Archive for the ‘This Post Is About My Feelings’ Category

My next euphoria

We just returned from another life-changing rock and roll road trip. It was inspired by a pop song, encouraged by our love of the band, The Maine, and served as a much needed break from the general monotony of adult life. I loved every minute of it. (Well, maybe not L.A. traffic…and those were many minutes.) It is one of those truly life affirming things to travel whilst doing what you love.  The combination of both joys – the experience of seeing different places combined with the euphoria of hearing, seeing and feeling music you love for a series of nights has always been one of my favorite feelings ever since I was old enough to travel for music. I love travel on its own but being “on your way to a show” adds a layer of anticipation that cannot be matched by anything that I have experienced in my life.

The music, the travel and the company you bring enhances every emotion you feel. Sometimes that feeling is annoyance…travel is stressful, but one moment of stress turns to euphoric excitement.  We called it “recalculating” on this trip – a re-correction to get you on the right path like a GPS.  Things start to slip, a moment goes bad (you get lost, you’re starving, tired, the car smells) and you do something to make it better.  I know that I need to remember to recalculate next time I feel lost or out of control, especially at work since that is where we spend so much of our time feeling anxious or frustrated.  If you recalculate, find an upswing…things get better.

I always leave my experiences with live music (and specifically The Maine) with this feeling that making the world and myself better is a useful exercise. The world wears you down with all of its trifles – all of the little things that need to be done – trips like this remind me that a balance needs to be struck between all of those things that are tugging at your heart and mind. I always end up feeling, after these shows, that hope may not be lost. I can be better, stronger, kinder, more grateful, more tenacious (all qualities I see in the amazing artists I have had the pleasure of seeing 6 times in 7 nights). These are not things that are completely lost on me, but I lose sight of them in preference to getting through the day, getting fussy about things that aren’t worth the time, or getting lost in trying to please others at the expense of myself, my family,and my overall soul.

This is especially relevant when seeing the Maine. First of all, they have quickly become my favorite band (in a weird tie with The Mats and Dead Hot Workshop. Hopkins must stand alone in this scenario). Their kindness, humbleness, DIY tenacity just makes me think…if we ALL carried the passion they have into what we did…what kind of world could this be?!

So here are thoughts and feelings I am carrying with me into this week from our week-long Maine-cation.

Balance – gotta make it; gotta rock. You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore. Part of that is music, art, poetry; part of that is being the best damn Asst. Director of Curriculum Development the world has ever seen (lol); part of that is making sure that personal business is attended to and our house is made a home; part of that is taking a damn break and letting it happen without guilt. It’s the balance of work rock, rock rock, creative rock, house rock and taking a little nap rock. All valid.

Be kind; be gracious. We’re only here for a short time.

This isn’t the end. Being 34 is not the end. Being 38 is not the end. We’re here until we’re not. It’s a great time to be alive. I want to make the most of it. I want the balance struck to reflect that. I am a firm believer in Bukowski’s, “Find what you love and let it kill you” mantra. Growing up is not an option. We’re just going to be so good at playing grown up – no one will ever know.  Let this passion kill me. Let me find more ways to let it in and more ways to let it out.

This is what live music does to me. I turn into a blithering idiot full of mantras and buzzwords and big dreams of what I could do with the wild, painful, tight feeling in my chest that says, live more, work harder. Enjoy the wind and the sun, and jump up and down at rock and roll concerts until they take me out on a gurney.

For once in my life, enough talk.

Aging ‘Rocker’ Laments Lost Youth; Film at 11.

There’s still some living left when your prime comes and goes. – “Big Casino,” Jimmy Eat World

In some ways it’s both harder and easier to be brave when you’re older.  Some of that petty stuff doesn’t matter quite as much, sure.  And you’re supposed to be more comfortable in your own skin.  There are those who won’t ever quite fit right in these fleshy pants. So, while it gets easier certainly, being an awkward adult has challenges separate from awkwardness that is allowed to you as part of growing up.  Oh, to live in those heady days where there was an excuse to be made.  “It’s an awkward phase…”

I wouldn’t advise it, but for better or worse I have lived on the fringes of my own design.  I would certainly never claim to be punk rock. Always a kid from the suburbs. Sorta proud of that. I’ve always felt a bit out of place.  That old Piersons trope always spoke to me: “too pussy for punks, too punk for pussies.” But I loved music and desperately wanted to be cool. I could never pull it off.

Last night driving into a layered pink sunset (those which we are blessedly accustomed to here), I thought of the other sunsets I’ve chased. I thought of the artist, the bone pope and days when possibilities were expansive as the rows of crops on the Iowa horizon. There was just possibility in the air much more frequently.  Sure, it was about roadtrips and bands and having fun but it always seemed to be about so much more — about chasing some aesthetic, “living the way you want,” rock and roll rules, and all of these other silly ideals.  Not that this was a spoken thing but we knew where we were headed.

Stay between the white lines

follow them home

There was some persistent excitement, even when I was at home on winter nights with snow falling in that damn picturesque way when its caught in the street lights before it evaporates on the asphalt.  It was all Boone’s Farm and poetry, music and all of that other stuff you have time for in your 20s.

Last night, I found myself standing in a very familiar place. Waiting in line for a a band.  I’m surrounded by girls in their 20s and I feel a bit self-conscious.  It’s silly. I’m listening to their conversations and wondering if I ever sounded like that.  One girl tells another about the lengths she’s gone to see a band and how long she waited in line and how close she was to the stage. How she felt out of place in her flannel.  I liked her.

This whole age thing sneaks up on you.  I think the part that is the most unsettling is you are able to look around, with a clear head and see the value that people much younger than you are bringing to the world while you are, predictably, taking the safe route that most of us seem to end up taking.  It’s just that some don’t go quietly in into that good night along the way.

I didn’t fight it as hard as some people, because I knew in my heart that it wasn’t my place. I have wanted to be “cool” — to push boundaries, but it just isn’t me. I’m still not comfortable with that one. I still wish I could create and pester and push limits. But unfortunately, I know mine.  It doesn’t stop me from looking back and wondering though if I could have. It seems the idealism of youth is more of an embarrassment of old age.

But still…in between the domestic trifles and the drudgery of work, I have these moments. Usually brought on by a song, a movie, the sky, even  TV show…where the inexplicable, all-encompassing wave comes over me.  Just this intense feeling or emotion that I don’t know what to do with.  I wish I could explain it. I suppose it feels like love and drugs. (https://youtu.be/D9t5i49I6uc) but Mark and I used to call it feeling “there.”  Just lost in a perfect moment of absolute overwhelming emotion because of some piece of ART that “someone” created.

It is in these times I wish I could do what that artist did — create something that made someone feel that way.

So, there’s still time until time runs out. I may never be any more than I am right now: a bit slovenly, manic and useless; shiftless when idle; a “quiet achiever” (as I’m told in report cards from my youth and work performance evaluations).  But I hope I can be more.

Thank god for the miscreants and poets, drunks and saints, the scholars and scumbags who make me feel that way.

For now…down, down, down with middle class life.

Postscript: And another thing…it is the biggest load of crap that kids today are spoiled and entitled.  They didn’t grow up with the shadow of The Depression.  Can we be happy about that?  They also didn’t grow up working the land.  So what? Neither did a good portion of the fine city living folks in their 40s now  There are young people out there breaking down the entire known system…any system. Entertainment, science, technology, business.  I know that people out there see the worst – hell, even I do working at  a university, but there is amazing shit happening because young people today are fearless in ways that both serve as detriment and catalyst. Can we give them a break?

 

 

Takeways from American Candy Week 2015

Forget what you think you know about yourself.

Realize there are two types of people in the world: those that believe they can learn and be taught, and those that believe that skill is innate and therefore, cannot be learned.

Just try…just a little more than you are now.

What’s the rush?

Find your American Candy and throw it away.

Not everything will have a positive outcome; hell…half of what I do won’t have any outcome at all. But that’s no reason not to do it.

Make time for something in your day that moves you.

They told me; I should listen: Go into the world and create something. Create something that moves you. Don’t try and please anyone.

Don’t be scared.

 

33 Doom

We haven’t gone out to see live music much lately. We’ve both been fatigued and I’ve been feeling rather old with various boring middle-aged health complaints. Nothing serious.

Not to mention it’s late June in the Sonoran and sweaty apathy sets in pretty easily out here.

Not as much goes on but I feel guilty about missing out on bands, but at the end of the day or the week, you just want to get behind fortress walls.  If we enjoyed the experience of live music for networking or drinking, it would be easier, but although the friendships are rewarding, we have a SWAT team approach to music venues.  Get in, get out with as little bloodshed as possible. So, when it comes down to brass tacks (whatever that saying really means), our primary purpose is seeing the band and if anything about that experience is detrimental (crappy venue, for instance) the motivation goes right out the window. I had plenty of times in my 20s after I moved to Tempe where I crapped out on a night out in favor of the safety (see: lack of social interaction) of home but in my 30s, with no children and no real outside hobbies, it leaves me feeling a bit disappointed in myself. But you see, there are dishes to be done, laundry to attend to, the lizard pooped, lunches need to be made, there is some disgusting mess left that I must clean up. (Keep in mind here that there are NO CHILDREN in this scenario).

When I do imagine children in this scenario, my head just about explodes. Don’t get me wrong.  I do a lot of sitting around. I watch television in the evenings, often while Googling cures to embarrassing medical issues. But, as I told my mother when she came out recently, children aren’t out of the question, but I just get so damned overwhelmed already and I don’t have some screaming little drunk person to care for. I’ve always been easily overwhelmed.  It may be part of why I have never accomplished much outside of what was necessary.

With blessings come concessions; before blessings there are decisions and consequences. The overused and overwrought phrase, “having it all” or alternatively, “you can’t have it all,” rattles around in my head. You hear about this in the news, in morning show fluff pieces and Internet opinion pieces. I have never thought much about it, or the phrase.  However, as I sit enjoying some vice or hobby (whichever you may consider it), I am thinking of the concessions I have made to have the blessings I have now. Not one regret on the large scale decisions made.

“Blessings” is such a cliche word. Some implication of religious gift, although not always untrue, it’s often times not the word I am really looking for  I’m “lucky” to have had good fortune to be born into a good family, to have been given the opportunity to make good choices based on my socioeconomic status (privilege-based concepts for sure).  My point I think is to try and find a word that fits better than blessings to explain that I feel like I am at this very strange and “blessed” part of my life. The part where you are constantly reconciling what you know to be amazing good luck, blessings or whatever word fits (the dictionary is no help in this matter: boon, advantage, profit or bounty), to the everyday drudgery–the everyday nightmares of middle age in a middle class life.  No complaints allowed, from a societal standpoint, I say.  Boon City, USA. Bounty everywhere you turn. (Not quite, I am too cheap to buy Bounty…I get the generic brand.)

I guess what it comes down to is the unshakeable feeling that no matter who you are, what amazing luck you may have had, what riches you may own, what blessings surround you, there will always be your doubt; there will always be the everyday nightmares of some sort. These inconveniences, that we let get to us….the distractions we let placate us…the complaints we hold in out of good taste and the ones we let out like the howling nag; those are the everyday nightmares.  The thoughts that we could have been better, accomplished more, had more drive, asked for more, tried a bit harder.

I have been asking myself these questions, flogging myself for answers my whole life. Each year that went by, I’d promise or think, “This year, I will be better.” Just like everyone else does. I can only blame myself, as I am, to the naked eye at least, a poster child for privilege (no real argument from me there). The reasons for my consistent failure fall into two categories: 1) It’s an unreasonable expectation that I have no hope in a bazillion years of having the resources or skills to pull it off, 2) laziness, complacency, running around with the ankle weights of the everyday nightmares.

So…what’s this all about?  It’s about seeing and feeling that I am ridiculously fortunate to have a good job, a good partner, a pleasant place to live and some degree of financial comfort. And also feeling like a ridiculous failure whose dreams (outside of the middle-class American Dream that everyone hopes for) were out of my reach due to my own lack of fortitude, skill or pluck. It’s about facing those everyday nightmares when you wake until they wear you down and they feel as dangerous to your life as any of the real nightmares you face.

Actually, I  could sum all of this up in song I think. Maybe that’s why songs are so good at times like these.

So. To recap. I am a whiny 30 something with questionable life skills, who still holds on to some hope somewhere that it will all get easier.  “Stay away sweet misery, you’re not welcome anymore.” I have mundane tasks to attend to.

So, what I’ve got here is a case of 33 Doom. I’m still holding on to some hope that I may do something worthwhile with my life outside of my 8-5 job but it slips away amongst the everyday nightmares, amongst the aches and pains of gradual aging, amongst worries of biological clocks and my own pure laziness. It was not that long ago that it all seemed possible, less than 10 years ago. Now, it comes back to concessions. What concessions are you willing to make? Based on my previous performance, I will let the plans and poorly thought out self improvement goals slip away. I will complain about feeling old. I’ll jealously look at the creative, incredible, resilient people around me who are artists, writers, musicians, cooks, handy-folks, working mothers, working fathers and wonder how they do it.

The next rock show makes it feel better for a second, when you finally get up the gumption to go out. It’s a reminder that life is still fun, even if you’re not particularly good at it.

 

 

You kill me. You always know the perfect thing to say

In the last week (or so) we’ve gone from Minneapolis to Mesa, figuratively speaking. Next week, Tempe with The Maine. Tonight when Jimmy Eat World played Kill, I found that afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking, “I’ve always been an easy kill…I guess I always will.” In childhood, an overly sensitive, cry at the drop of a hat weirdo – making up some stories in her head on the playground, as she struggles to keep her internal monologue on the inside (which I still struggle with.) An easy kill. I can’t explain it any better. (Perhaps whiny baby?) Music made that okay for me. My gateway drug – came to me when I was about 13, which is the perfect age for such a thing. It was Doug Hopkins. (One could argue that Canada’s finest Bryan Adams perhaps started me on this path…a song of the week for the future, for sure! Waking up The Neighbors prepared me for things to come…) One could argue I dwell on this point too often, but I can’t help it. The Blossoms and Doug handed to me, on a platter: The Replacements, Dead Hot Workshop, The Church, The Cure, every Arizona band that I have fell in love with since the first mix tape was sent to me by a virtual stranger (who I later virtually married). If chance is a series of random connections, I can connect the dots clearly and see the major players here. Finding my pop voice, coupled with growing up in a house where music mattered and was to be placed under a…well, a cloudy microscope.

So, you have that recipe for disaster right there. Finding that place to fit in – with other people who got music, set me on a path. (The right one? Depends on who you ask.) It’s not just people who “get” music. It’s not music snobs or music teachers. We are the ones who feel it, carry it around, notes like butterflies in your stomach. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt the weight – been trying to find the right words to describe it for years. It kills me.

This week has highlighted that for me. Obviously, first with the Mats…who…is there a band that better expresses every thought or feeling I’ve ever had? Is that an exaggeration? I have been engrained with a deep love of snottiness, snark, silliness and truth. I see that our love was meant to be, Dear Mats. The experience of last Saturday – getting to see The Replacements live reminded me of being a kid again. The feeling of seeing your favorite band, shout the songs, putting aside the self consciousness for just a few moments and not caring how ridiculous you look when you sing or when tears roll down your face. I held it together pretty good, I think, but suffice it to say that calling it an emotional experience would be appropriate.

Then, tonight, Jimmy Eat World, which is all about the karate kick to the jugular – musically, lyrically. I can’t help but be moved. The live show certainly takes that to the next level with the sweat and the energy and the crowd all singing their whoah whoahs in perfect time. It makes me think of another Jimmy Eat World song, Coffee and Cigarettes,…and how the nights staying up until 5 am and watching the sun come up all because you started talking about a song…and just never stopped, are hours not wasted.

A song I know about one of my rock and roll pin up boys put it very well, “it’s got some kid shaking, isn’t that okay?” I’m an easy kill, what can I say?

A night with The Maine…

Growing up wont bring us down? A nice thought! You’re 31, I’m coming over…
Nothing makes you feel older than seeing a Maine show with hundreds of teenagers-short, barely dressed with their whole lives ahead of them.
My back aches…

Like We Did (Windows Down) is poignant when you’re 31-is this a good birthday song for this year?
“Stuff” begins to fall apart
I thought it wouldn’t happen to me because of my Peter Pan demeanor. Hmmmm….

Bass players with style are the coolest.

This comes across as a bad high school letter. The circle will be unbroken.

“Let’s run free and carry on, like we did when we were young”
I would have slept in my car for these guys for sure – when I was young.

But this is all evidence of how pop speaks.  Hearing Arizona’s own John Oh invoke Westerberg…I see the inter generational hope for our collective musical future.

Pop speaks to me too but it’s gonna have to shout. I’m getting old.

clouds.

It’s a strange time right now.  Feeling stuck between some great thing and some mediocre one that is quite comfortable.  You can definitely feel the unknown out there, but it’s a nice feeling especially for that girl who gets bored easily.  I have a lot to work on, but I find myself so often thinking that I’m not sure what to do next.  It’s especially difficult when it comes to inspiration – “I just don’t feel inspired to write now…”  I was asked to officiate my brother’s wedding and I’ve been working on writing up a little suggested ceremony.  I need a moment of perfect inspiration to create anything worth standing up in front of friends and family…especially given the gravity of the occasion.

On top of that, it’s cloudy today.  A brief moment in the long summer’s burning.  But it makes me feel drowsy and slow.  It’s a familar feeling.  I’m excited and scared and I feel that in my stomach.  I’m bored and sleepy – somehow simultaneously with the other feeling.  Not sure how that works but it creates a buzzing inside me that is frustrating and welcomed at once.  I think I’ve lived most of my life this way.

I tend to make it worse. I’ll latch on to some bizarre, unlikely to happen possibility and focus on that for an hour.  It passes the time, ensures the buzzing continues and makes me feel sick.

I wonder what’s next. And what comes after that.

“Tension makes your life worthwhile.” I suppose.

 

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