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?

The Treasure of Pleasure

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Poor health can make one always look on the darkest side, and cultivating an awareness of pleasure can end up lost in a world of pain and suffering. So, in an effort to cultivate that awareness, as part of a mindfulness practice, here is a list – in no particular order – of 10 pleasurable things I have experienced today:

1. String resonance
2. The smell of mint and tea tree shower gel
3. A friend I can talk to about anything
4. Orgasm
5. The taste of coffee that felt like liquid velvet in my mouth
6. The scent of my son’s hair
7. Tender and passionate kisses
8. ‘Krave’ cereal
9. Watching ‘Interstellar’
10. Discovering the game ‘Blendoku’

It isn’t about some positive thinking nonsense of ‘accentuating the positive’ but, rather, noticing the pleasurable, taking delight in the delightful. Being mindful of anything at all that is nice, or just isn’t crappy. It’s easy to notice the shit, because it’s loud and obnoxious. The nice stuff can be there, but soft and subtle. Therefore, it takes looking for it and making over it. And, that’s what I’ve done here.

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.

Stronger Than I

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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.

Answers on a Postcard With My Boobs on It

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I must, I must, I must increase…uh, I mean, I must blog, apparently. The obsession continues. What is this now? The fifth day in a row I’ve posted? Something like that anyway.

(The photo is superfluous; nothing to do with this post whatsoever…I just did this picture to post on my Facebook page. I like it, so you get it for free.)

Boobs, you say. Well, you might not say. I said. No, I wrote. Boobs. What about ’em? My husband, a photographer, is versatile in his art. Landscapes. Urban candid. Portraiture. Artistic nude. And, in my time, I’ve posed. It’s NOT one of the things I’m ashamed of.



Jamie sells his work on the website Redbubble. Occasionally a print or t-shirt (he’s designed a few) will sell. Sometimes it’s a card or, indeed, a postcard. Moneywise it’s nothing to write home about. We’re talking pocket change (unless someone buys a large print or, even better, framed print…hint, hint…you know you want one); it’s just nice to have the art seen and appreciated…acknowledged…occasionally liked enough that someone must own a little something of it.



Today, he sold a postcard of his piece entitled Surrendered #1. It happens to be one of those artistic nudes I posed for. It features my…chest features.



I wonder, who bought the postcard? Who will receive it? What message will it carry? How far will my boobs travel? They, most likely, will end up somewhere I have never been.



My visage…my naked form… on a postcard. Royal mail, special delivery. Bonkers!



Warning! Abrupt change in subject (keep up). I feel a shift. Like a bit of darkness lifting. I’ve had more energy today than I have in months (one of the results being that photo (not the booby one; the one on this post…so, ok, it does have something to do with this post after all); if I didn’t feel better I couldn’t have gotten in that position .  Maybe, I don’t know…could I be getting a bit of a remission, a reprieve, here? Please. Oh, I would be grateful. Not holding my breath – just like when I feel wretched, it is what it is. It’s a mistake to spend precious energy in thinking too much about it…even to hope. It. Is. What. It. Is.



Hmm…bad pun warning…   Wouldn’t you say this post is rather…titillating? And, with that pun intended, I’ll leave you to contemplate “answers on a postcard”.























Then Again

After my earlier post, I did psych myself up for going out of the house after all. I played a little Ingress, as my husband suggested. The fresh air felt good. Seeing people didn’t feel good. But, I didn’t see anyone I had to talk to. It was uncomfortable, but bearable.

I came home and ate some lunch. I still feel like shit. But, it’s an accomplishment. It’s something.

My husband praised me by saying, “Good girl.” Then he went on to text that, yes, he’s allowed to call me “girl”. Ha.

He is. Allowed, that is. But, I still feel (and look) so old, tired, worn.

I thought of texting a friend that last year I spent a good deal of time with, but since Christmas we’ve had little contact. I think she’s better off without me. I have little to say, little to contribute to her right now. She has other friends…and, I’m hard to understand. Well, I’m either hard to understand (myself) or I spend mass amounts of energy faking being something else. And, right now, I have no energy to spare.

I… well, as I say, it is what it is.

Withdrawing

My husband encourages me to get out of the house. But, I can’t bring myself to. Oh, just a walk would be nice, and I could play Ingress (blowing up things, even if it is only virtually, can be therapeutic). After all, as my husband suggests, no green butt will be kicked if I’m at home not willing to get off my blue butt. However, it’s not that I’m not willing or feeling lazy… I followed the plan (see yesterday’s post): after the school run, I sat at my piano, played and sang. Then, I even did some proper vocal exercises and, after that, played my flutes (all three of them, so none would feel left out…no, not at the same time, silly…one at a time).

Now I sit with a fortifying cup of hot chocolate and consider going out.

It’s that I might run into someone I might have to talk to. I can’t bear any social interaction at the moment. I feel nothing within myself that I can call upon to face the inevitable human contact that would occur if I went very far out my (rented) door. My mind reels with the frightful thought. The school run is bad enough, but I have to do that…I have no choice about it.

As I said in my last post, I have been withdrawing even more than my natural rather hermity state. No Facebook. No texting to reach out to anyone who has been considered a friend to maybe meet for coffee or whatever.

I told my husband that at least I’m not hurting or bothering anyone.  They’re certainly ok without me. I know he’s worried about me being ok…and we all know that’s the last thing I am.

But, the plan…yes, day 2 successful, music therapy applied…I feel like shit, but also feel like I contributed something just by filling the atmosphere with more than hot air…something beautiful, something that makes sense. Life doesn’t make sense, but making music does.

Yeah, it is a shame no green arse is being kicked and my advance in the game is being halted by my physical, mental and emotional state… but, it is what it is. I wish I felt better, but I don’t. At least, if I can’t find it within myself to “go out”, I’m not going straight back to bed. It’s something.

Music is Therapy. Always.

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The school run rarely runs (no pun intended) smoothly. I struggled, per usual, but I got them there and got myself back to the safe confines of the four walls I live in (I’d have said “my house”, but it’s rented and our financial situation is never going to allow us to own a house…so).

Things with my health have been deteriorating. Go back to the doctor, I hear you say. I’m tired of that. I’ve tried to get better, and just get worse.

I’ve withdrawn. Even more. I avoid Facebook, with the exception of my artist’s page. It’s another outlet. I keep it for that reason; it certainly isn’t good for much else (like promoting my music, which was its original intention).

Facebook. Ugh. Society in general, ugh. But, Facebook? Let’s put all neuroses in a Petri dish, why don’t we? The never ending stream (feed…yeah, and I’m fed up) of depressing human existence. Updates about food and who’s watching what on the telly. And the endless competition for who has the best (and worst) of life’s experiences goes on. It’s fucking overwhelming.

Oh, but you will accuse me of being negative…all the while, the whisper you ignore in the back of your head agrees with me, knows I’m right.

It may surprise you to find out this post is not a rant about Facebook. Where was I?… oh, yeah, the school run was done and I was safe inside the four walls.

After a glass of chocolate milk (with added vitamins), I found myself in front of my piano (it IS mine…not rented, all mine). I couldn’t remember the last time I had played it. I felt I should do something about it. Music is therapy. Always.

I cleared the pile of stuff (clothes, kids’ toys, who knows what else) off the bench. I sat. There was a song I had written (scribbled) in front of me. I played and sang it. My voice is rusty. But, the piano welcomed me like the true friend it is. We touched each other…that’s what musicians and their instruments do. It’s a very intimate thing and surely sounds freaky and pervy to non-musos. Freaky and pervy I can be accused of (I digress), but the relationship between musician and instrument is sacred.

It’s like any other relationship. We let each other down. We please each other when we can. It’s very give and take…on both sides.

After the scribbled song, I played and sang an old favourite. Then, I let the piano play me for a while. Give. Take.

I feel just as wretched and ill as before I sat down, but I feel a little less frazzled; I feel comforted.

Music is therapy. Always.

What’s next? I don’t know. Take it a day at a time. Do what I can…let go what I can’t. And, perhaps, try to play daily, even if only a minute or two. Yeah…it’s a plan.

Why I’ve Decided To Start Wearing Makeup to Bed

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It’s 2015! Yeah, ugh…moving right along (lifegoesonandthatisthetragedy)…I’ve decided to start wearing makeup to bed.

I know, all the beauty advisor types advise to thoroughly cleanse before bed. However, that first sight of one’s face in the morning can set the tone for the whole day.

Now, at the best of times, I’m not a morning person. And, well, now, in my present mentally and physically ill condition, it isn’t the best of times. There’s nothing like waking up and not wanting to wake up and, then, the first thing one sees in the mirror makes one feel considerably worse.

Last night, I wore a small amount of makeup to bed (I’m not suggesting massive go out on the town face here, just enough to look less old and weary and just plain ugh in the morning). I woke up not wanting to wake up, but when actually forced to get out of bed by my bladder, I didn’t cringe away from the mirror; and, when I saw my reflection, it didn’t add to my malaise! In fact, I found that after a bit of wrestling with the cacophony in my head, I could get up, get dressed, wash my face, refresh my makeup and write this blog post. This, instead of not bothering with my appearance at all, slugging about in just a shirt and underwear all day, and getting weepier each time I passed a reflective surface…and definitely not writing this post.

So, this is why I have decided to wear makeup to bed. Because, it just might assist me in getting out of the bed in the morning.