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

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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! ❤

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! ❤

Two long months!

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8AM vs. 8PM

Went a little crazy with the makeup today but the kids loved it! First day back into our routine was a little hard. Especially since it’s so hot and it’s a full day together, with them being off school for the summer.

But we survived. I got a door in my face; hurt my front teeth and upper lip. Adam got hit in the head with a football twice, but at least it was one on each cheek; no jealous!

We were pretty bored and also lacking energy but we survived! Tomorrow we’ll get it right! I’ll get us a list of activities ready so we don’t get lost and sit in the grass staring at the clouds for an hour again!

I very much dislike summer. It is beautiful. But overall it’s just gross. Rips me of my energy and sanity.

It drives me mad sometimes but I still enjoy it, to some extent. And as much as I have very little free time for these two months, I don’t care. Sure, I’d love to still be able to work my ass off. But I have fun with the kids and I love them so much.

So, tomorrow, I’ll wake up, bright and early, have my breakfast and coffee while reading an awesome book! Then I’ll wait patiently for them to wake and then we’ll have the best eight to ten hours together. And then, when the evening comes, I will be exhausted but will still try my best to work on a little something. And then after a nice night of rest, we’ll go through it all once again.

And that is probably the way my summer is going to unroll, for the big lines at least. And it won’t be boring but full of surprises and good times. And, I will hopefully, fill in between the lines with some even crunchier details!

I know it’s going to be hard for me to really be any amount of productive, but I’m still going to try as much as I can. The heat and the full days aren’t gonna be easy, but I know that I will make it through, and if I’m lucky, with a10% of work done!

I’m full of hope & sweat for this summer! ❤

Untitled acrylic painting on cardboard, 06.20.18

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Have been encouraging my mom for so long to go back to creating and today, after one year of me having given her some art supplies, she made something!

When I arrived last Saturday, she was really excited when I gave her a brand new canvas and was already dreaming of what she could paint on it. And, last night, I showed her a Bob Ross video and she was both, blown away & inspired! So, this morning, after neverending chores, she painted something.

It was her first time ever truly painting (something other than the house’s walls and tables haha) with acrylics. She did it on a 180gsm piece of blue paper which could have not ended well, since she was using a little too much water. But, she nailed it!

She was really proud of the results and had loads of fun. Now, she keeps talking about practicing until she gets the hang of it so she can paint on the canvas. I mean, look at her!

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Lots of love for my mom! ❤