Searching For You

C.S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

This is also why we listen to music. And, ‘if sad songs say so much’, as Elton John has rightly said, then my songs speak volumes.

This post is about me finding the right fan base for my music.  See, I know I’m not alone out there in what I suffer with major depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, suicidal thoughts and everything that goes along with these conditions. In writing this blog, and reading others, I have certain proof that I am not alone. And, yet, we are all uniquely alone in what we individually suffer. My music helps me to express and, in a very magical way, make beauty come from the horrific thing called life/existence. This is my gift. However, in another way, it complicates matters, because, with it, comes the intense frustration, anger, and sadness of not seeming to be able to get my music out there to the people it will most speak to and resonate with.

The thing is, I need a fan base—and I KNOW you’re out there, I’ve even spoken to a good number of you. Now, there are just a whole lot of people who aren’t ever going to like and support my music (even those who rave about my voice and talent), simply because they can’t relate to it.  I need to find those of you who will relate and find some comfort, expression and solidarity in what I do. I know I’m not alone, but I seem to keep pitching my music to the same people who don’t understand what I am going through in my daily life in general. In this way, I need a very specific audience. I know that audience does exist.  And, I truly believe it is an audience that NEEDS a musical voice.

I don’t want this post to just be some advertisement. And, I don’t want it to be me begging for people to check out my music like some sad failed loser of an indie artist. This is simply me putting out a search to see who’s out there in this Blogdom that my music might touch. ‘Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?’

Yes, I know that even for those of us with similar health problems, our musical tastes are not all going to be the same, of course…  but, if you are a music lover, just check my stuff out – if it vibes with you, then great. I do incorporate a wide range of styles in what I write and perform, so there’s a good chance that something I do will hit the spot.

I’ve just released a new studio album for digital download.  No, I am not giving it away for free (giving away my stuff in the past hasn’t helped me gain fans anyway). Musicians have bills to pay, like all craftsmen/craftswomen. I REALLY shouldn’t have to explain this, but in this day and age where musical talent can be faked with software and those of us with real gifts are left in an industry bankrupt and bereft, without a leg to stand on, many of us feel forced to give our lifeblood away in any desperate bid to get noticed. The thing is, most of us literally cannot afford to do it. I cannot afford to do it. Furthermore, it’s worth far more than the modest price I’ve put on it anyway.  I owe it to the other fine musicians and the exceptional producer I worked with to bring this piece of art and labour of love to completion to not just ‘give it away’, as if all our hard work meant nothing. Good music, real music… it costs something.  It costs those of us who make it – it should cost those of you who hear it. It’s part of the deal – it costs us all, but we ALL get so much in return…look at it as an investment. And, finding something you personally can relate to…well, that value cannot be understated or underrated.

So, this album isn’t a freebie, but you can listen to the tracks on bandcamp without paying; however, if you want to own the album and listen whenever and wherever you are, get the special bonus track and extra artwork, as well as support me as an artist (I’ll be eternally grateful), well, then, surely that makes the tiny monetary price a worthy investment.

Thank you for reading and listening. I hope I will hear from you soon.  Most of all, I hope (there’s that four letter word again) my music will reach who will most benefit from hearing it. I’ll finish here and let the songs speak for themselves.

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Compulsion, Obsession and Despair

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I am totally weary to the point of crying. My body aches, my eyes sting and I can’t swallow the lump in my throat. Life sucks and I hate it.

I should just sleep as much as I can, but I am compelled to get out of bed and try – in vain – to promote my music. Again.

Try this. That didn’t work, so try this instead. Try this again. Keep trying.

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Self-promotion is soul destroying. We are encouraged to “get ourselves out there and make it clear we’re here to do business” but, when we do, we’re made to feel like we are harassing our friends and family; we can’t win. We are told to ask for help by people like Amanda Palmer who have successfully crowdfunded their projects. We are told that if they can do it so can we. But, we find the cold truth that some people are simply charmed; they ask and get help, while the rest if us ask and receive nothing.

And here I am now, throwing more rose petals to the wind, ranting to the air in a blog post, feeling desperation and despair.

“I cannot sleep for all these dreams” – Marillion

I know now that I’m not alone in my woe.  I am acquainted with plenty other (excellent) artists in my sad, sinking boat. And, I also know that this situation is NOT an indicator of talent. The world misses out on some of the greatest artists of all time simply because some of those with the most massive talent weren’t blessed with the massive break they deserved.

I sit here in turmoil. Should I spend the energy uploading my stuff to this and that again, in hope that this time my efforts will be worth it? Or, do I take a deep breath and accept that nothing I ever do will work and go back to bed and, at the least, have sleep to show for it?

Gah!

I’m going to be a long time dead. Now is when I have bills to pay and children to feed. I have tried to comfort myself with knowledge that, by recording my music, I have left a legacy for after I’m gone. My kids can say, “Listen! My mum sounded like THIS”. My voice will still be able to be heard. And, on my gravestone they can write, “She tried. She failed. At last, she’s at rest.”

Because, I did try (and masochistically keep on trying); I did ask (and I keep asking) for help; I keep knocking, only to find success behind a locked and bolted door. Excluded. Discriminated against. “This isn’t for you!”

And, I want to not care anymore. I want to accept failure. I want to quit feeling this obsession to keep, sadistically, trying. But, the burning tears running down my face right now prove I’m not close to being in that gloriously apathetic place.

One more time, sitting here, I deliberate over uploading some new stuff to bbc introducing (maybe this time will be different) or just going to the toilet and heading back to bed. At this point, I don’t know which I’ll do. I’ll get back to you on it…or not.

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When The Joke Isn’t Funny

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Life’s a joke. It certainly isn’t funny. But, more specifically, I’ve noticed how pain (mostly physical pain, but emotional pain, as well) affects my sense of humour. It puts a rather large dent in my ability to “take a joke”.

In regards to emotional pain, when there’s a sensitive issue, an insensitive person, believing themselves to be funny, can reduce me to a quivering mass of tears.

Today, I overheard an obtuse and insensitive family member tease my son, joking that he should be sent to National Service until he learns to do as he’s told.

My son’s chronic disobedience is a problem, yes. But, saying this to my 7 year old boy made him very upset. He didn’t find anything funny about it. And, a sensitive and observant person who claims to love my son should know that he fears being “sent away” from home. To him, this was a nightmare, not a joke. So, then, not only was my son terrified by the scenario he couldn’t see as funny, he was then further berated for not being able to take a joke.

Now, if someone looking from the outside only saw this one situation, you might assume my son doesn’t have much of a sense of humour. But, you would be sooooo wrong.

We call him “the funny dude” for a reason. He has had, from a very early age, a grasp on comedy and a highly developed ability to see and share the hilarious. He IS a FUNNY dude. He can make AND take a joke. However, he has a sensitivity (and anxiety) when it comes to the idea that his dad and I wouldn’t be there; a fear that he’s going to be “sent away”. He doesn’t want to contemplate it. There’s no logical reason for him to be scared that we would send him away, but that’s the thing about anxieties and phobias: they don’t follow your bloody reasoning and logic.

The thing is, if there is a raw spot or pain somewhere, the joke (no matter how you see it from your perspective) is not going to be seen as a joke to me or, now I can see, my boy. We will see it as a threat. It is either YOUR threat. Or it is Life’s threat. And, it – Life – has chosen you, you bastard, as its mouthpiece. Life is shit enough without you being an arsehole and causing added trauma.

I believe my boy will grow out of this sensitivity as he gets older and realises that being “sent away” just isn’t going to happen. And, I want him to behave, of course. I want a lot of things for myself in the way of self-improvement. But, your arsehole therapy is NOT going to get us there. Laughter is very good medicine, but it only works to heal us if we’re the ones who are laughing.

Why is there an owl picture with this post? I wanted something cute and cuddly to look at while I ranted.

Painting Pictures in the Air (and other things I do with my time)

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Broadband at the new house is slower than dialup. So, I’m using up my phone data to post this.

My health has been worse lately. To say I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle would sound too cliché, but I’m not sure how else to put it. If the cliché fits and all that…

But, things did take a pretty dark obsessive twist right after the move. I’ve never been good at cleaning or keeping house well. I started to listen to the criticism in my head leftover from a verbal attack on my person from someone who thought they were doing my husband a favour by telling me that I was killing him by not doing enough housework.

Now, like many of us who suffer with chronic ailments, I am not a lazy person. I just only have so many spoonfuls of energy. And, housework is one of those things that drains all my spoons quite quickly, leaving me with a total deficit to then be able to look after the kids and do other things I need to do.

My husband never complained about the house and was not pleased that this person had taken it upon themselves to ‘speak for him’. And, at the time, I ignored it and went on.

But, after the move, the critical words in my head had a voice, and it was the unkind and judgmental voice of this person. For nearly two weeks I wore myself out being a clean freak. Like never in my life, I was trying to keep on top of the housework. And, with nothing but the aching in my sick body leftover, I was sobbing uncontrollably throughout the day and the least bit of stress was sending me to the point of wanting to grab my pills and take every one.

Of course, there was no energy to do the therapeutic things that help me cope with my pain and depression. No time or strength to make music or art other than maybe a quick selfie snapped and put up on Instagram.  There was no energy to enjoy snuggles with the kids. There was no energy to enjoy some sexual healing with my husband. I was too exhausted to even read. I tried to keep up with mindfulness meditation, but even that got, ironically, invaded with thoughts of, ‘PULL YOUR WEIGHT. YOU’RE USELESS. GET UP AND SCRUB THE SURFACES’.

I hated this voice.  And, hated how I was feeling. The anger, the rage came in like a flood. A murderous thing, eating at me. I’d imagine him standing there, while I was scrubbing, and screaming at him to fuck off. But, I kept scrubbing.

Until my husband begged me to stop, that is.

See? Telling this person to fuck off, perhaps not to his literal face, but in my head, is the thing I needed to do. And then, I needed to DO something else.

Because… what I do, my life, my house, my value to my husband and kids, is none of this person’s business.

What do I do with my time? I create. I make pretty things. I make music, which is magic. I take great delight in sex and relish it. Believe me, my husband appreciates this more – would rather have this – than a spotless house.

And, sometimes, I meditate. And, yes, I sleep a lot. I sleep to escape the pain and pressure for a while. And that sleep keeps me going when the waking hours are too much.

So. A surface wiped now and then and a sink full of dishes washed on occasion.  I have opuses to write and pictures to take and pleasure to give and books to read…and, this painful life to endure as long as I can…and it is only by these means I have any chance of doing that.

So. Indeed. Fuck off.

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.

Scattered Bits and Pieces

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I only write today to put down some of what I’m feeling.

Anger.

I suppose this anger has its root in resistance, in wishing things to be other than they are…wishing myself other than I am.

My frazzled, anxious state. I detest feeling this way, but this is the way it is.

Anger at my inability, my disability, dysfunction.

I slightly changed my voicemail message. A while back I recorded a message telling callers, basically, “I don’t make or answer phone calls; hang up and text.” I re-recorded the message today, using my improving accent.

I get a lot of automated calls, so no matter what the message says, it won’t make a difference to those.

Sometimes, I get a call from “private number”.  I wonder who’s on the other end of that line. But, while curious, I don’t spend too much time thinking about it; if they wanted to reach me, they’d text – or, as I said in my re-recorded message today, use a carrier pigeon or send a smoke signal.

I know I’m getting worse, and it makes me want to withdraw more. I dread any social encounter; my nerves are frayed.

A Moment of Silence

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One of those days when it’s all getting to me… and that always amplifies my angst at the shittiness of people not giving a shit and my frustration at the ughness of life.

Well, read the tagline… it is a blog about rants, after all.  I am attempting to live in the present and develop a more positive outlook… through mindfulness meditation I am cultivating awareness, and it is helping. But, in all honesty, I do ride the line of hope and hopelessness. I have moments when I experience a small taste of freedom. Moments of silence, as an observer; moments of not being caught up in my thoughts and the feeling of helplessness and the… the lifeyness of it all and the unfairness of talent going unappreciated, the lack of a caring audience, the inability to do something to support myself and my family through my gift, the agitation and anger at my mental health (or lack thereof and the limitations it causes).  Oh, but…on a sideline, speaking of an audience, I do want to say “hello” and “thank you” to the new followers of the blog I have recently acquired. And, then, there are these other moments of silence. Grieving the dead dream, along with my own longing for death… a deep sadness that creeps around the edges and stains the present old-photograph-yellow. Awareness gets swallowed up in reverie and rumination and the silence is filled with a scream of anguish about…well, about all those above mentioned things and more.

It’s just a moment. 

Only a moment. I won’t stop playing and making music for long. It feeds my soul and even though I can’t “make a living” from it, it is my life. My therapy and expression and, as I said here, I do want to make beautiful things whether or not anybody cares.  No matter what Don McLean wrote, there has never been a day when the music has died. Music lives and is powerful medicine. Dreams die. Musicians die. But music? It’s eternal. And so…

I’ll have my moments (now and then) for grieving the dream, but I will never stop making the music. And, I will also continue to take time for moments of silence where I go beyond the despair of life to experience a level of…something close to enjoyment of the present. Until I, at last, get to finally join my dead dream in rest.

Won’t you join me in a moment of silence?