Hi! I’m creating a new blog. I hope you all will follow me over at that blog. I’ll post links to it here for a while before I stop posting altogether on here. The new page is spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com and please feel free to share it. I just posted my first blog at spellboundscribbler. Come on over and take a look!
I’ve been staying with friends for a few weeks now. It still feels like I’m living out of a box. I was straightening up over the weekend and realized I needed my headphones. I use them with my music to focus, block out everything and everyone around me. While I was living alone I didn’t see the point in using them. They do come in handy with the roommate’s cat being in heat at the moment.
So here I sit, plugged in to my YouTube playlist writing a blog for you. Kicking it old school. Going back to basics. It feels like coming home. Weird how returning to a pattern you haven’t practiced in a while can feel so comforting. Some patterns are worth repeating. Just be sure you pay attention to what your patterns are and what outcomes you get from them. If they don’t benefit you in some way, break those patterns and don’t look back.
I’m doing something else I haven’t done in a while. I’m singing again. I was sick for the better part of a month and it was hard to sing when I could barely breathe. Now I’m singing in the car, at work, at home, belting out my favorite tunes just because I can. I surprised a friend at work singing along with Etta James on At Last. The friend was surprised enough that I liked music that much older than I am but she just kept staring at me when I sang it. Music has always felt right to me. Any kind of music, too, I’m not particular.
I have my headphones, my music, my voice is back and I’m writing. Let’s see what other trouble I can cause today.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying. Isn’t it a little early for that? To give you a quick answer, No! I’ve decided not to buy the little house I’ve been staying in. It’s not so little and a bitch to keep warm and tons of stuff need fixed or freshened up. I’m just not that in love with the house.
That means I’m packing again. But it’s not just packing up all the stuff I have. I’m cleaning out, too. I’m asking myself if I really need all those empty binders and notebooks. Do I really need to keep the two dozen magazines I’ve not looked at in over a year? Do I need two dozen pairs of shoes when I only have about four pairs I wear regularly? How much stuff am I holding on to simply because I remember growing up without a lot of stuff?
Don’t get me wrong. My brother and I had everything we truly needed as kids. But we didn’t get a lot of the stuff we wanted because it wasn’t possible. So I’m cleaning out boxes and drawers and notebooks. I’m packing up the stuff I will use and need. I am not packing the other stuff. The fluff and detritus of 43 years. I’m trimming the fat, so to speak. And once I stop sneezing from all the dust, it’s going to feel really good.
Fear of failure and fear of success are the same things. You could say they are two sides of the same coin. They have the same outcome when you don’t take control of them. That outcome is stagnation.
Fear of failure makes us shy away from doing things because we are afraid we won’t do a good job or won’t do the right job. It makes us avoid doing things we want and like to do. We become adept at avoiding situations that put us in a position to possibly fail. Possibly is the key word there. We might fail. We might not. The fear is the same either way. So we withdraw from the activities we love, the people we love, and we allow ourselves to become more reclusive out of fear of something that may not happen.
Fear of success works the same way. When you have never had successes with positive feedback, encouragement that shows you that it is a good thing to succeed, reaching that finish line is just as terrifying as not reaching it. The process repeats itself. We withdraw from our lives until we are so afraid of doing anything that we find ourselves sitting at home alone eating ice cream in our underwear wondering how in the hell we ended up like this.
The problem with these fears is that their origins are so far back in our development. What we see our parents do and how they encourage our tiny selves has an enormous impact on how we learn to fail or succeed. The problem is if we don’t get enough of the right type of encouragement and support we never learn how to conquer the fear. It will have a ripple effect on everything we do throughout our entire lives. Every job, relationships, friendships, social situations, even answering the phone, all of these things that most people take for granted are major hurdles when you are so full of fear.
The question then becomes how do we learn to conquer those fears? Recognizing that you have a fear of failure or success is the first step. Just like an addiction, you have to recognize and admit that you have a problem before you can work toward fixing it. Once you see this fear for what it is, evaluate where you are and how you got there. Are you doing what you really want to do? Are you happy doing what you’re doing or do you go to work every day wishing you were somewhere else? Are you happy with your relationships? How you feel about every aspect of your life is impacted by these fears and how you react to them.
Here is another key word for you: react. The way to conquer these fears is to stop reacting and start acting. Don’t hesitate. Don’t stop and think about what may happen. Make a decision to do something and do it. Stop worrying about if you can do something and start wondering what will happen after you do it. Will you be happy? Will you be better off emotionally, financially, socially? Will you get a step closer to the place you want to be? The other thing to do is surround yourself with people who will encourage you and still be brutally honest. Friends that tell you what you want to hear are not doing you any favors. They are enablers that will only help you stay in the stagnant pond of week-old sweat you’re already wallowing in. Talk to the friends who tend to piss you off when they tell you the truth. I would bet dollars to doughnuts they piss you off because you know they are right. Start talking to them and really listen. Don’t be afraid to tell them they were right and you need help getting to where you want to be. True friends will always be willing to help as long as you are willing to put in the work.
We each have the ability to take control of our lives, our emotions, our fears and live happy productive lives doing something that makes us happy to wake up and go to work every morning. We have the ability to choose whether or not we let the circumstances of our current situations continue to control us. We can choose to learn from our parents and decide for ourselves if those lessons are effective for our lives. We have the power to conquer our fears.
I just read a blog about voice. The blogger was making a point about not being fake, not using a voice for a purpose and then being someone else in public or private. And I realized that I have never truly expressed my own voice. There has always been a tinge somewhere of the people around me when a child develops their voice.
Voice is not the actual tonal quality of your speaking voice. It’s not a persona people see. It’s who you are on a soul-deep level. My last couple of blogs I’ve mentioned struggling with a bit of old baggage. I finally figured it out today. I felt like my voice was stifled so long and so deep that I am still figuring out who I am. I had a similar breakthrough once I realized that the ex-husband did not define me. I define me.
Let me say that again. I DEFINE ME. Not the ex. Not my mom. Not my friends. People who knew me when I was younger see a different person now. Who I used to be was the persona, the version of me I thought I was expected to portray. But it’s not who I truly am.
The true me, well, I think the tattoo I got when I had that other breakthrough is very appropriate to answer that question. It’s an attitude that I have to remind myself of sometimes. The tattoo says Foxy Bitch. It sits across the back of my neck at the top of my spine. Appropriate considering I had to find my backbone along the way. Sometimes Foxy gets a little lost and I have to go looking for her.
When I read Chuck Wendig’s blog this morning, I realized that I had lost sight of Foxy again. I didn’t have to look far. She’s there, here, typing out these words for you to read. When that moment of insight hits I get chills. The release of emotion is like shedding 50 pounds in an instant. I did shed a few tears because I’ve really been struggling with this for the last few weeks. And you want to talk about timing, I have a blues music channel on the TV and Etta James’ At Last came on and I had to sing with her. Loud. That’s who I am.
I’m loud and sarcastic and funny. I’ll talk about most anything with anybody but I can hold a secret tighter than a leprechaun holds gold. I love the rain and Mondays and cars with tailfins. I can and will take anything you say and make it sound perverted. I have a zillion ideas for stories in my head and I think now, finally, I can tell those stories. For that, I have to say thank you to Chuck. He helped Foxy find me again.
I’ve been in my new house for about three weeks now. I’m not as jumpy as I was when I first moved in. This is the first time I’ve ever lived alone. The noises of the house took some getting used to. The air conditioning kicking on, the ice maker, the dehumidifier, wind, rain on the tin carport roof, bugs buzzing around the high windows in my bedroom at night. Now, I can take a shower any time of day and not have flashbacks from Hitchcock’s Psycho.
I’m still leaving some night lights on but I’m comfortable in my house. My home. It’s the first time I’ve felt I truly had a home I could call my own. I have my stuff all around me, throughout the house. Not just a room. And I don’t have to have company unless I just want it. Some days I do. Some not so much. I’m working twelve hour days when I work so those days I’m content to just come home and not do anything. I don’t have to go anywhere or talk to anyone. Besides I have my cell phone to text and Facebook with anyone who feels talkative. I think I’m going to like having my own home.
There’s a lot of talk about separating the art from the artist when we find out one of our idols from stage, screen, or airwave has different views on some topic than we do. Those of you up in arms about Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card know what I’m talking about. The truth is that each of us is entitled to our own opinions on politics, religion, sex, birth control, gender equality, all of these and more.
As fans, we do need to separate the art from the artist sometimes. Each song/book/painting/movie touches each of us in a unique way that only we understand. What we have to remember is that it happens for the artist, too.
I’m particularly into music. It feeds my writing ideas, both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes it’s the phrasing of lyrics. Other songs it’s the feel of the music itself. And sometimes you find an artist that you just can’t get enough of. Everything they touch turns to gold. I have been addicted to music since I was a kid listening to my dad on the radio. Dad would quiz me on artist and title when we were in the car with the music on. I love everything from Albert King to Rob Zombie and back around twice more.
Of all the artists I’ve found in my 42 years, Dave Grohl is one of my all-time favorites. He has an appreciation for the music that more musicians need to develop. His love of music is so profound that he bought the sound board from the Sound City Studio to preserve the history captured in all those miles of wire.
Grohl personifies what music does to the soul. Watch the video for Pretender by his band Foo Fighters and you’ll see what I mean. Many of the bands videos include cheesy costumes and campy themes behind deep, heavy grinding rock beats. But Pretender starts slow, just a voice and a microphone. Then Hell breaks lose. Pretender has both those moments of intense quiet and raging, balls-to-the-wall energy that drags you through the song at mach 3 with your hair on fire.
Watch not just Grohl but the entire band in that video. The song would be intense even of there wasn’t a riot squad involved. That intensity is evident in everything Dave Grohl does. Sometimes it’s just under the surface, others it breaks free. It is always glorious.
Since learning to play guitar at age 12, he has become one with the music and its power. That’s the point where the artist is so connected to the art they become inseparable. When you listen to an artist of that caliber, it sets your soul on fire.