A New Project

First, I want to thank those of you who follow me here on WordPress. I know that many of you here suffer with health issues like I do, and the main reason you follow me is because we have that in common.  I also hope that I have gained fans and followers of my music, so much of which comes straight out of my struggles with my illnesses. First and foremost, I am a musician.  That’s where my heart is and, really, if you don’t want to hear/read me ramble on about my music and why you should listen to it (and support independent artists in general), you pretty much shouldn’t be here (just sayin’ it like it is). So, saying that, I want to go on to say that I really do appreciate my readers, watchers and listeners, and sincerely hope you will stick with me.

**(For those of you who would rather watch and listen to a vlog version of this post, here you go…otherwise, keep reading.)** 

Inspiration has struck for doing a series of posts about obscure/independent/unsigned musicians (other than myself), in an effort to make more people aware of the talent that is out there amongst us lesser knowns.  So, I am beginning ‘Project: Now Hear This (Music & Musicians You Should Know)‘ in order to spotlight the treasures that dwell amongst you.  Because, they are worth knowing about.

Now, in doing this, I know that musical tastes vary immensely.  But, I will try to provide something for everyone…well, for most people, anyway (if you like grunge metal, move on now). Thus, I will have categories for genres, so that if you really aren’t interested in a certain genre, you can skip that one if you must.  However, I encourage you to check out all the artists that I will be sharing over the coming posts; you may surprise yourself by finding you like something in a genre you never could imagine liking.  Hey, it happens all the time.  Music is like that, and so many of my fellow artists cross genre barriers all the time (I do it on purpose).  So, don’t count something or someone out just because you’ve never liked a particular genre before. Try to keep an open mind, and heart!

Now, this is simply an introductory post to whet your appetite for what I plan on sharing as an ongoing series – an advertisement for future posts, as it were (I’ve also written it for myself, in order to solidify the inspiration and importance of doing this) . So, as I say, stay tuned. Watch this space. And, get ready to Now Hear This!

It’s A Borderline Thing

wpid-20150704_201506.jpg

So, yesterday’s post got me into some trouble with a friend. I wouldn’t have wanted to deliberately disturb or hurt my friend, of course.  But, hey, it does seem to be a borderline thing. We lose friends like leaves falling off trees.  It’s not easy being green and it isn’t easy being (and staying) a friend to a squishy brainer. People that don’t suffer with these conditions tend to misinterpret the actions of a borderline.  At first, it made me question whether I should be so open in this blog.  But, I appreciate knowing I’m not alone when I read other bloggers on here who also struggle with mental illness.  One blogger that I follow has shared things I haven’t dared share (they would make my friend run a mile – or several miles, in fact, and put up a giant wall and maybe get attack dogs), but I so appreciate that she has written of these things, because I can identify, and it’s a comfort to know I’m not alone in going through the situations she’s written so frankly about.

 

I’m happy to report that I didn’t lose this particular friend.  He’s decided to stick around for now, and hopefully long term.  But, I think I explained myself poorly last night when he came over and confronted me about what he felt to be ’emotional blackmail’.

 

All the borderlines are now nodding their heads.  This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  We get accused of being emotionally manipulative.  We are extremely emotional, our feelings are overwhelming. And, when we can either no longer keep the mask in place and hold them in, or we simply choose – like on this blog – to express how we feel and what we are going through, it makes “the normals” uncomfortable and many feel they must rationalise it by accusing us of being this way just to control them. But, while I can’t speak for my fellow borderlines, I can say that I never intend to manipulate another person, and I feel that if THEY feel manipulated, then that’s more THEIR hang-up than mine. I’m sharing how I feel, not to get something out of anyone else, but to rant and rage at life as it is.  Sure, it’s great if the regular non-squishy brain types find the blog informative, if it dispels some stigma, if it softens a few negative opinions about those of us who struggle with chronic pain and mental illness, but that’s not the main reason I blog. This is my place where the mask can come off. And, yes, sometimes, the gloves come off, as well.  This my place to be brutal.  But, it’s not a brutality aimed to hurt anyone – it isn’t malicious, even when I am furiously angry at life – well, it might be malicious toward life itself, yes.  But, it isn’t a maliciousness aimed against any person in order to try and get my way.  It’s just me having a place to talk, to really talk, to bring it out in the open instead of suffering with it in silence.

 

So, some points:

1. When I post here, the farthest thing from my mind is how what I’m saying may pressure you into doing something for me. Again, if you feel that way, it might be an issue of your perception.  What it is NOT is my manipulation!

2. When I post here, as uncomfortable (or, in some cases, impossible) as it may be for some to understand, this is where I am right now. It isn’t something I chose. I am going to repeat that: it isn’t something I chose. The question is, should I choose to openly share about it.  And, as I say, that’s what I’ve been asking myself today: should I continue to post my experiences and feelings and how chronic illness, and life itself, affects me?  Or, should I stop?  Should I bury it.  Never expound on it. Only refer to it in songs that people can either ignore or choose to interpret in another way? This sounds harsh, but is your comfort more important than mine? I’m honestly – and, without malice – asking the question.

3. No, I don’t want to feel the way I do all the time, but I don’t think that my mental illness necessarily makes me wrong all the time. I do see a lot of things very differently, yes.  But, I’m not convinced that just because my brain is squishy means everything I think is messed up.  I am a creative person, and expressing myself here is an outlet, an unleashing and releasing.  It helps me, and sometimes it helps others, too.

 

So, maybe it’s a situation of, take the good with (what you consider) bad.  And, realise, this blog isn’t some sort of agenda to get my way.  It isn’t an act to get attention.  Sometimes, yes, it IS a cry for help (I’ll give you that one), and – though it might really scare you – I’m not alone in how I think and feel; there are many of us here.  We are sorry if we make you uncomfortable or feel threatened, but try not to judge or blame us – if you want to blame anything, then, like us, blame life, and rage against it a while with us, because it really is a bastard.

 

In other news, (pardon this bit of shameless plugging) I updated my bandcamp page, doing some sound edits, improving some bits here and there, and it’s all there waiting for you to discover. Now, shall I emotionally blackmail you to check out my music? Ha ha, ’tis a joke.  I want people to like my music and download it because they like it, not because they feel like they’ve been railroaded into buying something they don’t really want.  If you like the music, YAY. I work hard on it, and it is the very deepest expression of my soul.  And, yes, like all independent musicians, I can use all the support I can get.  So, if you haven’t checked out my music yet, give it a go.  If you’ve checked it out before, why not take another listen to see if there’s anything new you might have missed.  Oh, yeah, and of course, I could really use the validation. :p  There I go again. 😀

 

Here’s just one of the songs you’ll find there… listen:

 

 

 

Stronger Than I

image

My period of prolific (obsessive) blogging over, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here.
I presently have the flu. It’s hit at a lousy time (is there ever a good one?). It’s half term; the kids are off school. So, rest when I really need it isn’t happening, and fever and congestion isn’t making my ability to function any improved. It’s also more difficult to keep the rage in my head at bay. My fuse gets considerably shorter, less able to cope. All in all, coming down with something always feels like taking several steps back.

I’m weary and worn, but I was weary and worn before, so I’m…yeah, not good. And…now the kids are fighting again… oh joy. No strength…to go play referee.

Back after playing referee, giving out yellow cards (sending them to their rooms, away from each other and my aching head), and now I want to cry, but I have no energy to do so.

Sigh.

What now? It’s all so frustrating and messed up. I count my blessings, I practise meditation, but I’m not holding back the tide…it’s running me over, considerably stronger than I am.

Oh, and as I write this on my phone, it rings…another call I won’t answer. This time from “unknown caller”. Stronger…

Oh yay, they’re (the kids) are whining and talking back to me again. Stronger…

I want to crawl into a hole and go to sleep forever. Stronger…

And, I still want to cry…

So much stronger than I.

Afternoon Sex

image

There’s something so decadent about afternoon sex. Sex any time of day or night is great, but there’s something extra luscious about doing it in the middle of the day.

Just saying.

I didn’t think I’d blog today, but here I am. Lately, posting seems to be a bit of a compulsion. Perhaps it’s because I know I have readers. Or, maybe it’s because I’m a compulsive person, and blogging is the flavour of the month.

Yesterday was frosty. Today is windy. We made it to Leicester – and my psych eval – buffeted by the wind. I wouldn’t have made it there if my husband hadn’t gone with me…

I’ll get back to that. I’ve been interrupted by the loud next door neighbours. An argument. Sounds nasty… verbally abusive. Not an argument – a fight. Sad. I don’t know why I share it here. I guess I just want to include you, my readers, in the horror of the moment.

Right…the worst of it appears to be over with now. Leicester. Wind. Evaluation. Was ok. I have to go back next month. Then, if they think psychotherapy would be helpful for me, I’ll be put on the waiting list. If approved for the therapy, it means a trip into Leicester every week. I’m not keen on that (because I’ll have to make it there and back on my own, a potentially devastating experience). But, help I am keen on.

It was good to talk. She said I was very avoidant. Yeah, definitely. But, it was good to have a professional say it. Just as it was good, in a way, to finally be diagnosed with borderline. It’s like…yeah…ok…it’s a thing, not just my own evaluation of myself.

So, yeah. I guess, “to be continued”, that.

When my husband and I got back… well. There’s one thing I never avoid. I’m not certain why anyone would…but, I’m not beating that drum today. Grab pleasure where pleasure is to be had. A good feeling, release. In the midst of all that is wrong, I’m grateful for the things that aren’t. Music. Books. Sex. Not necessarily in that order. All different types of therapy. And, anything that helps me bear this screwy existence, hey…I tend to sing its praises.

Take “The Bear’s” Advice

wordsofautumn

I saw this today on Twitter.

I immediately “favourited” and retweeted it.

And, I think it applies to blogging, too.

If I start to water me down just so I can get a few more followers, then shame on me! When I begin to care more about the statistics of my blog and tailoring it to reach a certain demographic or making it palatable to a wider audience, it is no longer an expression of myself…which is, generally, what this blog is about.

So, my advice to new bloggers? Take a page out of mine and @Laughbook’s book and be true to yourself.  Blog like nobody’s watching, reading or judging. Just blog!

I can explain it to you…

Image

Do you ever feel like a radical whirlwind, like a tempest? A force of nature. A force with which to be reckoned. I do. I really do. Sometimes.

However, most days I feel more like an anaemic breeze, just a whisper of a wind, fighting to be heard – to be understood  – above the clamour.

Image

Most days we can talk and we can blog until we’re blue in the face, but people hear only what they want to hear and see only what they want to see, and their preconceived notions and judgements make us incomprehensible to them.

So, why do we keep fighting this losing battle? Why do I?

I’m a glutton for punishment.

Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus that God would open the eyes of their understanding. No one will ever be convinced by debate or argument (no matter the passion of the debater nor how well-informed and educated the argument is). Arguments are never won, regardless the eloquence of the words or the intelligence of the one who speaks/writes them. They (the arguments/debates) can be conceded and defaulted, and you can live to beat someone over the head with your club another day. But, until the other person “sees” it, there will be no convincing them. This is a matter of revelation. The aha! The epiphany. And, you can pray for people to have that, but you can’t make them have it.

I can explain it to you. But I cannot understand it for you. If you are determined not to get me, you won’t.  And so, to get along, to function in society, we agree to disagree. Or, we don’t, and wars (big and small) ensue. But, what if we all prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be opened and enlightened? What might happen then? What if we were no longer incomprehensible? What if we all really understood?

Food for thought? Or me just beating the drum again…

Behind The Mask

We all wear masks. Sometimes you run into people who are convinced they want to see the real you. I always suspect this is like the person who says, “I really do want to know how you are”, but always ends up regretting asking the “how are you?” question if you are indeed honest with them about how you are doing. The only ones that can handle the people we are behind the masks we wear are the individuals who genuinely love us.

Only in the safety of real love can we begin to take the off our masks and confidently be ourselves with someone else. And, when I say love, I mean real lovebeyond a superficial affection that can change with the wind: love is a real, unchangable force. You either always love a person, or you never loved them at all. Love is constant. You can fall in and out of infatuation, you can fall in and out of lust, you can fall in and out of friendship, but you cannot fall in and out of love. And, anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves and everyone else.

The truth is, while we do wear masks to protect ourselves, we wear them just as much to protect the other people around us. Most people simply cannot cope with who we really are.

What are some of the masks you wear?

Sometimes a mask becomes so much a part of us that we begin to even accept ourselves better with the masks on. Most people don’t like themselves, let alone love themselves, so it can become easier to be fake with yourself, as well. I know I do it. Vulnerability and authenticity – even with oneself – don’t always come easy. However, most of the time, I am rather brutally honest about my warts and all – to myself, anyway – and I’ve chosen to be painfully honest in this blog. As one blogger I admire puts it, “put away your rainbow and be real.” I think it’s nearly as annoying to be superficially positive all the time as it is to be genuinely negative 100% of the time.  I don’t sugarcoat much of anything. I can afford to be rather transparent. But, I assure, I have protected you from a lot that is me. I notice that when I do dare to share a bit more of who I am, it isn’t well-received. People just ignore it all together because…as I say, they can’t handle it.  If it doesn’t compute, if it makes your brain go tilt, if it isn’t really relatable to a wide audience, then it doesn’t make for the best blogging fodder, does it? Certainly, the number of likes I get on some posts, as opposed to the total lack thereof on others, confirms my theory. Then, I always end up coming back to the question, “Why do I blog?” To answer that question I must go back to the tagline I wrote when I started this blog.

While I’d love to touch a wider audience, this blogging experience is for me to express…MYSELF. Whether YOU can handle it or not, whether you like it or not.  I do this for the sake of the fragile, broken, wreck of a person behind the mask.

No One Else But Me (Behind The Mask)

Take it off

Put it down

All of these pretences

Curious?

Do you want to know

Who dwells behind the defences?

You should walk away

You should understand

The walls are there to protect you

Just as much as they are there to protect me

Behind the mask, behind the mask

There’s nothing you want to see

Behind the mask, behind the mask

There’s nothing you want to be

Behind the mask, there’s nothing left but me

Nothing else but me

Look at me

Feel the pain

And all that longs for freedom

Can you stand

To hold my gaze –

The anguished eyes of the broken

Please don’t walk away

You should understand

The walls come down only by love

Take that chance and you’ll find out

Oh, you’ll learn

You must learn

Behind the mask, behind the mask

There’s all that’s left of me

Behind the mask, behind the mask

Desperate to be free

Behind the mask, just scared to be

No one else but me

 – © Autumn Dawn Leader