Welcome home, dear Nostrum!

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

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

 

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

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

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

The name…

Nostrum (n.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On working together…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nostrum and I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers guys! ❤

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The Fighter in Me

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I’ve been a waste of space lately. Let’s be honest; this isn’t an overstatement. A piece of shit. My demons have gotten me really down and I’ve been a lazy leech just feeding on nothingness.

I got down and I stayed down, figured “hey, I’ll just bury my head in the ground for a few decades, no big deal” because I just couldn’t take this life so I just tried my best to ignore the fact that I exist. I was having an existential crisis and I just couldn’t be bothered to actually deal with it or with any of the storm’s bullshit so I just looked away.

However, yesterday (which is now two days ago) as I got out of the bus (I took the wrong one) and walked (while texting my anxiety away, narrating my stupidity to my bff) in a haste (I was late) to my therapist’s office (what a pretty messy morning, I swear), I heard a tiny *click* coming from the back of my head. As I raised my eyebrows and my eyes grew to be the size of the moon, I realized something.

Somehow all this early morning anxiety and lack of sleep had managed to trigger the right switch and unlocked a tiny little door from which came a revelation. I didn’t have much time to actually even begin to touch it with the tip of a finger that day because I was so tired. When I got back home, just slipped on my good ol’ depressed pants and trustworthy “what’s the point” shirt and faded to black once more.

But today; I mean, yesterday (what is time, I ask, what is TIME), I was getting really excited about going outside to explore a nearby place which I pass by when I take (the right) bus to see my therapist (who’s actually a nurse??). So, as I waited for the sun to just stop being so sunny so I could step out and do the adventure thing without burning to my death, I actually had time to let the revelation sink in. And just as I was ready to walk out the door, I had to jump on a piece of paper and pen to scribble all the words that just rained on me as it suddenly hit me and I saw it.

I saw the fighter in me.

I’ve been hiding, running away and just bathing in denial, forcing myself to ignore pretty much all that there is to life. I had completely given up on trying and was looking very seriously into giving up on everything and settling for a life into the nothingness. And yet, even as I, on the surface, was giving up, it was here in me and still doing its job. The fighter in me, that part that just doesn’t know how to give up and always fights for my life, even when I feel that I’ve indeed given up.

When I sat at my desk that morning the day following the *click*, I realized that, even though if not as intensely as I was supposed to, I indeed thought about those things that I was trying so hard not to think about while I was “wasting my days away”.

I was convinced that I had managed to give up for once and that I truly was on my way to that impossible reality where I don’t bother nor believe in dreams, light and a greater use of my time on beautiful Mother Earth. I truly thought that I had manage to kill all the light left inside of me and to be honest, I was actually happy about it. Because, let’s face it, this whole existence and fighting against the current to do things that you love and be a bigger “you” it’s just so exhausting and frustrating; so, managing to give up was actually a relief.

Now I wouldn’t have to worry about energy. I could be tired all the time and it wouldn’t matter because nothing would matter anymore. I could just bathe in darkness all year long and just lie on the floor, wait for the lightning to strike me and put an end to the joke. Nothing mattered. I had succeeded in taking away all of the anxiety triggers, all the problems, all the overthinking, all the horribly demanding efforts to go against the storm to do all those things and also all the good stuff like love and vegetables.

I don’t wanna be a musician, an artist with four arms that do all these different things and doesn’t suck at them. I want to be a mashed potato without seasoning and extra extra extra cheese and a nice side dish of “nope; I don’t life”.

I FUCKING WISHED RIGHT?

Turns out that I was right when I thought that it was truly impossible for me to give up and that time I said that even when I was giving up, I wasn’t. I just didn’t know HOW RIGHT I was.

I tried my best to keep my mind busy and not think about real questions and about me. I managed to satisfy the apathetic monster inside, feed him all the junk it wanted and become it BUT in the mean time, I also managed to keep fighting in the right direction in a way! Of course, it wasn’t a super effective fighting as there was so little of me involved in the war which is why the *click* took so long to happen. But it was still fighting.

I fed the monster and let it invade the foreground so that I could find a place inside where it was calm, oh so calm, and I could actually think of my life without any parasite.

My choice of distraction could have actually given it away that I was truly just finding a less direct and brutal way to face those questions. And it did. But just after the *click*. I realized that the things I was obsessing over in order not to deal with an overwhelming life, decisions to be made and that crazy wish of living life were, deep down, helping me think exactly about what I was running from.

The fighter in me, the part of me, the spark, that will never stop fighting against the coldest winds that assault me or that I will willingly let in to freeze my soul. That part that, even when reduced to such a tiny size and beaten up, can still stand up for me and what I believe in and resurface, always, and shush the monsters back to their dark corners. (For a while at least, just enough time for the soldiers to get back to their positions and protect that fragile soul)

Now, I haven’t completely gotten rid of the filth that I smeared all over my weak flesh prison. But I’ve been feeling that spark and it’s slowly melting the grime away and bringing some heat back in the main circuits. The fighter is swimming back up. Ha ha! And well, now my laughs don’t just sound like a sound that I send to bounce against the walls and fill up the room with some “nothing wrong here” vibes. I feel less dead. And ready to put myself back on track again.

“You live and then you die, what’s the point anyways, right?” That just doesn’t sound like me. Now, I don’t know if it’s depression or any other part of the storm and I don’t care. I know it’s not me. I don’t think this truly. I’m a stupid child and I believe that there’s more to life than slowly dying as oxygen poisons us. I believe in love and in making dreams come true. And I believe in light in the darkest places. And I BELIEVE.

I might be a fatalist to some extent but I’m what I like to think of as an absurdity, a convention of paradoxes. I always find myself at both extremes at the same time. I’m a fatalist but also an optimistic and a pessimistic and a believer and a skeptic son of a blurp. I’m everything and nothing. But I’m not a person that gives up or one that doesn’t see the magic and beauty in life and beyond.

And now that I’ve slapped myself in the face several times and am slowly waking up from a dead man’s sleep, I can see it again. These words that I spoke, thought, while I was this unseasoned mashed potato (Ha ha, I’m sorry x) I’m almost done, bear with me! :-p ) weren’t mine. I don’t know which demon spoke them but they weren’t mine.

The fighter in me is a real part of me. Those demons and the storm are also a part of me but they don’t define me. They are not me. They are what I believe to be essential parts of the weather in me, the rain that rocks me in bed and make rainbows possible. (You need ups and you need downs, light and darkness; there needs to be a balance in things, this isn’t a happy fairyland where all is well.)

They are parasites but I need them and I cling to them. I need them here but they aren’t part of my identity, they are just these little dark monsters that keep this universe running.  But I am not by any means them. I am not the embodiment of my disorders and, as much as they affect my everyday life and constantly torture me, they are not part of my identity. I consider them parts of me in a way, part of my universe but not me.

Anyways. It’s going to take me a few days to truly get back on my feet and get rid of the bullshit I’m covered in. But I’m getting back up and that’s what matters in the end. I think I actually really needed this time on the floor and horribly dark fake happy days! It’s funny I guess in a way haha

So, I think that’s it. I’m glad I finally managed to get all these thoughts out of my head! I started writing this at 1AM today (which explains the confusion with time at the start of it! 😉 ) and now it’s 6PM. No, I wasn’t writing all this time! I slept and I’m still having very slow days. Recovery is a process and honestly, I was really on the floor so it takes some time to get back up and this time longer than what I’m used to. But yeah, I’m finally done getting it out of my chest and I can actually even more internalize the information now. It feels great.

I’ll end this post on a quote from Fran Bow ( a video game I obsessed over during my little “holiday”, let’s call it this from now on!). I don’t remember which character said it but I’m pretty sure it came from the journal that she found somewhere Idk. I think it’s really fitting with this post and well, off I go fixing myself up!

I don’t need to hide from pain anymore because it’s part of me.

Love is everywhere and in everything.

I enjoy crying.

I enjoy laughing.

I enjoy being alive.

Until next post, don’t lose yourself and keep looking for the light. It’s always there. Even the tiniest spark is enough to keep you going. There’s always light, somewhere, look around, in someone, in something, in the sky, anywhere, anyone, anything. And if you don’t see any light, then maybe think about opening your eyes? Maybe you don’t see because you’re not looking at it the right way. Or maybe you are the light and it’s hard to see yourself shining as you stand in the dark.

Keep running. ❤

P.S.: I, of course, still haven’t re-organized my blog and the categories are still pretty messy. But I’ll get to it eventually, don’t worry! And also, the little walk I had in the “park” that I discovered near where I’m staying was truly refreshing. There were so many ducks and I found two cats that let me pet them and aw, man, I felt really good out there! And I’m planning on going there again, maybe making a point of going every Sunday or so. 😀