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.
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…