Archive for January, 2013

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Angry jerk brain gets kicked in the shut up! Happy accomplishment brain gets 1 1/2 thumbs up!

January 21, 2013

I almost talked myself out of it.I worked myself up into a frenzy of “who do you think you are?”ness and “what makes you think that 10 minutes of bombing an audition would change your life for the better? Wouldn’t you rather sit here and look at pictures of cats wearing orange peels as helmets?” Even while putting on my boots, walking out the door.

I had a moment on the way when I thought, what if I got the address wrong? But cheerleader voice was so ecstatic that I had actually left the house, it wasn’t concerned at all.
When I got to the capitol theatre and the door was locked, cheerleader voice thought, “maybe they’ll open the door when it’s your turn.” and immediately realized how silly that sounded. Just in case, I walked to the back of the building. It wasn’t there.
Angry jerk brain voice was triumphant! I walked back to the house, not too far, dejectedly thinking it wouldn’t have been any good anyhow. I had probably dodged a dignity injuring bullet.
(It’s actually amazing how often I think that. When something that I really want slips away from me, whether it be music school, first time home buying, trying to tackle and hold down a cute potential lover long enough to convince them being watched from their closet is romantic, I always come to the place where I “dodged a bullet.” Music school is much too expensive. That house, though not too expensive regardless of it being 10 times the cost of music school, needed far too much work. I’m actually glad that person could run so fast, I learned some stuff about them while stalking them from their closet that makes me think they’re kinda creepy…etc…my brain is a wonder.)
Arriving back at the house, I distracted angry jerk voice by looking at the internet. Thinking a dejected status update was coming, meanie brain didn’t notice me casually check the actual address of the audition, which was a block away from where I had just been. If it had been any further, I likely would have started typing that dejected status update. That’s how strong willed you-can’t-do-it brain is sometimes. But since I still had my boots on, I figured, the least I can do is go apologize for missing the appointment and perhaps see if there are any spots left tomorrow. Funnily, this is a course of action that resonates well with angry sad insecure brain. It’s what’s known in some circles as “martyr brain.” It takes the point of view of “well, I’d really like to, but I’m fairly certain that it’s too late. Not only did we miss the audition, they’re going to be angry at our lack of professionalism.” Rather than thinking there’s no point in even going, at this point it wants to go, because now it’s certain to have it’s argument validated. And have the wrath of the production team to compound it’s insane and misguided self loathing.

Yes I know how crazy that sounds. Try living in here with these sick bitches.

At any rate, now that the possibility of the audition being missed has been called forth into existence, the expectation that it will go one way or the other has dissipated. And so when I walked into the church and a familiar face in the countenance of Eva was sitting there, happy to see that I had made it, it just started to get good. And it just got better.

There was no problem with my being 10 minutes late. She handed me my a form with my number on it. Not the number I would get for having missed my time slot, but the number they had originally assigned me. 42.

I walked in to a warm inviting room with 6 smiling people who instantly made me feel so good for having come. I sang quietly at first, but with resonance and on key. I stayed in time and in tune with the piano player (I’ve never sang along to someone else playing the piano like that before, it was harder than I thought, but easier than I expected). I followed the short and sweet dance routine easily with just enough sashay that I might have channeled a kit kat girl for a moment. I discovered that I have a 2 octave range. Which might not be amazing, but it’s still pretty cool. I don’t know if that makes me a contralto or mezzo-soprano though, maybe I’ll learn that at the next audition.
What could I have done better? I could have taken off my coat, explained that my voice might be clearer when I’m not the caretaker of a kitty cat who likes to snuggle in my sinuses when I’m sleeping, breathing might have helped too. It often does.

But I walked out of there with 2 things.
1. No expectation.
I don’t know if I’ll get a call back (I’m sure that they’re looking for someone with more experience than “I played Leroy Herdman in the greatest christmas pageant ever when I was 9”) and even if I do, it’s not a guarantee that I’ll make it in the production.

2. No fear. Having been told that I have a beautiful singing voice and a german accent so convincing they actually asked if I have german parents, I don’t feel afraid that I’m not good enough. It’s one thing for friends and family to tell you that you’re good enough, that you sound great, but it’s something completely different for strangers to do so. Not that I expected they would tell me I’m horrible, that’s just not nice. But there is a difference between a diplomatic compliment and when someone honestly thinks you sound good. And I sounded good.

I floated home, I think I carried my gloves the whole way, it didn’t occur to me to put them on. My thoughts swirled to a place of such delightful acceptance, even angry brain was feeling pretty good. I think, with more exercise, angry jerk brain might even realize it’s not so bad and shut the hell up more often so we can actually be productive and get some truly awesome stuff done once in a while. I think tonight was a good start.

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Failure is not an option if you never try,

January 21, 2013

How terrible is it to fail at something? I guess it would depend on how badly you want it, whatever it is.

I have a real bad habit of talking myself out of things. I make the grandest arguments for how and why I never wanted to get or do or see the whatever is in question, to the extent that I am so relieved that I didn’t try for it because what if, horror of horrors, I had achieved it! Then I’d be stuck with something or doing something that I never even wanted. At some point I thought it was something I should want to do and so perhaps I should try to do it, but am I doing it because I actually want to? Or because I think I should? And my brain, which is supposedly on my side, will make the argument “I’m a rebel, I don’t do things because I should! I do things because I want to!” And so I don’t do it and my brain high fives me, convincing me that we’re alright.

Of course, by this point I’ve completely forgotten that perhaps the origin of the whole thing, was a desire to do something. Nope, my brain has tumbled that tidbit into the ether, never to be thought of again. I’ll pass it off as the casual suggestion made by someone who really doesn’t know what they’re talking about, at least when it comes to me. It’s an insane spiral of delusionary thinking that my mind enters into so completely and so comfortably that I barely notice it happen.

I drove to the audition for music school last year with so much swagger and confidence that I barely paid attention while doing the ear and written quiz, so convinced was I that they were going to be so impressed with my playing it wouldn’t matter that I couldn’t remember what the difference between a triad and an arpeggio were or if the two are even terms one uses with regard to music (They are and I did, but that was about all I did).
Cut to a teary eyed Trish leaving the building, humbled and filled with self loathing, shocked and appalled that I could have forgotten how to play the piano in such a short time. By the time I got back to Ymir, 30 km later, I was laughing and relieved. I had (nearly) forgotten the humiliation of playing so badly in light of my brain convincing me I had never really wanted to go to music school anyway. Especially not one as uptight as a place that wouldn’t even accept students who couldn’t play music very well. Wait, what? I actually at one point convinced myself it had never been my idea to go. It didn’t last long, but it was one of the tactics my brains used to make myself feel better. And that was an instance of something I actually tried to do. It makes me wonder how many things I’ve started to think about doing that never even made it past the preliminary stages.

All of this is leading up to the possibility that I’m going to attempt to talk myself out of auditioning for cabaret tonight. So far, the so what argument is winning. “There’s only 17 roles and there are over 60 people auditioning!” “You’re living with a cat right now and your nose is perpetually stuffed up to some extent!” “You haven’t managed to track down the sheet music for the song you’re going to sing so you’ll have to sing it acapella, if they’ll let you do that!”  “You might not get a part!”  “There might be something moderately entertaining on television right around that time!” “You’ve never auditioned for anything and you might suck at it!”

So what?

If I do try and I get a part, yay! If I do try and I don’t get a part, maybe they’ll tell me what I can do for the next time. But if I don’t try, I can’t fail. And there are countless websites out there documenting how failure can be just as epic as success sometimes. It’s all dependent on how much flair you put into it. But if there’s no try, there’s no fail, epic or otherwise and perhaps a little more failure in my life is necessary.  because that will mean that I’m trying

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Insulation and responsibility

January 16, 2013

There is so much more that I don’t post, than I post in this space. Mostly because of fear. I start in a moment, in a mood, so clear, so defined that everything I write has cohesion and relevance. At there are times when I maintain and stick it out and click on publish, totally willing to have my point of view inflicted on the world, and to have the world (which I’m fairly certain consists of about 12 people) reflect and judge and either find delight, repugnance of something more moderate in these things that I write.
As of this posting, my draft folder is dangerously full. Not in the sense that I’m running out of space so much as I’m getting to the point where I’m not accurately representing how I feel all the time. Which, to be honest, was part of the reason I started doing this in the first place.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. Although I don’t consider myself thus, I do think of myself as someone who writes (not as often as she could) just not necessarily a writer. And no, I do not believe that one must get paid for writing to be a writer, though that would be nice. It’s more of a commitment than I’m giving over to it at this point in my life.

When I was younger, say age 10 through 21, I was a writer. I didn’t always write well, but I always wrote. It seemed to be how my brain kept from being anxious. For a time after that, I was busy, I was occupied, working and having fun and creating with light and colour and surrounded by music, there was a good balance there. The writing didn’t feel as necessary. But when I look back at some of the problems I had, some of the things that I struggled with, I realize that writing could have saved me a lot of torment. It’s always been this way. The periods of my life when I’ve had the most hardship, the most struggle, were the times when I didn’t write. Anything. At all. Even if it was just a small silly rhyming poem about how intolerant I find cheese. Or a haiku about buying shoes.

I started this blog back in whatever year it was, in preparation for a trip that I would be taking. A simple way for me to communicate my adventures to my family and friends back home, not just to share in the journey, but to afford a certain peace of mind that everything was okay with me. It’s scary to leave home and move around the planet alone, without any plan or thought of what might happen to you in a strange place where you don’t speak the language, especially if you insist, as I do, on travel through somewhat unconventional means, such as hitchhiking or trainhopping. (I’ve never actually hopped on a train. I’ve always had aspirations to do so, perhaps because my grandfather did, or because of a desire to know the country you never see unless you take a train, but I always chickened out, maybe one day I’ll hop a train.)
My previous trip to Europe, I wrote unbelievably long emails to a list of people that grew larger with every missive sent, as word got out that I would do that. Some were tailored to smaller groups of friends, some to just my folks, but no matter what was happening during the adventure, I was never lost because my thoughts were collected, compartmentalized, conveyed.
It just seemed easier to keep a blog, posted and shared so that whoever wanted to could access it at any time. I do feel a certain obligation to it, as it should be. If I don’t send an email to someone in particular, they have no idea that I’ve been intending to write and there’s no expectation when I don’t follow through. But with this, every entry is dated, every moment that I’ve sent information into the world captured on a screen. Sure, I can edit it later or alter the content or delete it, but at some point, it went out. It was made real, if that makes sense. And when the space of time between those dates gets farther and farther apart, it makes me realize that my brain will need to be taken for a walk sooner than later.

I feel as though the things I publish somehow have more substance to them than the scores of unpublished drafts I have, not only stored online within this site, but on my computer, on various hard drives, in paper form. Actually no, not in paper form. For some reason, that medium feels more realistic to me than digital ever could. That might change in the future. It could be with the introduction of touch sensitive keyboards, writing will come back into vogue and the written word will be translated by computer to be comprehensible.Or perhaps there will be fonts for drunken poet, laudanum induced visionary, late night scribbler by candlelight. Because the written word, the actual, hand written word, is more romantic to me than any other form.

But I digress, as the whole point of this post is to illuminate how often I get distracted from my original intention. The place I often start, when writing, transforms to become so unrecognizable to me that I will at times just stop. Sift what I’ve written into the drafts folder, under various subheadings of too frivolous, too scattered, not pertinent to the mood I am now in, not pertinent to the mood the world is now in.

The reality is, there is every chance that one day I will write or share something that will resonate to such an extent that it might go viral. That’s a very real thing now. We’re so technologically advanced and globally aware that our ability to share things instantly and with no consideration of consequence is par for the course. I don’t expect that I would write something so profound or uncanny or illuminating that it would end up being read or seen by millions, but even the thought of hundreds makes me nervous on some level. There are many blogs and writers and creative people who are incredibly insightful that I follow, but don’t link to, because I’m not ready for the possibility that one of the other many people who follow them might notice the link and end up here. It’s not because I don’t think the majority of people who are reading and searching and following are not, like me, seekers of hilarity or comfort or joy or knowledge. It’s the very very few who are filled with fear and doubt and envy and in some instances, hatred and venom to an extent that I can’t fathom.

I’ve watched the trolls of the internet attempt to tear apart people I admire (Amanda Palmer, Anita Sarkeesian) or use their creative and clever awesomeness without crediting them, regardless of how simple it is to do so (Patti Ford, Matthew Inman) and then earn money or props for being clever while they have to fight you to get you to stop?

Perhaps an argument can be made, “oh that’s the interwebs for you,” I would say nuh-uh. I prefer my interwebs to be a little more respectful than that. Naive, I know, but that’s just how I am. Blissfully determined that people will get friendlier, once they grasp that the world is larger than their pettiness. It’s not up to me to convince anyone that they’re right or wrong. Though I would suggest that signing up to a message board as anonymous and spewing vitriol all over someone’s creative effort is an act of cowardice and major jackassery.  That’s the other side of having many fans and followers. At a certain point, you’re subject to people who would consider that you speak for them, you understand them and so have a responsibility to them to continue writing and entertaining them. That part freaks me out. I can’t presume to speak for anyone, regardless of how similar our experiences are, we’re still very different people, entitled to react as individuals.

So for the time being, I’ll work on writing for myself and the very few who stumble across this, until my skin gets a bit thicker. Or the internet gets kinder. Or maybe I’ll never be famous on the internet. That would be okay too.

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A new experience

January 13, 2013

Earlier today, I was pulled over and given a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt. I sometimes don’t wear my seatbelt, I’m not a fan. The notion that it is mandatory mainly because of insurance premiums makes me feel like a petulant child, rebelling against a society that deems personal freedoms superceeded by corporate interest. Wearing a seatbelt can save your life in the right scenario. It can also end it in another. You won’t be able to convince me that your decision to wear one every single time should affect my decision to wear one or not, as I feel. So when this cop pulled me over today, it could be argued that he was completely justified in doling out a financial reprimand to the tune of $167 for my arrogance.

Here’s the irony. I was actually wearing my seatbelt today. I was driving down a section of highway where a woman died last year when her 4runner skidded and drove headfirst into a truck. Call it a silly superstition but in the winter time, on that section of highway I’ll put on my seatbelt. But I put it under my arm because otherwise it makes me clausterphobic. Which apparently is wrong, but whatever, it was on.

So when I stopped, I thought he was pulling me over because of my broken taillight (someone backed into me while I was parked in salmo one day and then took off. Nearly took off my bumper too. It’s now hanging on with a bungy cord. I love those things.) So I didn’t even think about it when I popped off my seatbelt to reach over and grab my insurance out of the glove compartment. And surprise, he didn’t even mention the taillight. For someone who considered himself so incredibly observant to notice no seat belt as I drove past him (he did a u-turn on a snowy highway to come back and give me a ticket) it seems strange he wouldn’t bring up the taillight.

But now he’s got me because now, I’m obviously not wearing my seat belt, having already taken it off. When he told me I hadn’t been wearing a belt, I looked at him in disbelief and asked, “are you messing with me?” He insisted that I wasn’t wearing it and the more I told him I had, the stronger his conviction that I was lying became. Just as I was about to lose it completely I stopped. His belief that he was right was righteous, unwavering, almost desperate. When I told him I took my belt off to get at my insurance, he said, but I was sitting behind you, I didn’t see you do that. Except that my glove compartment was open, the insurance was already in my hand when he walked up. The seat belt was slack beside me. At one point he even said that honesty goes a long way with him, as in, if I would just admit I hadn’t been wearing my seat belt he might take it easy on me. If I admitted that he was right and I was wrong, he’d let me go with a warning. But since I had lied, he was going to give me a ticket.

Perhaps I should have sucked it up and agreed with him. Perhaps I should have lied and said I hadn’t been wearing my seat belt. Perhaps I should have tried to argue that it was under my arm, he didn’t see and apologize for not wearing it properly in the hope of some leniency.

He brought the ticket up and told me where I could pay it, how to dispute it, etc. I asked, is there a point in trying to dispute it? Because really, I have no idea how long something like this gets tied up in the system. I’ve never been ticketed for any driving infraction in my entire life. I wanted to ask, does this show up on my insurance, does it count for driving points, there were many things I wondered, but when I asked this first question and looked up at his stone faced countenance, I thought, I don’t actually want to ask any more questions of you. He had decided that I was guilty, he even insisted that he had a camera that had taken a picture of me not wearing a seat belt, which may or may not be true. That really doesn’t matter to me.

Of course I’m thinking to dispute it in court. It could be I have a chance of winning, especially if he doesn’t show up, as I think sometimes happens. It could be that even if I can prove I was wearing it, the fact that I had it tucked under my arm would still make it fall under the category of “in the wrong” on some level and I’ll still have to pay the fine. But I’m not so desperate to prove that I’m right. I’ve slipped under the radar countless times, avoiding tickets, vehicle impounding (ford van with gmc bus plates from 2 different provinces and only a learners’ license among the 4 people in the van? that’s some crazy jedi ju-ju) and likely other possible moments of potential sunday afternoon gone terribly awry moments.
Perhaps all those times finally rolled up in a black van filled with righteous indignation and demanded some payback. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of humility, the year of capitulating to the small inconveniences so that the energy is saved for the grander fights, the ones that are worth my time.It could be argued that every injustice is worth fighting for, but that said, I don’t know that this scenario necessarily counts as an injustice to be completely honest. I could have said, “you’re correct in your assertion that I wasn’t using my seat belt in the most efficient way possible, though I was wearing it” and have compassion for his need to be the champion of justice. Even if justice takes the form of ensuring that people are bullied into wearing straps across their bodies which can potentially trap them in a car that’s just driven into a river. On fire. Filled with angry monkeys. It could happen.

Although, it could be that I’ll have to dispute it, since I can’t afford to pay it. But maybe this is the kick in the ass I need to step it up and find that perfect balance of work I like and work that pays well enough that I can buy my house and pay my traffic ticket, while eating food.  Who knows what this new experience will spur on. Maybe the next time I see him, I’ll be in such a good place that I’ll give him a big kiss!

That is extremely unlikely.

It’s more likely that I’ll sort out the financial issues, come up with $400,000, buy my house, pay the fine, hang some lights and throw a party. That doesn’t seem so difficult. The theme of the first party at my new house will involve hats. Because people are not wearing enough hats. And that other thing.

Shiny.

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Expectationless

January 4, 2013

Every year I do the same thing. I think. I have this expectation that this year I will be and do and see and accomplish amazing things. I set my sights so high that if anything less than astounding is achieved it feels as though I let myself down. Not totally, mind you. But a little bit. I start the year with the hope that this will be the year of something. The year I learn to drive  a motorcycle, go swimming with dolphins, tango dance in Tierra del fuego, be a chanteuse in a nightclub in Paris (preferably this one, I’ve been there much and their sound man is fantastic) build a rope swing on a property that actually belongs to me, buy a property where I can build a rope swing. The list is extensive.

And so this year, coming up to the end of the one and beginning of another, I had that same feeling of hope intermingled with dread at the promise of what would happen this time around. Hope for the possibilities and dread for the expectations. I still feel like if I was so committed to change, it wouldn’t take the start of a year, but I have to admit that there is a certain freedom, a certain feeling of tabula rasa-ness that comes with a new beginning. When I have a bad day, I go to bed with the contentment that it’s over and tomorrow the slate is clean again. How much more magnified is that feeling with the onset of a new year?

But this year I’d like to change my approach a little bit. It’s the reason I’ve waited until the 4th day, I wanted time to process how I was feeling about it. I even felt a little guilty that I hadn’t written anything leading up to or immediately following the new year. But I stayed the course, waiting until the intention had manifested itself more readily, more serenely, to an extent.

Last year we entered into the year of the dragon according to the Chinese zodiac. I was born a dragon so my expectations that last year would be just incredible for me were massive. Insanely so really. I was driven by the egotistical notion that I could do no wrong whatsoever. And while I did accomplish many awesome things, the year didn’t necessarily pan out the way I had thought it would. Though if I was really going to put so much emphasis on the astrological symbol representing the year, perhaps I should have paid more attention to how well a fire dragon (such as I am) would fare in the year of a water dragon (which has a tendency to temper fire, a fact I chose to ignore).

I realize now that everything I had planned to do came from a place of arrogance at being in the same year I was born into.
Music school audition, the one I expected to breeze through? I choked, bad. Worse than bad, in fact.
The houses I expected to buy, three individual properties this year that I missed making a successful bid on by days. None of those my dream house (which I still believe I will buy someday soon), I was just ready to settle for the comfort of having something that’s mine. Not that I had the resources available to do such things comfortably. I was actually shocked and dismayed when it didn’t pan out for me, regardless of the fact that my financial situation would have required taking on a third job or just hiring myself out for scientific experiments in order to make my mortgage payments.

These are just the largest of the so-called dreams my brain had decided we were entitled to. There were many little expectations that didn’t exactly pan out as expected. In hindsight, not buying property when I couldn’t afford it is likely the best outcome possible. Not being accepted into music school which would entail being in debt for something that may or may not have caused me to end up in the place I had hoped for. Which is simply to be more comfortable around playing and jamming and sitting in with whoever, wherever, whenever. Something I’d likely more easily achieve by just playing more.

I found myself at the end of the year, completely unsure of what’s going to happen next.  All my big plans at the beginning of the year had been replaced by a certain anxiety with regard to knowing exactly what I want from life. Which has moments of being terrifying. These are fleeting moments which tend to give way to exhilaration back to anxiety over to excitement, a bit of a roller coaster. It’s one thing to cast oneself in the role of firegypsy extraordinaire at age 17, it’s a completely different role at age 36. Though, that said, with all those years in between,  I’ll likely be much better at it now. Hence the feelings of excitement and joy. Perhaps this most of all is an indication that I should just go for that, an organic transmutation of lifestyle, goals, plans and schemes. To not get so caught up in the rigidity of what I’ve convinced myself I want. To give way to the probability of finding exactly what I need.

Don’t get me wrong, the goals still exist. I still want to tango in argentina, I still want to swim with dolphins (not in some aquatic “park”, I prefer my swimming partners be happy and free). I still want to traverse Iceland and dance until dawn in Istanbul and see the giant’s causeway in Ireland. I still want to buy my dream house (710 Wildhorse Creek Road) and build rope swings and have secret garden parties and invite people to come and stay and  create because there will be music and art and giggles galore.

I guess I’m feeling as though these goals are all attainable and while it’s certainly good to want for them to happen sooner than later I just don’t feel the same sense of urgency as I did at the beginning of last year. I’ll make my list, it will have things on it that involve more music and rope swings and swimming and stretching and dream house with a garden of my own and surfing and dancing and motorcycle riding and knife throwing and filmmaking and writing and festivals and puppets and roadtrips and singing and work – blissful, satisfying, enlivening, fulfilling, well paying work. All of those things and more. All the dream with the best part of reality and none of the stress when it looks slightly different than was pictured, none of the anxiety when it doesn’t show up by the date expected. None of the expectations, all of the joy.

Happy New.

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