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