It’s been a doosy of a ride lately. For a while here, I was updating almost every day with some sort of artistic inspiration for all you peeps who read this blog. Lately, I’ve been putting my nose to the grindstone to keep on the path I set in motion years ago. I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been focusing on filling the empty spaces inside with music, writing, work and taking care of basic duties.
Years ago, lonely, living on the hill in El Cerrito, I dreamed of a day when I would have sober musicians and writers to talk and hang out with. I’m officially in Oakland again. It’s cool, I’m close to a lot of things now: clubs, coffee shops, new people I’m growing to like, artists, writers, musicians. We all seem to orbit in our own little circles, coming together at random intervals to compare notes.
I seem to have manifested a little seed of this, but I’m still yearning for more. I struggle with the disease of more. If I get some attention, I want more attention. If I get a show booked and it goes well, I want another show. If someone offers me some company, I want more company.
Because people can only do so much, I’m learning to give myself what I need. I’ve had to focus on meditation, journaling, prayer and helping others to get me through these rough times. I’ve had a few people approach me with confessions about their drug and alcohol use, as they notice I’m still sober and going strong, focusing on making sure I keep my sobriety as the center stone of my new life.
It’s crazy, because I always wanted only one thing: to be liked. I wanted people to notice me and pay attention to me, because I often felt growing up that I was invisible, and no one could notice my special powers.
I still have a hard time motivating myself to keep progressing in the world of music and writing, even though I keep taking forward steps. I’m fearful of success, whatever that means, and because I care about life and people and the present moment, I don’t want to fall into the American trap of putting work and career in front of everything else. I don’t want to grow old and look back and realize I never enjoyed hiking with friends, sharing my music one on one, helping others develop their art, or essentially enjoying the life I have been given.
Today, I was hiking up a large hill, as I am prone to do, and I had my music playing on my iPhone. One of my songs came on, one I had forgotten about, called “We’re Lost.” As I came down a giant hill, I saw the entire Bay Area spread out below me, with San Francisco in the distance. The water was ripply and sparkling blue.
I felt happy, listening to something I had created, looking at the area I’ve lived in most of my life. I was alone, but I didn’t feel alone. I felt like I had my own company. I appreciated something I’d made, and I appreciated the ground I was standing on. Feeling whole for the moment, I thought to myself, “If I died right now, I would be happy, because I created these songs and I hiked these hills.”
Happiness is fickle and hard to define. It seems I am always looking for it, over that bend, around that corner. But when I stop to feel this body I’ve been given, to appreciate the every day gifts of this world I live in, to listen to the voice and the music I’ve been able to create, I know that there’s something there. It’s something I cannot quantify, or really explain, but it’s powerful and real.
I’m always wishing for more, for that future date when I will have arrived, when people will finally notice my strengths and my beauty and my power. But what I forget is that it comes from within, this recognition. It’s something only I can give myself. And if I don’t believe it, no matter how many people tell me I’m awesome, I won’t feel it.
Life is a struggle. Life is pain.
But life is also joy. And joy is found in the moment, joy is something that lands on your shoulder once in a while.
As I descended the hill, I saw a guy doing a photo shoot with a chick who had high heels on and a tattoo on her leg. As I rounded the bend, a monarch butterfly flew up into my view and drifted away. After I hiked, I took my guitar over to a patch of grass and practiced my set for tonight’s show.
People walking by seemed confused. Why the hell is this girl playing her guitar and singing on the grass, their faces said. Few of them smiled: it’s a wealthy area, where I was sitting, and everyone is busy heading somewhere else.
I sat in the middle of their orbits, watching them pass, practicing away. People may never really stay in my orbit. They come and go. I’m here, eternally me, eternally alone behind a skin and mind barrier. I don’t know what that means, only that I am doing things for me, and I only hope that if I was given gifts to share, I can continue to hone and share them. I only wish to express what it means to be alive, how we all cross paths at different speeds, in our own time frames.
I don’t know what to hold on to, or what exactly means anything, only that I’ve got a pull towards art, always, and it’s what I do to fill the empty spaces. And I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy this little unpredictable life I’ve been given. Sometimes, when I look back, it’s at the worst times, that I had the best times. Sometimes, when I look back, I find that the path was right here all along.