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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Moving on is easy

The hardest thing is not "to move on".

Walking away is easy.
Starting over, leaving the past behind is easy.

What is not easy, is progressing while staying put.
It's standing tall and calm against the storm.

It's staring as the past moves on ahead of you.
Moving on while unable to move.

Changing your perception of unchanged things.
Turning frustrations into renewed self-confidence.

Detaching the pain from once neutral surroundings
which have now become tainted with anger.

It's investing in stocks that keep on falling
It's staying on the fault line after the quake

It's trusting that people can change,
and their evils past may be truly gone.

It's easier to trust when the past becomes less vivid
But how to fade memories that surround your every view?

Through the people and the places they travel
With them, the bad and the ugly circle

If I can't move, how to make them go?
How to forgive what I'm not allowed to forget?

Moving on is easy.
But how do you stay?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Unlikely Friends

There was this guy I became friends with when I was around 13. He was the typical teen who just hit puberty and thought his inappropriate jokes were cool. I found him annoying at times, but overall, I thought he was nice. Then one day, out of the blue, he completely ignored me. Pretended I didn't exist, didn't say hi, didn't reply to messages, avoided me like the pest. I thought it was really strange because we were just friends and nothing had happened. I shrugged and moved on. Boys are complicated, I was told.

Years later, we met again at a social event. By that time, I resented him for ignoring me without explanation. However, he had a guitar and he was not bad at it. The music lover inside of me nudged my ego aside and after a few hours, I broke the ice and we've been friends ever since. Our previous friendship was never mentioned. It was as if we met for the first time. Years later, I learned what really happened. But until then, the elephant in the room was ignored for the sake of making music.

He was not exactly the most charming person either. He was blunt, somewhat pessimistic, and often had little regard for people's emotions. Yet, something about his honesty was intriguing and I thought I'd just wait and see. With time, I learned to appreciate it instead of dread it. With the bluntness taken for granted, talking about anything and everything openly was fair game. We agreed to disagree sometimes. Strangely and unconsciously, we became pretty good friends. I remember being surprised and touched when receiving an email from him when he first moved to Australia, letting us know he got there safe and sound.

I probably became very much like my friend. I tell the truth as it is unless I have a good reason not to, and I guess I expect the same from people. I was addicted with Dr. House partly because of his obsession for the truth. It became even more obvious when, a few years ago, I was almost overjoyed to hear a colleague tell me "You know, the first day I saw you, I thought you were a stuck up bitch. You were all dressed up and looked all pissed off. I thought you were gonna be a nightmare". Most people would probably get a bit defensive but I felt an immediate connection at that moment because this was someone who got it. He knew that I would appreciate the honesty and that we could laugh about those first 5 mins.

Friends like these can sometimes be hard on the ego but they are worth it. The best friendships can sometimes be the unexpected ones. And the battles worth fighting may not always be the obvious ones either.

Now, I have another decision to make. Is this one a worthy the effort? I can deal with ego-crushing bluntness, but I'm not sure what to make of ego-flattering, bent truths that may or may not redeem themselves in the future. I don't know what to make of heartfelt promises that always fall through. I don't know what to make of "I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking". 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Everybody Lies




Dr. House was right about the fact that everybody lies but I have been struggling with this truth. I've worked hard to muster the courage to tell the truth when it matters. Even when it hurts, even when when it's inconvenient. If it's the right thing to do, then it's the right thing to do and you just take a deep breath and say it. Life tends to remind me every so often that truth and courage are not universally important for human beings. It's such an inconvenience.

How do you build team spirit when there is no balance? How do you trust someone who will let you open up to them but not reciprocate? Can you ever trust one who will watch you vulnerably asking for the truth, and lie to your face under a masquerade of comforting words? Is "I wasn't thinking" ever a good enough reason to fail to protect someone? My answer is a ringing NO.

I can pretend that I'm not angry anymore. If I need to, I can pretend we're friends. I may forgive, in the [distant] future. And if I do, I will also forget. But right now, I can't forget. I refuse to lower my standards when it comes to the definition of loyalty. I grew up surrounded by amazing people who kept their word and kept the best interest of others before theirs. If they can do it, so can everybody else.I was told that this is a depressing world and that I should just accept that everybody does shitty things sometimes. But they're probably lying. After all, everybody lies.


What Do You Do When Life Drives You Nuts?

Once, in Lil Blume's communication class, we were given a peculiar exercise. From a long list of emotions, we had to circle all the ones we had felt in the past week. I remember it being quite revealing for those who don't usually pay attention to how they feel. If I were to do this exercise for the past 3 weeks, I would probably cover the entire negative side of the pallet, and probably most of the positive ones too. Yes, it`s been a roller coaster ride. What do you do when life drives you nuts?

Usually, I would play music. I played two shows last week and it definitely helped. Catching up with people at the show was really nice. Being on stage again always feels safe. It must sound strange but as I step into the limelight, exposed to all judgement, it tends to feel like retreating to a safe haven. A place where I can be myself, a place where the more honest you are, the brighter you shine. It`s like stepping foot in a parallel world, leaving your worries at the door. It's also a place where hard work almost always pays off.

Sometimes, though, music is not enough. If I`m too upset, I won`t have the energy to play or write right away. Today, though, I just needed to clean the house. As Paolo Coelho describes it so well in the Alchemist, cleaning the exterior somehow purges the interior as well. While I don`t enjoy cleaning, it never fails to improve my mood and calm me down. Maybe because cleaning brings fast and noticeable results. Less chaos probably also helps me feel less stressed. Perhaps cleaning is something that I know I can do successfully

After the music and the cleaning, the process usually ends in writing. Engraving the memory, with all its flaws and beauty, into a song, a lyric, or a melody. Remembering exactly how it felt so that those who hear it won`t have to be alone.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Co-writing my first French/English song :)


Yesterday, I met with a fellow songwriter to try and write together. From one song I heard at the meetup where we met, I knew we had an artistic affinity. We also found out we both speak French but had never written any French songs yet. One day we should do that, we said.

So we met yesterday, not knowing whether the creativity streams would converge or diverge. None of us had any idea of what to write about. We decided to go through some of his mini recordings and see if anything grabbed my attention. The first one was as far as we got. "I kinda like that!" I said.

We took 5 mins aside to each come up with different ideas about where to go from there. After 5 mins we had 3 ideas. We picked one of mine that added contrast to the rhythm as the pre-chorus. A few minutes later, we magically had a chorus forming. This was getting really exciting. Before going to bed, I listened to the recordings from that session and aside from the music, all you hear is giggles and excitement. It was a magical moment that any songwriter yearns for.

While looking for an interesting way to end the chorus, Edi came up with a hook that brought the energy right back up. "Where did you go?" was all we had but it worked so well and was so catchy. We tried finding different meanings to this phrase, different phrases that could fit, different words we could end with, but in the end, "Where did you go?" it stayed.

We were so excited. Now on to the lyrics. We started to struggle. We knew we wanted to talk about two friends meeting after some time apart and sadly find that they have nothing left in common. Yet all the lyrics we came up with didn't feel fresh/original. Something wasn't quite right. We thought the verse would be about the memories, and the pre-chorus about the change. Yet we couldn't fit anything properly.

Then I had this crazy idea. While playing the verse melody, I heard "Et si on pouvait tout se dire...." in my head. I brought up the crazy idea and after a good laugh we decided to give it a try. That got the ball rolling and in 20 min, we had our first verse!

Verse:
Et si on pouvait tout se dire comme autrefois
Tout semblait toujours plus simple entre nous
Nos aventures aux petites heures du matin
Qui n'existaient plus que dans nos regards n'y son't plus

We have more lyrics for the other parts but we're not sure about them yet, so you'll have to come to my show to find out :) My show is on March 14th at Hart House (UofT downtown campus). It's FREE and the details can be found in the following link:
https://www.facebook.com/events/131434843700071