may at first seem exciting but is really very sad and empty.

I thought I’d be happy when I grew up. I didn’t know I wasn’t made that way. The lonely child, with her strange interests and over developed vocabulary, is the lonely adult who still struggles to find someone to talk to and with which to hang out.

A lot of my problems, I know, stem from mental illness as well as being slightly autistic. I was never going to fit in this world. But, I wish I had enjoyed being a child more. I wish I had known, old is just old, and it’s filled with all the insecurity and pain that childhood is…and worse. And, respect, validation, appreciation – all those things I wanted – are still not there like I was made to believe they would be by the adults who were trying to believe their own bullshit…but, really, knew better.

That’s the first thing…

Observation (or maybe realisation and acceptance) number two: even if I hadn’t married my first husband who did everything in his power to undermine my self esteem, I still would have ended up making bad, destructive, choices with my life. Because, I was that child, that incomprehensible, mentally and emotionally wrecked child who belonged nowhere but longed to be desired and adored. If my ex-husband hadn’t been there, there would’ve been someone else I would’ve gone out of my way to ruin myself (more than I already was) with. One way or another, the damage would’ve been done because I was already the damaged.

For a long time I wished I could’ve escaped – I even thought that I could have had certain things been different, but… it’s like H.G. Wells’ Time Machine… I’d still be here in the condition I find myself, regardless.

What’s the point of this? Not sure. It’s simply something I’ve come to realise. Maybe it’s just the acceptance, another moment to reflect on the insanity of life, and the fucked-uppedness (it’s a word now!) of it all.

The broken child, the wounded adult, the fucked up world.

I wanted to end this on a more positive note. I’m struggling… but, I’m hopeful these observations, and especially the self-discovery, will help me in some way. Sigh…

No Title for Old Women

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Yeah, I don’t even have a title for this blog post. And, I don’t know where to start its content…other than the image above. I’ve started, then stopped – second guessing, thinking better of what I was writing…

I don’t have any answers. I suppose I am a person in crisis. I also suppose I should count my many blessings rather than moan how I am so misunderstood and ill-used. And, I suppose I shouldn’t share how the idea of my imminent birthday is making me sick to the stomach. Ooops, there I go again…sharing.

Forget it. I was never here. Oh, if only that was so.

A Sky Full of Music

Turn up your volume, please.

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I could write, and tell you how I’m feeling. Blog it all out. I have so many, many things to say – stories to tell, experience to share. Stuff and more stuff. Aging superhero (aka musician), strugging with life, illness, trying to cope, trying to cultivate awareness (living present in the moment), trying…failing…trying…  or, I could do what I do and just give you this. Because, right now, this here says it all, and it is how I say it best. Always.

How The Thought Does Indeed Count

I was born on a Wednesday, 39 years ago. Wednesday’s child, so the poem goes, is full of woe. I am sure that not every single person who was born on Wednesday suffers with clinical depression and social anxiety, but the “full of woe” thing certainly has been true for me due, in part, to those very things. Image

This past week was my birthday (10 July, to be precise). I took this picture the night before. Miserable, eh? Definitely the picture of woe. I’m not keen on aging, and I really didn’t have high hopes for a “happy” birthday.

However…

Enter my Beautiful Man, Jamie. Allow me to sing the praises of a thoughtful and listening husband. On my birthday (which, as it so happened, fell again on a Wednesday this year) totally surprised me with the gift he got for me.

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This is a djembe. It’s an African drum. My birthday present. My precious.

As I say, Jamie getting me this came as a total surprise; I had not requested it.  The first time I had ever played one was a few weeks ago when rehearsing for a gig I was doing with a friend of mine (it was her djembe that I played). I enjoyed it immensely and mentioned to my husband how surprising therapeutic it had felt to me. Even though I obviously have rhythm to be able to do what I normally do (sing, play piano, write songs), I am not a percussionist (or, at least, I wasn’t one), and I had given up on the idea of playing drums years ago (too much multi-tasking for me). But, the djembe is different: if you have rhythm, you can play it. And, as I say, it is marvellously therapeutic.  It’s a beautiful instrument.

What a thoughtful gift, and it’s the thought here that certainly does count.

Jamie said he didn’t know what to get me this year until I had mentioned how much I liked playing Beck’s djembe. He picks up on little things like that…sees them for what they are.

Am I bragging about my man? Well, yes, I guess so. But everyone of us has the ability to listen and to give attention to the hurting and “woeful” in our lives.

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What Jamie has done is to alleviate some woe, in the gift itself (of course) but more so by showing me how much he cares for me – showing me he listens to what I say, and (sometimes, even more importantly) what I don’t say. No, I didn’t ask for it, but he instinctively knew this is exactly what I need at this time in my life.

I can lose myself in the rhythm as I play. I can literally beat some of the toxic thoughts from my head.  It’s a powerful thing. It’s as much medicinal as the tablets I am taking for this condition. But, it took my Love Doctor to prescribe it for me (forgive me, I know, that’s a bit on the cheesy side…but, true nonetheless).

While I play, the roaring lion of despair sleeps. I’d recommend one for anyone with depression, as a form of music therapy.

My happy place.

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Just The Thought Of Me (or “Why I Believe In Miracles”)

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My day was made this morning when my husband texted me from work to let me know that the thought of me had, well, turned him on (I won’t share the exact verbiage for those with more sensitive sensibilities…suffice it to say, his jeans were a bit tight).

Later, when I met him in town, I was delighted to see “that look” in his eyes when he caught sight of me walking toward him; “that look” is just something that is impossible to fake.

It amazes me. We’ve been married nearly nine years. And, as so often happens with men, he has aged well…while, as so often happens with women, I have not (it isn’t fair, I know…it’s life). To have him still (genuinely and sincerely) think of me that way, to have just the thought of me causing him to feel that way…well, WOW. It doesn’t make sense. It defies logic. It’s awesome, and I am soooo blessed! If I didn’t already believe in miracles, this would do it.

The Little Girl with the Big Voice

End of music (well the industry, that is) announced at the Grammy Awards. How do we feel about this one, eh?

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I remember, when I was young – when I was the little girl with the big voice – I would sit and watch the Grammy’s every year, picturing myself receiving award after award… writing my acceptance speeches in my head.

 

When the years went by and I was never properly discovered by anyone with the power to do something about the little girl with the big voice and I just became that young woman with the interestingly deep voice (whoa, run-on sentence there), I kept hope alive somewhere inside me, but slowly, over time, and with age, it shrivelled up while never fully dying.

 

Now, realising “I had a bottle full of dreams…” (you know the rest, or hopefully you do, if NOT, click the link!) – I have accepted that it would be a major achievement just to fight for any and all crumbs I can get, and make the most of my talent where and when I can, and hopefully make some money at it (because I can’t do anything else) while touching people with my music (which is, ultimately more important than the money, but I do need to eat). Again, just a dream, really. The dreams get tinier and tinier and still they seem impossible. Sad.

 

I’m old. I’m tired. I’m still dreaming… but I know I fight a losing battle. And, I guess that’s the way it is with something you love so much, something that is SO much a part of the fabric that makes you you that you cannot for a moment separate you and the music – you just CAN’T let it go. Even though you know you should give it up, you can’t do it…it’s like cutting out your own heart. And, I see those who never dreamed they would be something in music, being HANDED a career on a flippin’ silver platter – and that is hard. I wish them well, I bear them no ill will… but people need to understand, it is extremely hard for me to take. Especially when I know I’m just as – if not more – talented. The little girl cries, “IT’S NOT FAIR!” And, it isn’t. Life isn’t.

 

Part of me thinks… YAY, let the industry end. I never made it the old way, and I’m not making it the new-fashioned, digital way either. I think, “Let music just be music, made by and for those who love it, in homes by the fireside, shared with those close and dear. But let the industry, and their unfairness, double-standards and hopelessness (for artists like me), go ahead and die.” But then, the little girl with the big voice (and the even bigger delusions) rears her head and hopes in vain (and in pain) for the career and the recognition and the accolades she will never have, and I know that regardless of whether the music industry is dying, there is one that most certainly needs to die: the little girl needs to die.  

 

Alas, I just don’t know how to kill her off.  😦

I Cannot Defy Gravity, BUT…

…it appears I can defy logic. I’ve been contemplating this post (or one like it, lol) for days now, editing and re-editing in my mind, wondering exactly how much to say, what wording to use.  When I saw that two of my biggest blog fans were having withdrawls (they posted on my fb wall, encouraging me to post), I knew I just needed to stop the deliberation, stop it and WRITE. This was punctuated by my husband saying to me before going out to indulge in creative endeavour that he, too, felt that I should do something creative while he was out taking pictures. One of his helpful suggestions was blogging. So, here I am…

One thing I have never been is average.  Average equates boring to me. I’ve never tried to avoid average, really. I just don’t “do” average; it’s simply not me. However, as a woman gets older, even a woman who is not your a-typical multi-tasking, shoe-loving, shopping-adoring, sex-avoiding type, the worries of becoming your average middle aged frump-bag can arise.  I am in no way a natural beauty to begin with (what you see in photos and when I appear on stage or out in public takes work, I tell you). But, feeling beautiful, attractive, etc… for someone with a rejection complex, this, this need to be and feel desirable, it is an issue. And, getting older can radically mess with one’s psyche. 

Now, I know what some of you will say to me: “Autumn, really, you should not be concerned with such things. They are trivial, they are shallow.  And, shouldn’t it be enough that your wonderful husband tells you that you are beautiful?”  Hmm… well…  let’s analyze.  As I say, I have issues, and somewhere inside of me I need to know I am attractive. It can be argued that this is a flaw, a weakness. That may very well be. But, I am honest enough to admit, yes, the affirmation makes me feel...better. Yes, it’s like medicine. And, I like being medicated, hehe. Add to that, I am extremely grateful that my husband, indeed, (still) does find me attractive (I know how blessed I am that this is so), but, although I know that he doesn’t just tell me that because he loves me or because he feels obligated to do so (in other words, he doesn’t just tell me to make me feel better about myself, he sincerely believes it), sometimes I have a mental block in that area and assume that he is simply being very kind because he does love me. 

However, all it takes is a few well-placed, un-fished for, sincere, and completely illogical compliments coming from a totally surprising source and – suddenly – I look in the mirror, still see the rolls and the grey hair…BUT… I feel beautiful.  I am defying logic, because someone took the time to defy logic and actually think I am attractive enough to say so. 

Suddenly I think… well, so and so is younger than me…by quite a bit… have they been drinking? No, hmmm…  no alterior motive?  Nothing to be gained at all…other than a great big smile from a middle aged woman.  It’s not logical.  Not at all.  And, then, suddenly I think…(I am over-using the elipsis, I know…no, that’s not what I suddenly think…but, I am over-using the elipsis…I digress…anywho…) perhaps Jamie isn’t just trying to make me feel better about myself – it causes me to re-evaluate: perhaps, I’m really not that bad. Perhaps, I’ve still got it!. In fact, Jamie loves it when he notices other men looking at me with an admiring eye. He gets to turn to me and tell me, “I told you so. You are gorgeous, accept it.”  Often, I just laugh this off as a fluke… like, well, if someone thinks I look good, they must be a bit mental. Then Jamie tells me to stop putting myself down and just accept the compliment. He grins that know-it-all grin when he sees someone flirting with me. While I think it defies logic, he is thinking, “See, woman! I’m not making it up! Now will you believe me?!?!” I must say, when it comes to this, I am a bit thick-skulled. I don’t know why. It’s not like I am a particularly logical person…so why should this bit of illogicalness boggle my mind so much?  But, it does. It defies logic. And, I love it!

So, what am I saying here? I don’t know, maybe this is a simple lesson in self-esteem and self-confidence as it applies to body image and aging.  More likely, I just wanted to share something priceless that makes me smile and feel good…good enough to blog about. Perhaps I am telling the young men who might be reading this that if they honestly find an older woman attractive (whether or not they are a taken older woman), they should tell them. It’s not about getting something. It’s not about a come-on. It’s about giving that woman a priceless gift.  Don’t do it unless it’s sincere (she’ll know the difference); do it only if you genuinely think it. But, please, don’t be afraid to do it. You will make more than that woman’s day – you will bless that woman’s psyche. Suddenly, she is defying logic…

and, you know what? Defying logic feels like defying gravity! 

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