Why, throw me in a yellow dress painted with brown zig zags, and call me the female Charlie Brown. The natural trials and tribulations of life often lead me to question everything's purpose, including my own from time to time. What is satirical is the fact that I felt as if everywhere I turned, there was some type of reassurance that the decision I had made was right. Signs; they were everywhere, and still are everywhere. It's in my fortune, it's in the scribble on the bathroom stalls, it's in the people who've been sent to me, the opportunities that come forth. In essence, It all feels very spiritual, and I never really considered myself to be a spiritual person.
The hardest part of being a performer is always having to have the switch turned "ON." Everyone knows that life is not comprised of rainbows and butterflies, but when it comes to the entertainment world, it's always better to appear as if it is. I have choked through seven days of performances, forcing myself out of the numbing hypnosis which otherwise would have left me with bed sores and a pillow soaked in tears. I do not possess a fake bone in my body. Anyone who knows me personally or who reads my writing; whether it be in the form of poetry, song, or this very blog, will be able to tell you that. I've vowed to remain honest, and I write from my heart because it's the only way I can successfully release and regain the clarity and perspective I need in order to continue pushing forward. Any artist I've ever admired or respected has done the same. There's a beauty to all that is ugly. It's there for a reason, it's there to teach us something.
Seldom for most artists is there a happy medium between the highs and lows in life. Creative people experience life and emotion in all extremities: The HIGHS are extremely high, the LOWS are extremely low. When we fall in love, we dive deep. We long to feel with every fiber of our existence, we yearn to experience, we fantasize.
The past eight months have brought me HIGHS that could have shattered the sky, and LOWS that could have buried me deep into the earth with the artifacts of the world. April 4th I will be entering the next bracket in life. Soon to have invested thirty years down, this next decade I vow to live purposefully happy. In establishing a vow to myself, I've come to head with change, and the painful decision to release certain people from my life. I've covered A LOT of ground in my twenties; I've experienced college, I've built a life in a city far away from home, I've been married, I've divorced, I've traveled, I've discovered my purpose, I've built a career for myself, I've loved and been loved, I've lost and been lost. With each lesson came a dose of pain. Reflecting back, I now understand that it was the "Good Grief" in life that helped shape me into the confident woman I am today.
The social ability that I possess to converse with just about anyone is a trait I've gratefully inherited from my mother. The past eight days I've struggled to outrun the storming cloud, torrentially down pouring over my head.. My heart has never felt soo broken, and I've never felt soo empty. After coming out of a divorce, I didn't think it was humanly possible to feel anymore heartbreak or disappointment. To be brought back to a dark place after experiencing an elevated level of happiness made me want to set myself and the world ablaze. Self doubt, anger, crying spells, mourning of an absence, panic; all became a very consuming, mundane part of my day. In the midst of all this, I had one of the busiest working weeks to perform to the best of my ability. Channeling all negativity creatively and surrounding myself with the genuine loves of my life has helped me to regain consciousness during both devastations.
What's ironic, is that throughout both periods of grief, I've experienced random encounters with strangers who also were grieving for completely unrelated reasons. This week is a PERFECT example. Monday night, after hosting Lemoncello's Fresh Squeezed, I was packing up my belongings as a nice man at the bar began to talk to me, and offered me a drink. I sat next to him at the bar, and through conversation I found out that just a few days before, he had lost his long term girlfriend to the evils of addiction. Wounded and with glossy eyes, we spoke of one another's heartbreak, and tried to make sense of it all. We spoke of loss and absence, perseverance and moving forward. By conversation's end, we shook hands and wished one another's heart a sincere, healthy recovery. That same evening, earlier I also received a text. The text was from one of my musician friends who recommended and passed my telephone number to a friend who was looking for a piano player to perform at her father's funeral service.
Two days later, Dressed all in black and accessorized with a red flower, I sang "Amazing Grace" to a room full of mourning strangers. In that moment, I became a part of what could quite possibly be the most devastating day of someone's life. The moment was uncomfortably intimate. I felt like an intruder. I sat and listened through each story and recollection of one man's life, who had an impact on many. A ball buster, a family man, a lover of life, a man who loved his animals; taken from the world too soon. I cried for the people in the room, I cried over the thought of losing my parents, I cried because I felt foolish for having had cried soo many days before. In the grand scheme of life, a break-up seemed far less significant.
My last example comes from last night's performance at Victoire Belgium Beer Bar in Rochester, NY. As I was packing my gear, a young college student came up to compliment my performance and to tell me about his friend whom he later introduced. Soon enough I was engaged in conversation with a sweet twenty two year old Connecticuit boy who studies engineering at RIT, and who is getting back into playing guitar. I come to later find out he also just recently had his heart smashed due to his fiance leaving him. Previously in her relationship she was abused, and damage of her prior experience began to take toll on her current relationship. We talked for an hour, and once again I found myself in the company of another complete stranger exchanging perspective and vulnerabilities.
Twenty Two. I was engaged at twenty three and I now realize that never should have happened. A month shy of thirty, I think back to all the various cycles my twenties brought me through. How much my mind has developed since, and I look at the person I've become. I shared this all with him, and assured him better days ahead have yet to come, and that because of this, he will be able to navigate through life more intelligently and happily.
Performing at the funeral ceremony made me think about the different levels which we love, and which we experience devastation. The love I felt the day I got married, and the love I felt in my heart with my most recent are incomparable. My first love was a love that was struggling to mature, where as with the second, I was loving with a full heart and awareness. Second time around I felt confident with all that I had to offer, and what I wanted to give. I'm more aware of my needs, and wants, where my tolerance lies. I am able to acknowledge that my love is valuable, and that I am not willing to settle for any less than what I deserve. As much as my broken heart wants to write off each relationship as a regret; reflecting back, I now know that each has served it's purpose in providing me with the knowledge and strength I need in order to proceed throughout life. I believe that my existence in my ex's lives was purposeful, and I hope that the awareness which I brought them will make them better men, and better partners in their future. This is the "Grief" that is "Good." Maybe it's rational grief. Part of it all depends on how you choose to deal with it and carry on.
So what do they all have in common; the Ball buster family man, the woman lost to addiction, or the abused young girl who fled from engagement? The loss of each individual inflicted pain to sincere pain to another, but in turn also brought on an awareness to those around them.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
A) Never dismiss intuition
B) Always be the better person
C) It's okay to feel. Look for the GOOD in Grief.
D) Those who truly care will step up in the most unimaginable ways.
E) The best decisions are sometimes the ones that hurt the most.
F) I am stronger than I believed.
G) Your heart never breaks the same twice.
It is human nature to respond by comforting ourselves with the things in life that have sustained a constant reliability. Art and the unconditional love of my immediate family and closest friends are the only relationships I can rely on to save me from myself. One week from today I leave for a thirty day journey back down South. The original intention of the trip has fallen through. However, now I see that it's come at a time which I need to step away, regroup, and refocus. May my experiences continue to guide me in becoming a more improvable woman.