The One Thing

The one thing that I like about myself, the one and only thing I am good at, is the one thing I can’t get people to take notice of.

The discouragement is immense.

And, it makes a person question themselves. Terribly.

Yesterday, my youngest daughter (who also suffers from BPD and struggles with controlling her emotions and knowing her worth) came home from school in floods of tears. She was sobbing uncontrollably because she hadn’t received an award for anything when every one else in her group of best friends had received recognition for something. Many of the things the others had got an award for were things I have been told by her teachers are things in which she, herself, highly excels. She came out of the school yard, wailing, ‘I’m rubbish. There’s nothing I’m good at doing.’

I know it isn’t true. But, when everyone else in your circle has been publicly  recognised and you haven’t, one begins to doubt themselves, no matter how many times one has been told how great they are at something.

I took her home and showed her BBC Introducing, where I have submitted many of my best tracks. All of which they have refused to play, while other musicians with equal – or even less – talent get featured by them. I asked my daughter if she thought I was rubbish at singing and writing songs. She responded, ‘No! Of course not, Mummy.’ I pointed out that, by her logic, I must be rubbish. I hadn’t been played on the radio while these others had.

I made my point which ended up with her saying, ‘BBC Introducing is stupid!’

Just because others get the recognition you don’t doesn’t mean you’re not just as deserving, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t just as good as the others (or, better). Life – and school and bloody BBC fucking Introducing – just isn’t fair. And, it sucks. But it doesn’t mean we’re rubbish.

But, it’s one thing to preach this to someone else and quite another to believe it yourself.

I’m struggling. So, thank you, Life, for once again being a bastard. Thank you, school, for overlooking my daughter’s achievements. Thank you, BBC Introducing, for not actually championing talented and unique independent musicians like you say you do. Thank you, all, for making people feel worse about themselves. You’re doing a great job!

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The World As I Know It

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Most of the time I feel like a frightened, helpless little girl or, more often lately, a frightened, washed up, helpless old woman.  I realise what I have never felt like – what I’ve never been – is a confident, capable adult.

This is not just me being too hard on myself again. I’ve really never been a functioning adult. As a child, I craved adulthood, thinking that that was where the respect lay. Adults made things happen. But, in reality, of course, the respect we think we see adults receive when we are children is just an elaborate deception; it doesn’t exist. And adults only make things happen if and when they can. It’s not just a given that comes with age. But, adults do function and are capable of independence.

I find I missed adulthood altogether. It may be a BPD thing. Whatever it is, it’s painful. I struggle with it everyday. As I try to be a parent. As I try to be successful in music. As I try to traverse the wild and winding road of human interaction and relationships. I struggle.  And, again and again, I fail miserably.

Take care of me. Shut this world out. I need a blanket. I need a hand to hold and walk me across the street. Everything is too much. I’m overwhelmed. Make that phone call for me, PLEASE. I can’t do it myself. Love me, coddle me, make over what I do. Fucking HELP ME! I’m weak and frail and broken and too young and too old and too me. And, it hurts and I just want to hide and sleep and someone to wake me up when it’s all easy, or else don’t wake me up at all.

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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I Am Not A Failure…

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I am a fish out of water.

We wouldn’t say that a fish was a failure for not being able to breathe air and deal with life out of the water.

For many years I have called myself a failure for my inability to deal with life. But, I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s not the fish’s fault that it can’t cope with life out of the water. It simply isn’t equipped to function in the air.

Of course, I hear you say, we would call the fish a failure who couldn’t breathe water and swim. You would say that I should be able to cope with life but, because I can’t, I’m a failure. And, perhaps you’re right. But, consider, you may not be. I may truly not belong in this world.

You can continue to call me a failure. I just won’t listen and won’t be calling myself a failure anymore. I know I don’t belong in this world and no matter how hard I try, like a gasping fish, to succeed at this life, it’s not going to happen. I’ve tried. And, you know, I haven’t been able to do it. I have not failed. I just haven’t been able to do it because I’m not equipped to.

The Ghost

wpid-20150731_153858.jpgShe didn’t sit in the dark corner of the room; she sat right in the middle, and a few, sensitive souls, acknowledged her existence.  Some of those less sensitive were aware of something there, but her presence only made them feel uncomfortable, while others ignored her entirely.  She haunted the room, alone and out of place. The one that has no place to belong to.  Neither here, nor there.  She spoke if spoken to, aware of her own out-of-placeness. But, where do you go when you don’t fit anywhere and, yet, aren’t allowed to leave and go to nowhere?

It’s true, she chose to haunt this place on this night.  It’s where the music was. And, she sang and played with the living, because the dream can’t rest any more than she can.  And, yet, the dream is as much a ghost as she is. And again, some listened, some heard and shied away, others laughed, and others ignored.

At times, she pretended she was happy, and that the space around her wasn’t empty.  She had finished with skulking in the corners, choosing instead to fill the centre of the room.  Let the living cling to the corners for a change.

She is me.

I don’t live. And, I’m not dead. I just exist. A lonely ghost. Out of the corners and poltergeisting the middle of the room.

Limitations Vs. Boundaries

When existing with a disability or chronic pain and illness, one is constantly aware of one’s limitations. The word ‘limitation’ has a negative connotation. I, suppose, I am perceived as a pretty negative person.

Cynical, perhaps. In a very real way, broken and defeated. But, I’m not what I’d call negative but, rather, realistic. Some might call that delusion. Again, I see it differently. And, I’m beginning to see the hindrances I suffer as boundaries rather than limitations. There. A positive spin.

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The Best Friend Boundary
Other people have “besties”, “BFFs”, whatever. I can’t seem to get and keep one of these. It can bother me. Make me feel like I’m not good or lovable enough to have one of these. I know, intellectually, it’s a problem with life and other people (but, mostly just life being the bastard it is), and not because I’m somehow unworthy to have a best friend. It’s just a boundary, with a high wall that can’t be scaled. No answers. No solutions. It is what it is.

The Success Boundary
If success was measured by producing good music, writing brilliant songs and having a beautiful voice, then I’d be extremely successful. But, we all know, success, when it comes to any talent and art, is measured by fame and money. Here lies the boundary I cannot cross. I take comfort in the beauty and virtue of the music I make. It doesn’t pay my bills, however.

There are other boundaries, of course. The Physical Health Boundary, the Mental Health Boundary. These edges I cannot cross. These confinements I must work within.

I do the best I can. And, any small victory is a huge triumph.

One day, life will stop its twisted game with me…death may be longer in coming than I want it to be, but it will have the last word. Until then…like adventurers before me, I explore the boundaries.

By Any Other Name (a big decision to make)

wpid-20140719_163024_20140720144052585.jpgI remember a long time ago when a publishing company wanted my mother (author and artist Ginilou DeMarco) to write her books under a non de plume (for the slightly less aware, an alias; for the just plain stupid, another name), she didn’t want to do it, and I couldn’t blame her. Part of having talent and sharing it is getting the credit for it as yourself. But, more and more I’m thinking that maybe, just perhaps, that is our ego talking: our bodies have these names, but our souls do not. And, so… I am considering releasing my next album under another name.

I love my name.  I always have.  My name is cool. It used to be very unique.  It isn’t anymore.  Unique, that is.  It is still cool (but, of course, I am biased).  I was proud of my name even back when people never got it right because only a very small handful of people had named their child “Autumn” (much less “Autumn Dawn” – I believe, I was the first…I may be wrong.  But, of all the Autumn Dawns I have subsuequently found out about, I am the oldest…making me the original since 1974) and I got called every other name starting with A instead of my name. Or, worse (and this still annoys me to this day, because I still get it occassionally), they would call me only by my middle name.  Ugh.  My name is Autumn Dawn.  Or just Autumn. It is NEVER “Dawn”!!!

In learning soul consciousness versus body consciousness (the internal and eternal as opposed to the external and temporary), I know that while this is my present name, it is not, however, who I am. This body’s name is Autumn Dawn, but I am a soul. And, the thing is, my music has never been successful under this name.

Now, the talent maybe associated with my body, I know.  But, creativity is a spiritual quality, an aspect of the eternal identity, the being or soul. And, specifically, music is definitely a spiritual thing.

So, these are my reasons for considering a release in another name.  Authors do it all the time (when they want to), and look at Prince, or the artist formally known as, Symbol, or whatever he is calling himself and releasing his music under these days.  And, many musical artists chose from the first to go by another name.  Of course, I know, Prince may not be a perfect example here, because he was successful as Prince…  but, yeah… anywho. Hopefully, you see my point.

While I am proud of my lovely name and proud of my gift (music), it isn’t much of a gift if it isn’t getting the exposure and getting out there.  A gift should be giving.  I have tried.  I have failed and failed and failed.  Well, “Autumn Dawn” has failed and failed anyway.

Thus, this serious consideration to release an album under another name (not sure what just yet).  I would really very much like to hear what other people (you, my readers) think about this.  Talk to me.  I’d appreciate some feedback here.  It’s a big decision.