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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safety match (original song)

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Loads of things happening lately, guys! I’ve got some really cool songs on the way and some done as well, which I’ve been performing a couple of times already at the open mics. In time I will share them but for now, take this raw one I “finished” this morning.

Crack my bones like matches, I can be your light

Lift me off the ground, I’ll come back to life and I’ll

I’ll be a place that can hold both your brightest smiles and all your darkest heartbeats

Crack my bones like matches, burn me to the ground

I will rise again and bloom inside your loving arms

And I’ll be your home, your light, the fire burning in your eyes

If you just say the word I’ll rip my heart out of my chest for you

Crack my bones like matches

I will follow you into the darkness, I promise

If you just hold my hands we won’t get lost

We’ll be just fine, we’ll be alright, we’ll be okay

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

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! ❤

Infinite fresh starts.

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Turn ’em pages. Make up pages and turn them some more. Anytime.

I like the idea that you can start over anytime. Because it’s not just an idea, it’s a truth; if you let it be one.

I know that it is not always easy because we need things to feel more concrete. I mean, maybe that’s just me, but I have a hard time envisioning a moment as a new chapter, a definite point in time as a page being turned, if it is not accompanied by something that represents that little shift in my life.

Like a new day, a new week, a new month or a new year. Because these, with the sun rising again or a new calendar being put up on the wall, bring you that smell of freshness. Am I right? Ha ha.

BUT if you’re only able to truly start over, give yourself second chances, under these restrictive triggers, then you’re screwing yourself over. Because these, even the smallest of them, i.e. a day, always are too far away.

There’s literally nothing stopping you from starting over straight away but yourself.

You don’t have to wait tomorrow to do/be anything. It can be now. Right now!

It doesn’t have to wait until next week for you to drop the laziness and focus on your studies.

It doesn’t have to wait until the morning for you to apologize to that person, wipe those frowns off your faces and just be okay again. Like, please, don’t spend the rest of your day sulking.

I could go on, but I think you’ve caught my drift already.

So, as I said, I do realize that it is hard because there is kind of a desperate need for something that means change for it to feel like a fresh start indeed and for you to find the juice to truly be/do xx.

And lucky us, there’s loads of other things that we can always have straight away to allow us to have a fresh start anytime, any place.

The obvious would be to change your bed sheets, clean up your room, but these can’t be done anywhere; obviously. He he.

Splash some water on your face. Take a deep breath. Slap yourself(butt/face/whatever; your choice)? Count to ten! Take a shower. Drink a full glass of freshly poured water or juice. Coffee? Go out for a walk and set the finish line as the fresh start. And so on.

Honestly, it could be literally anything that gives you that little click in your brain that makes you feel alright and like it’s safe to start again. Anything that you can attach the meaning of that small shift/big change to.

Anyways. So my point is, remember that you can start over, anytime, any place. And I’m talking big & small things.

Find your own little ways to trick yourself into being nicer to yourself. You have infinite fresh starts if you allow it. Don’t make it wait; let yourself feel alright straight away.

Isn’t that why we like fresh starts so much, anyway? Makes you feel lightweight, confident and hopeful again, and like you can do anything! A little bit like waking up on a brand new day, or slipping on some newly bought shoes or just slapping yourself out of a downwards spiral? Ha ha!

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I changed my bed sheets today because I needed to feel that fresh start! Sadly, this day didn’t go as planned and my clean bedsheets didn’t make me bulletproof to Monday morning anxiety.

But tonight, I made myself a cup of peppermint tea, I sat down on the foot stool in front of my bed(yes, I don’t have a desk and I wasn’t in the mood to stay in the kitchen), I took a deep breath and there I had it, a peppermint fresh start!

I finally posted the eleventh chapter of Uncage the Night, after a single day delay(which is long enough for me to beat myself over). And I’m writing this. And as soon as I hit “publish”, I’ll dive in my journal to quickly plan tomorrow in order to make the most out of my time. Not only to catch up for my very unproductive day but also because that’s what I should be doing. Making the most out of my time.

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Goodnight!

And, until next post, don’t deny yourself second chances; you deserve them all! ❤

Home is calling.

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Sometimes I close my eyes and it’s like I’m already there. The warm lights, the warm smiles and the drums in my chest.

And when I open them, only to find out that I am still so far from where I want to be, that heart of mine sinks in my chest.

It is hard, at times, to keep going when all you do never seems enough. It is hard to keep running towards those new horizons when all you do feels like running in circles.

But the one thing that is harder, is giving it all up.

I would never conceive a life without music and a future where I’m not there. My mind can imagine loads of things but that is the one thing that defines “impossible” to me.

And why would I give up anyway? I can feel myself getting closer and closer.

And as I slowly approach this dreamland, it only gets harder and more frustrating. The challenges flow and it’s not easy to follow.

But I can hear them.

Out of my window.

When I close my eyes.

When I lay in bed.

When I breathe.

I can hear the voices. I can see the lights. I can feel my pulse and almost feel my smile.

I feel it in my heart, my bones; my soul.

I can hear the stage as it’s calling me.

It’s closer by the day.

I might be crazy but I believe.

I’m on my way.

I like the idea of a future because although it never comes, it’s somehow always happening” – Hotel Books

Until next post, keep believing and don’t stop trying. Make things happen! ❤

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! ❤