Music IS a Medium

Music is how I relate to the world. It provides me with the emotional understanding of situation and feelings I don’t know how to handle. The first song that got me was JT and Mirrors.

I know songs have given me The Feels before, but this experience took it to a whole other level. It was like the part of me that wanted me to wake up was singing to me directly. I probably listened to it, bawling, more than 100 times. It moved something that was blocked in me, and the rest of the blocks came tumbling down on top of it.

Another one was Drake’s ‘Hold on we’re going Home”

Similar theme here. Most of the music I was being drawn to was about going ‘home’. I can only assume now that it meant coming home to myself. When I arrived home in my own body, it was a shock to the system. There was so much blockage and false fronts…nothing was real. I had a lot of hard truths coming, but in my heart I knew them all.

One of my favorite musical experiences was the Taylor Swift song “Style”. The intensity of my feelings when I listened to the song surprised and intrigued me.

The smoke in the video made me instantly think of how I feel about marijuana, and how it makes me feel more in my own body, despite how the world around me seemed to think it was terrible. I have real anxiety and guilt about my relationship with pot, and I don’t understand why. I guess it might have something to do with the fact that I am healing some part of myself that has been in charge for a long time, and it isn’t giving up control without a stink. It’s also a clear reference to being The Other Woman, which I have been once in my life. It was not worth the heartache it caused, but it represents the beginning of learning required hard lessons.

At the time, this song made me feel breathless and excited and full of anticipation. This part of me is a part that makes me feel things that might make me very self-destructive, so no wonder it’s been under lock and key until the rest of me grew up enough not to let it rule the show. The song still makes my heart beat faster every time. EVERY. SINGLE.TIME.

Lately it’s been this song that resonates strongly with me.


I used to cry every time I heard it, and now it just makes me feel happy. It’s a long journey from hating yourself to loving yourself, but it’s worth all of the bumps along the way. I couldn’t have imagined how beautiful life would look like from this perspective. I’m glad I didn’t give up.

I love the lyrics:

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I’ve got something to say
I’m not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you’ve changed

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you’ve seen, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me

When you’re lost you will toss every lucky coin you’ll ever trust
And you’ll hide from your God like he ever turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
And you’ll learn who you are even if it doesn’t take your life

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you’ve seen, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me

But I want you to know that you’ll never be alone
I wanna believe, do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that’s what you’ve seen, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me

I really could do the musical game all day, but this is probably enough. You get the picture. Music is the medium. It soothes the savage beast, and I can think of no beast more savage than the human heart. The things we do to protect it, or share it, can be beautiful and terrible. When music plays it reaches inside our frequency, and takes us on a roller coaster ride of a feeling we have felt, but perhaps have never allowed ourselves to feel. The more we connect with music, the more we are healing our hearts, and changing our frequencies. Up, up up!

The Artist and I Square Off

I promised myself I would start my self portrait series but I am stalling. I have realized that in one of these images I am going to feel naked, and possibly even BE naked (I haven’t decided yet). It’s the last step to revealing all of myself to myself. I doubt I will share this portrait series like I did the last set. The fallout of the last series still lingers.

I was a well liked and amiable community member who used to bend over backwards for people. I went full crazy-artist on an unsuspecting small town public. There was a part of me that would not take no for an answer, and demanded to be brought forward. I was fascinated by the way my body reacted to certain music. I would cry and shake uncontrollably for no reason that I was aware of. My manic mind wanted to SEE. It wanted ME to SEE what was being experienced. It wanted others to SEE as well. I could FEEL how good it was to release these feelings that I had no conscious connection to. The music provided a bridge for me to physically LET GO.

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I had been fairly popular when I was behaving and producing palatable portrait photography, but when I decided to photograph my own pain publicly, i was met with a stony silence. This angered me. So I did it some more, with a whole bunch of other real women who had a bit of pain to share. Music was the medium that moved every one of them too.

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No one seemed to care why I was so interested in pain. I was confused. I felt like I had stumbled onto a very exciting connection. People had a very easy time expressing difficult emotions when music was the bridge.

My colleagues were disinterested. It seemed extreme emotion didn’t equal great photography if that emotion is extremely uncomfortable. I couldn’t understand why people who portray themselves to be artists did not see value in what I was producing, or wonder why I was creating these images.

The community that had lifted me for years with their ‘likes’ were embarrassed and quickly distanced themselves from me when I released the first authentic, emotional photography of my life.

It broke my spirit, and I retreated completely from life. I think this is when I felt like I had failed as an artist.

Isolated and alone, my mental difficulties grew and my social circle collapsed.

In hindsight, I realize it was unfair of me to unleash such a torrent of pain at an emotionally repressive community. I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time, because my mental illness was in full control of my faculties. While it was an interesting idea to explore, i was way too emotionally involved in the subject. I now understand that displays of sadness and pain are perceived as weakness. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Pain taught me more about truth than fake smiles ever did.
The rebuild of my life since I publicly imploded has been nothing short of traumatic, frightening and truly transcendent. I can’t tell anyone of this, but I’ve left a public record and as people begin to become authentic, they too will experience these complete breaks in their reality. People will come face to face with the part of themselves they have been denying. There is no journey toward ‘light and love’ that does not involve darkness and pain. We are all of these things. We CANNOT move toward our own true light without meeting the dark passenger that waits for confrontation.

Sister, we have both learned to embrace and care for our shadow side. We are learning every day to find balance between our light and dark aspects. We can be enthusiastic coaches and trusted advisers for others who find themselves experiencing a spiritual emergency. We are well trained to offer the support we did not find. We find comfort in beautiful, emotionally powerful people who are not ashamed of the darkness they have walked through. This is our tribe. Some of us will need help while we navigate the murky waters of truth.

So while I drag my heels on the first image of my series, I know it has to be done. The Phoenix is up first. We’ll see how it all turns out. Not going to lie…I am nervous. It feels as important as the first series. I am excited and afraid to see my parts in living colour, but they have asked to be shown, and I will honor their request.

I will cue this one up for The Phoenix when it’s time to shoot.

 

New Year, New Traditions

My intention was to start the new year off with an adventure.

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It started here, where I picked 19 perfect stones on a beautiful sunny day.  I asked for volunteers, and I picked the ones that caught my eye.

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I cleaned and prepped them for our NYE plans.  My youngest and 4 friends had a sleepover to ring in the new year, and I hoped they would be inspired enough to paint with me.  The plan was to decorate them, seal them with varnish, and ‘abandon’ them back at the beach they came from.

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I painted throughout the night, while all of the girls dropped by and painted their rock when they were ready.  By the end of the night, we had an eclectic collection:

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It was such a wonderful way to spend a (usually disappointing) holiday, being creative and free-spirited.   We decided that each stone was going to bring luck to the person who found it.   We imagined that people might find the exact stone they needed to find, at exactly the right time in their lives.

The kids didn’t fall asleep until nearly 4am.   After all of the kids were collected by their parents on New Years Day, I took some time to return the rocks back to their home.  In just 2 days, the landscape had changed completely.

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I walked the snowy shore with my container of stones, pausing at each ‘inlet’ to reflect on the stone I randomly selected, and then tossed it in.  I sent each stone away with love, hope and blessings.

Each stone has a story, and a meaning.  Such incredible healing took place for me in this little adventure.  It is impossible to convey the significance of the release of stones back into the water.  Suffice it to say that The Artist was moved beyond words, and all other fragments attended to pay their respects.

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When the ice and snow melt, the stones will begin to find their way home.

My hope is that the stories of these stones make it back to me some day in the future, and they will amaze me with their magic.