Patina

If you leave sterling silver on its own, to the elements, it will turn black with tarnish. However, if you wear it, it will continue to shine while developing a patina that protects it from tarnishing. There’s a metaphor here. Clouds and their silver linings and such. Life IS the cloud – dark and thunderous and ocassionally viscious with lightning strikes. But, there are shining moments; there are the precious, small, silver victories. I would right a song, but the whole thing is so all over the place that it would be difficult to get the lyrics to coalesce. Instead, what I am going to do is write some prose here. Perhaps the song will come later, but I’m not going to obsess over it.

Last night I suffered a disappointment when a gig was cancelled. Last night I felt shock, this morning I feel discouraged. But, before the malicious pain of life hit me in the teeth again, I had been thinking about some of those small victories. I’d like to wear these, so they will continue to shine in my mind.

Tuesday night at The Y Theatre, my hand being held tightly by a dear friend, the warm glow of both my performance and simply my PRESENCE being appreciated.

Wednesday afternoon coffee with another friend, just because she wanted to come and hang out with me…  and, now I’m crying as I write this, because to me it’s such a major thing, such a precious thing, and I wonder at the pain I feel because of years of being rejected and unfriended, the sheer amazement I feel at someone desiring and choosing to spend time with me. The dam just seems to break and flood me, when what I want is to feel the happiness of this, not the pain of the past or the fear that life won’t allow me to keep such friendship. And so, I dry the tears and compose myself, and write it again: Wednesday afternoon coffee with a friend, just because she wanted to come and hang out with me.

Winning over another mum at the school who used to ignore or avoid me/avoid making eye contact for whatever reason, but now she smiles, waves and says ‘Hi’ when she sees me. Small victory, huge triumph.

These are the things I want to put on and wear around my neck and on my fingers, that their sparkle could be seen in my eyes – could continue to be seen BY my eyes, which now, writing this, fill with tears again. Tears I have to wipe in order to keep typing. There really is a song in this somewhere…

I have another friend who longs for acceptance in a certain place.  I feel so for her and her struggle. She and her husband came over last night after my gig had been cancelled (they had actually been the ones who were supposed to babysit for me so I could do the gig), and we caught up on what’s been going on with them of late. A sad tale, really. Rejection and prejudice has wreaked a toll, and yet she goes back for more. And, even though this woman is so very different from me, I can see myself and the years I threw myself at the walls of various humanity, looking for entrance in their world(s). I have come to see so many other things. I let the rose-tinted scales be ripped from my eyes and, finally, I never went looking for them again. The BPD will often make me start to tilt at those bloody walls again, but I’m quicker now to see the bruises when they start to appear and not keep hurling myself at the same human walls over and over again until, broken and bloody and irrevocably scarred, I limp away with what’s left of my heart. I hear that song again…

I have succeeded in writing this post. See it shimmer , a whisper of light within the hard steel of the grey. Today, let me wear the silver. May I keep on wearing the silver.

 

 

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.

Managing Expectations

Fact: I am a nearly 41 year old woman with serious health issues. One could say my prime left a long time ago.

Another fact: while perhaps somewhat dimished by time, age and illness, I still have a voice worth hearing.

Contrary to some popular belief, I am confident of my ability to sing.  It’s never been in question. I greatly enjoy making music, and it is a wonderful feeling when others appreciate both the gift and hard work that has gone into a performance. The fact that I have had limited success has little to do with talent, and much more to do with wrong place, wrong time and various life situations that kept me from the right connections and being discovered on a bigger scale.

When I was young, I had a dream.  And, I believed that despite all odds and crappiness of life, I would be discovered and have a big musical career.

Decades passed.  Life continued to bombard. But, I also continued developing my craft, and I never stopped making music. Mostly because it is the fabric of who I am. As long as I am forced to live in this world, I will sing and play. And, I will always keep doing it professionally when and where I can. Since moving to the UK, I have been well received, overall. And, I’ve been given opportunities to be heard.  And, in almost every case, as I say, I’ve been very well received and the music has been appreciated.

I’ve done what I could to get the music out there.  Recording a couple of albums for download, and submitting my stuff to places like BBC Introducing.

I was heard by someone from BBC Radio when I played at a meditation centre in Leicester, and he gave me his personal e-mail to send him my stuff, telling me they champion local artists.  I sent him my stuff. Never heard back. Just like I never heard back from the BBC Introducing folks.

This is all to say, I am under no illusions. First, I am under no illusions that I am talented. Bloody well gifted, even. But, when I go on about that too much, I sound conceited.  If, on the other hand. I try to manage expectations about being heard by scouts from The Voice UK and urged to audition for the show, people begin to think I doubt myself. Believe me, I do not. I’m simply being realistic.

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The card I was handed from The Voice scouts.

Since announcing that I had been heard at the Loughborough Acoustic Club by said scouts, and that they told me I have a great voice and they would love me to audition for the show, I have been getting a steady stream of “Oh, I can’t wait to see you on the tele, Autumn; you’ll be great; we’ll vote for you!” comments.

I feel the love, people. And, genuinely, from the depths of my broken heart and contralto pipes, thank you! The support is lovely. Awesome. It makes me feel all warm and shiney. Let’s be clear: I really appreciate it. And, if by some miracle, I make it to the televised voting bit, I’ll hold you all to it.  But, let’s not count our chickens.

There was a time when I would have allowed my hopes to soar. I have learned never to do this again. Not after all these years. Not after all the attempts to “make it”.  Not after the disappointment ravaged my weary soul and left permanent marks I feel every waking moment of every single day.

I’m managing my own expectations, as well as other people’s. It’s all about perspective. Here’s what it is: I sang well (after all, I am good). I was heard and appreciated by a couple of official representitives from The Voice.  I was asked to apply to audition for the 5th series of the show. After giving it some thought (my first being, “this is like 20 years too late for me”), I’ve decided auditioning can’t hurt. Getting a day out in Birmingham and singing to some new people…well, that’s all good.  But, that’s where I expect it will end, as far as the show goes.  Other things may come out of it, or not.  But, I am not even in the slightest going to allow my mind to go to that place where I see myself on that show.  Because, if I do that, and nothing comes of it, it would be another devastating blow to an already destroyed soul.  No, I cannot afford to even entertain the notion.

It’s a day out in Birmingham. I get to sing to new people. And, it’s all good.

This Is What It’s Like

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I want things to be better, I want to get better, and when, instead, things get worse – with my health, with the way I’m feeling – it’s a severe blow. Terrible. It’s life slapping me in the face. Again. It’s pure torment.

“You can choose to be happy and enjoy life.”  What a load of bollocks. You can choose to accept and sit with the pain, as mindfulness teaches. You can choose to escape some of the pain through books, music, sex, other distractions. But, the pain is still there. The struggle is still there. And, it isn’t enjoyable.

On the days that are less intense, I let my hopes rise. But, inevitably, disappointment comes with a vengeance in these times when it’s not only bad, but worse than ever. I let myself think that maybe there could be some freedom outside of death, just to be proven, once again, there is no freedom but death.

Frosty

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Thank you to all of you who are reading my blog. It’s nice…it’s nice to have you here.

Today is a frosty day. The sun is shining, but I’m not going out into the cold (except for the obligatory school runs, of course; today I don’t feel like going out voluntarily). My body hurts with joint and muscular pain, my head isn’t up to the challenge of battling both physical pain and mental anxiety. Thus, here I sit, writing another post.

I appear to be on a roll here, blogging wise. Don’t expect one tomorrow, however. I wasn’t going to write about this, but I have an appointment tomorrow in Leicester (which means getting the train and probably a bus, but my husband is going with me, so I won’t panic…oh, I still might panic or meltdown, but he’ll be there to pick up my pieces). It’s a psychotherapy evaluation. Not a psychotherapy appointment, but an appointment to see if they think psychotherapy would help me. Anywho, yeah…even if I end up wanting to write about the experience, a trip to Leicester will drain me and it isn’t likely I’ll have the energy to post tomorrow.

But, today I have followed “the plan”: get the kids to school and then engage in some music therapy. I began with vocal exercises and then proceeded to play and sing, even looking up the music to some new songs, so as to give the brain something fresh to work on.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. Every night, as I go to sleep, I pray I won’t wake up. Every morning I am disappointed when I’m faced with another day. Couldn’t this time been it? Just fall asleep and have done with it. Rest. But, no… and it rushes at me, bombarding me. Nowhere for me to take cover. This is everyday. But, it’s especially  when I know a day will definitely contain added struggle and suffering.

Perhaps tonight will be the night. I’m always hopeful (which is why I’m always disappointed). But, yeah…not likely. Tomorrow there will be more than frost to face.

Living in Hope

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I don’t clear out my phone often enough; messages sit there for months, years even. Call me a sentimental fool. I hold up my hand and confess.

Today, wrapped in a blanket, feeling physically unwell (as I have for some time), I decide to do a tidy up on my phone. With relative emotional ease, I deleted messages in order to clear space.

Then, I went back into my contacts in order to send a message to my husband. There, in my contacts, was my old friend who no longer wants me in her life.

Awhile back I had deleted her messages, so they weren’t a constant reminder of her absence from my life. But, at the time, and again today, I couldn’t bring myself to delete her from my contacts.

Realistically, I know she might have changed her number by now, but to delete her name out of my phone the way she deleted me from her life… I can’t do it yet. Not today. I still hope that one day she might say hello, might think of the friendship we had…might let go of judgements and assumptions…might just want to laugh and make music with another funny musical soul.

She doesn’t need me anymore. I was surplus. Complicated. And, I became uncomfortable (to her) when I began saying how I really feel and think.

My friend is gone, but I remember and I hope.

Hope is a bitch.

So…

Well, I have to say, I’m disgruntled and disappointed by the lack of response to yesterday’s blog post. I had thought, after the relative popularity of the proceeding post (which was an introduction to yesterday’s), that it would have incited some attention.  Looks like I was wrong again; it certainly hasn’t inspired any conversation, and none of my followers have “liked” it. Hmph.

I lay in my bed today, weary. That kind of  weariness that often hits me, leaving me – as the line in my song says – “dreaming of living, longing for death.”

Ease. What I really long for is a complete ease of being.

I’m so tired. So…

 

No visual today…  you get words, and you get a song.  And, I… I’m going to keep dreaming and longing.