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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There’s nothing that I can’t do.

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I had a lovely weekend with Esther. Of course. Once more. I wish there could be many many more but, soon these won’t be a thing anymore and I’m gonna miss them! We had our usual hanging around on Saturday and on Sunday we studied (different things) together. It just feels so nice to have someone to share the little things with, someone that never fails to bring a smile to your face. Much love!

Anyway! Yesterday I was feeling rather proud and reassured. Indeed, on both Saturday and Sunday, before I met with E, I did a couple of things on my own, many of them who I’ve known to be anxiety triggers. But I did them, without a sweat, or almost, and it felt really good!

Lately, I had grown scared that I had lost all ability to things on my own again, as the storm has been messing with me again. I had had a couple tiny anxiety fits lately, even in the presence of E and in friendly environments. And this, along with the fact that I could feel my dependence to my friend, had led me to think that I couldn’t do anything anymore and that I was, in fact, doomed.

And so, on these two days, I set up tests for myself, and, I passed them all! With flying colors! Not only did I go and buy some guitar strings or go at a café alone, I interacted non-awkwardly with the cashiers and baristas, and I was pretty cool. From my point of view at least. And you see, that is the thing…

What the storm does, aside from eating up from within, is make me forget who I am and the things that I can do. Because, at the core, I am a pretty smooth talker that knows how to get her way, but because of all those years spent under the control of my own demons, I’ve forgotten my own ways.

This is not who I am. I’m not a scared, shy little girl. I am strong, funny, clever and unafraid. And that’s what this weekend was a reminder of:

I am the fire!

And there’s nothing that I can’t do once I set my mind to it! And, what the storm thought it had destroyed, I am getting it back, and there’s no stopping me!

I know I sound dramatic, as per usual, but I truly thought that some things I had lost forever in that familiar darkness. But I was wrong. The power is in my hands, and I get to decide what stays and what doesn’t. I choose. I build. I destroy. I am not the storm’s puppet, nor is it truly my enemy either.

This weekend, I proved to myself that I still got it, the strength, the will; everything. And today, it only got better!

Today, I walked to the city, then went to buy some acrylic yarn for my sister, and then I went to my favorite coffee shop to study some music theory. And, eventually, I took one more coffee which I drank on my way back home, walking once more. AND I was alone the whole time!

Sure, at first I was on the phone with my sister, which did help a lot. And then, my first thirty minutes in the café, I was shaking a little. But I was on the field, nonetheless, and I did not once chickened out!

I went, I stayed and I worked through the very minuscule anxiety waves pulsing through me. And I did it! I even managed to go to the bathroom, which is a really HARD thing for me to do, unless it’s like a public bathroom in a shopping center (….don’t ask, I don’t even know! ). And I did it all. I was shaking a little, and all of that. But I did those huge things on my own, and it makes me so happy.

Now, I’m exhausted, but happy!

I did loads of walking and not enough of eating. And also, the little bit of anxiety still took a lot of energy from me. But I am happy! Happy that I did things and happy with the little rewards that the Universe scattered on my way.

I got so many surprises today and I just don’t know what to say. It was little things, like, you know, a dog smiling at me or my mp3 playing exactly a song I wanted to hear. And, it was silly little things, that I desired to happen which happened and left me shocked and thrilled. It was sweet little rewards that felt like a warm hug, saying “I’m proud of you for trying and succeeding; you’ll get there”. And it was comforting.

Still, on my way back home, I stopped in a shop, feeling the need to reward myself with a new dress or something. But the need faded quickly and walked out of it, empty-handed. However, the Universe, in Its infinite generosity wasn’t done sending love my way! When I got home, I checked Instagram, only to find out that the fifth season of Arrested Development is coming this 29th on Netflix. And I am ALIVE again!

I feel so good…

IMG_20180507_185303_710.jpg These were such empowering days! I had let fear feed of me instead of using at a fuel, as I usually would, and that led me to forget how bright I can actually burn! But, I guess that the fighter in me had had enough and finally gave me that little jolt, for me to go out there and find out for myself, that, yes, indeed, I’m still good.

Also, today, I got to taste some sweet little surprises which filled me with both, hope and inspiration!

I’m really tired now so I am simply going to lie in bed and watch something! I did finish my music theory chapter today, so I don’t have to worry about doing more work. I can just sit back and relax, and pat myself on the back over how I’m a big girl!

I will publish an original song over the course of this week. So, look forward to that! Also, probably another video on channel #2 at some point; I want to be more active on there also because it feels good to speak out some things! And, hopefully, some art too!

Until next post, remember…

When there’s no one else, look inside yourself

Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within

Then you’ll find the strength that will guide your way

You’ve got this! You can do anything; you’ll get there! ❤

The right to sleep.

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Life is a constant struggle. Ain’t it?

There’s always so much you want to do and always so little time. And it’s so easy to get distracted or lost and waste that time in very silly ways. This is what I’ve been wrecking my brains over lately: trying to use my time wisely. Which is mostly why I picked up on the whole bullet journal trend!

You know I’m all about… everything, right? If you look at my tracker, you’ll see music theory, guitar, voice, art, writing, reading and Italian fighting their way into my daily life. And, of course, on top of that you have my desperate needs to keep a social life and a healthy body. Of course, you’ll tell me, it’s hard to manage all those things at once, why don’t you pick one? And I would probably very rudely answer, “No.”

I don’t wanna and I won’t. Because that’s not the issue. There is enough time in a day to fit at least a consistent 75% of these. It doesn’t have to be everything at once, but a nice amount of… a couple of them. Or maybe just one but really intensely then. Or maybe I’m just delusional… yes

The real issue is that sometimes I get lost in silly daydreams and I let my time slip right outta my hands for a hollow ephemeral mental bliss. It’s like a fucking drug, I swear. I’m trying to fight that because it is not the healthy type! And it’s also double-edged because in the end it brings more pain than pleasure, and more anxiety than peacefulness as I panic over all the time that I just lost.

As I’m really serious about those things, I want myself to be sincerely dedicated to them to make them move my way and as fast as possible because I’m getting tired of waiting! And sometimes, I get really tyrant-like with myself…

I’ve got this really unhealthy belief that I do not deserve rest or distractions or treats unless I have worked what I consider a considerable amount that day. I do realize that I need sleep though to be able to go on and keep working hard the next day. But I do go to bed feeling really guilty and shameful if I haven’t done at least half of the work that I had in mind for the day.

I’m working on it, don’t you worry. But easing the grip around my neck doesn’t mean self-discipline is out of the door. I still think that treats are earned. Sleep, on the other hand, should not be on the bidding table(is there such thing?).

Anyway. I’m writing all of that just to dramatically state that tonight, I have earned the right to sleep.

This day started out pretty “meh…”. Bad vibes and then, I’m not going to lie, a lot of dancing around and fooling around instead of serious work. And then it got turned around. Although I only had a mere hour and a half out of my four hours of daily morning free time, I did kick the shit out of it.

I didn’t work so well on my voice or guitar. But I practiced the two songs that I have been learning (Girl Crush by Little Big Town and In the Mourning by Paramore), in order to perform for my host family and eventually at an open mic session or something. Just to get me started. And it’s taking me forever And I posted a cover on my YT channel. AND I got yet another song idea!

And then, tonight, I have completed the first draft of the last chapter of my story Uncage the Night. And I posted here on the blog, aka the place to be! 😉

This is why, I have earned the right to skip my Italian revision tonight and go to bed (still gonna read a bit first, though) before eleven!

It feels good to get things done! And it feels bad to waste my time. Why isn’t it so simple as to just stop doing the things you know are wrong? Meh; where’s the fun in that?!

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Until next post, sleep, my dude! ❤

“Don’t beat the dreams out of you”

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There’s so much I want to do, big things I want to achieve and I do realize that the only way to get there is to work and work hard. And you know what they say, with great dreams come great… frustration. Yes.

I’ve been prey to frustration for a while now so I’ve learned to work through it and I’ve got my ways to cope with it and overcome it. But these first three months have brought me a big wave which I wasn’t expecting, me being a hopeful cookie at the start of this new year, and it got me down a bit. And so, I’m writing this post as a reminder…

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I always hear people telling me “I’m being hard on myself” and I’m always like “uhh, no?…” I see where they’re coming from, and from their perspective, sure, it kinda seems like it. But from my perspective, I could use some more self-discipline! It’s just because I’m setting the bar high and I can’t be satisfied until I reach it (SPOILER: hasn’t happened yet) and go beyond.

I’ve got big goals, big dreams. And the frustration comes from the fact that, in all the bigness of ‘my life as I intend it to be‘, I am so small. I’m barely getting started and I’m only taking baby steps. Even my big steps end up feeling like baby steps when I look back. And that’s frustrating because I can’t seem to move as fast as I would like to.

That is not a good thing because I usually end up turning that frustration into a stick to beat myself with. Well, that sounds weird!.. But what I mean is that I end up getting mad at myself, or just intensely disappointed whenever I feel like I didn’t work hard enough on everything. Which is pretty much everyday lately.

And that also leads me to feeling unworthy of things like a movie or a little snooze in the morning. Because of the whole work/reward thing, you know? My brain is very good deed-treat orientated. You gotta deserve your fun, you know what I mean? As much as I think that’s the way to go, that is not okay and I’m working on getting back the right balance of discipline and necessary down time.

Anyway.

The thing is that, I’m trying. And I am working. Maybe not as much as I’d like, because I can get lazy or distracted, I run out of time, of energy, etc. (Or I get sick or it snows all of the sudden and we’re all locked in the house. Ah, life and its many surprises. I’m still not over it… >w<) But I am working. So I gotta stop saying and thinking “I didn’t do anything at all this week” because I did. And I have proof.

I have an “action tracker” in my bujo which is basically here to track what I do. There are many things in here like some skills I’m trying to develop (left-handedness or Italian for example), habits I’m trying to EX-TER-MI-NATE (like snoozing or endlessly scrolling down my social media feeds) or vastly decrease (my chocolate and dairy intake… 😦 for the sake of my voice!), or things that I know I gotta do to keep healthy (working out and socializing HAHAHAHAHA). And, of course, I track my investment in my big pillars. They’re the ones right at the top of the page. Guitar, music theory, voice, sight reading and art.

Side note: I also track my interactions with my family. Just to point out how terrible a sister/daughter I am. Lolzor

And so, last night I was just about to beat myself up once more until I opened my tracker and looked at it as I was filling it for the day. Yesterday, I knew that I was wasting my time, just fooling around and did not work on the things I had planned seriously enough. But when I looked at my tracker, it made me realized, I did something. And I’ve been doing things, even when I feel like I didn’t do anything. Because, I have such high standards and such violent dreams that I’ve started to see whatever is under a certain amount of work as NOTHING.

And that, my friends, is some big fucking bullshit and it has to be stopped.

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I posted this picture of my tracker on my Instagram last night as my thoughts merged into yet another reminder to celebrate every victory. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a post about that already (HERE).

No matter how small a victory might seem, it’s still a victory and, in fact, it’s always bigger than you imagine. Baby steps are still steps. At least you’re trying, and at least you’re moving, even if slower than you’d like. It’s still progress. And that is something. Because some people only spend their life dreaming and wishing. And you, even if you’re not the Usain Bolt of dreamers-achievers, are moving closer to those goals of yours by the hour.

Back in December, I had a quote right next to my tracker to remind me that success is indeed found in the act. It might not have felt like much but my tracker shows I’ve actually been doing something. It wasn’t much but it sure wasn’t nothing either. The quote is from one of Robin Clonts’ painting videos when she speaks about the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Monson and how it helped her. I think you should watch that video by the way, because it touches the subjects of perfectionism and failure and has really nice advice in it!!

Use action as [your] motivator. And find success in the simple act of creating.

It gets hard sometimes. I know. It can get really dark too and frustrating. And sometimes you might even feel like giving up, no matter how much the thing you’re working for matters to you. But I’m here to tell you, don’t put so much pressure on yourself or you’ll get burned. You’re only human. Sometimes it’s hard to find enough energy to work as hard as your hope-filled mind dreams of. Sometimes emotions take over or life gets in the way. You can’t always be 200%. Don’t expect all your days to be filled with intense work and so much sweat you’d drown in it. Because they won’t. And they don’t have to be.

Progress is a process. And it’s fine sometimes, especially when you’re still at the start of your journey, to go slow and take small steps. I know it’s hard and frustrating, we all want to be super good at it already. But it doesn’t work like that. The key is perseverance. Keep at it. And don’t let go. Some days will be more productive than others. Just don’t lose hope and don’t lose sight of that bright horizon. Keep swimming towards it.

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It’s more than okay to have high standards (and only people with low standards will tell you otherwise… like, no, don’t aim too high because I don’t so why should you? Screw that and aim over the moon if that’s high enough for you.). But don’t beat yourself up too much. A little kick in the ass goes a long way. But you’re still human and you can’t expect yourself to keep working on something if it only brings more struggle and negativity in your life. Know that it’s okay to rest and okay to take a break. And remember to celebrate every step because, big or small, they are all part of the journey that leads you to wherever that is you wanna be.

Don’t lose hope and remember what you’re fighting for and why you’re fighting for it. Don’t lose sight of the goal but don’t lose sight of the flame inside either. The second worse thing you can do, the first being giving up, is let your journey to turning your dreams into reality become a hassle and a must-do, have-to, self-torture one. It is not easy but make sure it is still enjoyable. Because you’re doing it out of passion not obligation.

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“Keep your feet in the clouds”

Self-discipline is required. But don’t beat the dreams out of you. Make sure you have a healthy relationship with yourself and your work. Keep your body healthy, keep your mind sane enough and then do as much as you can but don’t drain your own spirit. Don’t let frustration take the good away from you.

This post is more for me than for anyone else. Really just speaking to myself. But I’m sure some of you needed to read that anyway. If you did, don’t thank me, thank yourself. And feel free to share your frustration in the comments (nobody will read them anyways hahahah jk).

Until next post, embrace the baby steps! ❤

P.S.: here’s my Facebook profile picture from when I was 16 with the quote that accompanied it (followed by a “Until my fingers bleed <3” haha cute

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“Get frustrated, cry… Then pick it back up and prove to yourself that you can do it anyway!” – Lzzy Hale

Weakened fire dying for the weekend.

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A heartbreak. And another. And a lighter one.

Although I managed to stand through it all, it hit me hard and work didn’t exactly happen. Which is funny because I’m one of those that strongly believe that heartbreaks fuel art. I guess that forcing a smile really is self-destructive after all. My heart is muted once again. I’m working on it. I’ll get things out eventually.

This week was slow and fast. This week was heavy but weighted nothing. I survived. Or did I?

I’m glad it’s a new month. Helps me put things in perspective and maybe will be enough a kickstart for me to truly get back on track and work harder.

Today I finished a pastel winter landscape I started a couple of weeks ago. I was following a tutorial to help me understand a few basics. It was great. I’m happy with it. You can see it on my Instagram if you want or it’ll probably pop up on my blog later this month.

I’m still here. I’m still the fire. Just gotta remember how to burn and burn brighter..

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!)

Color Me Undead: a poem and a drawing

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COLOR ME UNDEAD

Sunshine is a false friend.

The weather never stays the same inside this hurricane:

Sky’s grey, then blue, then white;

There’s sun and then it rains.

I just never know when it’s safe to rest.

I gotta keep on the move

Always, even when I lose my groove.

Paint me, pain,

For I am a canvas

And I’ve been blank for too long now.

The ground isn’t very stable.

I keep falling in these muddy puddles.

They take away my colors; leave me numb.

Mean cycle; recycle…

Mom, rock me back to my cradle.

Sunshine is a false friend,

The storm it never ends!

Paint me, pain.

Paint me again,

Over and over again.

Give me a face.

Give me hard times.

And, please, leave a trace.

Weather forecast calls for the peeling of my soul.

Layer by layer I melt away

Under the merciless waves

Of this self-perpetuated hell.

Acid rains devour my core.

I barely bleed as I lose my skin.

Colorless; colorblind; who am I?

Paint me, pain.

Help me be again.

Show me I’m alive,

Not living in vain!

Show me who I am!

Show me that I can

Be more than a stain…

There’s still blood in these veins

And strength in these legs.

And next time,

When it rains,

Come back faster to me, friend,

And paint me sane & chained!

Color me undead;

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The drawing was fueled by Halfnoise’s EP The Velvet Face and Paramore’s latest song(which I’m so asdfghjkl about). So I was really feeling that colorful but mournful vibe. Which was already pretty strong with my post Pain is a color and I’m a rainbowAnd the first draft of the poem was fueled by the drawing. And then the real thing was fueled by the storm and insomnia and also eating a green apple past midnight.

It’s 4AM, I’ll try to catch some Zs now. There’s so much I need to say; I’ll try to write a post and let it out, maybe this week, maybe later, I don’t even know anymore.

Until next post, don’t eat apples after midnight and get some sleep ❤