A poem for you* (*…for me, shared with you)

Cool kid suicide

 

I want to commit cool kid suicide
Where I seek out the places in my skin
That learned behavior
To fit inI want to commit cool kid suicide
Where I find myself underneath my self
And discover (with great relief)
that I’m not cool at all
I’m small like a pansy
Or light like a bird
And not in a cool way
I’m tugging on your sleeve
Look at me don’t you see look at me look at me
how can you not want to look at me?
I’m sinking like a ship filled with lead making holes making bombs turning everything off that was once turned on
and you are flicking the lights
cuz that’s what cool kids do
Look away
Dissipate
Don’t come true
I don’t need you
It’s not cool
to need you
You need me?
Well that sucks for you
I’m over here making noodles and macrame
or casting spells like witches do
Did this sneak up on you?
Your sudden desire to be uncool
To be unliked by the cool kid gang
To be unheard in your quest for fame
from those blogs and articles who leave out your name
again and again cuz you won’t play the game
The game is lame
The game is lame
and you are lame for playing that game
you are so lame for playing that game
for far too long
for far too much
time that was yours to spend on REAL LIFEBut you cast it aside
Like a worn out spell
For regular people
Not for yourself
You are better than that
YOU ARE BIG YOU ARE GRAND
You’re doing great things! You shout to the land
But the land couldn’t hear you
They’re too busy not caring
Not looking not sharing
Just dried flowers and dreams once a month maybe
While you tug on their sleeve
LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME

Like the petulant child
Who just needs some love
You’re so easy to shove off
and not to dream of
Cuz you spell it all out
You kill the whole game
By making things plain
By selling your name
By ruining the fun
With your words and your words
TOO BIG FOR THIS WORLD YOU’RE TOO BIG FOR THIS WORLD!

But you’re not.
You are small
And yourself
And alone
And you wanted too much,
too big a thing
to be “known”

Known by who?
Known by what?
Known by when why and where?
How could you expect the whole F-ing world to care
It’s insane
It’s insane
And it rotted your brain
All those dreams of fame
Just because you could flow
With some words or some chords
Just because you could make up a world in your soul
And your heart could be moved
Could be healed
Could be used
To help other hearts
Like the one who wrote today, from CANADA no less
They love me in CANADA you say!
So why not all of Canada, or Japan, or Europe too!

No just the one soul per country will do

I’m not through using you
You are in the middle of things
And calling it an ending
Because you want to sing
You want voices to ring
and give you a chance
But you know what you need?
You know what YOU WANT?

TO LISTEN TO THOSE SONGS MADE THRU YOU,
ON REPEAT
UNTIL YOU learn the lessons you need
UNTIL YOU respond better to the tug on your sleeve
UNTIL YOU learn to care for that petulant child
who is dying inside
wondering why you need her
to be noticed by all
You don’t care about those
cool kids anyway
I’m sure they’re fine
They have moms they have cars
They have families
Or small groups of friends
They have all that they need
Some cool kids will love you
But that WILL BE A FLUKE
Because anyone who cares will LOVE YOU FOR YOU
They don’t need to be cool to love you for you
And honestly it’d be a mess if they are
Because then they have to worry about keeping their cool kid star
I think it’s a gold star
Or some symbol of fame
In the cool kid world
That you put by your name
It says Verified
It’s blue and it’s cool
And it’s not for you
You are not that cool
You are small and lonely and sad all the time
But you LOVE those songs that are pouring like wine from the tip of your tongue through the point of your pen and you’d do it again and again and again just for one more chance to commune with divine and you think that you’re the one being left behind?
How about God?
If it’s never enough
all the pain in the world
and you’re given this stuff –
this beautiful stuff that flows thru your veins and converts your heart
again and again
and your mind and your spirit and body too
It’s not enough
IT’S NEVER ENOUGH FOR YOU

So the petulant child
and the neglected God
go hand in hand through this sad vacant world
that is scary to some

Heartbreaking to others
and (almost) no one is listening

BUT they have each other.

A conversation with the world…

Okay world. I feel so raw lately, I just shared on Amanda Palmer’s patreon post, because she is the queen of asking for help, and I know it’s learned for her…but I need to document why I feel so different, I can’t shake the sadness that moves thru me now, underneath the core of my being…I’m going to post all the replies I got too, so I don’t lose this. This chapter may have changed me from the inside out, maybe it’s the first time I’ve been TRULY honest about my intentions, about how bad it feels to fail, about perpetually trying and failing…I don’t want to get stuck here, I don’t want to live here, but I think in my desire to NOT fail, or not FEEL LIKE a failure, I pushed off the truth of my experience and feelings.  I can list so many “try” moments – a fundraiser that failed, no replies from labels, venues that wouldn’t have me for album releases, family and friends clearly doing me a favor in listening to or supporting me (as much as I need to be heard, people are kind, but it feels like futility if you can’t find people who really need to hear these sonsg, or you find like 3 people per year at best…I try to do this for them, but that leaves me feeling like I’m doing something wrong that I don’t know how to market any of this outside of those people, and the intensity of their love and appreciation for this music and these words pouring thru me, makes me think it’s IMPORTANT that I reach more people, the things these few people say, about how it helps them, makes me almost embarassed that I can’t figure out how to promote in this wildly saturated busy world…

I can write some “win” moments here too, front page of Bandcamp for the “New and Notable” section, 2 years ago, personal wins like pushing on despite feeling small, completing my own challenges, on and on… I can’t think of many, tbh. Maybe the livestream on day 365 and quite a few people came and I wrote a final song for em all? Or maybe going on tour and having shows work out? Or opening for Gaelynn Lea? That felt like a win (that she picked me 🙂 I guess there have been a lot, but it’s easy to get lost in the nos, the failures, the pain of it all, the feeling small.  I have a book sitting next to me called “Fail. Fail again. Fail better.” It’s a graduation speech by Pema Chodron. So many beautiful words come from that woman.  Another is George Saunders, he just came to mind. There is so so so much good in the world, people trying to share light. And I feel like I want to share light but the pain of aging meets failing is getting in my way. If I weren’t trying hard, or keeping my songs to myself, like the dreamer I used to be, then I could objectively say it’s my fault. Or if I felt like I really should take advice I’ve been given, to only share the highest quality stuff…but that’s like saying, I know all this wildness is moving thru you, but can you only speak when spoken to? Or only speak once every few years, and in a soft detached hipster way? (not to dog on them, many are naturally that way, so for them it makes sense – for me, imitating them, as I used to try to, it’s like a clown show…watching me subdue all this to try to be…subdued? just because I think people might like that more? I’ve changed…I am myself now…it’s ugly and wild and sometimes “too much” for most people, I don’t know what can be done about this…maybe it’s the effects of a bright soul, writing songs since elementary school, my first brush with fame, meeting mostly failure in the world…and Pema says, failure is just when things don’t work out the way you want them to…she has a great quote on this:

“I thought if there is one skill that is not stressed very much, but is really needed, it is knowing how to fail well.  The fine art of failing. There is a lot of emphasis on succeeding. And whether we buy the hype or not, we all want to succeed, especially if you consider success as ‘it works out the way i want it to.’ You know it feels good in the gut and in the heart because it worked out. So failing by that definition is that it didn’t work out the way you wanted it to. And [failing] is what we don’t usually get a lot of preparation for.”

I was an A student, if I failed repeatedly at something, or was bad in any way, I quit it.  In my past life.  Like pre-these-challenges…once I had a bad show where I took 3rd in a contest, out of 3 entrants, and I was so embarassed that I quit performing for 7 years. 7 YEARS! The whole time I lived in New York, I didn’t play my original singer-songwriter songs for ANYONE! I hid in musicals, I hid in music directing…I still recorded it all, but in a city of pianos and open mics, I didn’t go to a single one, didn’t believe anyone would care, or just DIDN’T WANT TO FEEL THAT FAILURE FEELING AGAIN.  When I lived in Chicago, again still writing and cataloging songs for myself, I had a now-ex who spotted this – he was dysfunctional in so many ways, but he got this topic SO RIGHT.  It was what I wanted to do, so why wasn’t I doing it? That was 2005, or 2006…and so began a slow journey into sharing.  Started with singer-songwriter circles once a month at Old Town School of Folk Music.  First Fridays. Getting feedback. Some people adored me, others ripped my quiet voice to shreds.  Booked my first gig…didn’t matter that I’d already understudied to be a music director on Off-Broadway or played like 15 musicals by then, or shared so much, including the movie Fairies, by then (short film that we were turning into Were the World Mine), what mattered was that this gig, in a backyard of a mansion in Oak Park, was MINE. My songs, my choices, coming out as myself I guess.  That led to a few more and finally my love affair with Gallery Cabaret in early 2007, meeting Garrett Lane, him offering to record me, booking my first tiny tour that was more of a toe in the water…only one real show, in Minneapolis, plus an open mic in Madison, and a “check out venues” moment in Milwaukee.  Haha I didn’t really want to tour, I just wanted to SOUND like I’d toured lol 🙂 And my car was totalled by a drunk driver in Mpls, while parked at an open mic, like that city was saying STAY HERE! And maybe I should have, lived with my brother’s family for 2 weeks while trying to buy a new car…but anyway, back to Chicago, meeting Ethan Stoller, having a great time the next two years with him, making Du Bist Einen Fogle! slowly, meeting Thymme Jones of Cheer-Accident and opening for him at the Hideout…so many tiny moments, crawling out of my own shell, being seen…maybe it’s been enough for me, considering all the trauma I’ve unpacked and worked thru along the way.  Now I gig and tour all the time (sloppy messy sad story with my ex, that brought me to Michigan, but then a year later falling in love here and staying…and all the trying that has happened, to make Michigan work for me, still not used to small town life and Michigan wilderness and how bizarrely it all resonates with my big energy…but I have grown a lot here, the past few years, so there’s that, I can’t complain…well I could but haha, what does that do? I have students and outlets to perform and have met some lovely people…it’s not as grandiose as I tried to make it, in 2016/17 with Ladyfest and Lamp Light Music Festival, where we really tried to connect so many people in this lovely community, got burnt out from that I guess, and honestly, it’s hard to say this out loud, but there wasn’t enough feeling of reciprocity…people we gave to, of our time and money and attention, many of them didn’t give much back…and that had never been a promise so it’s okay, but over time you wake up from that and realize all the ways you’re not giving to yourself, not releasing your own albums, putting everything into community with others, and if they don’t value you beyond a quick moment, then your life can become a string of quick moments with not-your-people…so I moved away from that, or doing that as much…started whole festivals cuz of seeing so many people who deserved more attention or love, but it took so much time away from myself and the fact that I felt like I too deserved more attention and love, and no one was going to give it to me unless I gave it to myself first…I had to put in the work and change on a lot of painful difficult topics…

Didn’t mean to write my lifestory, but there it is.  I’m changing, I’m celebrating this art that moves thru me, I love it, I’m trying to work harder than ever and do my best, and go inward, and appreciate those dear ones who tell me they value this work I do, and I try to turn off from it and be there for others too.

But anyway, on yet another release last week, I felt discouraged…

Here’s what I wrote about that:
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NOVEMBER 18th, 2:01PM

Overall I see my life as a singer-songwriter as a failure. Before releasing yet another album I just want you to know that. I think these songs pouring thru me are highly unrelateable. Sometimes I wonder if I need new friends, maybe I should go back to church. I mean, my songs are so clearly for these people:

-people who kind of believe in God (and don’t mind a fantasy-like way of imagining it, personal conversations, etc)
-people in recovery
-people with anxiety
-people with a sense of a power greater than themselves but don’t know what to call it
-people who pray but aren’t comfortable with many aspects of organized religion
-people who don’t go to church because they don’t feel comfortable in the hypocrisies and debates and just want to try to connect with God (as they understand God) directly.

I dunno. I’m tired. I live like I have something to prove because I HAVE had something to prove. Much of my life happened pre-internet showiness…so I have all this latent talent that feels wasted, human jukebox and being able to write a 30 minute improvised song with rhymes and meaning, pre 2017 it felt unshared and unknown. Little did I know that making it known and still feeling unknown would actually feel worse.

Dreamers are dreamers for a reason. Prior to maybe 2010, or MySpace days, most of us lived in notebooks and our minds, dreaming of the day we’d do it, follow thru in some way. There’s more avenues than ever for following thru now, but also a complete saturation of noise. Most people I know probably unfollowed me, for talking too much or about things they don’t care about. Reality is hard. We get conflicting messages.

So, this next and not-nearly final album from me is all about giving up, giving in, being yourself, trying to do things for some greater good in the Sky, feeling futile in lots of ways, small like an invisible seed, planted, in the dark, doing very little in the world ‘for others’ despite feeling like you do in dreams, and having a harder time than expected turning the focus back to myself and those quiet dreamy solitary nunlike dreams. Where I’m helpful only in the ether, maybe in prayer or subtle energies I don’t understand (not in any way I could promote to you or sell).

Maybe I’m just feeling melancholy today, maybe it’s from editing all this sad sounding music. Or from being pulled forward by two challenges right now, with a hefty daily workload, when I’d like to just do nothing and these challenges feel God-led and I don’t even know who it’s for when most people seem to hate God nowadays and I love Him more than ever. So I live most my life and time feeling like I can’t say anything like this.

Feeling small, just thought I’d share.
New little scrappy album out soon tho, maybe by 4pm?

Bye 💕

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Here’s what people had to say about that…

You are so good. I see you. I hear you. I care about you. I’m grateful for you. You add color and joy to my world. Thank you. ❤️ – Andrew

With love, from one artist to another, don’t place your value in other people’s hands. (I imagine) You create because you love too, not because you want to be loved for your creations. I consider myself a musician because I would be lost without playing music, being able to play makes me happy, but it is not a gauge for my value.-Roman

Success in art largely seems like a myth. 🙃 – Dawn

Jessica, “Tiny Traumas adding up” is a visionary album. I think my jaw dropped open when I first heard it. I find myself wanting to listen to it a lot, but I often can’t because it’s too powerful. That’s a good thing. – Steve

What you believe is what you create. If you believe in failure that will be.
God believes in you perhaps you could begin to as well and begin to step away from self talk and thinking patterns that do not serve you. – Rick

Jessica! I miss you! When are you coming to NYC for a visit? YOU ARE WONDERFUL. Don’t despair. It’s just like this a lot. ❤️❤️❤️ – Katie

Hi Jess, Grandpa Fogle gave me this when I was only 14 years old and I have had a framed copy of it above my desk ever since. I shared this with Kurt and Kelly a long time ago and they seem to derive some solace from it in tough times. I know it sounds like a string of well crafted platitudes but whenever I read it slowly I always feel just a little better. https://mwkworks.com/desiderata.html -Uncle Bob

You are one of the greatest writers I’ve known. Your abilities dwarf most normal writers. I still treasure the track you let me produce. Such awesome stuff. In the end, we have a few choices as writers. We can write what we want even though we know it won’t be appreciated, or we can write stuff people will like and keep the other tunes as a personal refuge. I didn’t play a song one time at First Friday because I felt the group was being so judgmental to others that an oddball truly outside the box song of mine, would be savaged. Played it next time. Slightly different vibe. They loved it. So we never truly know. Everyone loves you. Use that. -Steve

forever inspired by you ❤️-Nathan

I know we only met for a minute or two at GRGR but I find all your posts and your music to be so inspiring. I love your honesty and out pour of love and emotions. Never change. How you live your life is the definition of success… at least in my humble opinion. ❤️ – Alex

Totally not a failure, your prolific songwriting and off the cuff talents inspired me! There are many other people that you have undoubtedly inspired without knowing, not many people can lay claim to that. And it’s ok to have a niche audience, I certainly can relate to that. Although you probably reach more people than you think. – Matt

The mere thought that you’d consider yourself a failure makes me feel ill. You’re the most talented person I know. – Jessica

I find your posts (like your music) so honest, raw and real)! That’s what I love about you!    You (and your music) is so very inspiring to me! (and I believe to many others). I actually feel your frustration. I see how hard you work, I know how talented (and uniquely you) you are! You have something really special to offer the world! Even when you’re not singing about ‘sunshine and rainbows’. Even when that raw and real honesty brings up painful emotions, it’s relatable to so many and can even be a real source of healing! I don’t really know why some people with exceptional talent “make it’ and some remain ‘unknown’ (or unknown to many). Or why people who seem really ‘talentless’ to me hit the big time so to speak. I scratch my head thinking about it. But I have always felt that there is something ‘big’ in your future. I really believe that “It” will happen (whatever ‘it) is! That the stars will align! I don’t know what the answer is, other than to keep doing what you’re doing (or try something different), I don’t know, but keep pushing on, keep creating (not that you could stop) haha! (It’s IN you!) You have creativity bursting from your pores! It’s in your blood! In your cells/your DNA! Maybe take a break though, (or more regular breaks), walk in the woods, meditate, clear your head. Think of a new approach? Maybe something you haven’t tried? Or something you’ve tried, but maybe gave up on too early? Reach out to old contacts, new contacts? Think of new ways to get your music ‘out there’? Online concerts? The thing is, there is no exact ‘formula’. It’s hard to say what effect some big event or small interaction might do for your music career or catapult you to another level of success! I truly hope that all of your biggest dreams are realized and come to fruition! (I also would be happy to help in any way that I can with online promotion/emails/calling radio stations, etc.) Just let me know! (I also have an idea I will private message you about later. Something that I’ve thought about but don’t think I’ve mentioned). Best wishes! And I think you are totally RAD!   ❤ – Lisa

******

There were more but these were the most significant for me.  I sat with it for days, couldn’t respond, was embarassed. Thought my post would fall thru the cracks. When I responded it was because I felt pressured by time passing, not because I felt ready to speak…I expect myself, btw, to have a shift in perspective before replying. When I share something sad or like I’m struggling…so when I don’t, even the way I handled receiving support here, felt like a failure to me. I have very high expectations for myself…here’s my mostly shitty replies (or “best I could do” replies)…

To Andrew: Thank you Andrew – this means so much (and your message). I’ve been overwhelmed by it all, like I thought this post would fly under the radar like much of my stuff, so I didn’t know how to process this all (while also releasing the album lol). I appreciate you too…honestly my takeaway from all this is that pretending to be okay with where your at, maybe doesn’t get you the support you need, when you’re feeling low about where you’re at. I dunno the solution, people don’t like complaining, and you get lots of confusing advice and feedback sometimes, but it’s also how people help people. And how can anyone help anyone they don’t know is struggling? Gonna keep reflecting on that (some of it is in response to your message too…I replied bottom to top on this thread and I’m fried now from all the replies lol…sometimes I think I’m being saved from any attention for music/words cuz I like responding personally and feel selfish if I just take in the kindnesses without responding, but a post like this reminded me I can barely handle even 12 people attending to me and my feelings…let alone some sort of fanbase…) Hugs!   

To Roman: Thank you Roman 🙂 ❤

(didn’t have the heart to tell him that I don’t believe in that, doing it “just for me” – I DID do it just for me, all those years where it was a therapy and personal dreamland…if I’m going to VERY actively put it out in the world, on the internet and anywhere else, it’s not just for me…it’s painful to do all that work and have it be “just for me”, when for my own heart, keeping it private and sacred is what’s best…but I feel called to share and serve others, by sharing. Seeing my vulnerability, and openness, has helped people, and that feeling keeps me going despite all this pain and feeling of failure.

To Steve: Thanks Steve – I still remember your response, or the emotions behind it – so it truly goes both ways…there’s something especially powerful about someone from a whole different chapter in your life, seeing you in a different way, thru your most honest work. i.e. it meant a lot to me, your response (back then and again now…) Like a lot.   

To Rick (a burst, 5 short replies, cuz I was upset, almost irrationally…)

post 1:
hmm not sure i see the relevance here…
post 2:
my whole post is how i have believed in myself these whole 12 years of releasing constantly (esp the last 3) despite no worldly success…post 3:
i think new age wisdom fails when it doesn’t allow room for actual emotions. when we are disappointed, the correct emotion is disappointment. we feel it, then (hopefully) move onto new emotions.

this is true in trauma recovery too. i don’t think God wants only happy puppy songs. horrible traumas happen too, and the world needs songwriters for those.

post 4:
also, i think ‘what you believe is what you create’ is a person-centered thought, not a God centered thought.

Alignment is real, and a thing, but sometimes i think new age wisdom and God-wisdom have conflated to SEEM related when they’re actually not…or in some cases (like this one) diametrically opposed.

I wasted a lot of years and even more heart energy feeling personally responsible for things I couldn’t heal or fix on my own – ideas, habits, wounds, etc. Emotional, physical, otherwise.

There’s a saying “God’s got this” for a reason. I don’t have to do anything.

As I said, if anything I have too much self-belief…not enough belief coming at me from others.

Anyway, there’s my two-cents on that.

post 5:
(to clarify – not that I owe an explanation, but in case people are reading this and care – I don’t think anyone owes me anything, I don’t expect anyone to be a fan, no one specifically is letting me down… just acknowledging the fact that it IS in fact painful, to do this for 12 years, unrelentingly, now more than ever, without “making it” in the industry…me believing in myself a ton is actually probably one of the less appealing things about me, I’m guessing…like I’m always so excited about myself and these songs, I can’t imagine how that’s coming off so I try not to worry about it…but I think you hit a nerve cuz what you describe is the exact opposite of my problem, I’ve been leading writer’s block workshops and mentoring youth on the topic you mentioned, hoping to rub off some of my intense self-belief onto others…at the end of the day, I have too much of it…just no real worldly resonance…just stated that cuz it’s the elephant in the room for me, that I keep trying to be okay with, and I needed, today, to acknowledge that it’s actually hard on my heart sometimes…)


To Katie:  Katie thanks for this, I was just in NYC actually, on tour! Gah…I didn’t invite NY people I knew to the show unless I’d seen them recently, because we stayed in Brooklyn but the show ended up on Long Island (Uniondale) and I didn’t want anyone to feel obligated…it was so far. But I hope to be back somehow next year…miss that city with a passion.

To Uncle Bob: Thanks Uncle Bob    this meant a lot to me, I read it in my kitchen and cried. Really beautiful…printing it now.

(he wrote back again – only one who did, back to that usual ‘throwing spaghetti into a void’ feeling…) Wonderful Jess….”The universe IS unfolding as it should”….LOL😊

To Steve (maybe my worst reply, I don’t know how to experience some people’s fandom in a sea of mostly people not being into my work…) loved this story Steve – I’m glad you had that experience. As for your kind words, of course I love hearing that…I dunno, maybe people like you and some others from those Old Town days (one said i was “the next billy joel” – that’s a lot of pressure haha!), played into my self-belief that i have something BIG to live up to, just because I dreamed it as a kid, and that anything short of global fame for songwriting was a sort of failure. Anytime someone said something like this (what you’ve said here and times before), I experienced it like an…inevitability, if only I worked hard? I never really imagined a reality where I’d work harder than ever, and be as unknown as ever, outside my Facebook/Instagram bubble…even having some big moments like the front page of Bandcamp (twice) and still being unknown…I know I could look into business stuff more, but it always kills my spirit cuz this all is already so unpaid, and my many efforts at it in the past didn’t amount to anything. I probably should have kept my manager back in Chicago…it was a friend but she was driven to help me, and I was too overwhelmed at the ideas. Plus other stuff that went wrong…and yea, I keep writing what I want. That’s the one piece I absolutely cannot change. My lowest point was ducking out of promoting my album made by a friend of the Wachowski’s, back in Chicago, who had connections and worked so hard with me, to instead ghostwrite for a woman who won a contest with a Capitol Records former producer, and it led nowhere except to me feeling like I’d put fake songs and fake feelings and fake music into the world, and she didn’t end up paying me and played those songs for years…which is karma cuz I’ve done shitty things too 🙂 but I guess I’m saying, I learned pretty young to NEVER change the music you wanna make, cuz “making it” is so rare, if in the end you also don’t love the music, you really wasted your time. Instead of just kind of wasted it (like, I am spending LOTS of time converting my super private singer-songwriter life into a public experienceable thing…and I have about 3 views on average on my YouTube vids, and probably very few listens overall on my Bandcamp, even Spotify…just not clicking with the world, or no one knows me and I’m falling into the music vacuum of an oversaturation of weirdos and non-weirdos and sigh…it’s just weird that’s all, maybe it’s cuz I don’t have local friends or people I play for, except once every few months…it’s just me and Bryan in my little writer world, quiet and online and naturey, except when I commit to side projects…I dunno, just ramblin now! bye!)

To Nathan: love you Nathan    the idea of that is forever significant to me (still feels weird when I think of you singing harmonies on that song we made together, how you said what it meant to you, how I didn’t understand someone cool liking one of my heart-on-sleeve songs…always assumed i needed to hide those, you gave me a lot of courage back in those days)

To Alex: Thanks Alex <3 that means a lot…I guess I needed all these responses, cuz it feels embarrassing releasing albums without knowing how anyone sees me. I dunno, I think I feel successful on the topic you described (your def of success) just not in terms of money or big shows or tours or other worldly measurements. And maybe that’s embarrassing sometimes… seemed particularly embarrassing to me the day I wrote this all.

To Matt: Thanks Matt, I appreciate hearing this   

To Jessi: Jessi, thank you for this    I wrote a long response and it made me feel shitty again so I’ll just say that. Love you Jessi.

To Lisa: (haven’t replied yet, but I want to…just wanted to get all this garbage out of my brain first…so I don’t fall back into old patterns of not accepting help WHEN IT IS OFFERED!)

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ALSO…to be fair to myself, this post of mine didn’t come out of nowhere…very few people respond to posts of mine like this, one day earlier…

For some reason, when I’m working on other people’s songs, it’s easy to focus on good sound and best feet forward. But I have this love affair with lo-fi that just won’t quit, probably from decades of listening to my tapes and scratch recordings and dreaming about the day I’d remake em into ‘real albums.’ When that day finally came, the experience was often so anticlimactic- and 2017 brought a release from that build up the hype style approach to sharing. Now I feel a little sad and weird every time I’m about to release something. I know it mostly won’t be heard, there’s so many drops in the ocean, and I’d love to say I’ve arrived at that mythical place where it always feels good making things ‘just for me.’ But if I have to see the positives in all this growth lately, even in the melancholy truths, it’d be that I’ve discovered that the idea of ‘helping’ people thru music or online rambles is a strange misrepresentation of the hoped-for experience. We are looking to connect with you, us writer types, as much as you are looking for people to connect with. I know high-quality albums make the possibility of connection higher, but I’m not there yet, self-esteem wise (investing a year into one album again, plus money and fundraising, it’s a big risky and hard-on-the-heart process). But if you like my weird behind-the-scenes confessional songs, I just finished an album called Michigan Dreams, it’ll be out tomorrow. It’s been a labor of love and strange insights the past two weeks, and it’s a response to the Colorado feelings album. Sort of. It’s very tender and melancholy and a little hopeless, but in a good way, like a new roots sort of way. I think. I guess I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow. Bye 

-I think two people replied to that on FB, one was to say cool pic (it had a cool pic attached 🙂 So I’m used to being ignored or unheard, problems of social media, I get way more attention for sharing memes and quotes than for my original thoughts or music…most times. Except the above.

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ANYWAY that unexpected response affected how I released it…said more than usual…here’s more words, due to all those replies…

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HERE’S what I included with the release post:

Michigan Dreams album cover w cute graffiti

New album out – ‘Michigan Dreams’ – 9 songs about feelings. Kind of a response to visiting Colorado. It’s about being where you didn’t mean to be, feeling defeated, small, lost, being a seed, being planted, rerouting, new dreams taking root, talking to God (track 1 and 6 don’t feel written by me, the whole thing is like a conversation). It’s personal, probably unrelateable, but it’s only half lo-fi so if you like pretty things you might like tracks 1,3,5,6. If you don’t mind weird things that sounds scrapped together (recordings by a tree mixed with bells and synth pads) or ukulele solos in running vans, all preserved for the sake of those moments in time and specific ways of writing those songs being important (to me), then you might like the whole thing.
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For fans of God (or the universe) and working thru tough feelings.
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My favorite lyrics on the album are probably track 7, and it summarizes what I’m doing with my life, I guess.
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My favorite music on the album is probably 5 or 6 (I prefer the good sounding stuff…but I write too much to redo things, the flow is so relentless I’m just trying to keep up honestly)
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Okay it was easier to share all that than usual, now that you know (from the last post) that i already think I failed. Lest you confuse my explanations of things as ‘hey look I’m so great’ it’s really just these are the songs and this is all the information. I’ve held back in how I talk about my own work cuz the world made me paranoid about seeming arrogant, so instead maybe I’ve under-enjoyed and undervalued all this work, since late childhood? For me it’s a gift. These songs flowing thru me. They help me change course, which sadly I’ve needed to do sooo many times. And I feel a cosmic rebirth happen in songs, like something beyond me works it all out and sometimes explains it, and poof new direction…so, here we go. New direction into the top soil, planting a little, hoping to grow. Xo💕(link in bio, btw)
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#michigan #michiganmusic #michigandreams #belonging #toyourself #andmaybe #threepeoplearoundyou #hoping #losinghope #lettinggo #movingon #beingplanted #terrifying #whoknows #whywewantto #escape #things #xoxo #jessicaintherainbow

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This post had VERY few replies.  The actual release. A fan in Europe bought it and encouraged me deeply (in multiple places…I’ll post those Instagram and YouTube comment moments here…) and a fan in Japan bought it, oh and a fan in Canada just yesterday sent me a lovely note.

These people probably don’t realize they are keeping me afloat. I almost said alive. But like, if NO ONE bought it or said anything, I honestly don’t know what I would do. It’s not a perfect album but it exists and is not terrible, and honestly, I just don’t understand this world that I’ve tried so hard to belong in…

or be myself in…

(the memes are wrong, becoming yourself is painful and WAY harder or worse than being like others…it doesn’t comfort, it is excrutiating at moments, and wants to drive you into a deep dark hole of yourself and give up…the only teachable moment I could derive from this is if I DO NOT give up, if I keep failing and failing and failing and by keeping going you decide to call that “a success” despite being unknown til the end of time…which I decided I need to say to myself, this myth of they’ll love you after you’re dead, or at some successful point in the future, even IF it ended up true, I PERSONALLY have to let it go…because the need for it to happen, or the hope, is what is making it so damn embarassing, that it’s not happening, that I’m not known…I know I know, as if we can all be “known”, and lots of people work hard, but that doesn’t change how failure – or perceived failure – feels…)

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Oh yea…forgot I added an addendum to the super responded-to post, when shared on Instagram, and got even more responses, about becoming a Quaker (actually helpful – I live in the bible belt AND the witches coven…it is both here and I am neither, tho I am Christian and love God, I take comfort from my defiant and fiesty nun-grandma, who did things her own way and had visions…I don’t fit in, in churches, because they don’t like questions, especially questioning people of authority…most churches found me exhausting…but here ya go, here’s more feedback I tried to work thru on all this…)

ME: (addendum to initial post) update: did not release the album by 4pm. typing in lyrics, maybe late tonight. if you’re counting lol. also I know this is very sad sounding. it’s because it’s something I frequently feel sad about, but I read in some new age lit that you’re not supposed to share that and you’re supposed to share the positives and be grateful and envision what you want…and honestly positivity can be a bully. I believe in a God that wants us to say we’re disappointed when we feel disappointed. And then if that feeling needs to move, it will (either thru focused attention, or thru some other way of letting it go…personally I pray for healing, even on emotional things, and I’m tired of hiding my nunlike tendencies, I talk to God pretty much all day and sometimes feel like I hear stuff back so maybe I need to find and surround myself with people who think that’s no big deal and certainly who don’t shun me for it…not that anyone is overtly, but sometimes I think I just feel too rainbow for this black and white which-side-are-you-on sort of world… okay well, there’s more words, I meant to just mysteriously share just the pics, with a heart or something, instead of talking some more…sigh. Bye 💕
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#words #morewords #feelings #morefeelings #raw #vulnerability #newalbum #tomorrow #ihope #trying #moving #tryingtomove #letgo #holdon #ontosomething #xo #jessicaintherainbow

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Decided not to detail all the responses, but I see now, they mostly dealt with spirituality cuz of my addendum…

But here’s one about this topic: it’s something I feel a lot of the time. thinking of my music as an emotional outlet for myself, as a hobby, as a diary, whatever you name it, helped a lot. as much as I want to be heard, putting too much focus on that proved to be extremely unhealthy and killed my drive for creating, because it is hard to get people’s attention, especially when your art doesn’t quite fit with whatever the general public is into. treating it as something personal and something that helps me through tougher times was a true savior. much love. – Yungimas

And one more that meant a lot, from my former collaborator (a brilliant writer/artist/arranger/etc etc etc)

post 1:
this probably does not help but i have come to feel that achieving conventional success in the arts is basically like winning at a slot machine. Some people do win but it has no direct relationship to their talent, skill, or hard work. It just happens. It is maddening. But it does not seem to be remotely merit-based. Where people with merit win the jackpot, i think it is a mere coincidence.

post 2:
Which i say merely because I firmly do not believe you have failed. You are and have always been artistically brilliant. I have watched you, me, and too many others fail to “make it” over the years and shake my head in wonder. It is just a gamble. It isnt because you aren’t good enough. You are so much more than good enough, to quote Sarah Mclachlan….

– Elisabeth

then my shitty awkward embarassed response cuz I don’t know how to receive love, maybe I’m afraid people will think I’m arrogant if I just take it in and adnit how much their reply meant to me????

okay now I wanna listen to @officialsarahmclachlan 💓💓💓that’s someone I should cover for my challenge…gonna go record Good Enough right now, I’m sad just thinking about it (good song). And thank you, love you. All these responses, on FB too, have made me speechless and kinda overwhelmed. I wrote this post for posterity, thinking it’d be a drop in the void or bucket, and then I thought the release would go under the radar too, even more so…which is just, sigh. Some days it just gets to you I guess. But off to finish my 7 half finished albums, including ours lol. Hopefully by 2022!

(A more honest response to Elisabeth: your words meant way more to me than is conveyed here…like priceless, needed, and meaningful, down to my soul…I appreciate you taking time and most of all ENERGY out of your life, to give them to me ❤ ❤ <3)

Lastly – my favorite lol:

i love your brain. miss you – Jonnie

my reply: i miss u too! we’re chaotic-good friends 💕also I wanna collab w you someday
😊

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So I had attention. Is that what fame is like? Times a million?????I don’t know. Maybe I can’t handle it. I’ve nurtured and nourished a belief that’s kept me sane all these years of non-stop failing, peppered with tiny successes…it’s that, maybe God is protecting me from fame. Fame is not a thing, and attainable thing, it’s a TASK. A thing to do, to wake up and DO every day. More shows, more choices, more decisions, more moments you have to wake up and break your own heart and rearrange it and be violently and courageously YOURSELF.  No apologies, or TONS of apologies, but still going. And going and going and going. And once you are known, you are not NOT known. There’s no going back I imagine. So why wish for it? TRULY WHY!?

And I’ve been able to stop the wishing or wanting…but some days a song comes out that feels crafted by God, and I did nothing except get out of the way, and it feels so lonely holding those songs to myself. I want to worship the songs TOGETHER with someones, not worship ME, I did nothing, I’ve done so little, I barely show up, I’m haphazard messy chaotic sad unstable lonely kind of a loser, bossy impossible hard-to-work-with bigger than life talks about herself confused wants to help but struggles to LISTEN i’m soooo many things…I have narrowed my world down to just a few friends because I’m needing to find and figure out HOW to be in this world and was getting confused trying to be everything for everyone, so now I connect with these few and I feel better…so there it is. The loneliness isn’t from not having enough friends, I like my small life, I don’t need to chase after people anymore…make festivals for them and hope there’s a give and take…I have people I count on, that I can count on one hand…the rest, truly the rest I need, is a connection around these songs. Not more friends, not more busyness, not more NOT-this, I need THIS. But connection around this. Not around what I said or rambled. Just the songs. What do the words and music mean to you? What does my life mean to you, this wild searching? Tell me about YOU. I’m so tired of myself…but I can’t run from it, because these songs are not MYSELF but My Self is the vehicle for them. So I have to grapple with the loneliness and pain of failing and weird feeling of “it’s all about me” just to deliver these songs into a broken world.

These songs are not for eveeryone.  But they are for some people. I HAVE to work harder to make them higher quality. For my own heart. I’m going to tweak Michigan Dreams a little, maybe, even tho it’s already released. I have to try my best. I have to. I haven’t been, and this 444 mostly cover songs challenge (tho it’s soon going to become closer to half and half, just announced that, right now…haha…anyone reading, you’re the first to know…because I can’t keep all this to myself anymore…and I need to honor these originals, not ignore them for 14 months…)

I can’t believe how much work it is, to do this work. I never knew. In all my dreaming and lo-fi recordings for myself…this. This is the work. It’s so hard. It’s uphill. I’m the vehicle and vessel for these songs, but I keep getting in the way. I need help. I don’t know what I’m doing, yet I know I HAVE TO do it. I’ve felt this calling for forever, but the path is SO discouraging and embarassing. Still, I have to go, keep going, keep doing, keep working on these songs.

Okay, I’m tired from writing that.
Oh yea, the whole point…

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So then I said this…

NOVEMBER 21st 1:20pm

So I just had one of the more unexpected moments I’ve had on Facebook. This is a powerful tool for me, YouTube too, as I don’t have a label or publisher but have wanted to connect with people thru writing and making things my whole life.

Basically I wrote a post a couple days ago that I assumed would fall thru the cracks, like much of my creative stuff has seemed to. Except to me (and a few superfans). Like I could tell you the name and track number of almost every song I’ve ever written, and play them or recite the lyrics…but in terms of worldly resonance, it mostly feels like building a catalogue of work for myself. Or some future job application.

So I feel weird that such a raw post was responded to…and with so much love. When the irony is that I rarely feel responded to, like the songs are questions to the universe and maybe I live in my head so much that I’ve become okay with (or have always been okay with) never having conversations about the themes in these lyrics.

I think I’m afraid of people. I hide behind sharing thoughts in songs, and talking about it as my ‘art’ but the truth that maybe those of us who seem like we want to ‘save’ you just want to have a conversation with you, or create a conversation in the world, but we’re too scared to have it directly. The post I made was basically a synopsis of themes on the album, and y’all made me actually talk about it. Or think about it.

I still don’t know what to say. Maybe I’ll repost the post below if you missed it. But I feel as small as ever…my new album is imperfect and scrappy but I’ve already had two responses that make me feel a sense of some purpose here. (Here = on earth…I guess I feel kind of alien most days) And I sold two copies so far, one in Europe and one in Japan…and that used to be enuf for me, low sales but to cool places. And I know I should really edit the stray noises better in the album…and I want to, but I committed to this new challenge so I also made a cute puppy stuffed animal video and am working on a cute friends music video plus about four other cover songs all last night so I just always feel too spread thin to polish. But when I’m not spreading myself thin I don’t want to work – I have a pretty bad relationship to the WORK of being a songwriter. Or to chores in general. Trying to get over it but it’s hard – I just wanna create but I know more people connect to things that sound polished, so I’m torn.

Soooooo to kind of answer the responses…

Yes I feel like a failure, I know I’m not one and I appreciate those of you who don’t see me that way, but the feeling is related to the workload, the effort, the heart on your sleeve, the sharing of things here and on Insta, and ultimately to having a body of work available for purchase and merch and stuff and having so few sales that you don’t feel like a ‘real’ artist…and to the fact that I’ve lived on the idea of ‘yet.’ Like in May I was pushing so hard, keeping up, live-streams and studio videos and recording sessions and booking everything and June started realizing I was overwhelmed and on a writing retreat in July wondered when I was going to chill the F out. Suddenly it all felt foolish, all the trying, and like it was related to an agenda of ‘making it’ that I’d been increasing in for 12 years, with a burst at the end (the past few years). And I never told anyone but I considered that my peak…so maybe that’s why it feels like failure. I have been turned down for way more than I’ve been accepted for…WAY more. So the highs you’ve seen had sooo much work behind them, and sat on the backs of so many ‘no’s.

Maybe I’m just tired of spreading the personal success story. I’m not a success by worldly standards and it IS painful. It would be LESS painful if I would work way less and share way less and do this ‘just for me’ like I used to by rarely sharing anything. But I’ve been growing this following and learning to share like it was inherently better, so maybe this is a cautionary tale. Trying harder leads to greater expectations, it’s like climbing a tree or flying, like once you’re up there you have to keep up the effort…maybe I’m not wired for it. I made these challenges up to force myself to work. It’s working, I’m working, but its so hard to feel like there’s no clear path and maybe it’ll all just poof vanish and WOW I am not making this better by talking about it.

I dunno – maybe I just need to ask for help. How do those with big album sales or successful album fundraisers go about it? Do you ask people directly to buy your album? I never do that. I’m too embarrassed asking for money, or selling people something they don’t actually want. I don’t want to push myself on anyone. I feel like it would cheapen the joy of a possible sale. But I clearly am not the expert as I made two sales in Japan and Europe and I feel like I’m doing something massively wrong in my promotion or lack there of…and I wonder if it all comes down to the fact that I hate asking for for help. Or feedback. Or for people to buy anything from me.

I never thought I’d measure my success by money, but there it is  my secret truth. 💔💰

p.s. even worse, all this overtrying and excessive releasing and guilt about stray noises in the album is cuz I worry that it doesn’t have value to any of you ($4) without being closer to perfect…so I pressure myself to get more perfect before asking anyone to buy my work. All these challenges have been to try to get better at doing the work, so that I have $4 or $7 value to you. I feel like I don’t yet which is why I’m trying to get better before doing a big and polished release. But I’m scared to do that cuz I’m afraid if I work hard on just one album for a year and I don’t ‘pitch it’ correctly, or well, and miss media deadlines, or learn to ‘push it on you’ that I’d be devastated. So I’m doing it instead with albums I care less about, that I made in a weekend or a week. It’s hard to ask people to care about things they don’t care about. I hate social media for both giving me this power AND showing me my weaknesses so clearly…but not seeing how to get out of it. Maybe that’s why learning to be honest is helpful. I’ve gotten advice from people in the past that was just them guessing or speculating, about things they had no experience with. In the end it was bad advice and based in fantasy (well meaning tho). Because of it I’ve learned not to ask for advice or feedback, which probably makes me seem like an island, or like I don’t care what you think, I’m just over here ‘doing me.’ But I am curious what people think, I’m just terrified of bad advice, cuz I have a hard time ignoring advice. But I am growing, just the fact that I wrote this, let alone am about to push ‘post’ is growth for me. Xo love to the world.
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And almost no one responded. No “loves” just a few likes, and no comments.

Heartbreaking. This world. This lack of success.  The album AND the follow-up post. No response. After all that feeling. Maybe it’s Facebook algorhythms…

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Oh wait, I shared it on Instagram too…with an addendum…and Yungimas responded again 🙂

ADDENDUM (where I directly asked for help):

Help? I guess? I guess this is how I ask for help. By letting you know I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m measuring things all wrong (possibly), I don’t know how to see this differently, it’s all a mess in my brain…and this was the simple way of explaining it. Any ideas on how to move forward, as an unknown little peon, to become a slightly more known little peon, would be appreciated. Just know that if you give suggestions, if it’s something I’ve tried and it didn’t work or found I’m terrible at it or requires investing MORE money into this path and / or anything that is a huge unpaid investment of time and still might not work out, I’ll probably tell u that or veto it. But I’m tired of projecting an image that isn’t accurate to how it feels to be working so hard at this path, without knowing what the next steps are, making everything up and feeling futile and confused overall…okay there ya go. That’s the closest I can come to directly asking for help. To those who follow and show love in the form of likes and loves, I appreciate you. Sorry if this seems like I’m saying it’s not enuf. All of that is enuf for my heart to feel like a person who is loved, but it’s disingenuous of me to not let you know that I’m trying to find something bigger…I know we all are, and that’s the sad part, and maybe that’s the step I always jump to, to be soothing. But it’s ironic if I soothe hearts by saying ‘oh well, it can’t come true for most of us’ when on some deeper level the whole reason I strive to find a wider audience is to soothe hearts …and yes I know I do it by breaking apart and reassembling, but I think that’s more important than slapping a happy bandaid on things (or rather, both have value, but my gifts lie more in deep analysis and reframing…) I know it’s a big ask, hoping people will go there with me, into these deeply personal (but universal) themes…but, I believe in it. I believe it has value. I know my music isn’t easy, and requires a lot of people, especially w the increase in quantity…but, yea. Help please. I’m going to try asking for more help. In return I’m giving you cute songs and puppy videos and friends videos (two covers I just worked on 🐶)

Reply:

There’s a lot of beauty in unrefined, lofi, imperfect art. To many it comes off as more genuine and intimate. As for getting noticed, sending your music to blogs, YouTube channels and labels is usually a good idea, even if the success rate isn’t the best, it’s bound to work sooner or later. Having your music on Spotify and sending it to people who accept submissions to playlists is basically free exposure. While I don’t know if I’d call it a success per se, just because one guy liked my song it’s sitting at like a million plays total. I still stand by what I said about treating art as something more personal but I understand the sentiment completely. – Yungimas

My reply to their reply:

thanks for your insight, I appreciate your support 😊for a long time, unknown felt good cuz I was working things out and feeling shy about who I was (musicially, and maybe otherwise)…and it’s like one day I woke up and felt like life and energy and time was passing me by, and that somehow I was missing some boat or something lol. Anyway I appreciate your perspective and tips!

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So ALL of this…prompted what I just wrote on Amanda Palmers page. Guessing that will go unseen unheard unresponded to as well. I don’t believe in miracles anymore, that she or anyone would care or see me there…maybe it all falls into cracks and people would care if it was put in their face…maybe I’m too much to help. And I can’t share what she said (super raw, like all this) that prompted my comment.  But here you go. Me and maybe one other person reading this ever? My attempt to catalogue this journey from acting fine with failure and spinning it differently (positively) while secretly hoping for a future change – to changing from the inside out, and really feeling like there’s no hope unless God swoops in and changes my life, until then or IF EVER THEN (and for my sanity I have to let it go) I have to grapple with all the futility of making so much and being so unknown. If you read all this, thank you for caring. Or for not looking away, seeing someone in pain. I look away from people in pain all the time…this pain is so small compared to bigger pains, but the only thing that makes it so big, is the ongoingness of it…decades of compounded pain around failing and failure yet not giving up…and not knowing why.  Maybe I’m finally working and that’s all the universe needed from me, a willingness to work, much harder. No, I can’t entertain that thought…I can’t pretend I’m one step away from something. It’s too painful. Soo, if Amanda reads this, cool. Maybe replies with a heart at best? Then my life will go on as normal, small and surrounded by the same people who are tired of me, or don’t want or need this, with my few fans in far off places, or around here but just not buying things or reminding me that they love these songs…clearly from those comments, the music means more to some people than I collectively hold in my brain…it’s just not their job to make me feel good about it, or remember that they’re listening to it. Maybe recorded music is the culprit, I bought Joanna Newsom’s albums one time, but listen for years…she doesn’t “feel” all the listens.  I’m just a sale on a list.  But she matters to me, and always will.  Hmm…will reflect on that.

And now, last post…moving on…this is like a short story, I can’t believe I just wrote and cataloged all this for the last hour or so…maybe hour and a half? Sigh…this week just really took me somewhere.

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A reply to Amanda Palmer:

This is my first time replying to one of your posts. I’ll be honest. I’ve contributed for awhile and it’s my first time READING one of your posts. I can’t believe this is the one I stumbled on. I have been pushing myself like a sassy superwoman, writing 365 songs in 365 days, releasing 12 albums in 12 months, and now playing 444 mostly cover songs, all on YouTube and everywhere and acting like a hero for the world and this week I released a sad “I failed” album and talked about it on social media, and instead of feeling like a superwoman I am feeling so raw, nothing is putting those feelings back inside…I’m used to spinning it positively, being there for people, pushing thru. But I’m having this unending hangover from admitting that I feel like a failure and that feeling won’t quit. Releasing 17 or 20 or something albums, unnoticed and acting okay with it, I think something in me broke. I think I got famous too young, for something unrelated to my calling (writing music for a movie, “Were the World Mine”)…anyway, crying over here, remembering how hard it is for me to ask for help. Because, I read your book years ago, and started asking, and went from a “rarely share” type person, to a “share all the time” type person, mainly because of politics and I had to do something with all the increased energy-meets-futility in the late 2016 world. Made up all these challenges like a creativity school, to keep myself busy, cuz going into politics in a traditional way didn’t work for me…but oh my God, Amanda, I think it is a form of shaming ourselves to keep saying “I’m bad at asking for help” without acknowledging that SOMETIMES we spend chapters of our lives asking, and people ignore us or just don’t help. We’re a burden or a bother, or too weird or annoying. Or just “too much” for people. I don’t expect my family or anyone to watch my videos, they’re way too wild, 30 min long rambles about how to become your authentic self…everything I am is everything my family and old close friends tried to talk me out of being. It’s like being born into the wrong family, being born into a system you don’t fit or belong, and being talked out of yourself every step of the way. I don’t say it as bluntly as that on social media…but only my sister is on patreon and she supports me and probably won’t see this regardless. Anyway, sorry for the heavy ramble, I cried while writing it, it’s been a hard week…off to read your post again. Jessica p.s. and I will tag you when I cover your amazing song, the piano one in the church, was it NPR? my memory is terrible sometimes, but I streamed tears midway thru that and then felt better after too…something very important is moving thru you, I’m glad you allow it to move (I have a song about that, on my Tiny Traumas album, called MOVE, about getting out of my own way…I dunno, maybe you’d like it, my stuff is sadder than yours, and more mellow, but healing I hope…whatever, not trying to promote myself, it’s just hard to be myself without mentioning myself, which a singer-songwriter is all i am, i’m not a mom, i’m getting old, it’s all i’ve done with my life…i hate the fact that it makes me feel gross like I promoted myself, just for mentioning things of my life that exist…anyway, hugs to you, glad you inspired me to come here and exist a little more openly, xo)

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444 Hearts – FINAL CHALLENGE YEAR!

Here’s an excerpt of a letter I wrote recently to my Patrons (patreon.com/jessicaintherainbow) – if you’d like some packages in the mail from me, once a season, or other little behind the scenes tidbits, please feel free to join my crew!  I appreciate my patrons SOOOOO much, couldn’t do this without you!!!

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I hope you are finding and enjoying all the randomness I share on the internet. Too much to list…with cloudlight, new music/songs on YouTube, new lo-fi albums, Instagram posts about feelings and healing, and now…my FINAL year+ long challenge, which will take me to January 20th, 2021.

I decided in Jan 2017 that I needed something to focus on, to keep me from losing my mind, but that would still contribute to the greater good…as best as I knew how.  365 Songs in 365 Days was born, a songwriting challenge.

After it was done, I knew I needed more…and really felt the absence of albums on my Bandcamp (official page for album releases) compared to my new daily musical presence on YouTube, so I did the 12 Albums in 12 Months challenge.

Then it became clear that all these challenges created more work than I could keep up with, opportunities came up and I felt like I needed a year to focus on knocking things off my ever-growing list of to-dos and dreams…from kids’ albums, to xmas albums, to massive housecleaning to music licensing paperwork, there was never time to do it all…which often made me do none of it…hence 52 Dreams was born: the weekly to-do list challenge (one dream at a time, one per week).

And lastly, even tho 52 Dreams is still going on (it’s week 24, and I’m writing and releasing an album this week, called “Michigan Dreams” – 9 songs, should be up this weekend!), I decided I needed to start this final year-long challenge exactly 444 days from Inauguration Day 2021.

Whatever your politics, I’m sure we all agree this has been a more tumultuous time politically than anything in recent history.  It has been hard on me emotionally, hard on my friends and family, and truly I don’t think I have the wisdom or insight politically to soothe divides with words about policies…so I decided I’d dedicate this year and some change to being one of the soothers in other ways.  Plus it makes me excited, to find 444 cover songs to share, revealing some of my influences and history, but also making some close family and friends happy (with some songs we loved together)…also, top secret, but there’s a second component to the challenge that I haven’t announced yet, I’d love to tell you first!

(insert top secret info here :):):):)

…I don’t feel worthy, but I’m doing it anyway 🙂 Cuz if the world doesn’t make you famous, or celebrate you, you can just celebrate yourself.  For fun, why not? And of course celebrate other people too, don’t be a narcissist.  But I’ve been realizing, if you’re a painter, you have to use the canvas that’s inside you – your skills/training and visions – that’s not narcissistic, that’s just a fact of being – we’re trapped in one body with one perspective this whole life long.  And it’s lonely, that’s why we try to connect, and listen, to get outside our own experiential wisdom, into someone else’s.  But it’s so passing and fleeting and then we’re back to ourselves.

So if you’re an introvert who loves making things, you’re not a narcissist for enjoying yourself and the things you make.  You’re just probably a creative soul who is VERY sensitive to other people’s energies, and being with lots of beings probably just makes you feel super overstimulated, or confused on how to behave (to ‘make others happy’ or fit their systems of behavior, while avoiding conflict…it’s like a weird variety of being creative, trying to create experiences that make other people happy)…both are true for me.  So being alone most the time, save a verrrrry small crew, and imagining+creating+sharing in this virtual world, i.e. basic writer’s life, really is best for me.

Love to the world, love to my Patrons – OH and if you want to help me gain support, ever, please follow along on YouTube or Facebook (Jessica in The Rainbow page) and if I cover something you like, please share!  There’s links including in the posts for people to become a Patron or just “buy me a coffee” 🙂 (it’s for one time donations, like an online tipjar :):):)

So if you share something, there’s a chance someone new might come and join this crew.

Anyway, thanks again!  And thanks for reading!  I attached the mp3 of this one*, Angel by Sarah McLachlin

All the best <3<3<3
Jessica

****
(*i gave my patrons an mp3 to keep…but here’s the YouTube link https://youtu.be/9LEf8R2HUkE :):):)
Okay that’s a garden variety Patreon post…I always meant to share more half-finished art there, BUT that’s what others do, others who maybe take their work more seriously and slowly…which I may do again someday, at which time it’ll be SUPER fun to have a place to leak things!  In the meantime, my Patrons pay for me to have a wild and wonderful online presence…full of wonder and light and weirdness and fun and sorrow and confusion…I so appreciate them, and you are welcome to join anytime (and leave anytime, but let’s not talk about that – the world needs more patrons of the arts! for me or anyone, I hope you’ll please consider it :):):) xoxo bye!

Last blog post (for now…)

Hello…

So I never wrote a final “month 12” post…but I think it’s because I realized, I connect more easily to my own inner voice and joy, and to others – when vlogging (vs blogging).

Soooo here’s a bunch of month 12 videos I made instead : )

-Month 12 of 12 – so many feelings lol (check in vid)

-Month 12, day 5 – check in video that goes on forever…………..

Month 12 Day 8 – behind the scenes at Third Coast Recording (not quite a check in lol)  

-Month 12 day 18 – Check-in vid, nature, thoughts on work vs play/creativity


Month 12 day 23 – nature and gus the dog and existentialism (tunnel park) (*prob my favorite 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

-Yay! 12 albums in 12 months is done (and it’s snowing in mid April)

As for final thoughts beyond this, or if you like reading, a summary of alllllll of these videos.

#1) this challenge (12 albums in 12 months) was wayyyy harder than last year’s challenge (365 songs in 365 days).  why? because that was whimsy and fun and had no rules other than make and share a song every day (I already wrote hundreds a year, and it was fun and therapeutic for me already, so the only hard part was learning to share and be a public person, and maybe trying to get better at audio quality)… and while this year didn’t have super specific rules either, except for “release an album every month,” my own expectations for myself and my bandcamp (i.e. online music portfolio) ate me alive if i posted more than one “sloppy” album a season.  and i did, at one point.  it was just so so hard. i used to release an album every 3-5 years…so this was an unrealistic and totally unsustainable concept.  no time to dream, just output output output…made me almost manic and hyper, and angry at the workload…on the upside? i’m super proud of alllllllllll that work, even if it’s more all over the place and/or sloppy than i would have liked. it felt like catching up on my lost 20s and early 30s, where i gave away life and time to dysfunctional people, and went so slow even tho i’d previously been an “achiever.”

#2) i learned how to work. like how to REALLY work…how to pace myself, how to not hate deadlines, how to make friends with my own ambition and the love-hate relationship it requires, how to be peaceful and let it all go (only after doing it all, to be able to say I did it, which isn’t the same as truly letting go…those people are wiser than me…whatever we make here we have to lose, there is no helping someone with your words if your actions inspire the opposite truth…i.e. my lyrics may have some “wisdom” of let go and heal but they are counteracted by my demonstrated “wisdom” of hold on and try harder and fight and push and don’t give up… basically I’m a paradox or maybe not even that cool, maybe we all are split, but i feel like i was raised on hyperactive ambition, 10 piano competitions a year and all As and scholarships and fellowships and hey let’s write perform in cast direct a musical for my honors thesis let’s be ALL THE THINGS…followed by or blended with, let’s read taoism and go thru trauma and flooded repressed memories and become aware of our own awfulness, some due to the abuses we suffered, and instead of crumpling into self-hate let’s unbury and get help and become more and forgive ourselves first and then those who hurt us or the other way around, all the while letting go and go and go and go… THESE TWO APPROACHES being OPPOSITES, and unreconcilable. You can’t hold on AND let go.  Dark and light, emptiness and fullness.  Want/need and surrender.  Nothingness and fullness…I don’t know.  I learned I want both, but that makes me a pendulum, always unsatisfied, impossible to resolve…not sure which is truly me…nurture is so strong, but nature is too.  Not fighting either anymore, and if that means a violently fast moving swing between the two, well then I’m just trying to keep up.

That’s it.  Bye blog!  Come find me on YouTube for my newest challenge “52 Dreams!” where I draw slips of paper (cut into clouds) from jars…containing all my relentless obnoxiously unending to-do lists, separated into big and little “dreams” (i.e. who can have 52+ dreams? i have my “let’s make albums” and “let’s make music vids” and “let’s tour” and “lets be in a solo project” and “let’s be in a band” and “let’s make money as a piano teacher and music theory tutor and songwriting mentor” and “let’s travel and see family 2x a year” OH and I know, let’s also have 52 other “side dreams” that we shame ourselves into doing…or feel bad about not doing…it’s insane and i want to learn a whole new way of thinking about this, so I invented this challenge all about FAILING, or gracefully falling, or just “getting started” and letting things evolve or DEvolve, naturally.  Eventually.  Hopefully.  First, I need a year of looking at this.  So I can undo the weirdness of this habit…I think it’s the world.  I think the world tells us to “to-do”.  I don’t want that world.  I like flowing and ebbing and moving gracefully in my mornings, into afternoons spent teaching, into nights spent making or unwinding or doing other habits i should or shouldn’t be doing (mostly snacks)…i like flow.  i hate shame.  but i don’t want to shame myself about having shame, or feeling shame, or being shaming to myself…it is human and natural, and we’re all on a path and it’s okay.  a million okays.

goodbye for now blogging, you stress me out…I like smiling at my phone and talking, and not noticing my wonky punctuation or weird writing style 🙂

BYE!
Jessica
xoxo

p.s. but seriously find me on Instagram or YouTube – I’m on the former near-daily, and the latter near-weekly. bye!

Month 11 thoughts and feels (so close!)

Hello world…

I am doing well-ish, and have *mostly* gotten over sharing my traumas wildly online…I read somewhere once that that’s a therapy trick.  Having no real response, learning to tell your story as it is. Except I have been doing it with songs.  And rambles like this.

One beautiful outcome of all this, is I believe in myself again.  Posted a 5th grade casio pop video and found my 5th grade self really was confident.  Before social issues, puberty, boy problems, and being disliked or ignored or uncool.  Before I internalized the world.  Before known trauma, or an understanding of trauma.  Tough, and smiley, and liking to perform…

It’s on my instagram, I’ll share more I’m sure someday.  They are the songs I rerecorded in month 3, called Childhood.

I feel like it’s hard to talk consisely because I’m referring to things you most likely never saw or watched.  It’s strange to live such a prolific life, because no one but me knows all the content.  And I don’t like it all, but I feel called to make it.

So that’s the corner I’m turning finally.  I felt private, like I was hiding, and it felt good to share all the “hundreds of songs a year” that I write.  And have written long before the 365 days.  BUT from a practicality standpoint, I’m eager to just move forward like a regular musician – albeit having more to choose from – I still want to put my best foot forward, like I did in ’10 and ’14…making a “real” album as they say.  Tho I believe in the Velveteen Rabbit and Pinocchio, and broken or wooden things are real to me too.  So I like these wild years, because they have taught me who I am…and I’ve been told they’ve been useful to others, who didn’t know how to move forward…getting trapped in trauma loops is a very real thing.

Last month’s album is probably my favorite one from a songwriting perspective, if you’re going to listen to 1 of the 12.  This month was going to be the “last” “Friend Ship” but I doubt it will be…I might release ‘December, 2015’ instead.  Had it all done but chose to release new songs, in December.  Felt so right to let myself off the hook like that, and honor the present, back then.  And now, it doesn’t feel right to hold these songs much longer…I don’t need to edit them a million times, it can be lo-fi.  Tho there’s two I’ll be rerecording for an EP someday, I hope.

And the Friend Ship is landing slowly…because I’m having Bryan mix and edit it, and it’s only 4 songs, but in a way, these don’t feel like they *really* count, because I meant to release em all back in May before the hard drive crash.

But releasing em in 3 small parts has made it so I can honor each moment…so many people I’ve loved or admired, some up close, some from afar, doing these songs with me.  It’s pretty cool to have them captured in time here…some became closer friends after this, some were like ships passing in the night, some grew apart, all in love or with the best intentions…

Wow.  I don’t sound normal when I talk.  I have finally come to accept that being weird isn’t about whether or not I feel weird.  It’s about whether or not this is weird from a societal perspective, i.e. compared to others.  So yes, I get it.  I’m weird. Or this is weird.  Releasing so much, sharing so wildly, with abandon, saying anything…referencing a thousand projects in mixed up order so no one can follow.  Like I really know what I’m talking about but I get that this is jumbly nonsense in a way.  Probably why I stopped blogging.  In my own personal journal this is useful, but for someone to come across and read, kinda pointless.  And one person once, after meeting me, read a current blog post instead of my “about” section, and then preached at me for 5 minutes on how to be x y or z and I wanted to be like, dude that’s just how I was feeling that day.  But thanks for the unsolicited advice haha…

It’s okay.  It’s all okay.  I’m happy, as happy perhaps as a transient human can be. My life is simple, I teach piano and songwriting, it’s nice, my families and students appreciate me, I’m tough without being mean, which took a long time to learn how to be…getting back to the gym is helping me learn that balance (how to have standards and goals without using shame to get there).

Sooooo I would like to list all my dreams and plans here but honestly that’s what got me into this mess.  Stating things like “I will record and share 365 songs!” or “I will release 12 lofi albums” (well I never said lo-fi but DUH it’s that…also I originally said EPs were okay, but ended up with mostly albums :/)

I have a new challenge in mind for next year – barring impeachment – again, this is keeping me sane and focused on light and positive change (rather than fighting darkness – but you can’t “fight” darkness, unless you yourself feel light …this process has made me feel so much light that I’m practically floating off this planet, because I never knew you could change this much, in a lifetime…but listening for guidance, following dreams, it’s like a north star, you can feel it in your bones, one tiny wish at a time, except you make the wish AND you’re the one making the wish come true).

All in all, be yourselves people.  It’s okay, the world won’t end. You’ll get looked at like you’re weird, but if you ARE weird, then that means you’ll get looked at like you’re YOU.  And then over time, people will accept it (accept you) and shut up about it.  And then it’s win-win cuz they learn how to not be judgy and annoying, and YOU get to be yourself.

Well…that’s all for today.  I have so many more things I want to share, but I’ve shared a lot, so overall this whole process brought me great peace.  To know that I’m more known than ever before, which is like some sort of spiritual realignment…like this was my chiropractor and my spirit was my spine and I feel popped back in place somehow.  Mostly thru 500+ moments of self and others forgiveness…I really think that’s the secret to growing.  You have to forgive the wind that knocked you down, if you want to get up again, knowing that there’s wind (and it could happen again).  Otherwise, it’s just logic, of COURSE you’d stay down.  But – i think – it hurts less when you’re expecting it.  Like I expect people to ignore me now, to turn on me, to swear they love me and are helped by me, and then go back to ignoring me, I even expect mean words cuz trolls abound.  It’s just real life.  It sucks and I understand why so many people don’t want to play a role they used to want to play.  It’s dark and people are cruel and wearing your heart on your sleeve is painful even in neutral.  Why not just block your feelings?  My only agrument then to that approach is that time will pass, you will feel less, and later – much later perhaps – you *might* say “wait, what happened” and you’ll feel like you’re waking from a dream (like I felt) – like 20 years went by like nothing, and you weren’t really doing what you felt called to do, in your heart or mind or soul.  And then it’s NOT too late (no matter what anyone tells you) it’s just harder.  It’s hard to be my age and “competing” with my musical peers who are younger and have more “potential.”  It’s hard to be older from a lot of other perspectives too, physical health, etc.  It’s hard psychologically, to feel weird for being older while “chasing” and “young person dream” (aka being yourself, following the same dream you had since you were 3, which is an active calling and never went away).  So whatever those dreams are for you, if there is one, keep listening, keep fighting for yourself…because I swear this is all connected to that death bed feeling people talk about, of “did I try?” “was I myself?” “did I care enough?” “did I fulfill my ‘potential’?”  It’s not possible to do perfectly, or sometimes even well, but did you care or did you try seems to be a common theme.  And I have years if not over a decade of not trying, or hiding in another path, because fear.

It’s okay, it just is.  Trauma does that to people.  But here I am, telling you, despite all awkwardness and pain, it is worth it to unbury.  To find who you are and follow it again, like a child.

xoxo to the world-
Jessica

p.s. I also think it’s 100% okay to just live for the moment and be present – not everyone has such an obvious path or calling, some people’s callings are to help or be helpful,  and the content on which you help is less important than listening to the calling to be helpful (for love, for joy, for connection, for community).  Bye for now 🙂

Forgettable Songs vs things that feel lived in (but still growing)

An example of how segmented my mind can be:
 
I recently expressed a small sorrow, where I realized I was barely writing songs this year (compared to years of “hundreds of songs a year” like I used to awkwardly say, or my 365+ songs last year)
 
Just now I realized that 2 of the last 3 releases were songs entirely written that day or week, for that month’s release.
 
Like September and October are albums of all new songs.
 
Maybe I didn’t realize it because they went straight to album, instead of into my private personal recorder or phone where I quietly learned them without sharing for a long time. That process always made a song feel so real, like a lived in blanket or pair of slippers.
 
This new way means I feel so much at the moment my heart and mind are stirred to write, and then most of them are abandoned almost instantly (oh wait, that’s the same as with the recorder! no one knew i was doing it tho…whoa, just realized that too…each year of hundreds of songs, I’d only learn to play 3 or 4 of them…)
 
I guess I just realized I’m the master of forgettable songs, how to write things fast, repeat yourself often, and once in a blue moon, be lucky enough to stumble on something really inspiring or inspired.
>>>
Okay so I just named this post.  It was a Facebook post til it got so long that I felt self-conscious…even with this community of my 1,200 most trusted friends (no wonder we all ‘brand’ ourselves…there’s never been a time in human history where we had to present ourselves so consistently and similarly (to our own known self) to so many people…)

Not sure where or why I’m going with that.

Basically…just saying, this is why it’s so hard to find yourself.

Or “be yourself.”

The further away you get from those epicenters, the less people relate to you, or want you…and as you pull away more and more, it gets really lonely…except or until, those rare moments in time when a lonely soul becomes an epicenter, and people become curious about their strangeness…

I wonder sometimes.  Is that what this is? Finding myself while paying attention to what irritates people?  What makes people connect?  I know long rambly blog-style posts on my Facebook are hard to relate to.  But other times – very rare times – we are lucky to embody a truth that is so shared in humanity, at that current time or always, that it becomes looked at.  And those rare few get rewarded for being themselves.  And also scorned and envied.  There is so much complexity to this process…

Basically I spent the night wondering how or why my heart has grown so much, just from challenging myself to do things I’d always wanted to do.

I think I’m , sort of , maybe , growing up?

Or rather…having the time and space, without trauma (this time around) to process arrested development… which I actually think is common with those with post-trauma stress… disorder or just basic humanity, all labels and stigmas aside.

So I feel like, here I am, sitting on the edge of a cliff – looking out, seeing all of you, people I’ve admired all this time, worried if you’d really see me…not taking the time to pause and let you know, my life – truly – has been a secret obsession with a non-stop seeing of YOU.  I come off perhaps like I want you to see me.  But that’s because – inside my own heart, in my own private spaces – I’m always thinking about you.  I want some space for me, or for someone to return the favor.

And it never occurred to me – until very recently – like very very recently – that I could give myself my own gift.  I could take that focus and put it on myself, not as a creator or talking, speaking outwardly, creating content, hoping to be loved or accepted or at the very least tolerated…but even tolerance involves inclusion, and if you are a social being (which we really and almost secretly all are), you first need to feel included to also feel tolerated.  And if you don’t feel included, it is like intolerance (imagined)…when really it’s just un-observance.

The people I always admired – from rock stars with no time free to write back all fans, to friends and acquaintance I looked up to who never had time for me – I always thought the solution would be to finally hear from them.  I never thought it would be to try to understand them.  To look at their busy lives and see how many people they know, how many people they love, how many people want their time…to really see them as people. To see myself in them and vice versa.

I would want – if I were them – to be understood, for how busy I am, to be tolerated, for ghosting you… not because I want that persona, but because my life is short and my own, and I want to pay attention to it.  Not constantly think about you, and how you seem disappointed in me or my actions. I would want to live my life and time with my closest people, not to shut you out or make you feel small, but because my time and attention are precious to me.  I care about those closest relationship – and no matter how much love, we just can’t have those close of relationships with everyone.

I think that’s why I’m a hugger.

It’s an instant way to hold someone a little too long, to give them a little too much of you, and to take some of them in.  It’s a fast way to communicate that I care about someone.  It doesn’t mean I’ll have time for you (though I wish I would) – it means I care about you, and if I had all the time, I’d choose to get to know you!  Stranger, long lost friend, new friend, all the friends.  I HATE (and I rarely hate things) this idea that love can be finite. That to love you, I have to love someone else less.

I don’t believe that.  Love is so expansive.  The more I have for my sister, the more I have for my partner.  When I feel like my love for them is in competition with each other (I rarely feel this, but if/when I do…) I have to realize that’s not love.  That’s time. Or attention. Or energy. This is why I trust flow. This is why I require freetime…

I’ve learned that to negotiate time when love is involved, for me, it has to be very fluid.

Natural. Relaxed.

Things schedule themselves enough naturally…I’ve worked so hard to schedule all my life.

Everything and anything that needs scheduling.  So I try to let anything that doesn’t NEED to be on a schedule, be part of the river of ideas flowing through me…

When to write that friend back…
When to dream…
When to journal about said dreams (real or waking)…
When to make lists…
IF to make lists…

All of it I just let go and flow with time like it’s my friend not foe…

And I know this is right for me and those like me, and not for everyone.

Of course I go to work at 2:30/3 every workday.  Or at 11am some days, eating dinner after 9pm most nights when I’m done teaching.  That is something you need to schedule…and I’m hypervigilant about stuff like that.  I’m also hyperfocused on contracts, communication related to deadlines, and other A student type things.

And the more I connected things all around me – the more came my way – the last thing I wanted to do was schedule it all ‘perfectly.’

In fact stuff like this – moments like this – times I felt connected were previously (since 2006 or 8) were blown up, sabotaged.  I think, over and over again after that. There’s something people say about success being harder or worse than failure…I think that’s not well put…

Like, I mean, success means you have to do more things.  To keep it.

Failure means you get that spacious feeling and get to dream and start again.

Success is a puzzle and once it gets going – if you start to see the picture in it – you can’t change pictures, you can’t alter the trajectory, people can’t dream anymore and wonder what kind of puzzle picture you’ll be when finished, it is now 100% clear that you will be cats.  500 tiny cats, or some puzzle analogy I ran out of steam before finishing.

…Played one of my favorite shows yesterday, surreal really.
Opened for Mutual Benefit with my band cloudlight.  Love that band, even tho it’s so hard for me.  Bands are so intentional, making a commitment to people and time and envisioning together, it’s so hard and wonderful and weird…I don’t know.  There’s so much that we are getting to be part of because of this band, or that I am as Jessica in The Rainbow.  Communities of people are saying hey and giving me a smile or friendly word or two…and I think I forget when I start paragraphs like these, that even my own self-involvement, my own being excited about my own projects – collaborative or solo – is that they connect me to and with all of you.  I literally float after meeting a couple people in Minneapolis or Milwaukee, I feel bigger and more aware of the world and how people are thinking differently in different places and at different times…

Like Minneapolis 2008 is very different from Minneapolis 2018…when I talk about whether or not I would have moved there, or ever would, the years I’m referring to are so different, environments change, motivations, ways of living…I think there’s something so fresh and so fragile about going around and meeting now-people of any place, even one I’ve been before…

I hope you see this reading as an arrogant self-involved confident list of personal insight that is perhaps or actually HIGHLY unrelateable…

Because it would or will serve my point.

That I’m unrelateable because I’ve felt like this inside for so long but I figure it’s so unlikeable to share thoughts like this, to be this version of “being yourself”…without seeming lame or tragic…

I think it just IS lame or tragic to be this constantly reflective…which is probably why I rarely do it anymore.

Hence the progress.  Hence feeling more real.  I feel more obsessed with others than ever, but also feel a heavy burden lifting that says it’s okay to hit pause on that and stare at myself, and my closest loved ones, and dearest more trusted friends and be very intentional about those areas of closeness…and don’t allow space to come between them just because it feels selfish.

I think this is coming off highly convoluted.

I guess all I’m saying is the most self-centered-seeming are really others-obsessed and giving themselves no love (they are giving you all the power, waiting for you to give some back – giving you all the attention, waiting for you to give some back)…

And perhaps – I mean no ill will – those who seem the least self-centered, are actually adept at going inward and facing themselves, connecting with themselves, and actually giving themselves so much attention and love and care and intuition and gravity, that actually those might be the most self-centered of us of all.

So the words we use, carry weight, because in this case the right idea just wasn’t conveyed.  At least to me…

I am a recovering others-obsessed type, trying to become more me-obsessed in a healthy way, not in a begging for attention sharing anything way…

Me-obsessed in taking the time to analyze where I’m letting myself down, I mean, like that.  Trying to be my own guide…not just letting me ramble and wonder if anyone will listen or read it.

Maybe this one is relateable, or maybe it’s the least relateable of all.

I don’t know, like I honestly don’t.

Maybe that’s what blogging is…or maybe I really am just an undecided person.

I encourage you to find who you are, what you love, or some other tidbit…then if the world seems not to care, just show them anyway.  Street corners, wherever…don’t worry how many people come, give yourself permission to just do it.

Then when you do it, eventually people might come…and if they do, then be aware you’ll realize, then and there, it’s been about the other people all along.  You wanted their love and now you have so now what?  What are you going to do with it?  You are going to surely let them down, because they all have different ideas of what ‘good’ is.  I don’t know…

It just all depends on if you want to ‘become’ something, where you’re going – who you think you are, or if you are content where you are.  Having reached the top, some may ask you to go higher, but where you are is beautiful and you meant to come down…you saw the work involved, realized which things were you and which things weren’t, and you said ‘okay this is it.’  Until that ‘it’ was fun and people were kind and you reconsidered.

It’s okay, I know this sounds horribly arrogant, for a horrifically unfamous person to talk openly about their experience going from completely unknown to relatively unknown.  What is unknown?  Anonymity, openness, decision, potential.  What is known, even relative?  Predetermination, set things, schedules, decisions already made, now to follow through on.  Anyone who knows me even one ounce, for one day or second, knows that my heart resonates with the first – even tho I’m pushing myself to learn how to do the second.  I think and hope and imagine that’s okay…I don’t know. Why push ourselves to do or be anything?  I feel like mine is drastic and strange curiosity.  Like why not just ask others how x y or z felt? Why try to live it?  I mean if you’re not naturally a certain way, why try to become it?  Only to realize how hard it is, and wonder who is naturally wired like this?  It’s hard and strange, imagining my life as linear…it reads like a story or a novel with too many chapters, and I’m not that old.  I mean we’re all aging and clearly I have a past…MFA, Chicago, NY, Conservatory training, jobs in theatre all over, piano teaching… but with relationships and my relationship to music (personal music, JiTR and Jessica Fogle singer-songwriter stuff) I feel like I’ve had so many strange chapters, including these new ones of the past 1 yr and 8 months, challenges up the wazoo, I don’t even know why or how…oh yea, I sucked at activism and the world was on fire and all I could do is cry and express.  First words, then music, sometimes piano, sometimes words, sometimes real and grounded, other times highly existential to the point of ridiculous (it took a mountain to remind me that I’m afraid of death and maybe shouldn’t talk about it all the time…even more afraid of physical pain, which pretty poetry can transcend until it happens to you or someone you know…)

This blog entry is wild.  I haven’t been blogging, haven’t wanted it, feels gross and oversharey.  But then I watched an hour show that was just talking about the nature of time, like casually, impromptu stuff from people I like…and I remembered people’s unformed thoughts can have value.  Maybe this has value to you.  There’s so much out there to read or do…I can’t imagine why you would be watching this, or reading this, or allowing me to unfold in your heart and mind.

A friend of mine reframed this for me recently…maybe you like watching someone in your culture go on a journey.  Maybe what’s relateable is not the details but the unfolding of my heart, through words and stories.

Maybe not though.  For any one person who gets something from this I’m sure there’s at least 20 who aren’t reading now…oh wait, that’s like that anonymity I crave (while talking)…maybe that’s my secret power!  Talk so much that only those who like you would still be listening now!  Thereby attracting only kindness to you, cause no one else even has time to explain to you how overwhelming this is for them (or insert their own word – annoying, space-taking, invasive, just too much, crazy, etc.)

But I know I’m on a journey, in a process, learning from all the changes I’ve been making.  4 more albums to release this ‘year’ (April 2018- March 2019)…I want them to be good, but I also want to have a life that I love.  And enjoy.  And friends, and family, and a significant other to hold.  I have to balance them, or give up on quality.  It’s my only solution.  Which is like CHOOSING negative reviews (all the people who are like, what is this? even lofi nowadays is more beautifully curated than what I’m putting out…someone called me Rainbow Punk once, and I think that or Lullaby Punk is about right…Punk just records on a handheld tape recorder and says fk it, i’m done, this is it… that’s how i feel all the time, but it isn’t a genre for beautiful music, or soothing music…in the soothing music world, there is an expectation to make every sonic quality soothing, to make it all good, aurally, sonically, ever little stray sound…do I shoot myself in the foot by not getting better at this?

Yes. This is what I meant earlier, it would be HIGHLY selfish – in a wonderful way perhaps – if I could learn to ask myself these questions and do the work to accomplish the solutions – all the while ignoring what I think others might be thinking of how I’m doing it…if I think about them, I don’t have time to think about solutions in my own brain.  Right?  This is new to me.  Like really, just box people out to get stuff done? Is this what all you people I’ve clawed at my whole life are doing?  Not worrying about replies or smiles, just focusing on what needs to get done…and that’s why you share such beautiful things, because you’ve made time for doing so?

I want to learn from you, and be more like you.

I will try.  I’m sorry if I not only appear more selfish in the process (more absent, more aloof) but if I accidentally really become so.  Like if I really focus on me enough to have something beautiful enough at the end of the day to give to you…I think I’m getting tired (finally, i.e. growing up, where I started) of giving you half-finished unbeautiful to almost-beautiful things.

I want to give you something beautiful, the way I hear the work of those I admire…I could list so many here, but instead I’ll keep that for myself, and will imitate your habits, and try to become more like you.  Carefully doing the work, not for praise or glory, but to create beautiful things to share, when they are ready…because why be half-beautiful?

Thankfully I’ve surround myself with people who think about this all the time, or just are more deliberate than me (thanks Bryan for crafting our cloudlight record…my casual or sloppy ways are a kind of indecisiveness, untrainedness, mixed with indifference or boredom…a lack of care…you care so much, about every detail…I do too, I guess on some piano parts…maybe I’m just untrained in audio recording, and bored with my frustration with that, so I just move on…)

Wow. This was a long unexpected one. It’s 4:30 am.  Opened for Mutual Benefit last night.  Feeling so much goodness…it’s been a beautiful worthwhile process, trying to become.  Or rather, letting go of hiding who I’ve been becoming without effort.  More like pulling back the curtain on something…I mean, effort in the details, the work, the curating shows, the bringing people together, to our house, fests, out to see us, appreciating people openly, as openly as possible, but it’s so embarassing…to be this gushy and open, in a world that doesn’t talk like this.

But curtain back.  This is what I look like in journals.  I’m sure it’s laughable to many.  Why are they still reading?  They’re not, I trust.  Those who are…what do you relate to? What’s the resonance? I want to understand how and why we connect the way we do…and I don’t know how to do so succintly.  It’s a curse…but it fills time, and maybe for some, that’s a useful thing.

I will fill time for you all day, seriously I have like 14 albums online, and lots more songs I could send you if you run out (2014-2016 is seriously untapped…lemme know)

Okay gotta end on a joke. Mostly cuz I feel like I can’t stop…not gonna comment on that, just…

Didilly doo + thanksgiving feelings

Hello blogland…

I don’t know, haven’t been feeling the need to do this.  Probably because I haven’t been working on albums lol…

Should have written after I worked my butt off on a kids album for a week, only to discover it was a MUCH bigger project than this lo-fi monthly album process can accomodate.  Was sad for over a week about that… never really talked about it with anyone except my sister.  THEN a few days ago, the computer I made the album on CRASHED.  I have the album, somewhere in there, backed up…but it’ll take weeks to recover (first repair computer, then restore album via Carbonite…)

Soooooo that’s not my December release I guess.  I’d hoped for it…even made a cute Bandcamp page…but it’s not meant to be …yet (?)

Moving on, been in cloudlight land mostly, lately…show at the Park Thtr, now with Mutual Benefit coming up. Lots of practice. Playing with our friend Travis a lot lately, on drums, that’s nice…letting go a little, holding that rope (tempo) gets exhausting, it’s nice to be a little more auxiliary…

Today I peeled ALL the stickers (70 total?) off my car, to get it ready to sell.  Woo.  Whew. All the woos and whews…

I’m exhausted. Strange time to blog.  Just seemed stranger to have such an old blog…
Came here looking to copy/paste a press quote for a package I’m sending to WYCE for Jammie consideration…

It’ll be strange to let go of a package lovingly made of 8 albums, all lo-fi, all made this year, for consideration for awards when I know they are so so so so lofi low-quality compared to studio recordings that people invest money in (not just time).  (I invest LOTS of time…and heart, love…you name it, if it’s feelings, they’re in there)…

Who knows. Blogging is weird and pointless mostly.  Me talking. I like journalling better. Here it feels strange like, why am I sharing this?  I guess I wonder if someone somewhere would be helped by me being more transparent.  I don’t know if it’s true.  Good experiment tho.  I think we’d ALL be helped by ALL of us being more transparent…nothing specific about me, just transparency in general.

We talk in generalities, when we are helped so much by details and specifics…

I love you world.  But honestly I love God more…and the clouds and treetops and things that make me feel like I can float away and be elsewhere…not because a specific place is better or would be better…just because I sense non-being would be better…well that’s a contradiction…it wouldn’t be anything!  I just think all we strive to be is be-loney…baloney? be-lonely? it’s ridiculous…unless you can find a way to make it fun, build community, find friends, focus on true friends, let go of things that are serving lower purposes, accept you can’t help everyone, keep your head down, do the work, focus on what you can do, all that good stuff…

I hope to help, where I can…but also I’m exhausted. It’s all so much, and I love life and doing things, which is why no matter how exhausted I get excited about the next thing…

New car, tour I’m planning, shows with friends, wacky wild giving myself a chance to be and breathe and have a fun life…middle school and high school weren’t fun for me, felt left out and alone most the time…or like I had one friend at a time, didn’t relate to most people, had problems with the few people I did relate to, or we moved apart, etc…school got bigger, there were drug problems in our school, boy problems, things people did to be cool that were highly dysfunctional, all the trying to fit in…LOST MYSELF.  You didn’t want to stand out at that age, standing out meant having no pack and being alone.  I lived alone, because as much as I tried to fit in I never really could.  4’11” and talkative and bright nerdy teachers pet and music/theatre person…so many places I didn’t fit and wanted to . So. desperately.

Thank you to the one-on-one friends who were there.  I remember you so fondly.  Unless you’re one of the ones that turned on me with meanspirited teasing… I still can’t handle teasing to this day, because of some of the cruelty from those years.

I wish it wasn’t something kids do, kids go thru, so many kids, not just me…that is good to know and remember.  We all have crappy middle school or high school stories. Or college maybe?  It’s all a mess.

Try if you can (to myself, and maybe you) not to get lost in it.

It’s universal stuff.  Everyone hurts.  All hurt has origins.  It’s okay, you’re not alone or unique in pain.  We all have it.  That’s both frightening and DEEPLY comforting, if you let it be.

Hugs xoxo