I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

Insomnia is rearing it’s ugly head tonight. I could see this spell coming from a mile away, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. The normal amount of hours daily is more than enough pain to deal with, but when you can’t sleep it just adds that much more.

Lucky for me I have my music to keep me company. I’ve had Joni Mitchell on repeat for the last week or so and it’s been making the time pass more easily. “Blue” is definitely my favorite album of hers’, so many of my favorite songs are on there. Her voice and lyrics still give me the chills every time I hear her. It’s the perfect music to listen to when I want to curl up in a ball and tune out the bad in the world.

Meet my brother.

Kody and I

*I wrote this yesterday but never got around to posting it.*

I had a doctor appointment today. Good thing it was in the afternoon though because I stayed up way too late talking to my brother on the phone. I think that we could spend hours talking about music. We both have a deep love and connection to the same kinds of music, we both get the same things out of it. We have a system; he’ll tell me about Red Rider and which songs of theirs are amazing, and how he remembers our dad singing Big League to him as a kid, and I’ll talk to him about Woody Guthrie and his influence on American folk music and legends like Bob Dylan and how he inspires me to hone my own skills at songwriting. We swap our current favorites and any previously unknown-to-us music so that we can both feel it and learn from it. I got him into Eddie Vedder and Alligator Stew, he got me into Pink Floyd and Steve Earl. 

We both live and thrive on music, we couldn’t handle a life without it, it’s in the air that we breathe. It’s a connection so deep that I can’t even begin to explain it properly. And, my brother is an unbelievable guitar player with the ability to send shivers down my spine and bring me to tears. He’s truly amazing and listening to him play makes me so proud of him. I really wish that he could be given the opportunity to go somewhere professionally with his music, to play and jam for a living. He deserves it because he truly is unspeakably skilled. (I wanted to upload an improvised song he sent me but I’m not nearly as tech savvy as I like to think and I’m not sure if he’d approve).

Music Guitar By @Doug88888 @flickr

It’s nice for us to have these talks and to be able to relate to each other about something we’re both so passionate about. Our relationship wasn’t always so easy going, in fact, it was quite the opposite. There were times when I’d go to bed thinking that the best thing that could ever happen to me would be to lose him, or to have never known him in the first place – now adays it hurts me to even type that. But, it was rough for a long time, our house was very broken for many years. He was in a really dark and bad place and because of it everyone else in the house was too. I wish that things had been different, but even at the worst of times I still just wanted him to be happy, and he definitely wasn’t.

With space and time to grow and heal, I understand him better now and can see that he sees the world in a different light than the rest (or most) of us. He despises the ignorance of society, our government and a school system that he views is only there to brainwash and conform us from a young age until adulthood. Even at an age as young as 6 years old he hated the forced conformation and oppression – he threw his lunch box in front of my mom’s car, angry that she was making him go to such a place. He could see something that the rest of us couldn’t.

I understand and share many of his views now, though, he tends to have a more paranoid and extremist viewpoint than my own. We both see how unbearably flawed, cruel and unfair that the world and the societies in it are. While my disgust towards the world tends to base more on an empathetic stance to the immense suffering that exists – that we cause – his tends to focus more on the radical disgust of an extremely sick, corrupted and faulty mainstream society and ruling system. 

Now he lives about 8 hours away and has a steady job and a girlfriend, he’s making good money and just bought his first vehicle. He’s in a good place, a place that I often wondered if he’d ever get to. The burden that lifts off of my mind and shoulders is massive – I don’t have to worry about where he’s going to sleep or if he’s okay anymore. I can breathe easy knowing he’s doing well.

I put the song above on his Ipod for him (the extended version), he told me that he wants it played at his funeral, whenever the day may come. It’s also one of my favorites. He said it makes him weepy because it makes him think of my mom and I. I know that the pain the both of us are in and our illnesses are really hard on him. He seems to think about it a lot. 

This Christmas, I’m thankful for my brother and the relationship that we have now. I’m thankful that his life has turned around and that he’s one his feet and doing well. I’m also thankful to have someone to share the greatest love and joy of my life with – music – who understands just what it means to me.

So, cheers brother, love ya.

In the woods.

Hey guys, nothing new to report with me. I’ve been having a rough couple of days so I’ve been laid up a lot, listening to music and thinking about life. I’ve also been working like mad on the tattoo that I’m drawing whenever I can.

Come down from the trees, you’ve been gone too long.
Return to the house that you came from.
Turn back on the road, you traveled upon.
I stand where you stood, come out of the wood.

Matthew and the Atlas – Come out of the Woods.

Music is a must.

I can’t even begin to explain the impact and effect that music (of many kinds) has had on my life. It’s undoubtedly, without exaggeration, what has and continues to keep me going. I wouldn’t be here without it. I find that it’s the only thing more deeply rooted in my soul than pain.

I have so much respect for musicians and what they do. It’s a beautiful thing.

This weekend’s song on repeat.

“So tired that I couldn’t even sleep,
So many secrets I couldn’t keep.
Promised myself I wouldn’t weep,
One more promise I couldn’t keep.

It seems no one can help me now.
I’m in too deep,
There’s no way out.
This time I have really led myself astray.”

Saturday night song.

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat all night. I find it very calming. Somehow it makes me sad and content all at the same time.

Hope you’re all well.

Lost in my headphones.

You know those really annoying people that walk around with their ipod headphones on and blaring all of the time so that if you were to speak to them, there’d be no way that they’d hear you? Well, that’s me. Not all of the time and sometimes I will try to be aware of other people in case they are trying to talk to me but for the most part, I’m plugged into my music. And that’s the way that I like it. It allows me to completely block out the outside world and to just be in my own head and my own zone.

I also use the headphones to speak for me, say, if I’m seriously not in the mood for conversation – in the house, in a store and otherwise – I put them in, and loud, and hope that people will see that and refrain from attempting to make conversation. I don’t do so to purposely be rude, but sometimes I just get so lost in my own feelings and thoughts that the thought of interacting with people is just highly unwanted. Often times the action of going to a store is such a source of anxiety and displeasure, with which having to smile and chat instead of put myself on autopilot until I get the heck out of there is just so much worse. And, I’m usually in a hurry, A.) because I’m terribly impulsive with money, B.) like I said, stores make me uncomfortable, and C.) my brain is always so overloaded with pain that it’s so easy for me to forget or get confused and screw up whatever it was that I went shopping for in the first place.

For me, with my “brain fog” (this is the name they give to what happens to your brain when it’s always overloaded with pain signals), I’ve developed a routine for shopping. When I get out of the car I stop, make sure that I’ve locked it, make sure that I place the keys in my purse, make sure that I have my purse, all of this often repeated multiple times, just to make sure because I can’t trust my brain. Then as I go through the store, collecting the item(s) that I need I keep checking to make sure I haven’t put anything down and left it somewhere or that I’ve read the label on the item correctly so that I hopefully won’t have to come back and exchange it (even with the double and triple checking you’d be surprised how often this happens). Getting to the checkout is more of the same, make sure I grabbed every bag, triple check that I put my wallet back into my purse etc. By the time I get back out to the car my head is usually pounding worse and my back is killing me. Then I thoroughly make sure to put everything in the car, check to make sure I have my wallet again, and steady myself before driving.

Despite what you make think, aside from steadying my mood, having my music blaring during this entire process helps me focus and block out more external stimuli and interruptions. And since someone talking to me makes it impossible for me to think because I then have to concentrate so hard on what they’re saying, if the sight of my headphones deters any would be conversations than that’s a huge bonus. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be unfriendly, I’m just overloaded and on a mission and it’s not like if someone did try to talk to me I’d ignore them or be rude, because I won’t.

It’s kind of sad how much energy and prep goes into taking a trip to the store for me. My mom is the same way because of her pain. It’s just like Christine Miserandino’s “Spoon Theory” describes. Doing things when you have a chronic condition or illness of any kind takes so much more out of you then it ever would for other people. When you’re chronically ill you lose one of life’s best luxuries; the ability to just do, instead of think. Just do. have a shower without fearing one of my ribs will dislocate while I’m washing my hair, just give someone a hug without lecturing them on not squeezing me too hard first, run up the stairs without thinking about keeping my heart rate as low as possible, lift a bag without wondering if it’s under 20 pounds. I could continue on with this forever.

“…the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.” The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino

What’s This Life For?

I have to admit, I’m proud of myself for not tearing down my last post as soon as I snapped out of my brain fog. I’m still not really sure what that was, but looking back, it was uncomfortable and I hope that it doesn’t happen again. It was manageable when I wrote the post, but I was in my house alone just kind of sitting with it. When I was faced with human interaction that’s when I began to feel seriously out of sorts.

Today’s been a strange day. I’ve been so full of depth, emotion, art, philosophy, music, contemplation, retrospect, pain – all of it. I’ve been feeling so trapped in a world that I’m desperate to make sense of but don’t understand. A world that I feel I’ve never belonged in or will ever find peace or satisfaction from. I’m always searching for something I can never seem to find. Why is it that I’ve never been able to find any meaning in life or any connection to the external? To be honest, I spend as much time as possible internally, in my head. I feel like the world is so seriously messed up, so focused on the trivial, the vain and superficial. I can’t relate, and I know my illness and the day to day struggles of being in pain only make that harder, but I highly doubt that I’d feel very differently if I was healthy. Even as a child, as far back as I can remember, I have felt misplaced.

The only semblance of peace I’ve known is what I temporarily find within art and music and physical pain – and I don’t mean the chronic pain, there’s no peace at all in that. Maybe not everyone does truly bare the make-up that binds them to the world and makes them feel that it is home. Maybe some of us are just missing that connection. I heard a quote once, in a documentary, spoken by the father of a boy who had committed suicide and had suffered from mental illness. He said: “Some say that the body is a temple. But for my son, his body was a prison.” That is how I feel. Whether that belief is a sign of weakness and just plain cynicism and despair or an embodiment of true oppression, I do not know. I don’t believe that I’m weak for feeling that way, I know that it doesn’t make me particularly heroic or anything either, though.

Do I lack the proper skills to cope with the reality of our world and our society? Or am I just sensitive to things many others don’t pick up on and don’t feel the need to worry about? The amount of evil and suffering there is on this Earth weighs heavily on my mind in a way that I know it does not commonly with others. I don’t understand how their can be so much cruelty in the world and so much hate. I don’t understand how one species can be the perpetrator of so much horror. And I truly don’t understand how so many of us can stand to not care. Don’t our trespasses and afflictions deserve at least that much?

Maybe I suffer from whatever it is that causes so many poets and artists to not only feel so much, but to also feel so much pain. Maybe we really are misplaced.

“Society, you’re a crazy breed. I hope you’re not lonely, without me.
Society, crazy indeed. I hope you’re not lonely, without me.”
Society by Eddie Vedder