Painting Pictures in the Air (and other things I do with my time)

image

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.

Grab A Note and Hang On

What actually helps someone suffering from mental illness and chronic pain? Nothing goes so far as a combination of friendship and doing what you love.

Just doing what you love to do, whether with anyone else or not, is a therapy. But, add in doing it with people you like who also love doing what you do, and doing that thing together…well, magic can happen.

Magic happened this past Sunday, the 19th of July 2015.

In a life that is long and characterised by pain, it’s these moments that are the saving grace, and they deserve to be celebrated. They bring the closest thing to hope and happiness that we get. And, therefore, they are exceedingly precious.

I wish us all many more such moments.

Grab a note and hang on.

My Brain Hertz (or Musician, Heal Thyself, Part Deux)

image

So, this post has two main focuses. One is to introduce you to my newest instrument acquisition and latest addition to my music making and music therapy. Meet Maimie. She’s a 10 string lyre harp. I waited quite a while for her am very pleased to have her home. She arrived on Monday and we have been making music together ever since; I’m enjoying her greatly.

While you may be happy for me finally getting a harp, it’s most likely the second point of this post that will hold much of an interest: I’ve begun experimenting with binaural beats. I have to say, I’ve noticed a difference with my ability concentrate and be alert; it’s also helping with meditation and sleeping, too.

I won’t go into an explanation of what they are here; do a Google search on binaural beats and all the info you need comes up.

I’d love to say that binaural beats are totally sorting my brain out, but that isn’t the case. I’m still spending most of my days in bed, avoiding going out/people as much as possible most of the time and would easily choose death over life, but the little improvement in simple things like focusing better on what I’m reading or watching and being able to get a more decent rest is something worth blogging about.

I recommend an app called “Relax Melodies”. Pay for the full version; it’s worth it – you’ll get all the beats to take your brain on a journey of different, helpful states.

Back to Maimie the harp, she’s the kind of thing that I would have shared with the musical friend I have mentioned in previous posts…the one that I don’t have anymore. I’ve thought a lot about her since getting Maimie, and missing…well, missing the experience I would’ve had in the sharing.

In other news, I’ve been getting together with another musical friend (one I still have, but very different to the one I lost) to work on some stuff and we may just do something with said stuff, be an acoustic duo, perform together. We’re in the early stages. I’ll keep you posted. Ha, posted… yeah, ok, I’m going now.

The First Smile of the Day

image

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:

image

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.

A Private Audience

image

This afternoon I sat down at the piano and played and sung some of my songs, for myself.

Not rehearsing. Not working on new arrangements. Just enjoying the music, the lyrics and – yes, I’ll say it – the sound of my own voice.

Now, performing for a crowd is one of the biggest delights in my existence. When I’m not doing it on a regular basis, it isn’t long before I feel a piece is missing; I appreciate every opportunity I am given to do what I love doing. It’s more than “entertaining”. While I believe that the songs I write and I sing in my shows are good and that my voice is unique, powerful and moving, I don’t know if, honestly, “entertaining” is the right word. I kind of think if I’ve merely entertained an audience, I haven’t succeeded in what I’ve come to do. Not that there is anything wrong with entertainment…it’s just that music is soooo much MORE than that. Or, it can be so much more than that (because music is spiritual in nature). However, if someone has come for nothing more than to be entertained – and that is all they receive – so be it; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed (at least, I hope not), but I always endeavour there to be more there…to touch deeper, to go further, to leave fingerprints on the fabric of the soul which is beyond the ability of entertainment alone. And, when I listen to music or go to a concert, I am always personally disappointed if all that happened was that I was entertained.

So, today, it wasn’t about a little distraction (escape) from the relentless frustration of my (crappy) day, to come aside and amuse myself for a bit. It might have started that way, but it ended with feeding my soul and lifting it above the muck and mire (that’s the real power of music). These are songs with substance. Some are sad. Some are hopeful and comforting and encouraging. Some are prayer. All are honest expression. And, as I sat and played out the sorrows of the day, I was both performer and audience – and it was nothing so small as entertainment: this was important; this was therapy.