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Connect the Dots

I couldn’t think of anything creative for the title of this post; forgive me.

I also cannot think of a better way to start the day after a workout than a shower in the rain.  Yep.  I have been trying to get into some actual workouts after pretty much just counting on my job to keep me losing weight — and it started pouring right as I finished.

It was the first chill rain of the autumn season.  I let nature wash off the sweat and cool me off.  I love rain water.  I honestly believe it’s one of the cleanest feeling kinds of water in the world.  It makes my skin silky and smooth.  It’s lovely.  And out of sheer curiosity — okay, I got caught up in the moment a little — I put a bowl outside to collect some of this water and I tasted it.  Yeah, I know, I know, pollution-blah-blah-acid rain-blah-various sounds of horror-blah, but it tasted fresh and earthy, sort of the way mist smells.  It tasted like a cloud.  Or at least how I would imagine a cloud to taste.

Please don’t judge me.  I realize my coworkers have informally voted me the most likely to do something no one else would do, or be different.  Which is a pleasant way of saying I’m weird.  I’m okay with that.  I self-actualized with my weirdness long ago, so stuff it.

Besides, not many people can say they’ve tasted the rain.  So there.

I’m going to ungracefully segue into the other topic that has been on my mind for a while now.  It has to do with love and relationships (surprise!).  What I’ve been pondering is the whole Big Picture thing.  The Big Picture gets a lot of good press.  Forest through the trees and all that.  Being able to see the Big Picture is a usually touted as a good thing.  But is it always?

I think of a successful relationship as a giant connect-the-dots picture.  Sure, you can look at the Big Picture, imagine how everything is going to turn out, and it might be beautiful.  But as with all connect-the-dots, the picture doesn’t fully emerge until you’ve drawn all the lines.  Each dot could represent something for you, something special.  That first electric glance.  The first kiss.  The day you confess your love.  When you exchange your keys.  When you move in together.  When the answer to the question is yes.  The wedding.  The additions to the family.  First home.  All of those special, magical moments are dots.

But here’s the thing.  Those dots are part of the big picture, but you know what takes up more of it?  The lines you draw between them.  The days when nothing really “special” happens.  It’s the daily grind, the waking up each morning, the nights you just hang in your pajamas and watch movies, the days you’re exhausted after work.  It’s showing your love in hundreds of tiny ways, in late night texts or just stopping by because you can.  It’s finding vibrancy and joy every day. It’s every goodnight kiss and every whiff of morning breath.

And that’s the good stuff.  That’s the foundation you build for those pinnacle moments.  If you don’t have the foundation, the pinnacles will crumble away and fall, and your beautiful Big Picture will just…fade into nothing, incomplete.

The true beauty of a Big Picture for me is knowing that together we made it.  That we painstakingly drew each line from dot to dot, hand in hand, together.  As a couple, as friends, as lovers, as companions. The true beauty of the Big Picture can only be seen because of the brush strokes that made it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

Autumn is flirting with September in a dance of revolving heat, rain, humidity, and crisp breezes.  Soon I know autumn will have her way with the world, and I couldn’t be happier.  Flickers of yellow and orange and red begin to appear on trees, and the temperature actually drops at night.  All in all, I’m waiting in anticipation of October.  As it approaches, there are a lot of things on my mind.  Not the least of which is what October brings with her as she arrives.  A year ago, I was waiting.  I knew what I was waiting for, but I had no idea how long my waiting would continue.  This week last year, I began to see a few glimmers of hope, a few warm tingles.  And then as October 1 turned to October 2, after a gleeful two hours of zombie-filled revelry, my waiting ended.  A man I had fallen for over the course of a year and a half invited me into his life, and we started down a road together.

Given the context of emotion this week holds for me, I suppose it’s only natural for me to think about love.  To ponder that thing that drives us so much through this world.  I think the silver screen presents us with many unrealistic views of romance and love.  (<–Understatement.)  Frankly, the few chick flicks (aka rom-coms) I’ve seen lately have been so far away from reality that they’ve left me wanting to repeatedly bang my head against a board.

What is love?  What really makes a relationship work?  If I could answer both of those questions succinctly, I’d probably win the Nobel Prize for Peace.  I’m just sayin’.  Go to any Barnes and Noble and you’ll find sections littered with books trying to explain love and fix relationships in 200-400 pages of easy step-by-step instructions.

Do soulmates exist?  Is there that magical moment where you just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have found the one person who can make you happy?  I might disappoint the world’s movie-going rom-com fanatics by saying this, but no.  I don’t think either of those two things really exist in the way they’re portrayed.  Relationships don’t follow a flow chart of:  meeting –> spark –> blossoming love –> conflict –> happy ending/sunset + horsey + castle.  Relationships are messy.  Why?  Because you’re taking imperfect people and smushing their lives together.  To expect perfection is naive at best.  However, I think the reality of love is more charming and beautiful than simply following a formulaic interpretation of easy happiness.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two or so years since I met John, it’s that communication cannot receive a higher commendation in the world of love.  And before you can communicate, you need to know and be happy with yourself.  If you’re looking for someone to complete you, you’ll never find that.  But I digress.  I don’t think love happens like in the movies.  Or at least if it does, it’s not even close to being the majority.

I think a lot of the time people get caught up in this idea of the magical moment that will make everything clear, make everything easy.  There’s no quick fix for anything in this life, in love especially.  I still think the guys in Thrice said it right when they said that love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.  Relationships take work–they don’t just work because you want them to.  Sometimes they take sacrifice and selflessness.  Both of which have to go both ways.  While I think that two people can experience an initial click or chemistry, I don’t think that two lives just slip into each other without a ripple.  People have different dreams and ambitions.  To me, the mark of the best relationships is the ability of the couple not to expect their lives to poof into perfection, but the willingness to build something together.  A family.  A home.  A life.  Whatever that may look like.  That’s where the beauty is to me.

That’s what I honestly love about my relationship.  Looking into the future and knowing that each of us will build something together.  That in the two years behind us since we met, we have begun building a foundation.  We’re two adults long since launched from the families that raised us, and in the last year, we have begun a new family.  A small family for now, just the two of us, but with strong ties to the families we came from.  Something to build on together into something that fits us both.

I can’t think of a truer love than that.

Changes and the Familiarly Unfamiliar

I’m in Scotland.

I’m again confronted with the ever-familiar waves of knowing and not-knowing.  I know the fresh, washed scent of rain cleaned air, of chill breezes and the golden honey warmth  of sun.  I know the hill that holds Stirling Castle, and the Black Isle that peeks through the window from across the Moray Firth.  I know this building, but the view out the window has changed, and the flags that hang of St. Andrew’s cross, the lion rampant, the jolly roger, and St. George’s cross seem oddly disparate, though they grace walls which still hold familiar photographs.  Lone Tree on Rannoch Moor.  Buachaille Etive Mor.  Pap of Glen Coe,  Eilean Donan.  Inchkeith Sunset.  Familiar names.

The people here are now alien.  No Jordan or Julia or Nicole or Keith.  Instead there is Andres, Sandra, Howe.  Unfamiliar but kind.  As a former hostelite, they welcomed me with warmth and shared food and even tucked me in when I fell asleep on the familiar cushion of one of these black leather sofas, covering me with a fluffy duvet as I slept in a group of strangers.

The maps are well known, from John O’Groats to Skye to Aberdeen.  The voices are unfamiliar.  No Polish  do I hear, but French and English accents.  It has been…a long time.  The giant gulls call out their thoughts of the town and the surf.  Cars rumble across the Firth bridge.  The sun hides his face behind an oddly stagnant sky.

A whisper flits through me, a startling revelation.  Inverness feels like home no more. Perhaps it is the lack of sleep.  Perhaps it is the staggering mix of old and new.  It could be either of those things, but I think what it really is goes much deeper than a superficial makeover.  I’ve got a home.  Not even a physical home;  that’s in flux.  But there is someone rather than somewhere I need.  And he is very far away.  He has become my family, and where family is, so home is too.

More than anything, I wish he was here to share this place with.  Even shrouded in clouds, she has a glory and a cleanness that surpasses anything I have ever known.  There is wisdom in her aged glens, peace in her silver-smooth lochs, strength in her heather-clad mountains, and humility in the rushing of her surrounding sea.  I think if she could speak, she would tell me that she will always hold a place for me here.  And that the next time I return to her, not to come alone.

Epiphany With a Side of Joy

I’ll have two, please.  Thx.

Today I finished reading the first draft of a book that a woman from my writing group sent me.  It left me with a couple of epiphanies, one that left an ironic aftertaste and another that made me smile.

The first was that throughout the book, the characters made these decisions based on what they thought would protect the people they loved from their own actions, when in reality, it simply continued to raise the stakes.  People do that a lot.  I was exposed to a real life example this week — and the sad reality is that this happens way too often.  I mean, let’s face it:  only the world’s token sadists actually like hurting people.  The rest of us try not to do it, because it makes us feel bad.  The trick is to know when you’re only choosing between the lesser of two evils.  In the book, the main character had a decade-long affair.  She could have left a loveless marriage much earlier…but she didn’t.  You can imagine how it turned out.  I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend.  I know people who I consider generally good people who have, but I honestly do not understand cheating.  One common thread is that usually those who do it think that telling their partner would hurt too much, so they let it go on and try to bury it deep so the partner never finds out.  But that’s like letting a wound fester.  Eventually the pus is going to break the surface, and by then, you might have to have something amputated.  Which is something easily avoidable if you had just gotten it fixed first.

Seriously, once you cheat, you forfeit the right to decide what happens to the relationship.  Once you’ve broken that trust, which to me is one of the deepest betrayals one can experience on this earth, it’s your partner’s choice what happens.  By not coming clean from the get-go, you add robbery to the list of errors and you actively conspire to make someone else a fool.

It doesn’t just happen with cheating — I mean, parents don’t tell their kids about divorces.  People put off talking about bad news.  I knew someone once who didn’t find out their grandma had died for months because the parents hadn’t wanted to ruin something happy.  People didn’t tell me about a friend who had passed for weeks after it happened.  When I found out, the grief of her loss was compounded by guilt of not sending her cards or letters during her months of illness (it was cancer), anger at those who knew me and didn’t let me know, and helplessness.  There are some things people have a right to know.

All of that was wound up into the little ball of epiphany that just says:  if you think you have to protect someone from information, you’re just propping up a falling bridge with an umbrella.  Leaves an ironic tinge in my mouth just thinking about it.

The next one was just about the things people do because of insecurities.  I wrote a bit on my other blog about this that I’ll repeat here.  There’s that old saying:  you can’t see the forest through the trees.  People are like that with their insecurities.  Some of our issues are rooted deeply in fear and pain and a welter of other emotions.  Trauma.  Those trees are like old growths.  They are there, immutable.  You can’t just cut them down and get rid of them.  And sometimes it can be hard to see the beauty of the forest around us when we trip over the roots of one of those giant trees.  Sometimes we stumble into it, and it’s all we can see.  Our pain.  Past betrayals and hurts.  When that happens, some people throw their arms around this tree as though it’s the only safe place, simply because it’s familiar.  We’d rather stay there where it’s easy than have to grapple with it in context of the newer trees, the ones we’re afraid won’t hold our weight if we try to climb them.  We forget that like any old growth, it’s old.  We have to stand up, back up, and look around at the other trees around us to get the sense of the whole forest.

So my last epiphany was this:  instead of getting bogged down in the old growth and tripping over its fallen branches and roots the size of trunks, I’m going to climb up into the newer trees and trust that their branches will hold me.  I’m going to let their boughs embrace me and look out over the beauty of the forest, because true beauty comes from seeing the whole picture, not just the good or the bad that exists.  And in knowing that, there’s joy.

light and shadow

I don’t have anything extraordinarily witty to say tonight, nor do I really have any particular direction in which to write.  But my goal is to try to write a thousand words per day, and though I have been on facebook and the like, I don’t really think that counts.  So here I am.

Today hasn’t been the best day.  At best, I feel directionless…much like this blog.  Or rather, I know where I want to go, but I haven’t the foggiest idea how to get there.  At worst, I feel jangled and emotional, and I want to cry.  A lot.  I feel guilty for being home for the past three and a half weeks with my injury.  I’ve missed a lot of work, and I’m catching some flak for it.  I understand why; I mean, three weeks is a lot.  I also am feeling super weak and lame.  In the traditional sense of the word.  Lame as in debilitated.  I can barely stand for an hour without severe pain.  Driving is just as bad.  I’ve been pretty much alone in my room for the past three weeks, which has made me lonely and helpless, and although I don’t really want to throw a pity party, I just want to feel like a human being again.

I don’t want to be a negative person.  I know that negativity is far from attractive.  So I think perhaps I will use this entry as a chance to force myself to try an exercise my mom has pointed me at several times in the past.  So here it is — a list of the things I like about myself.

I’m compassionate.  I’m able to put myself in other people’s shoes pretty easily and try to get inside their heads to try and understand where they are coming from.  I’m also fairly empathic, and I tend to be very sensitive to others’ pain.

I am loyal.  If I care about someone, I will stick with them.  I’m also very tenacious and rarely give up on anything I’ve set my mind to.  I’m patient.  I’m creative — I like to make art.  My kind of art just happens to be with words, and I try to do it as best as I can.

I’m a daydreamer and I have a good imagination.  While it can get me into trouble on occasion, I like seeing the world through my own lens.  I think if I were less shy, I would have been a good actress.  I can read expressively and with emotion.

I’m good with languages, both my own and otherwise.  I’ve always been able to pick up new languages easily, which is cool because I really enjoy them.  On a purely superficial note, I like my eyes.

I’m only about halfway to a thousand words, and I have to apologize for the quality of this blog.  I have a bad headache that came on sort of suddenly, and I am a bit out of it.

I really want to travel more.  I am going to try and go back to Scotland this summer if I can find a cheapish fare.  I’m hoping to fly out of Toronto so I can see Julia.  I haven’t seen her for almost a year and a half, and I miss her terribly.  It’s funny how you can meet someone so briefly and form such a lasting relationship — that’s been oddly true about the most important relationships in my life.  I met Julia when we both lived at the Inverness Tourist Hostel, and we became best friends after only a few short weeks.  That was in 2005, and nothing has changed.  She is still one of the only non-blood related people I count among family.

I miss Scotland, as well.  A strange peace comes over me when I’m there, ever since the first time my feet touched the rather unromantic tarmac at the Prestwick Airport an hour south of Glasgow.  It’s a place I’ve returned to so many times (Scotland, not Prestwick) and just felt like I was home.  I don’t think I have ever seen a parallel to the beauty that exists in Scotland.  I remember driving through Stirling on Megabus and looking out the window as the sun slanted through the clouds and lit up the earth as though it had flipped a switch within.  I remember the golden sheen of the mist on the hills, the Wallace Monument rising like…well, to be honest, rising like a giant, spiky phallus.  Perhaps that just ruined the romance of the shot.  Ha.

I remember Dollar Glen and Loch Ness and the way the ocean at John O’Groats is such a deep navy blue and contrasts with the shining white sand.  The earthy scent of soil, dust, and rock that makes up the interior of the Maes Howe, the rough-hewn slats of standing stones.  The smell of peat and the warm amber brown it turns the Ness River.  The Sisters of Kintail and Glen Coe.  The lone tree on Rannoch Moor near the cone-shaped Buachaille.  I have a hundred thousand memories of Scotland, each one stored away like delicate treasures within my mind.  I know I will return someday — it’s only a matter of time.  I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.  And I long to share it with my boyfriend.

If I can get there this summer, I know it will be a short visit, probably no more than a week or two at the most, but it will be a time of renewal as well.  A time to refresh my memories, see some dear friends, and rest my weary soul.

In the film What Dreams May Come, they espouse the philosophy that we choose our own heaven, or at least that we create it from our minds.  If that turns out to be at all true, I know where mine would be.  It would be a land of drums, of silver-smooth lochs, of smoky scotch and the scents of the earth.  There would be stone circles and sapphire seas laced with white sand beaches and forests with floors of soft moss where the rowans turn the circle of the seasons as their branches burst into bloom, the blooms turn to snowy berries that ripen into deep red before the leaves fall once more.  An eternity there would be an eternity of bliss.

I don’t plan on dying any time soon, so for now, I’ll look forward to the time when I can jet my earthly body there.

Well, what do you know?  Over 1,000 words.

we are beggars all.

Today I have been listening to and thinking about this song, the lyrics of which will be interspersed through this post.  The song is called “The Weight,” and it’s by the band Thrice.  My boyfriend brought it up the night he gave me my magic wand, and though I couldn’t think of how it went right then, I had heard it before and was taken in by it.  I honestly think I have never heard a truer expression of what true love is, and I am deeply touched thinking about it.

There’s many who’ll tell you they’ll give you their love,
But when they say “give” they mean “take”.
They hang ‘round just like vultures ’til push comes to shove
And take flight when the earth starts to shake.

Someone may say that they’ll always be true
Then slip out the door ‘fore the dawn,
But I won’t leave you hanging on.

Another may stay ’til they find someone new
Then before you know they’ll be gone,
But I won’t leave you hanging on.

No, I won’t won’t be that someone.

This will likely be a very candid blog — not that I am ever anything else, but you know.  Just a disclaimer.  I have often felt like a beggar.  In many ways, my life has been that of a vagabond or a drifter.  I’ve moved 33 times in 25 years.  I have gotten where I am today because of intensely hard work and because of the help and charity of others.  I use the word charity not to imply a sense of pity, but in the almost spiritual sense of giving out of the need to pass on the blessings one has been given.  More about the act of giving than the perception of need implicit in the receiving end of such a gift.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

Some talk of destiny, others of fate,
But soon they’ll be saying goodbye,
But I won’t leave you high and dry.

‘Cause a ring don’t mean nothing if you can’t haul the weight
And some of them won’t even try,
But I won’t leave you high and dry.

I won’t leave you wondering why.

In love as well I have often felt the beggar.  I have often felt myself unworthy of real love — I have been tossed aside often enough that I am supremely unused to having anyone stand by me.  I have always been at the whim of others’ convenience — there when it suited them and cast off when it stopped being convenient for them.  I think because of this, I don’t understand why anyone would want me when I am the mess that I am.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

And storms will surely come,
But true love is a choice you must make and you are the one.
That I have set my heart to choose
As long as I live, I swear I’ll see this through.

I spent quite a long time waiting for my current boyfriend.  We knew each other for a year and a half before we started our official relationship, and I won’t pretend that some of that time wasn’t incredibly difficult for me.  I still wrestle with the idea that I’m either not enough or too much or both at the same time.  I think everyone feels that way sometimes, but I have it honed to a fine art.  Which is why I think that this Thrice song is such a resonant depiction for me.  I’m not used to a love like this.  As one of my favorite gods said in one of my favorite books (by David Eddings), “Thou wilt warily give love, but you must also learn to accept it.”  I’ve never known a love like this, but come what may, I will see it through.  In the words of another, newer favorite song, I’ve got nothing left to lose.

Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and I see no end.

Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

In other news, my beloved city of Nashville, Tennessee is under water.  If you haven’t heard about it, the Cumberland and Harpeth rivers that both run through and around Nashville gained about 26+ feet over the weekend, causing catastrophic flooding and billions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses.  I-24 became a raging river, and the water was forceful and deep enough to detach homes from foundations and even sent a modular school building floating down the interstate.

One of my closest friends had to be emergency evacuated from her apartment — she’s very lucky, and it turns out the water only got ankle deep and her car even still works, but thousands of others were not so lucky.  My old boss had to sit and watch from his home as a man was stranded up a tree in his Forest Hills neighborhood — Tom couldn’t get to him as there was fast moving water that was far too dangerous to move through, and I’m told the man was stranded there for at least 20 hours in the pouring rain.  There are thousands of other stories like these.  I’m dismayed and disappointed that the national media is paying only cursory attention to this disaster.  Almost 30 people have died so far, and countless others are without power, clean water, and homes.  If you are at all able, please text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the relief efforts.

I only lived in Nashville for a year, but it is a truly lovely city full of warm and inviting people.  To see loved ones and colleagues entrapped in this disaster and also being nationally ignored is heartbreaking, and I wish I could do more to help.  I don’t get a ton of views on this blog, but hopefully enough people will read this and be moved enough to spare $10.  If enough people do it, it really does make a difference.

Please help.  We are beggars all.

❤  Emmie

dating musicians: forget the bad press

if you couldn’t gather it from that, i am dating — rather, in a relationship with — a musician.  as such, i have a few thoughts, quibbles, feelings, and meanderings about the topic.  a quick google search on dating musicians reveals a helter skelter of articles ranging from op ed postings to eHow  and wikiHow articles (really?).  the common thread?  almost all of them say this:  ZOMG don’t do it u will regret it!!!*!&#(!

ahem.

i’ll be honest.  upon seeing the unbridled negativity in the articles out there, my first thoughts were rather akin to “well, shit.”  then i thought a little more about my own relationship, as well as the relationships of my friends who are also dating musicians and my mom, who did in fact date and marry my dad, who is a musician.

basically, i think musicians in general have a bad reputation and some bad press, and that is not fair.  i’m very positive on musicians — i know a ton of them and i don’t know any who fit the negative stereotypes the way they’re portrayed.

i’ve been with my boyfriend for about seven months now.  when i met him two years ago, he wasn’t involved in a band, though he of course was still a musician.  i suspect that a lot of the anti-musician rigmarole out there on the internet may be mostly in regards to the following formula (a generalization): girl see boy on stage with guitar, girl swoon, flirting, dating, then it implodes.  i could be wrong, but looking at that formula, if that is how most of these articles got started, it doesn’t really surprise me that the relationships don’t work out.  infatuation with someone based on a stage performance is not the same as getting to know someone.  it’d be like falling in love with say, hugh grant in notting hill.  the character is awesome, sweet, etc.; the actor himself is a completely different person.  i’ve met many musicians who are gung-ho crazy on stage, but stand-offish and quiet when you actually talk to them.  on stage, they’re performing…the whole point is to put on a show.

now onto the nitty gritty.  the articles i read accuse musicians of being many things — not the least of these adjectives were the following:  backstabbing, overjealous, cheating, poor, dirty, and flaky.  none of that is particularly flattering.  what got me thinking was how these adjectives were applied to the entire group, as if just by knowing someone was in a band automatically made it okay to assume that they fit these stereotypes.  that’s not particularly fair — it’s not considered okay to stereotype or profile people based on ethnicity, so why is it okay to do it by profession?

one of the articles went as far as to say that if you date a musician, you’ll end up lonely, cheated on, and broke.   they talk about “perks” as if that’s the reason you should date someone — based on what you can get from their job.  all that confuses me.

don’t get me wrong — there are definitely obstacles and challenges that come with dating someone in the music business.  i’ll be candid.  i’m a night owl, and i think that helps.  my boyfriend works evenings, and he is pretty much on a nocturnal schedule.  that’s pretty normal for a lot of the musicians i know — i don’t know many early birds in the business.  in the articles i read, they talked about that, specifically that shows aren’t always on weekends, and that they will often go till 1 or later including packing up gear and everything.  and if you’re in a relationship with someone in a band, you’ll probably go to the shows.  which isn’t always easy if you work a day job (like i do).  the articles also complained that weekend shows take up date nights.

another big complaint was that musicians don’t have money.  money has never been super important to me, but i guess it really matters to others.  here’s what i think about the whole money thing.  musicians do what they do because it’s their passion.  it’s what they love.  it also happens to be an incredibly expensive past time.  and that’s where most of their money goes — into guitars, basses (suddenly that plural looks weird as shit), drums, amps, cabs, wiring, lights, effects, pedals, merchandise — all of that costs a lot of money.  we’re talking thousands of dollars of equipment in one band.  and the upkeep can be pricey too–something goes wonky on your amp, and you might be out a couple hundo just to fix it.  if you do not have wealthy parents willing to drop a couple grand on you, you’re goin it alone.  i’m guessing that’s where this stereotype came from (and it IS a stereotype).  all the money stuff is a combination of factors.  first, equipment is expensive.  second, touring is expensive.  think gas, food, van rental (or purchase), fliers, all that stuff.  third, making a record is hella expensive.  studio time is often $500-$1500 per day.  not to mention mixing, sequencing, mastering, packaging, pressing, album artwork, etc.  and as i’ve learned secondhand (my boyo’s the first) this week, just when you think you’ve paid for it, you have to pay more.  fourth, if you want to pursue a music career, you will have to tour.  a lot.  think weeks, if not months, per year.  and if you will have to tour, you have to have a job that will allow you to do so.  which is why many musicians either teach music (independently or with a company) and/or work jobs with flexible hours, and lemme tell you, those jobs don’t pay that much. fifth, if you are serious about music, you have to practice.  preferably somewhere that will allow you to do so without adding the cost of noise violations to your spreadsheet of expenses.  for a lot of bands, this means renting a space where they can go practice.

the articles i read made it seem like a crime — accused musicians of being perpetual moochers.  but i think of it this way — doctors and lawyers spend years and thousands of dollars to start making any money.  even when doctors begin interning they are still pretty broke most of the time, and they don’t get shit for that.  so why do musicians?  personally, i don’t care about fancy dinners or getting showered with presents or anything, so i don’t really understand why people make such a big deal about saying musicians are poor.

i’m going to stop going into the points of the articles for now and talk about the more personal side of things.  being a musician is a full time job — to understand that, i had to really think about what my number one passion in life is.  what it is that if i don’t do, i will regret forever.  for me, that’s writing.  to achieve any of those kinds of dreams, it takes an immense amount of work.  i think for a lot of people who date musicians, sometimes it feels like they have to compete with all of the music hours.  one of the big complaints i read was that these people writing in or responding said that they “were never first priority” in the lives of the musicians they dated — that they felt like they always lost out to everything in regards to music, whether it was practice or shows or what.  and for me reading that, it was pretty scary.  it’s a topic to think about, to discuss.  no one wants to feel like they don’t matter, and no one likes to feel like they’ll be cast aside the second something “comes up.”  so i can understand that feeling.

i spent a lot of yesterday thinking about that.  i know a lot of women who date musicians — and we have a lot in common.  yeah, the guys do keep late hours.  they often practice late, shows are late, studio time runs late.  bands have to tour, and that means the significant others are gone for days or weeks at a time.  and i started to think and ask myself if that meant that we are less of a priority, if all the shows and practices mean that we are not as important.  the answer i came up with took a lot of thought.  and it’s not entirely satisfying.

the answer really is…it depends on who you’re dating.  i think all the people who wrote in to those articles, commented for them, etc. had been burned bad.  and that sucks.  if your relationship began because of that formula i mentioned above, and if it’s not a serious relationship, then i can see how the hours and the touring would be a big dealbreaker.  but in many (if not most) of the relationships around me, including my own, i feel like it’s not as simple as that.  i don’t think that the guys i know would classify everything in their lives into one category and force it all to compete against one another.  when one of those guys is in a serious relationship with someone, i don’t think that girlfriend and music occupy the same weight class.  and i came up with a distinction of why.  music is what they choose to do with their lives; we are who they choose to spend their lives with.

i’m still sort of flabbergasted that all of those articles out there exist.  how-to’s, etc.  the bottom line for me is that you can’t simply group all musicians into the stereotypes out there.  and it is beyond me why people would just hunt a certain profession to date someone in it, though i know people do.  in my opinion, if you’re serious about dating and not just looking for a fling, you ought to get to know whoever it is you want to date.  as a person.  not as a performer.  and at the end of the day, i know that i’m not a competitor against music for my boyfriend’s affection any more than his family would be.   good relationships are based on trust and communication — and if you’re basing it simply on how hot mr. dude looks with a guitar, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work out.

so yeah.  there are tough things.  but it’s not fair to classify all people in one profession as lazy, drugged out, cheating bums.  and all the problems i read about in those articles could be prevented with some common sense and the simple act of looking beyond the guitar at the person wearing it.

there are plenty of good musicians out there.  and no, you can’t have mine.

a proper dose of meandering

so long since i’ve written…at all.  maybe that’s why i’ve been feeling the way i am — i haven’t had the outlet i needed to just get stuff out.  mainly because i haven’t had the time, and when i do get a minute, i immediately enter this vegetative state that is completely prohibitive to anything creative.

and yet.

there’s a yearning here i don’t know how to describe.  to create, to build, to make something that wasn’t there before, to mold ideas and shape essences.  but at the end of the day, i mostly feel dead.  perhaps that’s melodramatic.  oh well.

i feel like nothing more right now than a burden to those around me.  i feel like i can’t open my mouth without some stress-filled fungus spilling out.  it’s polluting me and everything i say.

on the other hand, in a way there’s peace.  but that always comes with this wanting…something.  in so many ways i always find myself thinking that if i can just get past this next hurdle, something will give, and i’ll be able to rest, collect myself.

i realize how all of this sounds.  it’s awfully…depressing thinking that i’m not the only person who feels like this and who harbors the fears of being held captive to the endless monotony that is constantly scraping for a living forever.

maybe if i didn’t have to take extra classes and deal with constant hounding by various parties…maybe my job would be more bearable.  but as it is right now, i’m already feeling completely burnt out.  and i’m only 1/4 of the way through this commitment.  they say the second  year is easier…and the third even easier.  that last i can believe, because i won’t have the aforementioned extra classes and constant hounding.

i don’t know what i’m saying right now.

what i want most right now…more than anything at all…is quiet.  it’s warm arms around me and soft light.  right now it’s the only place i find peace.  such a simple thing really.  i don’t know how this world gets so very complicated.  i really don’t.  i guess that’s why it’s those very simple things that are what i need so much right now.  and in spite of that, i’m terrified to ask for it.

holidays

holidays.  high holy days.  whatever that happens to mean to you.

sorry i’ve been absent.  i’ve been busy being in love.

yes, i meant to write that.  it happens, i suppose.  love is an easy thing to be caught up in.  especially when you never expected to find it for real or be allowed to touch it.  it all started a year and a half ago.  to make a long story a wee bit shorter, i (and he) knew from the beginning where we should go when we met.  but we couldn’t then, and we couldn’t for a very long time.  i couldn’t help waiting though.  i had to know what would happen.

so for the past six months, we’ve been finding out the “what next” after we got our chance.  and for the past two months, we’ve been together, in the official sense of things.

i never thought i’d have this chance again…and i certainly didn’t expect to ever find love that wasn’t the unrequited variety.  and yet.  here i am.  how lovely and odd.

needless to say, i’m really very happy.  i wrote something a couple posts back about how it’s one thing to be tolerated and something else entirely to be enjoyed.  appreciated.  i’ve never had a relationship where my quirks and idiosyncrasies were valued rather than merely put up with.  and it’s not as if we’re in the realm of rose colored glasses — this is also new territory for me because we’ve known each other for a year and a half.  and i’m finding that i simply enjoy him.

i’m finding that after a year and a half of wondering, hoping, waiting, nail-biting, pacing, laughing, soaring, head-scratching — i’m finding that after all that, his cogs and my cogs fit together still and simply turn.  clockwork.

when i’m with him, i’m more me than i’ve ever been able to be with anyone.  no pretentiousness or hiding.  and he’s who he is.  and that’s what i love about us.  that we’re two whole people building something more.

i was talking to a friend today who is also very happily ensconced in love.  we decided that there are few better feelings than falling for a good, good man.  especially when there have been so many bad ones before.

so this holiday season i am celebrating life.  i’m celebrating the changes that have brought me to dc and teaching my children to the best of my ability.  celebrating love and good friends and the changing of the seasons.  being grateful for what i have and the ability to share.  wishing i could do more for this world.

2009 is winding to a close.  when it began, i looked it in the face and said, “you’re going to be a fantastic year to put 2008 to shame.”  i wasn’t wrong.  i’ve found so many things this year.  a place in this country i can call home, which i never thought would happen.  a job i can do well that makes a difference.  one of my students called me on thanksgiving to say hello — made my night.  said job also gives me approximately 3 months per year of time i can write and pursue those things close to my heart.  by the end of this i will be financially stable for the first time ever.  i’ve found love, in more ways than one.  i may be busy and stressed, but i’m building a good life for myself here.  and i cannot wait to see where it goes.

happy holidays, whatever you celebrate.

may your days this winter be full of warmth, joy, and peace.

love.
emmie

luck, be a lady tonight

i honestly have no idea why i opened this blog.  hm.  possibly to open the floodgates of my current stream of consciousness?  could be.  could be.

aha.  i remember the first little spark i wanted to fan into a blazing flame (i’m cooooold, goddamn it).  i feel lucky.  it was something rather simple that triggered it, something that, to many people, might seem a bit odd.  “i love that you love zombie movies.”

but really, that simple statement was really quite touching.  to know and be known.  not just accepted, but enjoyed.  i’ve had it before in other senses.  friendish senses.  but not this way, and for that i feel as though i’m holding something rather shiny and pretty in my hands, and i can’t stop staring at it and marveling at how it got there.

so there’s that.  i also feel rather…odd.  not-quite-gone-with-the-grain.  i feel like that little whorl in a bit of wood that has a small eddy around it.

i keep thinking i know what to write tonight, but then i realize i really don’t.

what i’m thinking about right now is starlight.  it’s this soft silvery color, like strands of webbing that pulse with a quiet glow.  when i was younger, i got on this kick where i had to find out everything i could about astral projection.  all i wanted was to be able to leave my body so i could go explore the stars.  see the colors in the nebulae.  all of that.  i don’t know if astral projection is actually possible or not; all i know is that my goal was way out in space.

even though i don’t have a set path, i do know that i want to write something.

i truly love fall.  every year about this time, i seem to get a new lease on life.  the wiccan calendar ends at halloween.  samhain is the pagan new year.  in a lot of ways, that has always rather made sense to me.  it’s the death of all the growth of the year; trees turn, plants go dormant, animals hibernate, i wear fuzzy sweaters and drink excessive amounts of tea.  maybe that’s why halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  the new year is reborn from the  old, sort of like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a fiery death.

but really.  fall is awesome.  sweaters.  cuddles.  jackets.  leaves.  crisp air.  halloween.  pumpkins.  candles.  warm smells.

so tonight i feel thankful.  i feel lucky for having all of the above.  what a glorious thing.  couple thoughts for tonight:

we accept the love we think we deserve.

everyone is trying to be more or less than who they are, and it’s a violation either way.

goodnight, moon.