Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Power of Music

It is absolutely no secret that I love music.  Music has comforted me during bad times, made good times even better, connected me with so many people and has been an inspiration in my life since before I was born.  The other day, I was taking a break from dancing at a club and was observing people on the dance floor.  People from all walks of life were suddenly connected by the music.  The happiness in the room was almost a visible presence and I caught myself smiling even though physically I was feeling poorly.  The profound joy in the room was almost too much for me to handle yet I was entirely captivated by it.  Music is one of the few things I know of that can instantly solidify a group of people.  For brief moments the right song can get people, who normally wouldn't give each other the time of day, to come together and share a moment of positive emotion. 

There is some music that I don't enjoy listening to on a regular basis and that's OK. I believe that music has the power to be diverse enough to make everyone happy.(except for people who literally don't have the capacity to perceive it. See http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amusia to learn more about this interesting phenomenon)  A deaf friend told me that even those who cant hear (even from birth) have an understanding of music and can appreciate it.  Learning that blew me away!

Just because I personally don't like a song or a particular style doesn't mean that there isn't a person somewhere that absolutely loves it.  Maybe that song or style got them through a difficult period in their life.  Maybe it helped them to become a better person.  Maybe it even saved their life.  Music is far too diverse to force judgements on people for what they listen to.  Even songs that I have filed into the "terrible" file I still catch myself tapping my toes or nodding my head to under the right circumstances.

Music is one of the most beautiful things humans have created. It crosses all manners of societal barriers while at the same time constantly evolving. Sure, some of it ends up cliche and derivative but who are we to judge a thing that has such a capacity for bringing joy?  Next time you catch yourself saying "this sounds like crap" try finding things to like about it.  You might discover a new love or at least a better understanding of how some people tick. Don't judge a person by the music they like instead be happy that they can enjoy music and be thankful that you can enjoy music too.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

Brain-dead

There is an itch in my subconscious
It's distracting I'll be honest
Time to hire an accomplice
I'm not the only one to feel this
Millions of brain cells they wont miss
Take the pills dope right to my brain
I wont notice slowly being insane
Put up the mask and believe the lie
Chemicals don't care if you live or die
Deflate every sense of self
Put the feelings neatly on the shelf
Daytime nightmares and faded dreams
when society is exactly as it seems

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Entertainment

I am admittedly a somewhat isolated person.  I feel awkward around large groups and I never know quite what to say. When I was younger, I satisfied my social itch by spending a lot of time online playing games and hanging out in chat rooms. Realistically speaking, I never really felt social in these situations even though I did end up developing friendships with people I met online. When technology is stuck between people, their relationship tends to be somewhat cold and detached.  There is something fulfilling about spending time with people and physically interacting. 

For the longest time, I believed that I would never enjoy a party much less be the life of one. Then music led me on a path of social interaction.  There is something magical about a group of people coming together to enjoy the same music. There is something even more magical being the person on stage leading people on a journey.

If you asked child me if she would grow up to entertain people she would look at you funny.  Before every gig, I am nervous as hell. After every gig I cant believe people actually like what I play.  When I'm on stage, reality is suspended and nothing matters but the music.  

My relationship with entertaining is paradoxical.  I never really want to be the leader of a crowd but I derive a lot of joy from it.  Ive met incredibly cool people and have traveled more than I could have ever dreamed.  

The best of times, the worst of times.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stale Movement

Going nowhere fast...or going a lot of places really slowly? Both states of consciousness are eerily similar.  Surrounded by a feeling of floundering while at the same time feeling as if something, anything is being accomplished.  These conflicting emotional states crest in opposition, trapping one in a locked box of ambivalence.  Do I go over here or over there? Do I want to be going anywhere?

There are days where I'd simply like to exist.  There are a heap of expectations flying in from thousands of directions and while some of them may be well meaning, they're annoying at best and impossible at worst. Ive heard that its empowering to set your own expectations but the responsibility is daunting.

Being a self-aware being is difficult. It seems sometimes that the less aware you are, the happier you'll be.  Ignorance is bliss but when do you cross the line between being happily unaware and being unhappy that you are unaware? Is it a conscious thing or is it something buried deep underneath vapid Facebook posts at the bottom of some bottle?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Circle of Life

It has been a long while since I have had the motivation or inclination to write anything blog-wise.  I'm not sure if this is because I don't have much to say or if it is something more complicated than that. I really should write more. It keeps things sorted out in my head as well as potentially helping someone in a similar situation.

So...here it goes.

The other day, I was hit by a car. I wasn't badly hurt but from a psychological perspective, I'm still shaken up.  It isn't quite the most life-threatening situation I've ever been. My instincts and training have served me well.  In an instant, however, all of the instinct, training and otherwise could be wiped out.  A depressing thought for sure but it also got me thinking.

Life is an absolute statistical miracle.  I am an absolute statistical miracle.  Pregnancy is a violent and beautiful thing. The amount of things that have to go absolutely right for a baby to come to term is mind-boggling. The energy put forth by the mother and the strength she has to not only birth the child but also stay alive to take care of it seems like an impossibility yet it happens so often that people expect it to go right 100% of the time.

So the fates collided and I came to be.  I survived birth even though I was born prematurely.  For close to 33 years I've survived.  I couldn't even begin to speculate as to the reason why and I'm sometimes convinced that humans aren't meant to know. Maybe the question is simply part of the answer.

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Name is Ann

For the longest time, this page was intentionally left blank. I'm not sure if this is because I was afraid to set pen to paper or if I simply didn't have anything to say. I admit, I've spent the better part of my life confined within the safety of silence but I contend that the choice wasn't always mine. Most people don't want to hear what some of us have to say. I don't think the majority of people are intentionally cruel, either. In fact, it's somewhat paradoxical need to care that keeps most people in the dark. In order to care about something, one generally has a drive to understand how that thing works. People tend to get paralyzed when presented with a problem they don't understand. If they don't understand the problem, how can they be expected to solve it?

I never really sought after solutions, however. Part of the problem with problems is that they are incredibly hard to solve if there isn't really a problem to begin with. Imaginary problems are the worst kind because the definition of the problem and consequently the solution to said problem can only be found within the confines of those defining the problem. It's hard to appreciate help for a manufactured ailment, no matter how sincere the help seems, but I digress.

I suppose it is important to describe my circumstances in order to provide context, even though I'm at the point where context doesn't matter much anymore. I have known all my life that I exist in a place that is out of phase with everyone and everything else in the universe, at least it seems that way from my limited internal perspective. I say this not only based on my own observation, but also from the observations of others, who are kind enough to tell me these observations at every available opportunity. I've been told that these people are trained in observing behavior and context and that in order to integrate into normal society, it would be ideal that I listen to what they have to say and then model my behavior based on this input. There are ample opportunities for integration but for some reason I have been elevated to the highest and most intense program. It seems illogical to me that in order to become part of society, I have been isolated from it in a profound way, but since I'm the one in treatment, my opinion has become moot.

I am comfortable here in my own little bubble of reality. This comfort comes from the fact that I largely ignore my surroundings and exist within my own mind for the most part. To the outside observer, this may seem like I am content to sit around and stare at the walls. This is largely true. Of course this seems incredibly boring to most as they don't seem to see the same things within the walls that I do. The fact that I see subtle nuances, patterns and sometimes even words written on every surface makes me some sort of an abnormality. I spent a great deal of my childhood ignoring my reality and substituting it for the fantasy that is commonly accepted by the mass consciousness. Later in life, I found that I could no longer ignore what I was seeing or feeling. For a while, I found a mechanism of excuse that allowed me to experience my own reality while giving the outside world some sort of a plausible explanation. However, as all finely constructed lies do, it fell apart.

I wish I could say the lie came tumbling down like a massive fireball, destroying everything in its wake while at the same time manifesting a strange type of beauty. Realistically, it all ended with a bit of a non-committal whimper. I think things would have gone differently if I had noticed long ago that cracks were starting to form. When one is protected by a magic box, it is easy to ignore it failing and hard to accept the reality of it fading away. I guess that's why I'm still here, being told one thing but believing another. Both sides are on the same well-meaning coin but when you don't give a shit about the coin to begin with, it's hard to appreciate the subtle differences between the two sides.

Don't get me wrong. In a way, I am happy. Everything I need to exist as a carbon-based life form is provided for me. I don't need to worry about where my next meal is coming from or even about having to decide what to wear. Granted, everything is mind-numbingly non-stimulating, because people are under the misguided assumption that stimulation is part of the root system of my problem. Everything about my day to day existence is plotted and planned down to the last nanometer. I think I've even begun to blink on some sort of a predetermined schedule. I don't mind, really. It is very taxing on the body and mind to be self-sufficient. On the other hand, it is difficult waking up every day to a routine that fundamentally is bothersome. I am given the illusion of choice, of course. I can have either eggs or French toast for breakfast and I sometimes I'm allowed to watch whatever channel on T.V. I want, assuming it isn't too this or that. I have recently been trusted with a notepad and a pen, but only on day shift, when someone is available to make sure I'm not doing something nefarious. Presumably, this is so I can communicate with the outside world, but I'm convinced that no one here would really be interested in the thoughts churning around my head. Is there someone “out there” that possibly might be interested in studying one woman's decent into madness?


If you are that person, my name is Ann.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Most Loving A-hole

Some days (more often than I'd like to admit) I think I am a total asshole. I am not an asshole by intent, in fact I work incredibly hard at not being an asshole. I try to act and speak only out of love but sometimes I fail. My goal is to be the most loving person I possibly can be but at the end of the day, I find myself being a jerk sometimes. Society and my interactions with it in the past have programmed in deep responses to certain stimuli and as a result, I can say and do things that I later regret. I don't believe that people say things they don't mean. When things are said, especially in the heat of the moment, I certainly do mean what I say. Upon the opportunity for deeper reflection, I usually find that what I said wasn't entirely justifiable. Something triggered a response and without thinking, I acted on it. Of course this means I am constantly apologizing for myself. Is a knee-jerk emotional response something I have control over? Sometimes I think yes, absolutely. Other times, I'm not so sure. The dichotomy of jerk VS victim is a hard pill to understand, much less swallow. I have a deep desire to own everything that is involved with my consciousness but at the end of the day, there are some things I just don't have mastery over.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dear, Me.

     I've been staring at this screen off and on for hours now.  I've been avoiding writing this for the last week.  It isn't that the subject matter bothers me or that I can't think of anything to say.  Realistically, I'm having a problem figuring out the order of my jumbled thoughts.  I'm supposed to be reflecting on the past couple of years and evaluating where I'm at now.  The problem is, is that I really don't know where I am now.  In a lot of ways, I am better off.  I have a much deeper understanding of who I am and why I function the way I do.  I've become proficient in mapping out my tendencies and have even developed a few healthier tendencies in the process. On the other side of the coin, I feel like I am back at square one.

     I am at a phase in my life where I don't know where I'm going.  I'm in by no means stuck, quite the opposite.  I feel like I am on rocket skates hurling towards this...this thing but I have no idea what the thing is or why I absolutely have to get there yesterday.  It's a deep, burning, passionate drive that I feel within but one without purpose. I used to think that the passion was reserved solely for creating and promoting art.  I put all of my time, effort and a considerable part of my spirit into what I thought was the only reason I existed.

    As I chased the rabbits deeper, I began to realize that art was therapeutic.  At first I didn't really notice a shift in the paradigm. One day, though, I woke up and the thought of creating art for the purpose of selling it to someone (for either money or a grade) made my stomach ache. I'm not sure if it was because I loathed the idea of having to change my creative focus based on the whims of other people or if I was afraid of people finding fault in what ultimately would be an expression of my thoughts and feelings at a moment in time.  In retrospect, I had already come to the conclusion long ago that I didn't want to write professionally, at least not in any type of creative capacity.  I'm not terribly shocked that my feelings on the subject would bleed into other artistic mediums.

     I create art because it is the only way I can express the churning mass of feelings and thoughts that pound through my skull like the thrum of an old, clunky machine. I have come to accept that I was born with an incredible lack of verbal communication skills and an inherent mistrust of telling people exactly how I feel. Most of the time, I don't know exactly how I feel.  Art helps me process through the confusion so I can get to the point where I can explain it, or at least get to the point where I can begin figuring out how to start explaining it.  People who buy commercial art in any capacity rarely care about the emotional intent behind the design, especially when it comes to advertising or any other mass media work.  They know what they like and if they don't like it, the artist is usually out of a job.  I have absolutely no way of controlling what I feel or what chooses to be expressed at any given moment and thus I can't make any guarantees that I will be able to create something that is commercially viable every time I put proverbial pen to paper.

    This dream, this passion, this drive that had fueled my inner desires and brought me through several episodes of profound depression, was shattered by the simple realization that I would never make a career of out of being an artist.  For the longest time, my only desire was to find something I was good at so I could support myself.  Being dependent on others is something that rubs me the wrong way, mostly because I am constantly reminded that I can't play the game nearly as well as other people.  When I finally figured out enough about myself to realize that I had a tiny shred of talent artistically, I took it and ran.  The joy I felt at being truly good at something without having to fight tooth and nail was staggering.  I felt that I had finally started to turn life around and that I was somehow cured at least partially of the self-imposed blight I had painted all over my future.  Now, the blight is bigger than it ever has been.

     This isn't to say that I find life hopeless.  If anything, I feel an odd sense of renewed hope.  It is layered underneath a strong blanket of pessimism and fear, but it is there.  I feel as if now is the time for a huge shift when it comes to my mind and spirit. I have realistically been feeling waves of change over the past couple of years. Waves whose existence I owe largely to being able to talk my feelings out with someone who, by training, careful observation, and the benefit of time,  knows more about me than anyone else.  She, for lack of a better word, gets me because for some reason I am not afraid to express myself to her directly.  It's a level of trust that I have never had towards any person, especially towards anyone operating within a professional therapeutic setting.  It helps that she maintains an admirable level of non-judgement even when I am feeling judgmental about myself.  None of my feelings, as illogical as some of them seem, were dismissed.  I've noticed that intimate relationships involve at least some format of judgement.  Intentional or not, judgement is painful, especially when it comes from a friend or a lover.  Unfortunately, the people we judge the most are those closest to us because we feel comfortable in doing so, even though most people would never admit it.  I judge those closest to me all the time.  It isn't because I want to be an asshole, it's because my closeness makes me think I know what's best.  The statement "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" has been proven to me more times than I care to count.  My confidant has no intentions towards me other than helping me become the me that I so desperately have been trying to be my entire life.

     Our relationship is a complicated one that goes beyond the traditional patient/therapist construct.  I think this is largely due to the fact that I have been talking to this person on an almost weekly basis for over two years.  I knew in the back of my mind that our relationship wouldn't last forever.  People in these sort of situations have a habit of moving on for one reason or another.  Now I am at that expected and inevitable turning point while at the same time figuring out what I want to do with my life. On both fronts I feel like I am in a place where I can smoothly transition and continue to heal from old wounds while being OK with dealing with new wounds.  I also am not losing total contact with the person who has helped me figure out so much and I will hopefully develop a relationship with another person that will prove to be just as strong.

     I've lost a lot of sleep.  I'm still losing sleep over this.  Will I ever reach a place of equilibrium or am I riding on another wave of false hope?  Part of me knows that there is no cure for me.  I will always be my own mind and my own body with it's flaws and its merits.  I'll keep climbing the staircase until I reach a door and open it.  Part of me knows that the only thing waiting for me on the other side is another hopelessly long, dark and tiring set of stairs but I also know that the climb is the only thing certain in the shadowy conflagration that is my existence.  If I stop, I cease to be.

     There are days I feel like my skin is on fire with impotent rage.  There are days I feel like I don't deserve the gift of precious life.  These feelings are real and they are OK.  I really don't know what I'm doing but as long as I am kind and compassionate with myself, I can keep climbing.

     It all will make sense eventually.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Stagnant Pools

I'm staring at the ceiling. I'm staring at the wall. I'm watching the watchers through a cloud of perfume-laden smoke. I am the gargoyle, staring in blank observation while my brain slowly spirals down the merry path of paranoia. Strange, this situation I find myself in. I can hear the echos of whispers in the dark coiling through the canals and sinking it's icy claws into every neural fiber. Walk away, run away, hide, peek through the tiny hole in the box. Instinctual tendencies combined with muscular memory forge a path through the abyss, that from an outside perspective seems pretty well adjusted and convincing. I have absorbed enough knowledge to get by. A lot of what I know about the real world tends to appear as if it is consumed by syrupy haze that splatters to the edges of my consciousness.

I'm walking down a garden path. I'm asking questions of the universe that no one or no thing really wants to answer. I know somewhere within that it isn't anything personal. Some questions simply have no answers. Confusion loves company. Mass confusion attracts those with good intentions and while the road to hell is being paved, I can only stand idle and wish I wasn't just as bat shit confused. There are slight moments in time where I can understand the whole of everything and appreciate the state of confusion that invades my daily space. It's the only reason why I don't wake up screaming.

I am sitting on the edge of a giant petri dish. I'm on the outside looking in while at the same time staring at myself through a high powered telescope. Sometimes I converge and switch places while exchanging small but significant bits of information. Part of me wants to hop on to a different train. This train seems to be chasing the wrong rabbit.

Wake up, wake up, it's time to quit the world of slumber. Real life tends to take on the surreal quality of dreams while dreams tend to absorb the movements of the waking world. Conversations filter through conversions and end up lost in translation. The ends of my brain become numb as the lines blur and fade into patterns within patterns. I could spend a significant amount of time explaining this to people who permanently exist within commonly accepted consciousness but I often find that I can't make much sense of it myself.

A single pill here, a harmless injection there. Bad food, bad water with a side of manipulation. I'm addicted to the poison because it makes me feel alive while at the same time is contributing to my drop by drop suicide. I don't subscribe to many common poisons which I'm told makes me dangerous. In reality, it simply means I've researched the situation before diving into the pool. The problem with any kind of feel good brain manipulation is that the feeling of sublime contentment and acceptance of the universe is incredibly and profoundly addictive. Temptation points a tendril in my direction and beckons me to check out on a permanent basis. Most of the time, temptation is easy to ignore because the world I am trying to escape constrains my methods.

There is joy in flying through pleasure while diving through pain. The roller coaster is a constant reminder that time and space won't stop to let anyone breathe. There are times when I want to completely give in to the overwhelming urge to activate a permanent flight response. There are times where the whole experience seems worthwhile. The problem starts when the two sides refuse to talk to each other. The resulting mania on two magnetic emotional opposites is taxing, but I wouldn't want my universe to operate any other way.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why?

I put up with it
All the shit I want to quit
Because maybe I'm a masochist
I want to help you
become more than just your program
your paradigm, your childhood
wrapped up in some sort of pie in the sky lie
I don't know what I'm talking about
this life has taught me nothing you don't know
Convinced, convicted, in chains
I suppose I can't save everyone
You wonder why I have no respect
why I'm cold, why I distance myself
I suppose I can't save everyone