Why am I doing this?!? (answers :)

Just finished tracking 18 songs, piano/keyboard parts and vocal parts…over the course of this past week roughly.  It’s exhausting work, hard to find yourself in the right mood each time when you’re working around a busy work schedule and life.  But I am feeling more motivated than ever, because this month’s album-in-process, “Survival Skills,” is a perfect example of wasting your life.  Which is a perfect explanation as to why I’m a whirling dervish of creative energy and output right now.

I’ve been writing since I was 3.  It’s fine that I did nothing with it then.  Even elementary and middle school, it was cute, I won awards and did shows, but it’s okay that it didn’t go beyond that – great memories with friends, but overall school was a priority and distracting and I was busy caring about being an A student, getting into colleges, eventually getting a piano performance degree (though I chose my college based on the promise of being able to create a major in Songwriting – I applied, was accepted to the conservatory on scholarships, but classical piano was SUPPOSED to just be a way in the door…had to wait til Sophmore year ended to propose your own major, wrote a big proposal on my B.A. in Songwriting – Psychology, Philosophy, Poetry, and Music – I was so excited about this, and when the proposal was rejected because they thought I could just take those classes and continue on my multiple major trajectory (theatre/english/music), I was devastated.  Almost transferred.  Why reject something like this? What harm you do to a dreamer like me, it’s so ridiculous.  I was paying them tens of thousands a year, if I wanted a less-impressive-sounding degree, why not let me?  So many small defeats I rarely talk about anymore…like freshman year of college, taking third in a contest with only three entries…didn’t perform publicly for friends for many many years after that…)

Anyway, I was writing all this time.  Never recording.  No studios, no awareness of studios even (after 6th grade – thanks again Uncle Bob).  Didn’t know the first thing about bringing high quality audio recordings into the world.  Got lost in Musical Theatre, went to NYC for a program in Musical Theatre Writing…but it was such a tangent.  I wrote a musical for my senior honors project, just to have one thing to represent three majors.  I love my musical theatre trajectory, but I’m really lucky self-help books exist, to have brought me back to my solo singer-songwriter self.  Almost didn’t make it.  That toxic ex, it’s one thing he was really great for – helping me be myself.  He was a very accepting human being, in a very strange and dysfunctional way (oh, I said that like you know what I’m talking about…well it’s in my songs…getting lost in my timeline these days, back and forth and back again…getting a little hard to keep things straight).

So basically, by this point, end of grad school, I already had boatloads of songs that I’d not only not recorded, but mostly played just for me.  Shared with one or two friends.  Even had one of those two friends say to me, when I would visit her at college and be excited to share, that she wanted to not always have to listen to a new song when I come (once or twice a year).  Like 5 minutes, I share with 2 people.  Maybe just 1 by then.  And she said that 5 minutes was bothering her.  Deep breath.

That was a very formative experience.

Probably why I share with so many people now, even just dropping into the void like this.  So no one person liking or disliking my music has power over me.

I don’t know.  I guess I’m just backed up.  I left NYC right away after grad school, ended up in Chicago…that was its own mini-tragedy.  That man, who I loved, wasn’t who I moved there for.  Moved there for someone else, but our wounds were so deep and unsolveable.  Could never even really explain it to him, because I tried to one or two months into dating and he talked me out of it.  We grew apart, is probably the best description – or more accurately, I was never really in love with him, and we wanted very different things.

So when I found someone who was compatible with my life plans and hopes, and also was in love with, I was able to overlook the glaring issue of addiction and all of its negative life-destroying ramifications…I hope he is well now.  But that is a very dark and strange and powerful chapter of my life.  On one hand, he encouraged me to pursue my path – be that performing songwriter I deeply wanted to be.  Supported me better than anyone, truly loved my music and voice and any weirdness or top 40 sounds or whatever.  My music got very weird and varied.  I made homemade music videos out of construction paper and other cute goofy things.  I have him to thank in so many ways for finding myself.  He was the antithesis of the tight control, analyse and think through everything approach to ‘success’ that I grew up with.  I really think its possible to find positives in everything (because that super controlled upbringing gave me a flawless foundation for my education, the stability to focus on school, scholarships, piano practice, etc…honestly, I realize in hindsight how rare that kind of stability is, and am deeply grateful for it…but it was hard to embrace and accept all my idiosyncracies in such a structured atmosphere).

Anyway, listening to all these songs has me not wanting to disown my own past anymore.  None of my exes, I’ve loved something about all of them, and am deeply grateful for our friendships and connection.  None of my past friends, no matter how deeply they hurt me, maybe I was just overwhelming to be around.  I can imagine.  I mean, trauma, confusion, lots of words, unresolved emotions…probably.  And I think compatibility is a real thing, and in childhood I had some friends I was deeply compatible with.  Same with partners.  But it’s hard to wake up to your own life and realize that all the hurt is maybe just growing pains.  Nobody meant you any harm, really, but in the process of finding ourselves and our preferences, we have to rule somethings out – and it hurts, we hurt people, people hurt us. And it sucks.  And I don’t know why the earth and its people were made this way.  I don’t know why this is the process or the point.  But I am ready to forgive everyone, more fully than I have before, because I can’t forgive myself for all the people I’ve hurt or the things I’ve done to hurt others, unless I forgive the things others have done to me.  Its process, its learning…I get, so clearly, that I am not for everyone.  I used to say that a lot, but feeling it in your heart is a different story.  Its painful.  We want to be liked and it feels so personal when we’re not someone’s first or second or fifteenth choice…when we’re like 69th or 126th or just not even on the list.  I’m finding that a lot lately, with new friends and acquaintances…it’s just hard.  I love meeting new people, but social media is just not realistic about what connections mean anymore…

Anyway, I digress.  WHY am I doing this? Because look.  All that, above, is because I just spent two weeks playing and singing trauma years songs.  Excavating, digging through mini-disks, exploring years of my life that I had sealed off in my mind, never to think or talk about, too painful, too confusing, too embarassing, too…

But it’s easy to accept that other people have sordid or sad pasts…I know that’s a truth of existence for many, and it doesn’t bother me. For others I would share uplifting things, help reframe it, etc.  But for myself, I shoved it all in boxes in my heart, or more like gut really.  Or deeper.  Something unobservable.  Barely there.  When it would pop up, I would shove it back down.  So this intentional pulling up, rerecording, planning to share songs that hurt, that make me FEEL, that make me feel both sad AND strong…its…liberating.  I didn’t know how I’d feel releasing them as Jessica in The Rainbow.  Considered putting em on my old Bandcamp (jessicafogle.bandcamp.com) …but that is like a time-capsule page, and I’m tired of fragmenting myself. Rainbows are fragmented enough.  Like here’s all the spaghetti, here’s the shit show, splattered here…childhood albums, teen/20s albums, Chicago coming up (the other 10 albums I wrote while there, might do one big release one month of all 10 remaining albums? 100 songs in one month? why not, I’m not tired, HA HA HA)

I just want to move forward, and stop regretting my past that never came into the light, every time I move forward quickly.  These old parts of myself felt unloved, unobservable, except by me and 2-10 people from my past…and it felt sad and fragmented that no one knew this childhood me…I think its what made me so defensive and want to tell people about it.  Because those songs, they’re so different (in my mind)…these ones from high school-early 20s are even MORE different…jazzy, angry, sad sad, musical theatre infused (?), piano pop? I don’t know what they are.  I added space sounds and sang in my now voice, not my explosive pushing sounding voice of back then…I like to use my power in a balanced way now, back then I liked just singing as loud as possible.  And it wasn’t controlled…sometimes it sounded amazing, other times super pitchy.

I dunno. That’s why. I’m trying to catch up. I mean, I can’t catch up.  365 songs from last year, only one or two more albums will be about that.  There’s other things.  Musicals I wrote.  The desire for forever to do a new kids’ album.  Made one with my ex, Frog & Duck, and mourned it so hard when we divorced.  Gave him the rights because I knew I wouldn’t promote something that made me so sad, that felt like failure.  So I’ve been wanting to make a new kids’ album since a convo with my brother in 2016.  Haven’t yet.  Why not? Cuz of that damn slating things…never really saying “this week, this month, this year, I will work 12x as hard as usual.”  So that’s what I’ve been doing, since Feb 12, 2017.  Trying to work 12x as hard as usual.  Or 24x. Or 365x. I don’t know.  Just trying to not let up.  Its insane and a bit unbalanced, but the world feels unstable right now and its keeping me sane(r) to match its energy in a way I can control.  Since, if you read my politics post, getting into politics didn’t work for me 😦

Hmmm was that a good explanation?  Cuz it’s not just distraction during a political maelstrom.  There are many ways to distract.  Netflix, anything zoning out or fun, this is not fun.  This is hard hard hard work.  I’m exhausted all the time.  And no one is asking me to be and I could quit at any time.  Which makes me sad and scared…because I don’t have challenge blood, or resolve like some people do.  I mean, it feels like a “have to” but I don’t feel invigorated from the challenge, like “haha challenge, I’ll show you!”  Just matter-of-fact.  I assigned it to myself, so I HAVE to do it.  Period.  I mean I assigned myself “walk every day for a year” and failed that already.  Maybe it’s the public sharing?  I think it helps.  I know I need to be held accountable, even if it’s by 2-3 strangers or fans who read these.  I know it exists, it gives me an outlet, to explain, to process, to defend…it’s something.

Okay it’s 2:30am and we’re going on a little trip to Chicago tomorrow…need to rest.

Rough draft done though, I feel good about that. I’ve missed these songs and I don’t care how sad they make me, or how angry/impatient (I’m an Aries, and these bring out that side in spades…normally I can be softer than I feel inside, by a belief that it makes people happier…but in reality, I’m fire).

Night ❤ Jessica

 

 

 

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Political (to be or not to be)

Hello.  Just wanted to share some thoughts for our times…

Oh my God I can’t believe I don’t talk about this more.  I posted something on my personal Facebook page yesterday, I’ll share here…

It’s an aspect of myself that I’m deeply uncomfortable with.  How to grow into being a person who gets shit done, has goals, has focus, has purpose, shares love or music or content with others, BUT still care about the daily important shit in the world around me…and even speaks up about it…it’s hard. I’m not good at it. I feel like I swing wildly between sharing my views publicly so as not to be complicit in these awful liberty-limiting times, and swinging to being unable to speak on the matter.

It doesn’t help that almost all of my professional heroes are near-mute on the subject, from a social media standpoint. And then SOME heroes speak almost daily on the topic.  And I find myself in limbo, wondering who to be. It feels like a terrifyingly huge pandora’s box…like once I went to a political meeting, late 2016, to try to get involved, and I can’t even begin to tell you the overwhelm. For myself and all of them. I cried the whole meeting.  Everyone was fighting.  Fighting the ghosts in the room (the opposing party) and fighting each other, over the best ways to fight.  I don’t do fighting, not without tons of crying anyway. So I was the one crying, and on my turn to share I mentioned these sensitivities…defended the whole lot of us sensitives, explaining that THIS is why we don’t get involved. The strong emotions are overwhelming, and we melt…is that a useful perspective in a room full of righteously angry people?  Probably. I was even told so, that it gave them perspective on their own hatred, that it was useful, to keep their righteous anger from turning into rage or hatred of the opposing side.  But it was so overwhelming for all of us, having someone like me there…I didn’t go back.  Found safe behind-a-screen ways to share my views.  And not often, cause those closest to me saw what it was doing to me, trying to “help” the younger more confused ones grapple with what November 2016 meant, about our country, about our politics, about their freedoms (specifically the LGBTQ kids I knew).  I became more vocal than I ever have, because of he-who-I-rarely-name’s talk on grabbing things and what he thinks of pageant contestants and if they are perfect enough, he made me sick all the way down to my toes – I have known men like him and prefer carrying a little extra weight to avoid even a glance from men like him. That is crazy, I know, it’s my body, but I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve had friends raped left and right lately, and it’s a disgusting world of predatory men not being able to control themselves or their impulses (yes sorry, it’s 99% of the time, men – I love you men, but yes your gender is the primary problem on this topic), and I’ve had enough sexual trauma for one lifetime.  So being a little fatter is like a buffer to the world of this kind of gross.  I don’t like it, but it’s hard to motivate yourself to lose weight when you know you’ll be back in the running for being a target of sexual predators…

I digress.  Or not really.  Sexual predators and politics go together these days, thanks America.  I know there is a huge percentage of the Christian population who supports Trump (there I said it). I know there are some old school values that he is pretending to care about, or actually does.  But I think it’s all very misguided and I am a super spiritual even Christian being (though that word has connotations that I don’t always like – I don’t think Christ would like many of his Christians – anyone who holds onto a luxury lifestyle and walls off their heart to others, is questionable in their “following of Christ” – and before examining if gays are sinning they should, in my opinion, ask if their love of money and savings and trust funds and other “securities” is sinning…give us THIS DAY our daily bread and all that…leave your riches and follow me, etc…  but I am not here to point fingers, see this is why I don’t talk politics, I want comforts too, I want out of the rat race and the game of being hungry and working three jobs and other challenges so many in this world face…of course we all want a way out of that, we want our luxuries, simple or complex… but these times are raising all these questions, and everyone is fighting and hating each other, and saying they are doing it in their name of their values, and if only others would get on board with THEIR values…I heard as much Obama and Hillary hate from people on the other side of things, as I do on “my” side…and again, my side is personal and based firmly in disgust and strong instincts that he-who-I-hate-naming is not a healthy or stable human being…)

Oh yea, the thing I wrote yesterday, on my personal Facebook page.  Here it is:

*****
For the record, again and again, though I don’t have the heart to say it every day here like some of you, our current Orwellian administration has me upset/saddened/prone-to-distraction/afraid/angry/confused/ready-to-pounce/doubling-down-on-love-language-cuz-i’m-reminded-daily-of-the-evils-of-worshiping-power-and-money/and-so-much-more. I am in full non-support. Ready for overhaul, not willing to buy an ounce of clean-up language. It’s gross. I am mentally unstable too, but I wouldn’t run for president. It takes a very very very strong human, with a fiercely kind heart, to care for and legislate for others. Okay, there. Back to my near-silence on the issue. Sorry to future generations, that I can’t handle speaking up more often. I know there are maaannny like me, so I take cold comfort in that. xo 
*****

The “clean up language” comment is because two days ago, Trump met with Putin.

The next day, he said that he said “would” when he meant “wouldn’t”.

Really, clean-up crew? That’s the best you can do to make him seem stable?

He even lost part of his base that day.  People on ALL sides of the aisle were like, WTF?!?!?!

Okay I’m tired. Have to go record songs from childhood, but the gross part of childhood…high school and early 20s.  When you don’t know what you’re doing, but the world views you as more adult-like, so you have to act like you do. In my case, I got into worlds of personal trouble, due to some traumas I lived through and woke up to, at that time.  Mostly sexual in nature, but some physical abuse too.  And emotional/spiritual/psychological abuse too.  Pretty bad stuff…and my solutions were thin and strange.  Some of those solutions were writing songs, which gave me a place to process those experiences with confining walls and clear constructs around me.  Some of it was healthy, but some of it re-enforced stories I told myself to heal which later made me more trapped in pain and despair than maybe I would have been…

Well. Thanks for reading. I don’t know how I feel about this one. Or any of these. But I said I’d blog to get through this…and I feel like I really need it.  Journaling alone keeps me feeling alone.  Even if no one is reading, leaving this here makes me feel the potential for being understood someday, even if most everyone I know doesn’t understand me right now (who has time for all this pouring out of me? I don’t even have time for it – I don’t expect anyone else, even if they love me, to read/follow/listen to all this content…it’s exhausting just to consider…I wish I knew how to edit my life into one palpable consumable good for you, but I don’t, I’m sorry. Please know I’m trying my best…it just involves a lot of spaghetti thrown at walls, trying to find what sticks…my old album producer Ian said that’s the kind of person I seemed to be, and I didn’t believe him at the time, but holy cow is it right!)

Kay bye ❤ Jessica

Black hole, white sky…

Hmm. I’m titling things before I write these days…

Well, this popped in my head and seems fitting.

Reaquainting myself with my teens/early 20s self lately, thru old burned CDs full of my most raw and angry and powerful songs…it’s honestly been a whirlwind.  Not sure how I feel about it yet.

Part of me feels strong and capable and powerful, for facing my past and not running or buckling (when I’ve spent much of my adult life burying this away, trying to keep the peace, inside myself and all around me).

Another part of me feels a little sick and strangely …regretful? No that’s not it. Like a pandora’s box, that once opened, leads to a whole host of realizations about personas I’ve concocted that aren’t me at all…in tiny ways, maybe, but in some large ones too.  Stories I’ve told myself to make sense of some choices, suddenly feel thin and insufficient…like, I THOUGHT I did x for y reason. But really, listening to these songs, I clearly did x for z reason.

Which kind of undoes the whole puzzle of self-storytelling.

Which we all do.  You are not immune.  None of us are.

Thinking how this relates to depression, and optimism, and therapy, and “reframing.”

I was lucky to meet a bunch of therapists when I was younger, befriending a couple, outside of their practices…and also having connections thru support groups…and I learned so much therapy-speak about healthy entitlement, and reframing…

I do it for others all the time.

I don’t know if I knew how much I did it for myself…well, I mean I know the RECENT reframes.

But when you reframe something and then 10 years go by and you really believe the new way of thinking about it (seeing the best in something, for example), then later it can be a shock – I’m realizing – to see the same things again, through those old eyes and ways of seeing.

I forgot how deeply tragically sad and angry I was.

So much so, that my nun grandma had to point out to me, in a moment of deep despair, the idea that “you are not your anger, it is something you need to move THROUGH.”

I remember feeling so much rage and sorrow in every fiber of my being, for different things that happened, that I didn’t believe her at the time.

Am very grateful I held on and became able to see / understand things differently.

As an adult, I’m a forgiveness junkie.

I have imaginary conversations with people ALL THE TIME.

Like I say the persons name, as if I’m really talking to them, and imagine what we’d say to heal whatever in our hearts/minds/souls left an imprint on the other.

Sometimes I’m surprised to realize I’m the one perpetuating half or more of the toxic “holding onto something” energy…telling a story about how a guy wounded me at 17 for example with his manipulative tactics.  Come to do this exercise and realize we were young and stupid and I never gave him a real chance to apologize, and of course he was an idiot, he was into me and it was mutual feeling even tho his words were toxic and creepy, but I needed to forgive him (I don’t need to, but I want to – I want to stop telling myself that victim story, I’m tired of it defining my life)…so doing all this in imagination land, imagining what he’d say, as a person NOW, at his adult age, not as a 17 year old, imagining he’d have regret if he knew how much it affected me.  It’s like an imaginary version of an amends process…but people as sensitive as me have been injured by that process (I don’t recommend it for highly codependent chameleon-like people, otherwise making amends can become a little like being in lots of tiny codependant moments, where you’re only okay if they give you permission to be…it can get very manipulative…)

Okay I’m sharing too much I’m sure.  I’ve tried lots of things over the years, especially in my 20s when I was most broken.  To heal.  To find a path out of the darkness, the “black hole of need” that I used to say I was…into the light.

Now I feel like I know where the switch is, I know the light seeks me, like I think it seeks everyone…

I feel like I’m getting to live a second or third or fourth life…like a Mister Rogers for adults…

but going back, for this month anyway, and reliving, re-experiencing these songs, from high school and college + early 20s…I can’t begin to say what it is.  I don’t know what it is.  A glimpse?

Almost like I’m seeing who I could have become had I not been OBSESSED with healing and recovering from shame and fear… and obsessed with finding my path, out of the woods, the dark, the hole…

I know I’m being vague, but I have people to protect, including myself.

Trauma is incredibly personal, and my specific traumas are multifaceted and dark, as you’ll sense if you listen to this new album in a few weeks.

It’s called Survival Skills…

Working on cover art design with my friend Ryan Wyrick.  It’s one of my favorites…basically his existing collage art, a piece that makes me cry, with some words added.

Anyway, here we go. Stalling, I should be recording, but I’m feeling too much and am scared to put that into the songs…which is silly.  Honestly just a little overwhelmed, choosing songs for this one.  There’s about 25 to choose from, that would qualify for this time period, maybe more, but at least 15 that I want to do…and when I’m overwhelmed I stall.

Absurd I know.

Anyway, calling myself out on it.  Plus I wanted to share.

This blog IS helping, process this journey of an album a month, like I hoped it would.

I don’t know how to do this much, without talking about what it does to me.

Sometimes I wish I was a more linear, direct, goal oriented person, who can put something out and be okay with the way things are done…instead of blasting open the format or formula…which I imagine doesn’t appeal to labels, or people in general.  Except the few perhaps, who like reading the insides of people’s brains?  I don’t know who you are, but if this gives you comfort, thank you.  Your existence means something to me, because otherwise I don’t know why I feel compelled to share all this.  This “too much.”  I don’t know why the universe or spirit or life force flows in through my heart and pushes all this weirdness out of me onto the page, making me come off like…this.

I don’t know what “this” is.

I just know that I don’t see it enough in the world to feel comfortable in doing it.

I feel like I see it in suicide notes, or “I’m leaving” notes, or other big moments.

But not everyday, all the time, life moments.

Why do I share so much?  I know we are all wired the same inside, in terms of our basic humanity, feeling all the emotions…hurt, loneliness, pain, doubt…maybe some of us wall-off the harder emotions more than others, to those of you I’m sorry if this challenges you.  I imagine none of you read this far haha.  But to those who FEEL, all the things, all the time, like I often do…like some I know do FAR more than me…I wonder, why do I share it, when you don’t?  Why don’t you?  Does the world smack down people who share?  Does it feel too vulnerable?  Is it painful to open your heart and be ignored?  Maybe.  I think so.  I feel ignored all the time.  Almost no one talks to me about these things I do, the music or the words shared here.  Or last year’s “check in videos” during the 365 songs.  I shared for 20+ minutes sometimes, I think 3 people mentioned those all year.  Thanks Jesse 🙂

And others.  Maybe it was more.

I just know, vulnerability, and being willing to be vulnerable, has been my saving grace. My way into the light. My way out of despair. Even if the only person listening is myself. It feels lighter afterwards, instead of constant intake of TV/books/music/ideas from others, letting ALL . THIS. OUT.  It changes you. It changes me anyway.  Journals work too…it doesn’t have to be public.  But I did that for a decade, and the paper was piling up, and it was starting to feel weird, all these nuggets and insights and for who?  I just kept writing and writing, but without sharing, I felt lost in a way…became a sharer on Facebook…but I knew I needed something more.

Anyway. I was an English minor (dramatic lit + music degrees too), but in NO WAY do I mean for these to be “essays.”  I hope no one ever sees this as such.

This word vomiting is more like Julia Cameron’s morning pages.  But public.  Cuz…???
I guess to go along with all the public song sharing I’m doing lately.

Oh wow, it’s late, I really did mean to drink some coffee and get to work…

Have a lovely night. Jessica

Growth & Lightness (that breezy feeling)

piano video screenshotHmmm this may be a weird post.  Weirder than usual.  I don’t know what I’m going to say, yet I already made a title for it haha.

Wrote a little something on Instagram today…

“Thinking a lot about what we put into the world vs what we keep in our minds. Some things have been sacred to me all my life, unintentionally. Since putting out my album of childhood songs from actual childhood, i’ve had this strange feeling of lightness and moving forward. But it’s also heavy and sad in a way. That time in my life feels more real to me now and almost unintentionally, I have decided to continue the process. This month’s upcoming album was always supposed to be about trauma but I thought it would be songs written in the past few years. Instead I’ve decided to record/release an album of songs from high school through my early 20s, songs I never thought I’d release because of how painful they were for me . But they are good songs and maybe they can help someone. So stay tuned for some heavy trauma songs at the end of this month. Tho if I’m honest there’s a lightness about them too. Curious to see how I feel in August when I reintegrate all this too. Xo ❤️ps haven’t been writing, maybe 10 songs since the 365 challenge ended in Feb? Here’s something from today. Just a little ditty*. Bye!
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#newmusic #oldmusic #lettinggo #movingon #integrating #healing#beingyourself #wereallgoingtodie #someday #giveitallaway #xo

(*to hear the song clip, visit my @jessicaintherainbow instagram)

Sooo I don’t know.  That’s where my brain is.  I realized I hadn’t checked in since right after the Childhood album, and a lot has changed and settled in my heart.  It doesn’t feel so vulnerable anymore, this sharing.  It just feels like work, like God’s work or life’s work or a calling or a weird mission like a missionary for the universe trying to comfort other misfit souls through my strange challenges and approach to life perhaps?  I don’t know.  I believe in capital G God but I don’t think that’s the point of my version of prayer (all songs are prayers, all yearning is prayer, all life is prayer to me…I can’t see all things or be all things, but if there is a creative force in the universe, it has a broader picture than I do and hopefully can see more what needs to be done than I can…so I try to just follow like the little peon I am…is that strange? I think being small makes you feel larger, where trying to be large makes you feel small…and who knows really why we exist at all! I mean we are specks of dust and ants and we are in an endless streaming supply, why not enjoy being alive while we can, if we’re all going to die?)

I’ve been reading Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, the most genius kindhearted soul on the planet in my opinion, and I just can’t get over what perfection it is to experience someone’s clear life-work.  He is someone who has clearly found his muse and voice and calling, and what a beautiful life of craft and listening and GIVING he is living.  If you haven’t read the speech he gave at a commencement (‘Congratulations, by the way’), it is brilliant and I highly recommend it.  Pema Chodron’s too (‘Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better’ I think it’s called)…hers is almost the opposite, if I remember right, but both are humble and kind and wise as heck.  I could shrink down to a tiny seed and spend my life in books, if I weren’t too curious about what all this is, pouring through me… I think my decade of journalling to heal from trauma is about as peaceful as it gets for me.  Purposely avoiding output, focusing inward, or if outward, then creating but rarely sharing.  But now, so much in me feels healed – or on its way – and I feel foolish whenever I consider going back to my old snail’s pace.  Like all this prolific-ness is easy for me, AND impossibly draining of course, but I guess I mean it’s easier for me to understand and structure when I have a plan of being constantly prolific or outputting…as opposed to that 3-year or 2-year cycle some musicians do, carefully crafted work, I think I’ve just never understood it.  It makes the Final Product feel like a Big Deal to me* (borrowing the Capitalization to mock/challenge Importance concept from The Tao of Pooh…which should be called the tao of pooh, if it wants to understand itself…)

anyway, i am doing things my way and i am fine with it for me, and in no way do i think everyone should do things this way because i think it comes off a little crazy and weird at best, or just haphazard and sloppy and wasteful of talent at worst. i guess i also have been thinking of how lucky i’ve been, to be ignored during these healing years.  that no one is writing scathing reviews of my work or not-enough-work.  or no one is criticizing me openly.  i am lucky.  the only reviews i ever got in papers have been glowing (for “Were the World Mine”) – or super local and kind.  I know this is abnormal, and I know the more I put out into the world, the more likely the “haters” will start speaking out and up…I mean, they are not “haters” that’s not who they are, they may want to help me, save my talent, save me from my sloppiness, I don’t know how haters work.  I almost went into dramatic criticism for my critical eye, and dramatic lit degree (at the nudging of my professor), but I couldn’t stand the idea of spending a life tearing people down.  Even if it was to help everyone be better.  And I’m not good at being critical of myself either.  I mean, I see the flaws but…I like em, or I don’t mind em, or I just don’t see the point in being hypercritical.  Maybe that’s not true.  I dunno.  I like flowing, and listening, and following the muse.  What is this blog post about anyway?!?  I have no idea…

Well, as I said in the Insta post…I guess I’m embarking on my high school/college/early 20s songs now.

I’m terrified and exhilirated.  Like standing in line at a roller coaster.  Knowing these all fall in line, in the void, in a massive pile of work, makes each album feel a little less surrounded by pressure (my own)…which has helped it seem/be more fun.  Who knows.  Maybe they are all sub-par, even for what I could do.  All I know is, they are starting to EXIST.  And previously they DID NOT.  So I have to love this challenge, these challenges, even if they’re bringing my sloppiest work into the world – I can blame it on time constraints or just accept my lack of interest in Perfection.  I don’t know when I lost it, I WAS an A student.  All thru college and scholarships, etc.   Somewhere, some literature I read, some play I saw, some movie, some music…pointed out to me, all this stuff is Stuff.  Not real. Not meaning anything in and of itself.  If it moves you, great. If it’s nonsense, criticize me or look away.  But I don’t see how spending a lifetime in silent refinement does anyone any good.  It was certainly driving me crazy, a lifetime of not-doing but wishing-to-be-doing.  Boring.

Okay, rambles out.  xo Jessica

p.s. *note (disclaimer cuz I hate meanness due to differences): I think for some people, things being a built-up Big Deal is a good thing…for me, unless it’s fun and breezy, I get lost in self-importance and take everything Too Seriously, and I just can’t anymore. It isn’t fun, it makes no sense to me, and it weighs on my soul.  So to each their own – I respect those who do epic polished projects, not that you need my approval – the world tends to love people like you (but I love you too). ❤ ❤ ❤

Vulnerability

Releasing music is so second nature to me now, that you would think (I would think) that feelings would soften or change or shift to the point that I almost wouldn’t feel anything…negative or positive, just an everyday thing like doing laundry or getting a good grade on a test or taking a long walk and feeling proud of yourself or just the joy of adventure.

But instead it still feels raw, every time.  Like needles, tingling my skin.  Like wondering, what do people think? What does this look like from the outside? I know why I do this. For me, it is fresh and interesting and unique, to use my time to create and share what I’ve created.  And that’s reason enough. And all these challenges are a way of playing catch-up perhaps.  But from the outside, I can’t imagine what it looks like to see someone formerly more quiet (well, long speeches on Facebook but not prolific with works) suddenly blast all their music and words and art and weird nonsense in my face.  I would be…judgemental?  I mean, I hate to think that anyone judges anything…but I think it’s human nature when we try to make sense of things.  We observe them, and give them a label or some sort of identification.  Good, bad, interesting, annoying, weird, sloppy, beautiful, profound, crazy, boring, inspiring, useless, poignant, etc…

I know everyone has a different view of everything.  And people have used so many different words to describe what I’m doing.  And I wonder how I’m becoming more able to even imagine this variety…

It used to hurt just considering the vague idea of a negative comment on something I shared.

Yet my heroes have them all over their pages.

I don’t know.  Vulnerability is strange and hard and easy at the same time…

It’s almost like, once you force your hand and move outward into the world, you see how vulnerable we ALL are.  And there are alternate life paths…one involves death bed regrets of wishing you did more (or anything, or your calling, etc) and another involves regrets around actions you did take, ways you could have done them differently.  I’ve been in the first camp for so long, that I believed the mantras about sharing and letting go and being yourself so you don’t have regrets…but I don’t think that is true anymore.  I have shit tons of regrets still, despite all this output.  It’s just that the regrets are specific now, not vague.  My old regrets were related to dying with all this music inside me.  Fear of getting in a car accident, having 15+ albums never released that no one would ever hear because I was too afraid to share most of it…to now, releasing so much that each move comes with a million regrets, wishing for more time, more polish, more organization, more thoughtfulness, more skill on a particular thing…overall I see the growth and it excites me.  It’s super personal in nature, so maybe not worth sharing…but my voice is growing in strength, I can hit notes I didn’t used to be able to, just from working outside my comfort zone (including this Childhood album, but also in cloudlight), I’m becoming more resilient to disappointment and confusing vibes among friends and acquaintances, almost starting to even develop thicker skin for perceived gossip and judgement…I don’t know.  Maybe it’s not actually thicker, just that I’m so busy and sharing so much that I can’t get too hung up on any one thing, any one show, any one album, any one way I sense a person judging me.

I mean, I judge myself.  You likely judge yourself.  We’re all pretty harsh in our own ways.  Just feeling reflective and curious about it.  Because this post-release feeling was extra jittery tonight.  Like hard to feel good about.  Probably because these songs aren’t… ???  I mean, releasing songs you wrote in 1st-7th grade is like an extra layer of vulnerable.  Because they are meaningful to me, and I wanted to preserve them, but I can’t imagine most anyone else wanting to listen to them, except maybe for kitsch factor.  And that’s not why they were created.  So it feels more like a twist in the gut, having them out there, than I was expecting.

It’s okay.  I’m okay.  Life is okay.  Health and what not.  Basically healthy and in good spirits.  Just really freaking tired, spent almost every free minute the past few days on this, and I’m just really freakin tired.  Thought I’d have half of today free 😦   Instead I was editing and listening back and mastering and remastering up until 11:22pm.  Had to release before midnight if I wanted it to say “June 2018” as the release date 🙂

Well, there’s a blog post.  Month 4, here we come.

This is a heavy one, coming up.  I already decided the theme…not ready to talk about it yet tho.  Too exhausted.  (It’s 1:29am, the night of the release…just watched a little Japanese reality TV, haven’t zoned out in awhile, maybe that’s what’s making me feel weird, some of the themes discussed were ones I’m sensitive to…I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I have to watch my input/intake carefully, if I read/watch certain things, it affects me almost as deeply as if I were experiencing it).

Night ❤ Jessica