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! ❤

My art journey so far…

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Hi everyone! Story time!

It all started back in January 2016…

That’s the month I decided to start getting serious about life and start doing the things that I’ve always wanted to do. University was making me miserable and eventually, four months in, it finally pushed me towards where my heart was this whole time.

It’s kind of crazy that I had to wear myself out doing things that I didn’t care about in order to open a door which wasn’t even locked in the first place. In fact, there wasn’t even a door. It was just literally right next to me. I just preferred touching the things that were further away and not even real. All the while being fully aware that it was next to me and that I should have been giving my heart to it and nothing else. It is pretty silly, but I guess sometimes it takes what it takes…

So, I started a blog, I bought a sketchbook and all sorts of art supplies that looked appealing. And it’s also the month I bought my first left-handed guitar and started a healthier music journey.

Here is my very first sketchbook which I bought from a very French shop in Lille:

 

 

And I customized it as best as I could, dressing it up in my favorite people’s favorite quotes. (By the way, these Lynz quotes are like, so important!) And, I swear, everytime I would open it, it felt like I was opening a window on such a bright horizon!

And then, the magic happened…

I still remember the first time I attempted drawing anything, which was in fact, in a different sketchbook, and how it blew me away.

See, the thing is, I had always kept in mind this idea that I was simply really bad at drawing and kind of accepted it as my universal truth. When I decided to get serious at it, I was ready for all the hard work it would take me to get to a fairly decent level because I knew that I was starting really low..

So, when I put my pencil on the page and these happened:

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I couldn’t believe it. At first.

Then, I could totally believe it. And maybe it filled me with a little too much confidence which led to some disappointment when I tried out drawing again the following days and I was not creating masterpieces.

It was only a test to see how well I could follow a simple tutorial, and even my preliminary lines were a perfect match to the tutorial! Which I had certainly not expected since I had never been good at copying things. And I nailed it. So, I expected to nail everything from then on, which of course, was purely a fantasy…

However, from that moment on, I progressed on and on and faster than I ever thought was possible! Things just clicked so easily and I unlocked brand new patience slots every single day, I forgot the meaning of “impossible”!

The amazing thing is that, all the things in the first part of that sketchbook, even the most mediocre sketches are still so many levels higher than what I thought I was capable of at the time! The last time I had actually drawn anything before that was for my highschool drama group and it was far from that quality!

As I said in the video, it’s like my decision to dedicate myself to art pushed open a door from which skills just came pouring out, as if they had been held back this whole time, but never locked away.

I like to joke that it all just fell from the sky and hit me in the face. But I don’t believe this sort of things can happen that way. It had to be here all along, laying silently, patiently, waiting for me to call…

An incomplete tour of that 2016-2018 sketchbook:

 

 

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At the end of it, I wrote a little looking back note, which I read in my video. That was back in last December, which is when I finally finished this sketchbook! Phew!!!!

And that was a big relief, finishing it! Because I started it so long ago and it held with it not only the memories of all the places I went to and carried it with me, but also all of the storms that I had to keep running through. Which is both a good thing and a hard one. But I think that’s what makes it so precious… As you flip the pages, you can see the evolution of both, my mind and art skills. It’s the perfect document of my journey from & through Lille to Ireland.

I’ll hang on to this sketchbook for as long as I can, not because I need a reminder of where I started from so I can fully celebrate my growth, I’m not gonna lie. I think it is mostly because, as much as it hurts, these are parts of the past that I can’t let go of.

At least not yet.

Oh, how I’ve grown!

It started with a spark. Which didn’t come out of nowhere but from the depths of me. And I’ve been burning ever since. Different intensities, different colors. But, burning on!

Here’s a little side by side of “firsts” from that period and latests:

 

Both as an artist and a person, I’m in a much better place now. I am capable of more and willing to try harder. I’m happier and healthier! I’m stronger, more determined, more dedicated and focused. And, man, have you seen my last painting???

The road was long and dark and bumpy to get here. But I wouldn’t change a thing. I learned a lot about myself and the world. It sure hurt me, but it also forced the best out of me. Gotta learn the hard way when you’re born to be wild! hehehe

Now, I’m looking forward to all that’s to come. All the lessons and the learning. The new skills and the acquisition of all the knowledge. The creations and discoveries. The people and the things. The places and the moments. The smiles and the tears.

I’m grateful for all that’s past and all that is present. And I’m looking forward to more life.

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Literally best selfie of the day. He he. Looking forward!

And, I think that’s it! Proud of my progress and looking forward to more! Because there’s nothing like getting more and more comfortable in your own little universe. Being able to fly freely-ish in my music and art is a big goal! 😉

Until next post, keep working and keep believing! ❤

I am the Fire||Looking (back) forward

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Hi! Today’s the last day of this long-ass month and I think it’s the perfect time for some introspection by looking at my past-self all the while focusing on the road ahead. So, let’s jump right in!

Following my post about frustration&cie, I tried recreating this picture of me taken when I was 16 and with my sweet Lady Revenge (on the right, obviously).

 

Note: I remember taking it myself and then pretending my little brother took it for me because, sometimes when you’re sixteen, it’s hard to admit that you took a selfie… Ha ha!

I’ve come a long way…

The other day, I had just finished my vocal practice of the day (half-assed) and ended up singing a little bit longer just to record my progress. And as I skipped from song to song, I ended up singing I Don’t Love You by My Chemical Romance.

I have a very sensitive relationship with this song and have actually rarely listened to it, especially since the break up. It makes me feel lots of things and I can’t handle it. But it’s one of my favorite songs by MCR. The melody and lyrics and the riffs are just beautiful. And as I sang it, it reminded me of my sixteen year old self. I remembered the struggles of my younger self and how I always had hope overcoming them. (When it comes down to singing at least.)

And I did.

I used to not be able to stay on key so well and let’s not even talk about my range or projection. My voice wouldn’t come out at all, it was a lot of throat, a lot of tension and so on. You get the idea. And now, as a not-so-far-from-22-year-old, I’ve learned so much and I’ve gained more control over my voice, and honestly, now there is really hopes that I can become a singer in this reality. he he

I am really happy to see and feel the progress that I’ve made! Even without working every single day nor as hard as I’d wish. Proof that no matter how little you do, you’re still doing something and still moving forward in the end!

And just yesterday, I was looking for an audio draft of a song that I recorded at some point when I was living on my own in Lille last year (and I found it, and I’m gonna finish writing it this upcoming month!) and oh, what I found! Gold.

I found my several attempts at an audio journal and also too many singing clips (much cringe). Now, I didn’t listen to all of it as I had something else in mind at the time, but… Wow. I sound much younger, even though it was only last year. And that, to me, is very surprising. But it’s not just that, I hear every subtlety of my suffering, struggling and the Act. It’s like watching a movie you wrote the script for. I’d guess. I don’t know.

It’s just like when I go through my pictures. I don’t know if it’s as obvious to others as it is to me, most probably not, but I see the change. I hear my voice and I hear all those differences. Not only technique-wise, but just, you know, my soul? I hear my soul. And I hear the wounds that were still so fresh and oozing out of my every sounds. And I see my face, and I see a completely different person. Some pictures even look like a complete stranger to me. And those smiles… G**, those smiles..

I know this is extremely obvious, so pardon me for saying but I need to…

I know exactly what I’ve been through. Obviously. (told you) And when I look at these pictures, when I hear my voice, it takes me straight back to then. I know it, I remember it but I also can feel how it is in what some would like to envision as “the past“. But what I feel most intensely is empathy or maybe even pity (??) for this young girl that I see/hear.

I used to be such a…. mess. And when I sit down now and look at her — me — I feel sorry  (?) for that person.

I feel the pain, I see all the cracks and I smell the decaying hopes. I see how miserable and desperate she is for some light, some love, anything. I hear how she fights but to what end? I know how she feels but I feel it in a different way now that those feelings aren’t truly my own anymore. And I feel so sorry. Because no one should feel like that and no one should be alone to face storms like that. And I wish I could have been her friend instead of my own enemy. But self-destruction has a way to seduce me, no matter how strong the warnings.

And, you know, all that empathy and humanity that I feel when I look at past-me? I realize as I type this, that, this is exactly what should be one of the pillars of self-love (like any other love), but it is hard to be like that to your present self though, isn’t it? I feel as though the only reason I actually am able to feel it now, and only now, is because she feels like a stranger now, she is in another chapter of my life, and therefore, I can see her for the human that she is. And I believe I must strive for this, a humanization of my own self. Dear ***, what have I become? Ha ha

Now, as much they hold heavy amounts of darkness and brokenness in them, I must hold on to these audios and pictures (and I think I aslo have a couple video journals somewhere). Not as an anchor to “the past” but more as reminder of where I’ve been. I gotta keep that weight on my feet, not on my shoulders, you know what I mean? I think it’s great to have these remnants of “the past” around and to be able to check them out whenever you need to.

Humans are very emotional creatures and I’m not gonna pretend that I am not attached to who I used to be and the memories. I must never forget. So I won’t lose myself. But also because, almost like a mother, I enjoy re-living the growth of that little girl that’s made me who I am today.

I’m really glad I made and kept these because, documenting my progress both as an artist and as a little human trying, is what keeps me progressing. Because, if I couldn’t look back and see that I’ve moved and I’ve become more, wouldn’t that kill the fire?

I know where I’ve been, I know where I am and I know where I’m going…

There is strength to be found in all “past” weaknesses and some more to be found in the uncertainty of whatever is to come. I remember everything and I pray I never forget, no matter how heavy it gets. Everything is fuel and I shall take as much as I can because it’s a very demanding journey.

Now, as much as I’m proud of all the progress I’ve made both as an artist and as a person, I’ve gotta keep looking forward and keep harvesting for fuel as I keep on blooming. I realize that I am constantly growing, even when I least expect it, and I must keep trying my hardest to get to where I wanna be.

I’ve come a long way but I’ve still got a long way to go. Good thing I’ve got a tank full of fuel, some good souls on my side and my loyal & dedicated self.

I’ve got my back!

 

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Until next post, keep at it whatever it is you love and remember who you are. You’ll get there! ❤