Music, its Meaning and the New Year

This was sent to my friend Gina via Skype, with references to our mutual friends, and some of the best memories I’ve had relating to music and friends.

Listening to Evanescence and thinking of all the songs that have meant something to me, touched me, or brought me to tears.  Much of Evanescence does, Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero”…

I just f**king wish certain people would just leave me the f**k alone.  Not ever you, of course.  My ex-landlord for instance… >_<

I want you to know that I think I found Bert on Facebook this evening.  I do hope it’s her.  Fingers crossed.  LOL

I need some way to get some of this stuff done and working.  There’s nothing I want more than my surgery, my hormones and a great wardrobe.  (A loving family and a caring significant other wouldn’t hurt either… LOL)

I want to do something special with what I have left of my life.  I want everyone who’s helped me along my journey to get the recognition they so deserve.  I want all of the women and men that have helped me along the way, to realize who I am and what my next steps are in my journey, to get just a couple words of grace and praise that I can’t express, that my heart yearns for them to have.

I can’t believe it’s already 2013!  When I was 8, I told my friends in Oshkosh, WI that I was not going to be attending North High or South High.  I just KNEW.  Three years later, I was shipped off to my mother, unbeknownst to my father, taken care of by my evil step-mother, and it was over 4 days later when he found out I was in Illinois.  She never told him that she shipped me off.  I will say this:  It was the BEST DAMN THING SHE’S EVER DONE FOR ME!  I learned my mother had cancer (single mastectomy back in the mid-70s) and fought with everything she had.  She died of bone cancer at the age of 50, I was 17, on September 18, 1988.  “The Mouse that Roared” was at the Little Theater at RIHS; I sat and watched, and felt my mother pass away at 9:19PM.  I made a mental note of it and ran the 2 1/2 miles home, in the snow, downhill for about 1/4 of it.  I never let up, ran past cars as if they were standing still, and nearly took the door off it’s hinges when I hit the front door!

My mother was the best thing that happened to me (except for my hidden high school lover– another story).  She was my confidant, my friend, my disciplinarian, my everything.  Even a kind ear and a shoulder to cry on.  I loved her as a son loves his mother, but she was so much more than that.  It’s like a small child ripping open a brand new toy, only to play unhindered with the empty box!  For me, my mother was like that empty box– oh so much more than just a box– she was my imagination, my inspiration!

I met a few people in my life that helps to transfix my love of music with the memories I have.  The Ketterings (back then) were a great family.  I loved Jame’ and Debbie and their two children, Taren and James (they called him Cricket).  Their adopted son, Doug Pierson and I hit it off well, and we became instant friend.  I had a crush on Debbie for the longest time, but I knew nothing would become of it.  I was about a year older than Doug, but it was all cool.  Doug’s parents were deaf and the sign language my friend Clayton Bowman taught me had sunk in some; Doug could hear and we’d screw around with each other by making our own signs…  It was kind of fun.  We also played the crap out of the role-playing games we had access to:  AD&D, TMNT, Star Frontiers, Paranoia and a few others.

Jame’ had more Native American in him than I had in me; it showed in his Totem Animal readings and his love of nature.  Debbie had a good chunk of Native American, too.  There are some songs that would fit these memories, but nothing seems to come.  We all had our moments, but we were bound by our heritages to be one with each other, and with the land.  We did, and we were.  When I left, I felt saddened, but I didn’t go far; just a few blocks away.  I would see Jame’ or Debbie in passing, but I stayed away.  I was afraid I’d say something that would make the immediate situation unbearable…

My first female love, Fawn, I met in Davenport, IA when I was only a couple months into my 20th year.  We were inseparable for about 6 days.  She gave me a letter about how she wanted to be with me for the rest of her life.  I didn’t know how to take it; this was my first intimate sexual encounter with a woman (six days ago) and she felt like this?  I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t know what to do!  As soon as I gathered up my courage, she tells me that she no longer wants me, she wants my friend Jesse’s younger brother, Jeremy, who’s 17.  Fawn’s 24.  I’m 20.  Her twin sister, Dawn’s also 24.  Erik’s 25.  Jesse’s 25.  I’m devastated!  I run to a corner of the apartment and cry my eyes out.

The following day, I’m still reeling from the heartbreak.  I write this epic poem about how two people pledge to live the rest of their days together, regardless how the world feels.  It’s my first science fiction poem and it’s literarily poignant.  I means the world to me that she keep the poem, should she want to get back with me, it’s an open invitation.  I end up moving to Clinton, IA with Jesse as winter sets in and make my home there.  I meet some great friends and mentors, making my way into the workforce and making a name for myself along the way.  One year later, just before I move in with one of my friends, Erik and Fawn are looking for me around where I live.  (I live above a pool hall/pub that’s run by a good friend and a great guy and his wife.)  They leave me a note and a phone number.  I call the number and ask for Erik.  It’s my buddy Erik from Davenport, IA!  Fawn and Dawn are there too!  I talk to Fawn and tell her I have to prepare some things before I can go.  That night at work, I tell them I want to transfer to Texas, but they’ll have more information that following Monday.  I took that weekend off, met them at my place, and packed for the weekend.

Fawn and I got back into the groove, I began to serenade her with some Seal, Jesus Jones and Billy Joel, just like I did when we were together a year ago.  She showed me the poem I had written.  I looked at her and held her close.  I told her I couldn’t marry her.  My reasons still involved her being married and estranged from her husband; she never got the divorce.  “I wasn’t ready to get married” was another reason.  We argued a gentle back and forth, citing questions and answering them carefully and honestly.  I loved her and that’s all that mattered to me; for Fawn, she knew she had lost that one ‘man’ who made her feel truly worthy of her body, her mind, her soul.  I wanted her to realize how she had broken me.  I wanted her to know I was a human being, with feelings and a broken heart…  The broken feelings came flooding back; I couldn’t stop crying, I wanted to go back in time and tell her exactly how I felt; marrying her right then!  She was still estranged from her husband back then, too.  I wanted her to me my wife in the worst way, and I didn’t know how to handle rejection again, but she didn’t reject me– I rejected her– but it wasn’t that I was trying to be cruel about it; that was far from what I wanted to do.  We remained intimate for the entire weekend, being close and talking, looking into each others’ eyes, holding each other in embraces that seemed to last hours, listening to the radio (and crying when those songs came on that I remembered singing to her).  She knew…

I saved myself for her over that year; I was celibate.  Once we parted company back in Clinton, IA, I told my friends after work that Monday that I was staying.  I forgot to tell work to stop the transfer; I lost my job.  My buddy Dave allowed me to move in, as security for his apartment, and that I could come and go.  All he wanted was assurances that I would adhere to his rules.  I told him as long as the rules aren’t crazy or unenforceable, I was in.  It was here that I started leaning and learning that I was different.  Not real sure what was going on, but women’s clothing was starting to enter into my wardrobe, bit by bit.

Let’s cut to now.  Most of the time I see myself as the same person I was, just in a different package, wrapped up in a lovely ensemble.  I want to make the inner me and the outer me match and sync.  It’s one of the hardest things I can do right now.  Listening to certain groups and entertainers helps me to cope in times of trouble, depression and angst.  My friends love me and help me with various things, but overall, it’s all on me to make sure I eat right, take my meds and dress the way I feel!  I love deeply, and will always do so.

Some of the best music I have ever listened to has been Depeche Mode, Evanescence and Amy Lee, Creed, Metallica, Weird Al (yes, Weird Al!), No Doubt and Gwen Stefani, Simply Red, Ray Parker Jr., Hootie & the Blowfish, Darius Rucker, Hoobastank, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Aqua, Puddle of Mudd, Nickelback, Sting and The Police, They Might Be Giants, Bowling for Soup, Abba and a handful of others.  Much of this music reflects the anger and angst that I held for so long, scrabbling and defying the world!  While other artists and bands helped to shape my look and demeanor for years, helping me to finally feel again!  Love, being the only universal concept, besides war, that humanity seems to be able to possess in seemingly equal quantities, gouges and rends flesh from my soul, stripping away all that is superficial and draining away the unnecessary parts to reveal whatever remains:  that place where love resides.  Hatred and strife can be conquered with music; songs can uplift your soul to heights that could never be achieved by conversation~!  Give a listen to Creed “My Sacrifice” or Evanescence “Sweet Sacrifice”; you’ll know what I mean when you take the time to really understand and listen to the meaning behind the lyrics.

Music is a universal reasoning system of mathematically-melodic frequencies.  Once you realize that, you can accomplish great and wonderful things.  Why do you think Gospel music is still so popular?  It’s the message behind the music!  With the right message, the music practically writes itself.  Certain harmonies and chords are struck at the right times to make the message more or less important, more or less dramatic, more or less loving or angry or factual or fanciful– whatever you feel– it can be something that’s needed, or needed in your own life~!

This new year is something that’s going to be bountiful.  A year full of choices, full of truly amazing things for you to discover, realize and put to good use.  We’re all struggling to figure out what’s all happening all at once.  Watch the skies:  there’s some stuff out there that’s going to startle and amaze you!  Listen to your heart:  there’s some stuff around you, near you, just within your grasp that you’re going to rediscover, and it’s going to change your life!  Take a little time to relax, curl up with an LP, a 45 or that favorite mix tape that you’ve had for oh so long, and take a really good listen– it’s going to reveal something that you’ve either never heard before or that you’ve long forgotten– and it’s going to make you realize there’s truly something missing in your life.  Music is what we can all get into.  It doesn’t matter where we’re from or who we are; all that matters is that we can make music, listen to music, whistle, hum or sing– it all comes from deep within– it all comes from someone’s soul, to your ears, and deep inside, resonating with our lives and helping us to learn who we really and truly are.

I’m going to leave this here.  For everyone has their own meaning for the music in their lives.  Let’s live this new year as if we, as individuals with an opinion and a conscience, believe in the everlasting touch of music.

Music can, and will, conquer all~!

New Found Inspiration

I recently learned of Amy Lee’s contributions to many parts of life, and her singing is over the top, and not promoting sex and sexual imagery; it makes me proud to listen to Evanescence knowing women will never be exploited (not even Amy Lee herself) to further her music.

I know, in my heart, that her message comes through her music, whether it’s a heartfelt sorrow for not knowing her late sister that well, to the epilepsy foundation she is the international chairperson of, it all comes down to never compromising to get heard and never letting your fans down because of following the record labels means creating with the greatest common denominator:  sacrificing quality, sacrificing integrity and sacrificing the message that’s in your soul that has to come out!  No one should have to bow down to the record companies to “sell” your music:  it should come from the heart and soul, have a greater meaning than just the lyrics, and show others that you care and believe in your own talent and music.

I have been listening to Evanescence’s “Evanescence Deluxe Version” released in 2011 on Spotify and I am mostly in tears as I can feel her soulful rock pull soothingly at my heartstrings.  She makes me feel so much more than what I am, what I look like, and to make me feel even more female than I ever have.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of songs that I truly love from Abba, but those are more love, single, and first 70s genre anthems than those of Amy Lee which makes me feel so much more than the sum of my parts; Abba tends to be upbeat and happy, but Evanescence tends to be darker, deeply meaningful and completely soulful.

Don’t think of me as being a dark and moody person, though I can be when I feel the need to, I just feel that there’s more to life than just being moody and dark.  I also feel loved and happy, but Abba’s only for those times when I feel kind of down but not depressed, just kind of under the weather…  The Evanescence I listen to a lot of the time, just to get a fresh perspective on the things that I create, the things that I need some insight on other than what I think it should be, and for those things that need more attention.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Abba or Evanescence, there are many more groups and musicians that inspire me.  There’s so many that I am loathe to list them all.

We all struggle to find, not only a uniqueness that is truly our own, we often times forget to be ourselves.  Standing in the world, feet planted firmly in the realization that all that makes us great rests inside, somewhere…  Some of us discover it rather early, and some catch it or even a small glimpse later in life.  That’s perfectly normal for us to discover all that potential, no matter where we find it, and put forth a brave face and carry on with our lives, protected by the knowledge that we, all over this great world, are a part of something much larger than each of us individually:  we are a global society!

Inspiration comes in many different forms.  A quick and distorted guitar riff; a barely-audible odd sounding note in a piano chord; a harmony of woodwinds on a snowy clear night; the cacophony of ducks and swans early at the park; the way the leaves wave in the light morning breeze; listening to a happy baby’s laugh; having such a deep full-body laugh for a few minutes bringing tears to your eyes…  I could go on.  Inspiration can come from aromas and smells; touches of various textures and textiles; the taste of something sweet or something horrible, barely palatable; colors in a crayon box; pleasant or disturbing visuals on YouTube that make you think and make you feel.  Art, no matter the outlet, no matter the canvas, no matter the audience you’re trying to reach, is absolutely positively nothing without it being discovered first.

Salvador Dali has extreme talent, and was not exactly popular.  Once he found his muse (using drugs at the time), he became more inspired throughout the rest of his artistic career.  (I am not condoning drug use, but he had used it for inspiration.  How do you think he came up with the melting timepieces?  Just saying…)  Picasso also had these bouts of ill health and was prescribed certain drugs to help him cope.  He, too, had his shift in design and style based on those same drugs to make him feel better…  Music inspires other musicians; Beethoven, being a great composer, lost his hearing slowly, and in the latter portion of his life was completely deaf.  There were two famous composers who would listen to Beethoven’s works, and became inspired partly due to his compositional prowess, but because of his not being able to hear his own work!

I am inspired from almost everything I come in contact with.  Now that I am no longer with my 13-year former fiancee, I feel more alive and free than I ever have!  Don’t get me wrong, I do love her still, but I just wish she would look past her personal confusion and into the very heart of me; looking deep inside us both, for the friendship and caring we shared for those many years.  I know she will, but not until she comes to grips with her own demons.

It is these things, and my former fiancee, that help to inspire me in much of what I do.  It’s just so hard to look at people, watching them struggle because of the blatantly obvious or sweating all of the little stuff, when they’re watching their lives, and in a good number of cases, their loves slip through their fingers.  Even these things offer inspiration, but I know there’s going to be something good soon; something never experienced before, and it will come to all of us, once we believe we can accept ourselves as we are, and to rebuke society for their forceful stereotypes.

Be you.  Be free.  Get inspired!