Welcome home, dear Nostrum!

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On October 11th, a dream I had for about eight months now came true. I got my new guitar and it turned my life around once more.

Since I have finally named her, I can, at last, write about it on my lovely lovely messy website. And today marks her two months anniversary, so it is the perfect opportunity!

 

When she arrived I was so overwhelmed I had to live chat with my mom and brother just so I could open the box and see her with my own two eyes. When the outburst of emotions finally chillaxed, I proceeded to take many many pictures with her– of course! I haven’t been playing with her every single day like I’d love to but we’ve spent lots of time together these past two months, and it was pretty sweet. I missed this so much!

From my two brown eyes’ point of view, a relationship with an instrument, just like any other, is also very spiritual; it’s not all about the touching and the strumming… There’s much more to it; soul-food, magic; an instrument can be, or maybe, should be, more than “just it“. It’s a friend, a partner in crime, a weapon to brandish at the sky and howl at the moon with. I mean, it’s not just an instrument; when you create with it, you allow this deep and sincere connection to exist because you let yourself be vulnerable, you let it see your insides and you willingly share your private parts with it. And, no, this is not just a poetic excuse for my slacking off! 😛

It took me a few days to actually start practicing with her because I needed time to adjust and accept her as a new part of my life. But even without practicing with her, the link between our two selves grows. In fact, I instantly felt connected to her once I put her in my room. And now that I’ve been playing more frequently, I feel closer and closer to her and I think that’s why I was finally able to get a feel for a name! So let’s talk about it for a bit, shall we?

The name…

Nostrum (n.)

  • a medicine made by the person who recommends it, sold with exaggerated or false claims with no actual proof of its efficiency
  • “quack medicine”
  • cure-all;
  • a pet scheme for solving issues, mainly social or political ones
  • panacea
  • my left-handed Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Honestly, I did not really give too much thought to it. I was just fooling around with my “word of the day” app on my phone and it showed up and I was like “Oooh…”.

What got me was the “quack medicine” part. Because music and art is what I turn to in my dark times and if you’d ask me, I’d recommend it to solve any issue, soothe any burn, heal any wound and I’d assure you it is THE cure you need. And I like to sprinkle a pinch of doubt on everything, because it is necessary and also I do find it funny? So, using that word to name my weapon of choice is that for me. Meaningful and funny. Also, “no strum”… I mean, come on! I love it.

On a more serious tone, as much as she definitely is not a cure-all, Nostrum is a very good friend. Like, I remember writing on my Instagram one night how she already knew my heart even though we had barely just met.

[…] There’s nothing like music. And nothing like a fancy varnished piece of wood that allows your heart to bleed shamelessly and doesn’t condemn silence. She can already hear what I haven’t even thought yet.” I remember; I had had a rough day (emotionally speaking) but I didn’t have to work the afternoon so I managed to shower and focus on myself; I picked her up and even though I was doing some tedious theory practice, it fixed my mood. We do have a connection. It was an instant one and it grows with every breath, with every strum and every sigh. *You Raise Me Upppp starts playing in the back*IMG_20171011_195825_142.jpg

This is a piece of paper that came with Nostrum and it perfectly put it into words.

Remember it is one of your most intimate possessions–closer to you perhaps than anything else you may own. For it is the voice of the music within you, singing or sighing with your mood and forever faithful to your innermost whims. […] Give it the best you have and the best will come back to you.

Your instrument is an intimate friend and a door to your intimate parts. It knows you. And there is magic happening when you get together…

On working together…

It has been two months now and I have managed to gain back my very few left-handed skills.

For the record, I’ve been through so many changes I’m surprised my hands&brain didn’t get motion-sickness? Was right-handed, had to learn left-handed, then play right-handed again, then not play at all for so long, then play right-handed again, and then play left-handed again. I’m not gonna lie, frustration has been around a couple of times and I felt like banging my head on the walls way too many times. But I’m back on the left side now and I’m feeling good! My strumming is coming back nicely, finger-picking is doing okay and fretting hand isn’t so flexible but we’re getting there.

Just like when I first transitioned to left-handedness, the progress made was surprisingly fast and I am happy it was so. I should be able to write music again now but I’m not sure how fast that is going to happen! Ha ha. But I will. I’ll squeeze it out if I have to! I need to.

I’ve been considering many things like open mics and even busking. I will do them. But I still need some more practice and also songs to play… But I’m getting good enough to at least do a very simple performance on an open mic one night, I think. My host parents were talking with me about it and they said we should be going together to help me get started. And I think I could really use their presence!

Now that I think about it, I’ve never done anything like it before. I’ve never performed in front of more than one person at once! Well, sure when I was a kid we did some shows at the end of the school year, but I gotta admit I used to pretend to sing because I didn’t give a shit and it was pretty lame. My only real stage performances were during my high-school years with theater. I did pretty good then.

I love being on a stage and it somehow makes my performances better. I swear, during rehearsals I was okay, even pretty good sometimes, but on stage, I’d deliver so much more and it would feel much better also! I can’t wait to actually perform as a musician because once I start I am never gonna stop!

Nostrum and I

A new guitar marked the beginning of yet another chapter in this second volume of my life and it had to be marked also with a new picture; mandatory! So, I tried recreating the picture of Glitch and I because it looked pretty cool! However, I was not able to… (achieve the same level of coolness cos I’m an old woman trapped in a 21-year-old body)

I tried the same position at first but it wouldn’t work out. So instead, I went for what came naturally. I tried many different poses but I could not get it to feel the same. I thought that maybe with the editing after, I could get it right. But it did not happen. And then I understood why: everything is different and no amount of editing could copy all that misery and darkness onto my brighter self.

Things have changed. Things have remained the same. I’ve grown. I’ve shrunk. I’ve learned; I’ve forgotten. But the promise is still a thing. My dreams are still a thing. My fighting on never giving up is still a thing. I’m still a thing. Just a better thing! I’m not as miserable, not as lost and not surrounded by so much bullshit anymore. I am not wasting my time anymore; I’m doing things and I’m loving brighter.

This little family of mine has underwent many changes. Friends have died, friends have left, friends have been thrown away. Glitch was sold, Crash was given with love to my amazing best friend, Lilly. We’ve been desperate, at the bottom of the whole and on the edge of the cliff. We’ve drown and learned to swim. We’ve died and dived back in. But Nostrum is here to stay. And we’ll do great things together, mark my words!

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This is my favorite picture of us so far because of the light and my yellow sweater.

I’ve entered a new chapter, bigger chapter of my life and this bright light is devouring me but the shadows are still here, creeping on me. But you’ll notice how darkness and light coexist perfectly. There’s room for both of them and worth in both of them.

Yellow is a beautiful color and has always been my favorite (*wink wink* Winnie the Pooh). It’s bright and strong and warm but also is the color of some fallen leaves in autumn, the undertone of my skin color (thx mama) and… that’s it! I love pairing it with black and grey! Three cheers for yellow!!!

That light is Ireland. That light is me. That light is my darkness. That light is my new friends my Irish family and all that’s new and that’s yet to come. That light is so bright it covers my smile and you have Nostrum and I in the middle of it all, so close together and ready to take it on.

Welcome home, Nostrum! I will love you and we will love together. I’m looking forward to creating art together and performing it and painting life a brighter shade of black together.

Cheers guys! ❤

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I know.

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The lights come on; the darkness shines again.

The good feelings slide down her body and onto the floor like a dress made out of silk and the weight returns to her shoulders. And there she stands, naked and covered in darkness, under the bright lights that reveal the skeleton of the stage; the flesh and bones of the magical beings she was one with only seconds ago. It is a long and quiet walk back to the hotel room. There are so many feelings, so many reactions and too many thoughts racing through her right now. She smiles. Forever.

The light leaves her eyes and fills the room.

She lies on the bed all night long. Her body enjoys its comfort during these eternal seven hours during which she cannot fall asleep. Buzzing in her head, ringing in her ears, a smile glued to her tired yet blissful face and that feeling devouring her heart and soul. It eats her away, but not in the way that you’d think. It eats her away and makes her whole again. It fills these empty spaces, the dots on the map, the blank spaces in the story. And she’s being chewed on all night. And all morning. And all week. And it never ends.

The light leaves the lamp and fills her heart.

She recalls that night where darkness was home to light and she was all lit up. The stage had her. Her eyes, her ears, her heart and mind. Not a piece of her was kept to herself. She was wide open and her insides enjoyed the fresh air for once. She recalls home as she stands in the middle of her dark room. She looks outside and sees the lighters held up high in the sky. And as she eagerly presses the button on her phone, the first note hits her and takes her back to the stage. Now she’s standing on it, with her heroes besides her and she is the one she knows she is growing to be. She closes her eyes and lets the rain inside drown out the beat of her impatient heart.

The light leaves the moon and goes back to the sun. But the darkness inside is not gone nor is the revived flames and the eternal light, and they eat away at her. Forever. And she smiles.


This was my attempt at writing how attending the Avenged Sevenfold show made me feel. I wrote it in my phone while I was dizzy on my way back home the morning after with zero sleep and eventually forgot about the note. And as I was looking through my phone a few weeks ago I saw it again and I thought that it was really interesting. So I edited it and then eventually read it in a video on channel #2 BUT I somehow never found the time nor the will to really publish it on here! But, finally here it is! x)

Attending this show was like one of the best things that happened to me so far this year. It just gave some truths I already was familiar with a much louder voice and it was like a sweet sweet REMINDER.

Out there, in the dark, the noise, the crowd, the fire (thank you Disturbed for the pyrooooo!!), I found my place. At first, I wanted to title this text “Homesick from shows” because that’s how it felt like and still feels like. I was in a perfect place where I could breathe and feel my everything just smile at the universe and I had to walk away from it and into a dull room filled with bitterness and anxiety; that hollow polka dotted shell.

And for the following weeks, I wore the biggest smile and I was just filled with everything good, everything strong and I still had that feeling inside of me. It had become like a second skin but one that I wore under my flawed flesh bag, like warm tights under my worn out jeans in winter. And it kept me feeling strong for a long while. Then, yes, I had a bit of a good fall but it only showed me where I stood or at least, where I aimed to stand once I could cement my bones back together again.

When I read these few paragraphs again last week for my video, I just felt the fire burn inside of me. It was like the flames were reacting to my reading out loud those words, like my nephew reacting to my sister’s laughter or my dog to my calling his name. The flame inside was rejoicing as I was re-discovering its existence and giving it enough space to breathe anew.

I was assaulted by yet another wave of darkness, that hit me real hard. And it only added to the heavy cloud I carry around. Half of me might still be down or maybe less. But it doesn’t matter. The mayhem inside, the light from the show is here and the many flames that I am, alongside the rain that is also me; it’s all still here and it fuels me. Just like my fear. And just like my joy and the kind loving words of the souls that I encounter. I don’t live like I’m not alive anymore. I am stronger now and I can clearly see where I’m aiming, and I won’t stop shooting. I’m not allowing myself to stand in my way anymore!

I already knew. I always knew that this was what I wanted. But after that night, I knew.

This isn’t a dream anymore nor has it actually ever been. It isn’t just something to believe in and hope for it to happen, hope that I have what it takes to make it happen. No. After that night, it was crystal clear; it is truth, a fact, a reality that I only have to walk towards. It is happening. It will happen. There is no other way. Not because I hope it will; not because I have decided it will. Because there is no other way. This is the reality that I have been walking towards ever since I learnt how to and even when I wasn’t noticing, every step that I laid before me (and sometimes behind or above/underneath; fuck straight lines) were and still are leading there.

I don’t think the Universe is merciless, I think it is full of love and compassion and if you show it your heart, it’ll help. Maybe there is such a thing as fate, but maybe it isn’t such a sad thing as a steel path your ankles are chained to and you have to follow forever. Maybe it is that dull pre-written grey path that we all are set out to walk on as we come into this world… But maybe with our ability to love, hope, dream, and all of that magic of the soul, it slowly becomes filled with flowers and trees and sunshine, and whatnots as we walk through it, and through life as the universe reads each of our hearts’ sighs and sends us these ladders and fuel tanks when it deems are wishes honest enough. I don’t know about that, I can only make up these little stories like a kid and try to explain the unexplainable to my underused ape brain.

But what I’m sure that I know now is what I want. And from now on, I’ll be walking towards my reality while actually looking at it, and seeing its shiny top far away on the horizon and following that damn light. I’m not walking a confused walk anymore. I see it. I know it. And I’m happening.

I am the fire. And I know how I want to burn.

Everything you need is already inside of you, it’s just all up to you to decide what you use, how much, how long and what for. I know you probably hear that a lot around you and it sounds so cliché and maybe you’re one of those that are like “seek of hearing this Hakuna Matata motto from people who won the lotto but [you’re] not that lucky” (direct quote from Set It Off’s Why Worry, awesome song, go listen!!!). But lemme tell you, I’ve been in places, situations, states of mind and I’ve seen and heard stories, and I can assure you that YOU ARE THE KEY. And I know that it’s usually pretty hard to realize it, especially when you’re deep in the whole, been there, done that. But it is indeed true. And that’s why I will keep repeating it while I still can, while I still stand.

This is one of those things that you know deep inside of you. You have the power over your life, maybe not always completely with all the money bullshit and such, but always over how you experience things, how you react and how you let it all impact you. Sometimes you need a reminder. So I’ll keep repeating it, to remind myself, and remind you.

You are the fire. You are the fuel. You can get up. You can stand up again. And you can decide where to go, who to be. It’s all up to you. The key’s in your hands,down your throat, in your heart. Trust yourself and let your light shine.

Anyways. I hope I did spread some light or at least a few sparks. And hmm, well… Until next post, don’t forget. ❤

Glitch & Crash chilling on a pile of clothes

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Look at my two babies chilling together! I went through a lot to get these two and it’s worth remembering…

 

I bought Crash last year on March, 2nd (and I just screamed because I JUST realized that I MISSED his birthday… 😦 ) after Twenty One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph talked me into it(I swear he did… Through his awesomeness and songs! 😀 ). I remember I was trying to write a song for my best friend with Revenge(which was my first electric guitar, a right-handed one! I shall write a post about her one of these days, she deserves it!) and trying to put other words into melodies but I just couldn’t get it right. So I thought “why not buy a uke? It sounds fun and I think it’ll help me unblock whatever it is that is block or at least just take a break from playing just the guitar”. #actualthoughts

I was staying at my sister’s for college and the only piano which our family owned(which is a very old electric one) was at our mom’s place and I was really not getting anywhere with Revenge so I bought it. I remember it didn’t get delivered at the flat because, for whatever reason, they had come early in the morning(and by early I mean 9AM probably…) and didn’t even call. So I had to take a bus – and I, of course, dragged Leslie through all this with me – and go to a somewhat far place to grab my uke. It was a nice little adventure and I was so excited. I still remember when we sat at the bus stop and I got him out of the box he was in so I could put him in his Gator soft case. He had this amazing smell – and still has today – and I was seduced. It’s got to be the smell of the wood or something but I love it. Every time I smell it, it reminds me of the sun of my home and of the food I ate at the university refectory(they had these amazing chicken kebabs, on Mondays if I recall, with french fries!!!! And there was also this dude that was always there and I liked seeing him, nothing more to it! 😛 )and of a lot of good things.

So, Crash is an electro-acoustic soprano ukulele. More precisely the Eagletone Coconut S20EQ electro acoustic ukulele. And above all else, he’s my friend(as sad as this may sound). He’s really important to me. Like, a little earlier this year I was considering selling him to get a few money to save to go to UK. This is one of the worst idea I ever had. I’m glad I didn’t. He smells so good and even though he’s not perfect, I like his sound and I love when we make music together! 😀

 

And then, there’s Glitch(a beautiful green left-handed Eastwood Airline Bighorn) which I got on January, 5th of this year. After three months of my left index finger healing from the – huuuuuge(not) – and me desperately waiting, I finally understood that my finger, even though it healed okay, wouldn’t allow me to play guitar as a right-handed anymore. It took me three months to realize that. But when I realized it, I immediately ordered it on woodbrass.com. I remember it was a rainy day and after that I was broke and survived with sardines and bread. Ha ha! But it was worth it all.

Went to the post office to pick it up – because AGAIN I missed the delivery – and with that same friend, Leslie! 😉 The package was so light I was scared there was nothing in it. When I arrived at my house and opened it, God, it was so shiny! First thing I did was take a picture to show my mom why I would be leaving under a bridge in a few months! 😛

One of the best thing that happened to me this year. I mean, she even made cutting my finger sound like the best thing ever! I’ve been a left-handed player for almost four months now and I’ve made progress so much faster than I did with Revenge and probably mostly because I have only now realized how much I wanted music to be a part of my life and how easily things could be taken away from me.

I have only two hands, this my second but surely also my last one. I can’t mess this up. Music is all I am so I’ll do more than just my best to keep it in my life. I don’t see myself doing anything else and sincerely, if this dream is taken away from me my heart will cease to pump blood in my veins and I would cease to exist. I don’t see the point of a life without music. And I surely can’t picture MY life without music.

 

Here’s to us! Here’s to dreams! Here’s to the present! Here’s to food! Here’s to the future! And here’s to bleeding fingers!