New pedals(aka my saviors); new me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next post, remember that you got this! ❤

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Running Gag (original song)

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This is about never giving up, even when life gets you down and pain&fear grips your throat tighter than skinny jeans.

Words:

I keep turning the pages of this book that makes no damn sense

And it’s hard to keep my head in the game when my heart’s in pieces

I don’t know where I’m going to

But I gotta keep running

I’m terrified of all that’s to come

But I can’t stay down and dream this life away

There’s pain and lies and blood and fights

But there’s still light and love for me to find

So I gotta keep running

I don’t want to let bad experiences and fear hold me back.

It’s easy to just sit back and refrain from trying. You can build a nice little empire in your head without ever having to struggle and suffer; a dream world. But I refuse. And I know that there’s Light and Love everywhere.

Gotta keep running through the pain and fear and remember that this is all perfect and beautiful, only not in a fairytale way.

Remember, fear is fuel to your fire. Eat it. Don’t let it eat you.

Until next post, keep running! ❤

Dry Mouth (Original Song)

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Here’s a song I wrote a couple of weeks ago about not being able to write songs:

My voice had some trouble coming out (you should have heard me warming up… a disaster! hehe) and my fingers had forgotten how to dance, but in my opinion, this is still pretty decent. Especially with the huge lack of practice + unhealthy amount of caffeine in my body!

I will be recording a better video next week, but for now that’ll be it! I’ve just been dying to share it, and after those long four days of break, I was bursting to share it.

The ending still needs some work. Which, of course, you can’t really tell since I mess it up in this video, haha! But overall, I think this is a really good song. I love the melody and how the chorus picks up.

I think it accurately describes my frustration and this longing… I just want to create but, sometimes it just won’t happen, and it kills me because this is how I breathe. And like I have mentioned, I do have loads of song ideas, drafts and things to say; but it won’t come out.

And I think it is funny how this song literally dropped out of my mouth while I was crying about not being able to finish the others. It’s almost the exact same story as when I wrote Dead Pen a couple of years back!

Round in circles…

Anyways, I don’t have time to chat right now! I must work on my Italian now and then finish working on special presents for E!

Here are the words that did come out:

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say
It’s just that my words have left me
It’s not that my heart isn’t broken
It’s just that my mouth is dry

I’ve been waiting for so long
For the words to fall right out
But my guts refuse to bleed
So I’ll just have to wait here

I hear my voice but I don’t know who she is
I write down words but they mean nothing to me
I stab my own heart but the blood it won’t come out
It’s just like my soul is dry

I’ve been waiting for so long
For my hands to dance freely
My fingers refuse to bleed
So I’ll just have to wait…

I’ll wait forever if I have to
It’s nothing without me, I’m nothing without this
I’ll wait…
I just don’t wanna fade..

I’ve been waiting for so long
For my voice to burst right out
But my heart it just won’t show
So I’ll just have to wait.

In the Mourning by Paramore||cover

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I posted a cover of a Paramore song on my YouTube channel today, and it’s not perfect.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is terrible. I know it’s okay and that I am actually good at the things I love doing. But that doesn’t make me any less aware of my mistakes and when there’s room for improvement.

What I am saying is that I am simply not ready to actually perform this, not even just to my host family. Ha ha But I’m getting there!!

There were mistakes that could’ve been avoided and I could’ve simply tried again for a better take. Then why did I post it? Because I wanted to. Ha!

Although I know I could’ve done better, I’m still happy with what I did. And posting it online just helped me realize that I have indeed been working. I had a really slow morning where I felt like I wasted most of my time and I was beating myself up over it. But after I posted this on my channel, it showed me that I was actually doing work and trying hard and that I needed to chill my horses.

That’s why I keep posting clips on Instagram and sometimes unpolished videos on YouTube, because it comes with instant feel-goodness. There’s a faint feeling of fulfillment whenever I post it, no matter how much room for improvement there is. I’m like, “yes, I did a thing” and what better thing for an artist to make a thing?

Also, I need to keep track of and document my progress as I go. Not only because I’m lacking storage space on my phone. (hehe) And honestly, I think I am responsible for than half of the views on my own videos/posts because I’m always going back to see where I come from and how much I’ve improved!

Like Philip Toledano put it, “there are two requirements to be an artist: to be narcissistic and to be delusional. Can’t lie; I’m guilty of both to some extent. Let’s not forget a pinch of self-doubt and an exaggerated amount of perfectionism? Alright, I’ll work on my definition…

Anyways. I’m over waiting for it to be perfect to put it out there! People need to be aware that things don’t happen overnight, that the road is long and also that humans are only humans. Just put it out there. You’ll get better, and that way, it’ll show.

Until next post, don’t be so hard on yourself! ❤

Nostrum is 3 months old!

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…And, sadly, this is how she spent the day:

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I woke up with some tension in my right arm this morning and rather than being bold and pushing through the soreness, I made the responsible choice of not touching the guitar at all today. Which was terrible and rendered me under-productive on this merry day! I wish we could’ve had some nice jam time together to celebrate our three months together, but it was for the best…

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Spending my day with the brace on my right wrist brought back some memories of 2016 with Glitch and so much bullshit. I remembered the struggle and I tried my best to be brave through it, and patient. I had my muscle relaxing oil, my special cream, my ice patch and my snuggly Emily around to care for me. Although it did get me very frustrated now and then, I frowned a lot but did not cry, and I had a lovely day with the kids.

I’m not gonna lie, it is super hard to try and force my brain to use mostly my left hand in these situations. Although I have been lately incorporating more and more left-hand activities in my daily life in order to actually become ambidextrous (and avoid any more days like these due to overworking my right hand/arm)… It does not make it easier. Because there is the factor of constraint involved and that makes it harder on me. But anywhoooo, I made it through the day, huh?!

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Mid hide&seek selfie

I still got to work a bit on a DIY cardboard shelf I’m making to gain space in my tiny bedroom(yes, I’ll post about it later on haha). And, after I’m done with this post, I’m going to to do some online Italian/music theory exercises (that won’t involve my right hand) or maybe even do some more left-handed writing if my eyes aren’t too tired. I played some cool games this evening with the kids and we had a very smooth transition to bedtime and they’re sound asleep now. It is my second night babysitting in a row but I’m not complaining; we love each other and it’s always a good time!

Today was a bit of a bummer because I’m dying for hard work right now and there’s always something, and I end up working way less than I intend to! But I should definitely celebrate all my progress and most importantly, celebrate having the exact guitar that I wanted by my side in this moment. She’s a beauty & she’s mine!

It’s hard to believe that she is here with me but, once again, this is fact not fiction and g*d does it feel so good! We’re making progress, step by step, we’ll get there! And I’m happy I have her because, even on days where I don’t play at all, Nostrum keeps me company and just like a good friend, even in the silence, my heart she tends. It’s weird but it’s real.

Happy birthday my dear Nostrum! And here’s to more existence together! ❤

(I’m super tired now, might as well just post this and hop into bed, rest that arm some more! I’ll get work done tomorrow!)

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! ❤