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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Vulnerability & free pints

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I wrote two songs on Wednesday and boy, am I proud of them. They really managed to bring out some deep feelings/fears/hopes, and I think that’s mostly because they’ve been sitting drafts for six months now. I hope to be able to share them with you in the near future 😉

Sometimes, certain ideas/thoughts need to marinate before they can bloom into anything shareable, I must let them steep in flavors before I can cook them. And there’s just no other way, I can try and push them, but it won’t happen unless their heart is ready to beat.

These two did their time and even though I knew I would finish them this week, I was still surprised when it happened.

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Last week, I could hear them call out to me. Like ghosts, haunting me, in every corner of my mind, I’d hear their echoes, I’d see their colors, I’d feel them taking shape under my skin, boiling in my blood. And so when I sat down on Wednesday, they simply poured right out of me. I was overwhelmed as I looked at the small crumpled piece of paper that barely managed to hold these two freshly reopened wounds. But above everything, I was beyond excited to share them.

So, on Friday night, I was eager to play them live for the first time to a small crowd at the Haven open mic. Although my throat was very dry (despite my religiously drinking my mandarin peel infusion, but I’ll blame it on my nervousness) and breath support was barely happening, my performance was fine. Exceptionally emotional. My voice was struggling to get out there and stay on track, but I had these emotions coming pouring out of me that I almost cried on the second song. And it hit me that the wounds had never closed.

That second song I performed is called A different ending and is about dreadful separations, losing friends, love… But it’s not just hopelessness, there’s also a painful hopefulness deeply tied to the despair.

It took all these months for the song to tell me what it was aching for me to sing. At first I thought it was going to be simple, but then, when I was finishing it, writing those last lines, I found out that it was actually a song about my lost friend(s). And so much more. But, when I recorded it raw to give my close friends a listen, I was fine. So I did not expect me to break down while performing it. And boy, was that foolish of me.

There were sparks as I sang it but I guess I didn’t get it yet. When I performed it that night, I almost choked on my own heart as it was imploding with emotions. And as I was holding back the tears and keeping on singing, I realized I wasn’t over it. I mean, me, getting over something? Ha, ha! I knew I wasn’t but I thought, maybe, just maybe the pain had left, at least… And, as I have always preached, sharing the art is what truly gives life to it. A different ending came to life in the Haven, left the room silent and made the cracks on my heart glow again.

Anyways. I don’t really want to linger on and on on this. What I really wanted to write about is this vulnerability that I’ve been feeling very intensely lately! Which, I’d like to emphasize, is not a bad thing at all.

It’s no surprise if I tell you that going up on a stage, to do anything at all, can be a nerve-wracking experience. Although, usually, once you start, it gets better as you realize instant death under the audience’s gaze was only a spooky pipe dream. And even if you’re not super comfortable you realize you can survive it and if you’ve been blessed with bad eyesight (like the me) you might not even see the people in the room, and maybe for a split second you’ll tell yourself you could definitely do that again. It ain’t that bad. You might not like it, but at least you’ll know that it’ll take more than a room full of blurry people to take you down.

The real vulnerability I’m pointing my finger at right now though, is the one that comes with climbing on that stage with all your guts exposed and a screen on your chest. With my many (lolzor) years of theater in high-school/university, I’ve met people for whom a show is just that, a show, you know a persona, it’s all pretend. But I’ve never been that way. I like things to feel real, to be real and so I’ve always made a point to be honest in all I do. Well, at least in my art.

The closest experience I’ve ever had to what happened on Friday was during my last year of high school, when I played Ophelia from Hamlet, and went full-blown tragedy. That shit was intense when I played it for my final exam, I could feel all the feelings burning right through me. And all of it was real. We were the same person every time I would get up on a stage to play my scene and with time, we grew closer and closer. And the thing is that, with songs, it’s even worse..

Being on a stage already puts you in a vulnerable position, we got that. However, when you bring with you your very own songs, which you wrote with whatever came out first, tears, blood or whatever fueled your riffs, it’s even greater than simple vulnerability could describe it. Because these songs are made of you, it’s not just your vision of something else, it’s literally you (& more). And having to play these, especially when they reach as deep as A Different Ending and Find Me do, is…. Something else.

It is some type of bittersweet terror, I’d say. I put my all in these songs, not just energy and time, but also heart and I’m pretty sure parts of my soul end up in everything I make as well. They reached really deep into me (and I am learning, wishing, to go even deeper). And as much as I was dying to share them so I could breathe life into them and feel them fully, there was also this fear.

The last time I had to play a freshly written song live was with This Isn’t Me back in summer. But I didn’t apprehend it as much because this song, although being made of raw feelings of then, was not as deep. This time, though, I knew it would be different because these two new songs are actually me plucking my heart’s strings and the sounds it makes are hauntingly sincere. And, I swear, standing up in front of eight or twenty people, pouring your very heart out, takes more strength than you could imagine.

I would very much like to keep going because I still have loads of thoughts to share, but I have to cut this “short” now since I’d like to spend some time on my guitar (and theory books aaaaah) and if time allows it, maybe paint a thing or two. So, I will just add one more thing and then I will release your eyes.

All of Friday evening, apart from the emerging sadness after my performance, I was thinking about the reason why. Because I’ve felt many different things these past few weeks and sometimes I got discouraged and sincerely asked myself, what on earth is the point of all of this? And as I sat down and listened to these beautiful souls sharing their songs, I looked around me and within, and I just knew. That’s what we do.

We feel things intensely. We see things differently. And we morph them into bridges from reality to surreality or mirrors in which each can find their own truths and never be wrong. We turn ramblings of our souls into songs and nothing can compare to the cries of your heart echoing in someone else’s and feeling a whole room breathe to the beat of your pain & joy.

I refuse to let anyone, not even myself, ever try to convince me that art is pointless and life is meaningless. Because art fuels souls and the light each of us tiny stars emit keeps the Universe alive. And if it wasn’t for all of these passionate specks of dust, then there would be nothing.  You try and imagine a world without music, without colors or love. It’s everywhere and cannot be erased.

And that is why we were all in that room on Friday night. And that is why I kept on singing when I doubted. And it is why I won’t ever stop. 

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At the Brù on Monday

New Bob Ross pastel!

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Hey there! I tried another Bob Ross tutorial last might and it felt amazing!!

It was such a nice way to end my weekend which had been so lovely already! I did mess up the sky a bit! Because, I forgot how pastel worked, and I got some of the brown and black stuck in the sky but it’s alright! Hehe

Also, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this already but I have an art only blog now! So if you’re just here to see my art and don’t care about the life updates and stupid songs and weird stories, head over to @chloeriviereart to get only the delicious paintings, drawings and sketchbook peeks! 😉 It’s a little wobbly as I’m still figuring it out but it’s just the good stuff 😛

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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