Thoughts Spilling Out of a Brain Left Ajar – episode 2

A second installment of vlogging from me, wherein you’ll find more frank talk about how I’m really doing.

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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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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.

Little Improvement

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But, improvement is still improvement even if it is only little. I should be pleased with my progress so far, and not beat myself up for the slow going nature of said progress.

I’m speaking of my accent, of course. If you’ve been following my recent posts you will have read of my obsession to rid myself of my native American accent, and replacing it with the tone of my residence. Living in the UK for over a decade now, I had hoped – assumed – that my accent would naturally soften and, by osmosis, I would gradually, but surely, lose the harsh American sound to my speaking voice. Like in so many other things, I’ve been woefully disappointed. After so many years with so little softening, I’ve come to the conclusion that hard work and retraining is the only way to get what I want. But, hard work is what it is. Very hard work.

I have undertaken elocution exercises. And, I am finding, like all physical exercise, it causes me a great deal of pain. My whole head aches with the effort.

Today, after the school run, I decided I would record some of this baby step yet painful progress, with the idea to share it here. I went to the computer…

I haven’t recorded anything since we got a new computer and everything was different. My recording software, the operating system. Different now. I’ve been avoiding recording anything lately because… well, I didn’t have anything desperately pressing on me to record (people still aren’t beating down my door for my music), but more because of the changes to what I was used to and could use well.

The new computer was given to us…and, I’m not ungrateful…but, it hadn’t really been given with helping me out in mind, but more for my husband and the children. Granted our old one was on its last circuity legs, but I was on firm footing with it and it was only that familiarity that allowed me to use it to record two albums and all my singles. It was a crap piece of machinery, but I did do true wonders with it.

So, school run done, I approached the new with trepidation, and…

Autism reared its head and I found myself unable to navigate the changes.

Frustrated and in tears, I walked away from the strange and hostile hardware and software. Talk about your technical difficulties.

Now, I have a voice recorder on my phone, but I can’t, for whatever reason, upload what I record there. I can share it via whatsapp message, but it won’t go anywhere else.

I resorted to downloading the soundcloud app on my phone, so I could use my existing soundcloud account.

After several attempts at getting it right, the above recording is what I settled with sharing here.

What I recorded yesterday, on my phone voice recorder, sounds better…truer. But, this is what I could manage today. It’s one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and one that particularly resonates with me.

Shakespeare is a benchmark, a starting point. The language and rhythm is helpful to mastering the necessary cadence. I know, I’m far from mastering anything here. And, there I go, beat beat beat, smash, hate myself for…

all my inability.

Can I go to bed now, wretched world?  No. Now, it’s nearly time to pick the kids back up from school.

I’ve wasted a whole day. My God, how miserable.

But, even pain sounds better in an English accent. Too bad my pain is simply and acutely painful and doesn’t yet – and might never – have that “better” thing going for it.

I leave you with the Bard and my imperfect voicing of his brilliant words.

All I Am Is Tired

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I don’t like life. The always-struggle. Going to bed exhausted. Waking in pain, still exhausted. The ever-failure. Aching. Longing for rest. For ease.

Yesterday, I posted about my endeavour – my obsession – to rid myself of the despised American accent. Today, I don’t want to have to think so hard before uttering a word. Or, better yet, I’d rather not have to utter a word – or a breath – at all.

My body is exhausted. My soul is weary. All I am is tired. I have nothing to give today but pain and frustration. No energy even to scream MAKE IT STOP. No energy left to finish this post…

On the Tip of my Tongue

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So, the mad compulsion to blog has lifted; I’m not feeling any desire to post everyday. Other obsessions linger, one being this matter of divesting myself of the American accent.

Some may criticise me in this endeavour. Those are people who identify me as American. But, that is not my identity.

True identity is a spiritual thing having nothing to do with where a person is born or grew up; the soul has no nationality. Therefore, I feel no loyalty to my native accent and I wish, as someone who makes much of tune and tone, to replace it with what I know to be more aesthetic to the ear.

Thus, I’m training my tongue with proper elocution exercises. And, I’m finding it a strenuous workout indeed.

When I told my husband about how these exercises strengthen the tongue, he remarked that, perhaps, he ought to try them, too. He said it with a sly grin – the perv (and, I love him for it) – and I mentioned something about the “cunning linguist” and we both dissolved into laughter.

Ouch. My tongue hurts. This certainly isn’t for the faint of heart…or mouth, as the case may be. But, my determination persists. I must make my tongue know what my ear understands, and I must make my ear all the more sensitive.

To do this, I am talking to myself… I mean more so than usual. Practising. My social anxiety presents a serious obstacle to my endeavour…it all tends to fall apart when I go out my door and I am immediately put under pressure. My speech just starts to sound better…and, then, damn it, I have to talk to someone! Irony, anyone?

I suppose, the thing is, I hate labels and boxes and typecasting. Someone hears an American accent here, and suddenly there’s the box, the confinement. I’d like them to see me before there is a judgment made that doesn’t apply to me but will be attributed to me nonetheless simply because humans are too stupid to look past something so superficial.

Elocution used to be taught in schools. There used to be a standard. Now, well…I suppose one might say that standard is just another box. But, I won’t play devil’s advocate here on my own blog. Here, this one place where I have my say. But, at the very least, I don’t think a desire to improve one’s speech (whatever the reason) could be considered, in any way, a negative thing.

The aim is merely to improve. Perfection is not in my reach. As I say, practice may NEVER make perfect, but it CAN make BETTER.

Better. I’m not getting any. I mean with the health issues. But, this – the accent thing – is something for me to focus on. I know, I know. Right now, it isn’t a focus, it’s an obsession, a compulsion…a madness. I’m mad.

Yes, I’m mad. I’m not even allowed to be eccentric. Because, you have to have money in order to be eccentric. I know what I am: ill. But, surely a sick person with a lovely accent is better than just a sick person.

So, until this present obsession lifts (i.e. I get too frustrated with myself for continual failure), or I get my lyre harp (the other great obsessive craving of right now), I will work on this project of ridding myself of the American accent for which I have developed such a personal distaste… and, it would seem, my tongue’s going to ache. And, hopefully, at some point, others in the outside world will be able to hear all the hard work. I can, you know, only hope.

The First Smile of the Day

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Bombarded, tormented, overwhelmed, I went to bed last night. Meditation helped to calm the rush of my thoughts, but the cacophony never stays silent for long. I slept. I woke up. My first thought when I wake up is always, “NO! Please. No, not again.”

A rough morning. In bed with my thoughts while my husband attempts to get the kids to do their homework. Feeling hopeless.

I cry, but I know tears won’t fix anything. My husband brings me coffee and something to break my fast. I eat and drink and listen to an audio book. I play Bejeweled. I work on losing my accent; it disgusts me.

I have determined to rid myself of the vexing accent. But, like everything else detestable about myself, it continues to force itself upon me unwanted.

The American accent is hard, ugly. It sticks out like an extremely sore thumb. It’s distressingly unmusical sounding. Rough…and comical. It sounds uneducated, even if one has been an academic and applied themselves to learning.

It’s another of my exercises in futility; another losing battle. But…I keep trying.

I don’t know why it should be so difficult for me to affect the superior, musical lilt. I’m a musician. A singer. This would suggest that I have a good ear, that I am able to match pitch and mimic sound. I DO IT ALL THE BLOODY TIME. I should be able to “sing” the “song” of received English just the same.

But, I should be able to make phone calls, too.

Yeah… sigh and #!*%¡*¢!

Needing a lyre harp and being unable to get one (everyone who sells the ones I can afford insist on using paypal…why can’t they just take plastic??? And, no, don’t tell me how brilliant paypal is; it really isn’t…and anyway, the bottom line is, I can’t get my harp).

Obsessed and tormented. A morning of frustrated tears.

Then. I asked Jamie to bring me a big shirt to put on…me being sans clothing and thinking about getting out of bed. I referred to my nakedness. He smiled and cupped my breast in his hand. Suddenly, my face, there it was: the first smile of the day.

My husband locked the door and the therapy continued.

Music is therapeutic. Meditation is therapeutic. I regularly post about my therapies of choice. Sex is a particularly excellent one.

Why? Like music, there is surrender and abandon; it overcomes the mind and can drown out the cacophony. Also, there’s the giving aspect: I’m not only receiving pleasure (and therapy), I’m giving therapy. It’s good medicine.

Sexual healing. It’s not just a song. It’s a science. My smile is proof. 

Desperation and obsession still assault me, desire, frustration, exhaustion… but, any moment of relief, delight is something so precious, something to be grateful for. As I write, the smile makes another appearance. And, I’ll finish this post with the meme I made for my FB page yesterday:

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