New pedals(aka my saviors); new me!

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Last Tuesday, I finally received my pedals! I had been eyeing them for a couple months now, carefully researching if they were indeed the best for me and which ones would be the best to kickstart my heart. So after having saved enough, I ordered them this month and in spite of a little delay caused by them running out of stock of the chorus pedal, I received them pretty quickly!

For around 201€ (including shipping), I got four pedals! Distortion, chorus, reverb and tremolo. AND, with Andertons Music Co. if you order two pedals, you get a free power supply as well as one of those little snakes that allows you to power up to five pedals at once! This is very practical since the Tone City pedals are very small and cannot be battery powered! And so I got not one but TWO sets of those free goodies!

Getting those pedals obviously took all my money! But I was very desperate and, it was all worth it!! I’ve been trying to save money this summer, but this wasn’t an opportunity I could pass! And also, since I met Maria and we’ve been going on adventures so that ‘s taken some money as well! But as soon as school starts I’ll start saving again! Hopefully!

I am not qualified enough to provide you with proper reviews of the pedals. But what I can assure you is that they are really good! They’re really pretty as well! The trem pedal, Tremble, has this nice little sparly-ish red color and it’s the most beautiful pedal I ever held in my hands! They’re perfect for me. I’d encourage you to take a look at the videos on Anderton’s YouTube channel to get a nice idea of them.

I don’t know much about anything but I can assure you that I’m in love!

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So, remember the break I took last week? Well, it’s all in the past now. Last Monday I jumped back in the open mic life and went to sing at the pub. And well, it was horrible…

I guess I was very rusty! Which made my already sensitive state worse. I just couldn’t handle anything to be honest! haha I got upset by every teeny mistake as well as the audience that night just not paying attention. And I know these are things I should play through and get used to. Usually I do. But I guess after a full week of not doing anything, I was a little too fragile!

Last Friday though, I went and sung at a new venue! And it went okay! I had a bit of a dry throat as I got onto the stage and my voice just didn’t have any power to it, I was struggling so bad to keep it up. But as I came off stage all my friends were telling me how good I was and how this was actually my best performance so far! Ha ha

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Now, the truth about that break is that is was far from being an actual break! Sure I didn’t do anything music related at all, really taking all the pressure off. But it was such an emotional roller-coaster!

One thing that I don’t I mentioned in my previous post is that one of the main reason I was so overwhelmed was for having played right-handed for all these weeks! That was draining me! And once again, my anxiety was actually just trying to warn me that I was doing something that I did not love!

Why keep playing the host guitar then instead of bringing good ol’ Nostrum with ye? Well, let me tell you why.

At my second open mic, all the way back in July, I had indeed brought Nostrum with me and played What are you without me? + What you are without me. But the sound was terrible. It being an open mic, you know, you can’t be too fussy about the set up. So, as much as you could hear everything alright, my guitar was coming out soulless. And I hated it because my favorite songs couldn’t shine bright!

Which has us circling back to the pedals: they were my only hope. I sat down on my bed that night and I was like, we can’t keep that up! The only solution I could see was to get some pedals so that, even if it’s still not an optimal sound, my guitar will at least give out some soul when I’m up there pouring out my heart! And so, I saved, then ordered, and you know the story.

But as I was waiting for them, I had to keep playing the right-handed host guitar. And, as much as I could handle it — I even got really good at the acoustic now with all that practice! — it was killing me, slowly, oh ever so slowly. It was like sugarcoated torture! I still enjoyed it but it felt wrong.

I knew that each night that I would play right-handed will take away some of my left-handed abilities as I would practice less with Nostrum… And so it did. And everytime I would pick my guitar up again, I’d be so bad at it. So, I was like shit now I have to work even harder! Which I guess only added to the pressure, which led to the anxiety fits. It was a nightmare!

On top of that, it just weakened my spirit so badly! I felt like I couldn’t be me fully not only because I cannot play all the songs I know as a right-handed, just a couple! But just because this isn’t me! Yet, everynight, I would get up on the stage and do it because I know that I need to be there a lot, to make connections and gain experience. But that was literally just killing me to have to be that weird mirror version of me with everything backwards. (By the way, I wrote a song about it! Which I haven’t posted anywhere just yet but I will, eventually!)

But it’s all over now! I’ve got the pedals and I’m feeling so much better already! I can breathe again thinking of the next open mics where I’ll get to be me, fully, again and sound somewhat okay! And it’s a big relief. These pedals are lifesavers and I will cherish them.

Now though, I have to work really hard to get my voice back on top and guitar-wise as well, I’m very far behind! I have to build up so much power, endurance, control and energy! But I’ll get there! School is back pretty soon which means I’ll get more practice time and I cannot wait!

This summer has presented me with so many challenges and boy did life slap me in the face!! I’ve learnt a lot! I’ve fallen quite a couple times as well. But I’m standing now, once more. And although I do feel very fragile, I am ready for all that’s to come! A little scared and tired, to be honest, but bring it on, anyways! I’ve got hopes, plans, and a little fire waiting to be fueled!

Until next post, remember that you got this! ❤

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A little week off. Ugh.

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This is definitely a decision I have to make against my heart’s will. But I know it’s for the best.

Although it went unnoticed for the whole month, I have been a little overwhelmed and under pressure with all these new challenges, which brought with them only more wishes/desire to get better faster. See, the thing is that I wasn’t feeling nervous at all nor stressed out, only tired, so I was confused when anxiety showed up again. And, I should’ve known better… But what it took was a phone call with my very good friend Esther to realize that was it.

For once, I guess, the ones I’ve always recognized as enemies (although as loyal as perfect allies), turned out to be trying to help me. Maybe it wasn’t the first time. What do I know?

Anyways. What that means is that, sadly, I have to stay away from the pubs and the social life this week! Well, it’s only four days, really. Plus the weekend. Which should be alright! I’d really love to go because it feels so great to perform. But I need some time to recenter myself, get in touch with all that’s happening within again and just, chill, also! Ha ha 🙂

So, this should be a pretty quiet couple of days! I have a lovely adventured planned for the weekend with my new friend Maria! But apart from that, there’s going to be loads of staying in with perhaps some solo outings again! There might be some new art to share since that’ll leave some chill time in my evenings! Speaking of, the art blog thingy is finally a thingy! All wibbly wobbly, click here guys!!

That’s it for the little update! I’m feeling good though, don’t worry. I just need to step away from the spotlight for a little while because I almost lost myself to this whole dream transition to reality madfuck trip. Getting back on my feet. I got this! 😉

I can’t believe those nights turned into today.

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(Lil’ side note before I start the post:
I managed to order the badly needed pedals for my guitar yesterday, and I did not get one,
but FOUR –yes, fucking four–
and now I am close to being flat broke but at least soon the frustration will be cleared away.
I should receive them this week and I cannot wait!)

Today, I went to the art gallery. And, although I have been going there at least once every weekend for the past seven to eight (??) months, it felt like a first time. Maybe not a first time. But it was different. Everything felt and look different, even those same paintings that have always been there, and the staircase, and the bathroom…

The art gallery is one of my favorite places out there. It’s my safe haven, you know? It’s a place I know and feel very comfortable in. And with the way my mind works, I need that type of constant to help me swim through the messy waves of life. And that place is just that. I try and go every weekend, to get my weekly dose of colors, shapes and happiness. It’s fuel to my soul.

But today, as I stepped inside, it was as if I had entered a parallel universe. Same place, same everything. But something felt different. Not “wrong” different; a strangely comforting different I’d say…

So, I spent thirty minutes walking around, looking at more paintings than usually and rediscovering the place. The smell of the wood, the light, the cracks on the paintings, the carvings on the stairs, the doors. Each and everything I interacted with felt oh so different. I was confused. But it felt really good. It made me happy and I felt calm and inspired. I noticed details I had somehow overlooked during my many previous visits.

I’m not sure why it felt the way it did but I sure am thankful. Maybe I was a little more open to it after all those experiences and surprises from that mad July! Or maybe it was just in the air. I felt more open to my safe space and I think it was more open to me as well; giving more.

I’ve had some anxiety fits these past two weeks. Which fucked me up nicely to say the least. It was nothing but it took me by surprise as I was foolish enough to believe the calm meant it was all over. I guess I needed a reminder that it never ends. Duly noted! I won’t fool myself again. So, I’m thinking that might have been it. They left me feeling pretty sensitive, so maybe they opened the right doors that I’ve been trying to reach for months now. I don’t even know.

After that, I went for yet another long walk, all the way to the park while on the phone with my sister. And I had a picnic on my own by the river. It felt amazing! Then I walked around, snapped some pictures for the sis, and eventually settled on a bench to watch the ducks and seagulls play in the water. Then I took another long walk by the river, taking my time to reach my bus back home.

On the ride home, I was extra sleepy!!!! So when I got here, I showered and had a coffee with a little pinch of cinnamon in it. I’m not a big fan of the taste of cinnamon in coffee, but there’s loads of benefits from it, so, whatever!

Yeah so, basically, when I got home, I just settled down and tried to do things. Did not really happen though! Ha ha. I did get to play some guitar and work a little bit on that art blog that should definitely be ready next week!! And that’s about it.

Even as I type this I can still feel that bliss from that strange art gallery experience. Everything was so refreshing, the paintings, the wood, the river, the wind and, oh, all the beautiful dogs! And it’s hard to believe.

I mean, although this is what I was hoping for last year and the year before and maybe every other year before that; I can’t believe it’s happening. I’m building my little empire. I’m meeting the coolest nicest people. I’m having fun, smiling and even laughing sometimes! I feel confident and strong. I couldn’t have guessed that those wine & ice cream saturated nights(months) would turn into that type of solo-picnic-art-gallery-magic kind of brightness.

I can’t believe that after all the fucked-upness, I am here and standing among so much light. But I will cherish it, I promise. ❤

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What a July!

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Well, it’s all in the past now. Time to process it and upload it to my memory box…

Although I had the idea of it all laid down in my bullet journal, this month was full of surprises. And even the things that I knew about surprised me! It was a nice month for self-discovery, confidence, happiness and also, my social life!! And funnily enough, as busy as it was, I was not stressed out. It was like, enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to August now to make it even better now that I’ve had a first taste of it all.

In three weeks, I performed a total of SIX times. Which is both, crazy and not crazy enough. It could’ve been more but there were some cancellations and unforeseen obstacles on my part as well.

I remember the first open mic like it was yesterday. I was really relaxed, just as I used to be before my theater performances in high school and university. And it hit me right in the face. Like, as I was singing I was being hit in the face by the reality of it all. Ha ha! Because, as per usual, when I was speaking my voice was fine, right? But as soon as I started singing, it got all shaky and I was powerless. I forgot words and I kept my eyes closed too much. But I still managed good enough! Especially for a first time.

The one right after that was already much better! Just a slight little unwanted nervous tremolo in the voice. He he. And the one after I was fine. Still did not have that much control over things. But there were no more shakes and I handled it better. And the one after that was even better! Like, my voice did things I didn’t think I could do yet, let-alone under the stage pressure. Ha ha And it just keeps getting better.

One of those experiences which I do count as performance although it was a complete different setting, was a recording-type session in the Haven café (first open mic). I was terrible on the guitar that night. Actually I was too tired to go but my host mom made me go anyways and I’m so glad she did!! I had a great time! Made some new friends! And even ended up singing on a song that we wrote on the spot! But what this specific experience brought me, unlike every other, was a new light shone onto my voice.

I know my voice is good. And I know I sing okay. But when I heard my voice on the recordings it blew me away. It was not my phone’s microphone. It was so clear. I could hear all the depth of it and it was just beautiful. Beautiful in ways I had never heard it before. And it made me much more confident and happy! It was also really fun to just jam with the guys!!

One of the hardest part I’d say would be, well, to be 100% honest… It’s having to carry my heavy guitar all the way down to Douglas when I repeatedly miss my buses on my way to the pubs and am desperately trying not to be late!! Ha ha ha. But, really, the one thing that makes it hard is that there are no monitors at the places I’ve been playing. So I never get to hear myself as it is. And it can be quite frustrating at times.

One of my favorite parts though is just looking around as I play and see people truly enjoy the songs. Because, these are songs I wrote, they are parts of me and I see these strangers genuinely tapping their feet to the beat, nodding their heads and smiling, or just turning over to their friends. And I’m like, wow!

This has been such a positive and empowering experience so far. It’s very addicting also!!

The one little thing that’s been bothering me though, especially this week:

I’ve had to leave Nostrum at home for the last couple of nights because, my electric guitar just doesn’t sound complete and I’m trying to get my hands on some juicy pedals before the end of next week, so I can be fully me.

It’s been really frustrating because, as much as I can handle playing right-handed, it’s just not who I am. And it restricts my playing and it feels wrong as well.

Also, every time I pick up the right-handed guitar, I feel I lose half of the progress I’ve made on the left-handed one, which, in the end, kind of cancels my progress and I have to start over always.

The one thing about music is that it’s a place to freely be fully me and I can’t be that without Nostrum! So, fingers crossed I can get my pedals soon before my spirit breaks!!

But yeah, I’m hanging on to sanity and the good times! In time it’ll be perfect. For now, I just have to wait some more. Again.

I’ve been meeting so many people also thanks to these open mic nights! Which feels crazy because I’ve got myself a really good friend and so many people who recognize me, know me and have moderate interest in me.

Everything is blowing my mind away! So much that I’ve not even been caring about not having done any music theory or Italian work at all this month. Believe me, I tried, but I have so little free time right now, and all the energy I have left at the end of the days go into music and sleep!

I did have a very small anxiety fit last week which fucked me up good. But I won’t let it scare me. I was on a very sensitive day and I just pushed the wrong buttons. But I wasn’t alone through it. And that makes it even more insignificant! Fuck this. I’m strong and bigger than any demon. They should be the one scared; damned for an eternity in the wild flames burning inside of me. Ha!

Art wise, I did get a couple paintings done! And also, this fine liner madness is neverending!!! I’ve also, as per usual, been to the art gallery at least once every weekend. Pretty sure time would stop if I wouldn’t go… And I have the project of creating an art-only website on here as well as an Instagram page. But so far, this is still a work in progress. Soon though!

And I’m pretty sure that’s all of it! Such a nice month! Making me look forward to all that’s to come. I know it’s only going to be brighter!!!

Until next post, keep at it, guys! ❤

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Hi there, guys!! Just quickly, before I go to bed because it’s nearly midnight already (how)!

I’ve had such a busy week!! I cannot wait to share with you all that’s been happening!! Probably at the end of the month as next week will also be very busy; hopefully!

I just came back from a recording session thingy and tomorrow I will be performing yet another open mic!

I feel really good and I am so tired! But it’s all worth it!

You’ll get to know more pretty soon! For now, let’s enjoy every minute of it all! And, until next post, keep trying(even if you’re scared, even if you’re not ready)!! ❤

My first open mic experience!

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On Friday evening, I went to the Haven café in Cork to be a part of their weekly open mic night.

I remember when I woke up that morning, I was so excited and I just couldn’t wait for it! But waiting was all I would get to do on this fateful day. I mean, it was on at 8, so basically, ten hours after my breakfast, but there was more to it than I had bargained for. Once more, my patience & resolution were put to the test.

So, at around 7PM, this bright, hopeful cookie was at the door, with my host mom’s acoustic guitar (right-handed 😥 !), heading to the bus stop. I got there and was fifteen minutes early for my bus, so feeling pretty confident about making it on time (my intention to get there at least fifteen minutes early so I could cool down from the walking). That was all until I got caught up in a crowd of teenagers. I swear there were at least 40 of them. There were too many for me to be comfortable. And I was convinced there would be no room for me in the bus. Also, they were rude & pretty stupid. They were making fun of me, little did they know that I speak French and can sometimes understand some Spanish. *frowny face*

This eventually lead me to give up on my bus and walk down to Douglas to catch another bus. The buses down there get to the city much faster anyways, so I figured I’d be fine even though it was already quarter to by the time I got down there.

I had some time before the bus so I went to the bathroom. I was already so sweaty and tired. And I’m not gonna lie, this had already killed my spirit a little bit, but I had to keep going! So I got on the bus, and there, lovely surprise, the card machine was broken, therefore I didn’t have to pay for the bus! I sat down, quite satisfied of this small victory, and tried my best to breathe, calm down. In five minutes I would be in the city now. Except, no..

The bus had to make a little detour to the bus house thingy where all the buses go to sleep after their shift. What for? Well, to get a new card machine… That took us at least three minutes and I swear at this point, I was losing it. And when we eventually left, we had to stop again as the bus was making this high-pitched noise. Two more minutes. I was dying. Then, finally, we made it to the city.

Once again, I was walking so fast as if my life depended on it. I was three to four minutes away from the café, which was all the way to the other side of the quay. Now, you have to remember that there was no rush, had decided that there should be one. You know how it is once I set my mind on an idea… I really wanted to be there early, and since I wasn’t, my brain was on the “I’m late” mode. It was 8:03… Drama queen, I know!

Anyways, so I got there, really glad to see my friend Kart again! And Pete, a fellow singer-songwriter. (He is really good at playing the guitar, and plays the harmonica at the same time!) So, at last, amongst familiar faces, I could sit and enjoy the rest of the host’s performance. Kart then introduced me to everyone and then the magical night could begin…

The venue was a very cosy one. The stage was literally the back of the room, which made you level with everyone, which I guess contributed to the whole atmosphere. Everyone was friendly and supportive! It was definitely one of the best choices for a first time!!

I was third to perform! Which could I’ve freaked me out, but it didn’t! I remember that morning I kept having flashbacks to my theater performances from high school and university. I’ve actually always been quite fine with talking publicly and usually, being on a stage enhances my abilities! I remember when we used to rehearse our scenes in the classroom, I was “okay”, but every end of the year, when we would perform them on the stag, I would magically blow everyone away. But, guess I was a bit rusty…. It’s been more than three years since I’ve hit the stage after all…

Talking was fine. Although I did say “Hi!” AND “Hello!”. Like, what? These were exactly the two words I had forbidden myself to say as I was rehearsing that morning because I can never say them properly. I know it sounds stupid, but I can’t ever say a simple hi or hello, it always has to be weird. But it was okay nonetheless. I introduced myself and the song, and after that, I’m not sure what happened.

My voice was a little shaky but I tried as well as I could to keep it somewhat on track. Thing is, I was exhausted from all the running I did before, and my throat was as well, as I pushed a little too much during rehearsal that morning. So, I wasn’t breathing, projecting or even putting any emotion in it. It’s almost as if I wasn’t there. I was doing it, barely trying. I definitely did not give it all I had.

There was barely any energy. Breathing almost non existent. Therefore my vocals weren’t on point. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t so bad. And you know what? I picked two songs I know really well, which I would therefore not mess up too much, if at all, right? And, I forgot some of the lyrics in the Brandi song?? And then almost messed up a word in my own song???!!

What I am proud of though is that I kept going after the mess ups! Which is exactly what you should do, right?! Don’t let them know, show must go on! So, I guess that even though my vocals weren’t exactly my best and didn’t display a nice percentage of my abilities, I still handled the situation okayly. Considering the nerves and exhaustion!

But that it just my side of the story!

Everyone else actually enjoyed it. Which, I guess is what should matter in this situation! I mean, the point of a performance is to share, right? So, as much as you should enjoy it; what truly matters is if the audience enjoys it!

I got some nice clapping, which was quite confusing because I did not consider myself that good. So I figured they were just being polite.. But then, at the end of the night, when we were all packing to go home, I had many of the musicians come to me and tell me they really enjoyed my original song. And I was really surprised! Sadly, I was definitely getting sleepy by then and wasn’t exactly the most social being, all I could say was “thanks, thanks, haha, sure, yeah”.

I also had a little chat with the sound guy(??i think??), he was telling me how it was a nice song, and how it’s great to be able to tell a story. AND, he told me about a recording session thingy that they do in the café every Thursday evenings and that I should definitely drop by one time, to maybe record one of my songs. So, I’ll probably check it out this week and you will definitely hear about it if I do(which I will)!

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The Haven Café, Friday 13th, July 2018

So, that was it for my first ever musical performance, guys! It wasn’t as magical as I had imagined, it was in fact, pretty normal. But I enjoyed every bit of it!

I loved the supportive atmosphere and the diversity of the performances! Watching others play was both, entertaining, and educating. There is loads to learn from just watching people with more experience! Which reminds me of this quote from Frank Iero: “The best way to become a better player is to play with someone better than you“.

Everyone was so talented! And watching them share their personal songs like this was just, wow! And I remember the last one especially, he blew me away with his guitar skills. My eyes were struggling to keep open, but I swear I didn’t dream it! I don’t really remember people’s name, but I will learn them eventually! I’m definitely going back next Friday anyway, so I’ll probably see all of them again!

The venue was really nice and definitely the best for a first time! I’m so glad that Kart recommended it to me! She is such a good person! So nice to me and always introducing me to everyone and taking pictures! Bless her soul!!

Sadly, we didn’t get any videos of the night. Which at first I thought was a bummer, but then, on the bus back home, I realized it wasn’t so much of a bad thing not to have a physical trace of this first time. It wasn’t so bad, but I’d rather not have physical proof of it, you know what I mean? I’ll always have a nice memory of it and that is more than enough!! He he

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So, what I gathered from this first performance is that I need to work thrice as hard and twice as fast! I was definitely not satisfied with my performance so you can be sure that this hardworking cookie is going to get even more serious about things from now on!

Next time, I will actually give it my best and maybe get a video! 😉 And, I will get better, and better, and better, and better, and better, and better!

Here’s to more performances!!

I will be going to a different open mic on Monday night! And then once again to that one on Friday! Then the same one next Monday. And then probably going to fancy Gallagher’s on the Wednesday after that! And hopefully, that will keep going for the rest of the summer holidays?

We’ll see how it goes, and of course, I will keep updates on my journey as regular as they come on my precious, precious little blog!