Friday, December 4, 2015

Review of Sorts: Counterfeit (Band)

I'm not sure what to tell the world anymore. I've been drowning my world in music. So much music. I listened to Counterfeit's Letter to the Lost, and I was a bit blown away. I'm a bit biased because I like their frontman's public persona (Jamie Bower), so I was thinking I was being a bit more forgiving of the continuity in the music and lyrics. But, I did like it, so I listened again. Of course, with a friend in mind, two actually. Then, I listened again, and it made sense. A lot made sense.

At first, there was too much fluctuation of emotion in the song and melodic rhythms that my mind couldn't grasp... because I've been trained to follow this certain rhythm of the world. Oh, man, did that make me sad- the realization that I've been stacked up to follow a certain march. It made me think of the military and how they march to a regimented beat. They have been marching for as long as there have been armies to march. Somewhere along the way, I fell into step. As an artist, that's just sad.

But, I've never really understood the uniformed marching. When I was a server, I used to be able to speak Spanish to a guy in the kitchen who spoke Italian, and we could understand each other (English was both of our first languages, but still, it was fun). We understood a lot of things, but there were a great many things that didn't make sense. They were different languages. And in hearing, Letter to the Lost, I feel like it was broken, perfected, clear, and distorted. The fact that it was all these things was great, sure.... but the fact that I understood them, well it was like hearing my own language spoken to me again. 

So, I went to find their other music, lo and behold they had an EP releasing in days. Go figure. So, I thought I'd give it a listen when it came out. Suddenly, I'm listening to their lyrics, picking it apart -  I'm a writer, it's par for the course. In truth, it kind of makes me laugh. This is supposed to be their really raw work, and it's applicable... at least to my life. It's funny how that works, something real and personal becomes the anthem of many. For once, in quite a while, I'm looking forward to hearing more from a band. 

Thanks Music for tearing me out of line, away from the steady march so that I could finally hear someone speak my own language again. 

Also- The song itself, Letter to the Lost, was pretty much verbal vomit of what a survivor goes through set to music that matches emotionally the struggles of said survivors. I guess it says something that I liked it, (nay, loved it) but what it is that is says... well I just don't put that much stock into what my tastes say about me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Much Time Do Writers Waste?

We all have many hats we wear. It's par for the course of being human. With technology ever expanding, it seems that instead of helping us reduce the numbers of roles we have, instead we are increasing our responsiblities. 

As an added bonus, technology has opened up a whole other set of distractions. Games. Access to rag mags. "Information." 

Take for example and I can't tell you how many times I find myself on one of those sites and ask myself, "Why? Just whhhhyyy?!?" 

I'm not bored. I certainly would never sign up for something to distract me from my life. I may want to get away sometimes, but that seems to be happening more and more. Is my life so difficult that I can't handle it? Or perhaps it is too mundane. Either way, the answers to solve these questions do not come in the form of the "Next" button or in just one more episode. 

Disengaging is the problem, so therefore engaging would be the solution. My challenge to you is to merely start paying attention to the media you consume. When we read an interesting article, ask yourself this: "Is this going to contribute to the goals in my life?" 

For my writers and artists: 
Is this really research? 
Is this really information I need? 
Am I calling this inspiration so I won't feel guilty for indulging? 

Wake up folks. It's not that we aren't moving forward, it's that we are not moving in the right directions. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Birthday Wishes to Sean... Wherever You Are

Dear Sean,

Today everyone is writing on your FB wishing you a happy birthday and missing you. I wanted to do it, too. I've actually been composing this letter in my head for years now. It always felt so cheap to do it on Facebook cause we didn't FB with each other that much (if it was MySpace that'd be a different story). I wondered how it would be perceived. So, I'll do it here, on my blog (I'm sure you'd be thrilled) which is something I did, even on Myspace.

My birthday was six days ago, and every year I get sad around this time. And every single year I can't figure out why I'm sad... that is, until I remember your birthday follows so closely behind mine. I don't really mourn you on the day you died. I mourn the fact that you aren't here on your birthday. Maybe that's weird. I can't tell you how many times I think about you and can almost hear your voice in my head with your response. You'd say, "It's cause it's my birthday, bitch! ...just kidding, I love you. What are you gonna get me?"

I went through your pictures on FB a few days ago, the ones everyone had posted of you. It makes me a bit angry because I know most of those pictures are mine. I took those pictures downtown, that was my scooter (scoot, scoot!), and your love affair with Ramsley (which we came up with together). Those "photo shoots" were just a way for you to see how handsome you were. I won't forget how you had such low self esteem and the way you handled it. ...speaking of which, it bothers me that people don't ever seem to talk about the reality of you. Maybe it's what happens after you are gone or maybe it's just that people don't want to admit it. I'm sure a great portion of it is that they really just didn't know. You hid it so well with that smile... unless you were drunk... then it was trouble. Then, you needed help.

Maybe that's what it really was. I would never quantify who you were in "loving life" or "living life to the fullest" which has pretty much become your legacy. I would say that you made people have a place to belong. You forced people to own up to the truth about themselves, which you saw, and you magnified. But, you were always so blatant about it. If you thought something was gross, it just was. If something was fabulous (like you, of course) then it was. And it was that way for everyone around you. In that space, you made a home wherever you went.

But, you were sad, too. Behind closed doors and when the partying had stopped, you got sad. But, you shrugged that off, too. "Whatever." My therapist once told me it was important to feel pain, to experience it, because that was part of the process of healing. You had that figured out years before I did. You had a c'est la vie attitude, and when something wasn't going your way, you either threw a fit or moved on to something else. Usually both and in that order.

I'm simultaneously angry and sad that you're not here. I get angry because when I hear certain people talk about you, I want to scream at them that they have no right because you hated them or they were jerks or lied etc. Then, I think that some people may feel that way about me. But, like you would say, whatever, they didn't know.

I owe you a thanks, too. I know we understood each other. God, we were so much alike. I'm sure you'd tell me not to be stupid, but it is weird you were over at my house a few days before you died and making plans to watch The Pursuit of Happyness with me. I kept the cigars we smoked together for a long time. As well as the beers. At some point, I decided I needed to let go. I needed to not cling to momentos that only caused me a crippling nostalgia every time I looked at them. No, Sean, that doesn't mean I don't love you anymore. Trust me, I've cried plenty. You ruined Mr. Jones for me. That was my favorite song before I met you. As well as You Can't Hurry Love, the Dixie Chix version.

If you look down on us now and it seems we may have forgotten you, you're wrong. If we look happy it's cause we are working hard to have a life despite the pain. We learned that from you. I do miss you. Like I said, it's always worse around this time of year. It's not that I think your death didn't matter, it's the lack of your life that reminds me and your life was always celebrated the most this time of year.

Happy Birthday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fifty Shades of PTSD

" a nutshell, folks. If 50 Shades was sexy to you, I kind of have to question your past."

I've read a TON of posts about the Fifty Shades of Grey situation. Yes, it's a situation. I honestly was not on either side of the line. It's fiction. Yes, fiction influences... etc. but, when I informed my husband of the newest wildfire buzz going on in my literary world he scoffed. His response was, "What about Dexter?" 

Yes, what about Dexter? Or what about all the vampire novels? Or any NUMBER of horror shows that we can't seem to tear ourselves away from? We idolize all kinds of villains. I'm not saying this is right, but I do believe it's a matter of choice. 

Now, about that quote that led off the blog. I'll take a moment to try to calm down. Nah, there's no point. I have nothing against the person who said it, but I feel like some tutelage is necessary. So here goes:

Yeah, you probably might question my past. It's none of your business though. But, I'll open up that door for you just a little so that you might get a glimpse of why that upsets me. I'll try to be quick and not go off on too many tangents. My past is sordid. I was abused as a kid. It took me a long time to realize that it was abuse and an even longer time to stop comparing my abuse to others'. Well, I wasn't raped as a child. It wasn't violent. My therapist talked me out of all my excuses for realizing what had really happened. There's something else they don't tell you about early childhood abuse... it can linger. 

It can linger in ways you don't even hear about. It's called PTSD. There are images and flickers and reminders of things that make me absolutely afraid to move. I'll tell you the other thing about childhood sexual abuse that you probably do know... just not in the way you think. See, most people who become abusers have a history of being abused. Now, chew on that for a moment. I have been stigmatized in that people believe I will be an abuser simply because I was abused. I would never.  

But, it doesn't mean my abuse didn't affect my sexual appetites. Now, my sexual appetites are none of your business. They simply aren't. And the fact that they would even be questioned makes me cringe and want to go hide under a rock because I feel guilty. It reminds me how I was shaped -programmed- sexually as a child. But, I logically know I have nothing to be ashamed of. So what if I find the character appealing? 

When I read that my past should be questioned because I like something? Are you kidding me? Yeah, thank you, I'm having to remind myself that my past is not my fault and that it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's certainly not for anyone else to judge. You can't preach sexual freedom and then judge the freedoms they take. 

As for Christian (and as I said in my original review of the series), I think he has PTSD. I told my husband I would never knowingly wish my issues on another human being. I actually advised my neighbor against having anything to do with someone who had PTSD that refused to get help. It's a no-win situation. It's because I know what the disorder does. It's not pretty. But, that doesn't mean Christian Grey's don't exist. I don't think Christian Grey is a villain. I think he is a hurt man who eventually finds some form of redemption. That's all I can hope for myself... some form of redemption. So while you bash him, it feels like you are bashing me and all those who are like me. Now you know.