22. Checkpoint.

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Last week, I officially reached the age of 22 and reached a dreaded point of no return. (If you think that’s dramatic, just wait until you read the next couple of lines.)

A couple years back, with my best friend, we set a time limit for our goals/dreams, stating that by the time we reached 22, we should be at least x% there (with x not being 100, because that would have been unrealistic). More like a “best before” date where, if our goals were not met, our ability to achieve said dreams would just expire and we would simply die. Yes, die. Implode. Explode. Cease to exist, somehow. I know, a bit dramatic… But we were desperate for something to look forward to and the idea that in such a very near future we would be somewhat closer to our dreams, it was just that and more!

Now, it was a very reasonable goal that I set: to, at least, have the start of something on the way and at best, already be a little bit further. Rather vague, I’ll give you that, but that’s just how my plan-making works! Ha ha Anyways. Although it was reachable goals, providing us with a specific point in time to look at and work hard towards, it still had this ominous undertone basically implying that life would end if we didn’t even get to those mediocre levels before then. So, now that I think of it, that was probably responsible for a percentage of the pressure on my shoulders as I desperately tried to build up skills and make reality shift my way.

As I am typing this, you can tell that I am alive and have, indeed, reached the goal. In fact, I have exceeded my expectations! Which is quite a fucking relief because, if you know me, you know how deeply and intensely I care about things and especially the life thing, and I cannot imagine (i.e. I can exactly imagine) what would have happened had I not fallen into the place I am right now.

Looking back, you know, it’s always been a rollercoaster. There’s some v low lows, some lesser lows and some higher lows, yet through it all, I’ve always been going up, even as I spiraled down. And with this past year being what it was, my birthday felt like a checkpoint. Not just a new chapter, leaving the rest behind that thin new page, but a completely new book waiting to be filled. Now, I don’t know how many books have previously been put on the shelf, I can’t look, the amount of dust would make my asthma go ballistic. Right now, all I’m overwhelmed with is all the blank pages, all the fresh spaces and all the possibilities. The past is still here, realer than ever, but it’s old news.

My last four birthdays had each been a different shade of blue which left me feeling very apprehensive for this one and also, the bar wasn’t very high. I was hoping for the simplest of days possible. I wished for it to be just a regular Friday where I would do stuff in the morning, practice in the afternoon and go to the open mics in the evening. And, I’m happy to say it was just that: not extra but not fucking dark either. People were nice to me, I got cake, heard my mom’s voice and all went well. Unbelievable! Ha ha

I think I did cry at some point but I don’t remember now. I was, in fact, rather miserable all day long but that’s actually just the way it is. I turn into Eeyore on my birthday, each year. Don’t ask why, I’d just shrug and say I don’t know, although I do know (but the list is so long already and it keeps growing). But, yeah, despite the heaviness of it all, it was a decent birthday and the best I’ve had in a while (oh boy). And it’s nice now that the bar is so low because it can only mean that all the next ones will be better!

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To come back to the whole time limit drama, I think 18 year-old me would have been proud, to be honest. Back then, I couldn’t hold a tune, play a scale, write a song, travel alone for the sake of me, had never sang on a stage and was, to put it simply, a disastrous trainwreck with none of my issues under “control” (if acknowledged at all). All I had was a dream and hopes dangerously tied to a blinding despair.

Somehow, I survived all of these years through the storm and even the darkest of days where I had almost completely given up all. I guess I must have been sinking upwards, because the deeper I get, the brighter it keeps getting. *confused frown*

Point is, I have achieved so much in all of this short time!

Sure, the first three years and nine months showed rather slow progress, loads of regression actually, and painful growth.. It was a slow motion journey, dragging my weary bones all the way to where I am now. But the last three months of this journey were packed with progress, light, love, hope, confidence and my reborn fire. I swear, during these four years (could these be the content of the book I was mentioning earlier? would make sense!), the most progress I made was in July, August and September this year, all the way to today when I am writing this in my cosy bedroom.

I am not very sure how, but I managed to cram all the hard work that should have been slowly spread out over those years in three months. It was crazy how it all happened. But I’m glad it did now because I didn’t die. And I am living my best days, blooming a little more every minute into the person that I was made to be and connecting with all types of beautiful souls.

So, yeah… I am 22 now. Things are indeed on the way (and even maybe a little bit further than that). I am alive and well. Fire is burning real hard, I have all the fear and light to fuel it. My progress has been saved and from this point on, it’s only hmmm…. Sideways! It’s only sideways we go! (screw “up”)

This post is nothing like I wanted it to be, but you know what? I don’t give a asdfghjkl because, as it turns out, I am more focused on working hard right now and welcoming all that’s to come to care about what was and has been. Like I said, checkpoint has been passed, progress has been saved, my past isn’t going anywhere. As a matter of fact, it’s not going anywhere without me and, like my trustworthy sidekick it’ll always be right over my shoulder when I look back. So, no worries, you know I will be writing letters to my past again. can’tletgo

Nothing like a checkpoint to give you just enough confidence and fearlessness to run through the rest of a level like the mad man that you are.

Until next post, keep running! ❤

P.S.: I almost forgot, but last Thursday was Nostrum’s birthday! Our first year together!!! 🙂

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Summer blew me away..

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First of all, I know it’s a little late to be doing this, but, believe me, I tried! The truth is that summer did in fact get the best of me… Those two months have got to be the longest summer I’ve ever survived. I am not just talking about the soul-melting sunshine but also my super duper long days with the kids being off school. Loads of things happened, in & out, and now’s the time for me to look back and see the bigger picture! But I’ll make this really short cos I just wanna move on tbh

 

To be completely honest, the best thing that happened to me this summer was meeting my dear friend Maria!

She took me on all those cool adventures and we shared some beautiful moments together, from the simple walks in the park to the mesmerizing cliffs of Moher and the Blarney castle. Seeing her face every Monday night in the Brù bar’s small crowd, listening to me pour my heart out while struggling on the guitar, was the best feeling. She brought me light, strength, confidence, smiles and actual good memories! And now, it’s been six days since she’s gone back to Italy and I miss her so much. ❤ It’s hard to adjust to not having her around anymore…

Then, of course, the real big thing that happened this summer– no. The greatest thing that I made happen, was the 11 live performances and all the good things that came from them!

I tried my best to go as many open mics as I could. Sadly, I didn’t make it to every. single. one. of them! Which was really my goal for the summer. But my pushing myself a little too hard in a social life that I had never been used to was not a good idea, and my anxiety made sure to rise up just to slap me in the face & back into a chill place. I had to take a full week off music and social stuff so I could take a few steps back, let go of the pressure and remember the reasons why.

The real magic thing with the open mics is that by just being in the right place I was doing the right thing. That’s literally the one thing I’ve always been doing wrong my whole life, never going to the place. And so, even on the first night I went, things happened. And the more I went, the more doors unlocked. I’m not just talking about me getting better at everything and more confident; although that is a thing as well! I’m talking about the people!

I’m having more and more people come up to me after a performance to tell me how they really enjoyed my songs, following me on social medias or simply coming back to hear me again. And this is all surreal, you know? The best part actually is to have those really cool talented musicians telling me how good they think I am and some even wanting to work together. The feedback has just been so positive and encouraging. I’m shook.

And that’s really been the main things of this summer. There’s been more but now that I look back I realize that they weren’t as important as they felt in the moment. And then, there’s been crazy stuff as well which I might share later on or maybe in a song some day haha

So, summer’s been long and draining. Lack of free time + 7/11 right-handed performances almost got the best of me; I’m lucky I didn’t fully lose my mind! Ha ha And it’s brought so much light and so much good!

Now, I’m  very excited about all that’s to come. I’ve met a new musician last week at the Brù, Billy. He’s an awesome guitarist and we’re working on stuff together now, and soon, we’ll blow your brains away. Gently. Look forward to it, this might be the start of something bigger!

And there we go! A short enough post to remember this past summer and now we can finally keep moving on. My brain is buzzing with ideas and I can barely contain myself. I’d say this is all going pretty okay for me! Can’t wait to share the new songs!

Until next post, remember that sometimes, it’s as simple as it gets: show up, and things will happen! ❤

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! ❤

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! ❤