Welcome to my Garden

Hey internet,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. It’s been a… busy year thus far. Loooots of drama has ensued that past six months, and it has been incredibly difficult to bring myself to write again. For a while there I wasn’t sure if it was even worth it to me do it again.

I mean, it’s not a particularly big site and its not like I have the most followers in the world. I could totally get away with just dropping off the face of the earth and none’s the wiser. Then I got to thinking, Why did I start doing this in the first place?

To make a statement?

To stick it to the man in my own little corner of the internet?

I figured out that it’s kinda a mixed bag for me. However, there was one thing I did end up remembering. The reason I started doing this in the first place. Just like every single person who has walked on this earth, I have a dream. That dream is to be a rockstar.

When I first realized my dream, I was ecstatic. I was gifted with new sense of purpose that took the form of this tiny, fragile, seed. This seed held within it my dreams, my hope and passion. I wasn’t sure what to do with this new little life that I held so delicately within my palm. So I look around, hoping to gain some guidance from others by observing what they had done with their seeds.

Everywhere I looked it seemed like a majority of people had taken their seeds and shoved them deep into their pockets or locked them far away in a safe somewhere. Others I had even seen take a hammer and crush their seed till nothing was even left of the poor thing. Sometimes I even saw people robbed of their seed by others who had lost their own at one point or another.

Then I was approached and was told that I should do the same before something bad happens to me. That the seed was dangerous. I followed as I was told and tucked it away in a corner somewhere. Pilled papers and junk on top of the little seed. In hopes of never seeing it again.

Until I saw someone do something different.

One day someone new walked up to me. They greeted me with a big smile and grabbed me by the arm. Pulling me close, they whispering excitedly into my ear “I need to show you something!” and lead me to a garden. A garden that was filled with plants and flowers I had never seen before! All filled with colors as far as the that stretched as far as the mind could imagine. I was overwhelmed with the warmth of this place. “You think that’s cool?” She continued to lead me till we reached the center of the garden where we were greeted by a colossal tree.

It was the biggest tree I had ever seen. It’s massive trunk was followed up by strong, think branches. Branches that held the most unique and captivating creatures I had ever seen. Some with beaks, some with tails, some with scales. All of them unique. At the end of the branches were but only the most vividly colored leaves. Not just green, but purple, yellow, pink, orange. All flowing seamlessly together.

“Is this yours? How did you do this?” I uttered in amazement

She simply smiled and responded “I planted the seed”

I ran home pealed back layers upon layers of debris from a corner of my room and found a tiny, dusty, seed. I plucked it from it’s tomb and gazed upon it. Brushing the dust off it I found it had become weathered and dirty, but I could still see the distinct spark it had from when I first discovered it.

She came up behind me and told me “Careful. It’s more then just planting a seed. You have to commit to it. You have to water it. Protect it from hungry birds. Sometimes even from other people.”

I looked to her, seed in hand “Will it be hard?”

She nodded “Yes, and it requires patience. Sometimes it feels like you may go through all the effort of caring for it with not a thing to show. However, little do you know that, inside, something powerful grows. And when you see that first little glimmer of green sticking out of the ground, it will all feel so worth it.”

I studded the little miracle of life and observed it’s little crevices. In each one of them I saw beauty and joy. Color and change. Most of all, I saw hope.

I dug a little hole in the dirt and placed the precious cargo into it’s newly created bed.

***

I do this because I have a dream and I know you do too. And it feels so easy to fall into the mind set of living in shame of dreams and passions. To keep to the grindstone and forget the rest. The thing is, where would we be as a culture if no one ever pursued their crazy dreams? What if we all just did what we were told and kept our nose clean? Probably all living in a cave somewhere afraid of the sunlight. Living in fear.

Personally, I have had enough of living in fear.

My name is Mark, and I am no different from you reader. I am just some guy sitting at a computer writing. I am not special. I am not particularly gifted. I am in no way better than you or anyone.

The only thing I have done is that I have decided to plant my seed and am working hard to have a garden some day. I say all this because I don’t want to hide anymore, and I want to show you it’s possible. The garden may not end up the exact way you would like. It may have some hills. It may grow next to a lake that is home to a group of hungry geese that you have to fend off regularly. But it’s your garden. Yours to create and shape. It all starts with a decision. Are you going to stow away your seed and ignore it’s existence, or see what magic you can make happen?

Peace in Pain

Every Saturday I usually swing by the bank to drop off my cash tips, that I’ve received from my delivery job, for that week. If any of you guys have ever worked a commission based job before, you know that you can never really plan around what you may get. Some days you may make near a couple of hundred, and some days, nothing. It’s a gamble, but I have found a good medium to shoot for and, typically, manage to hit it.

This month, though, I’ve been running short on cash due to holiday expenditures. So I was hoping, praying, that maybe I could do a little above average this week. To catch up on some bills. After counting through my weeks wages once, twice, four times, I found I didn’t make enough… in fact I didn’t even manage to break anywhere near even.

The short answer being, unless in the few remaining work days I have left this month I manage to make out like a freaking bandit, or I have a wealthy uncle in Peru, that I didn’t know about, who would love to send me a million dollars, I won’t be able to afford rent this month.

Needless to say, worry has been eating me inside out this morning.

“I don’t understand, I took extra shifts, I tried to take good deliveries, I stayed longer at the restaurant. I even applied to other jobs just to get no response!”

“Why this time of year? Why did I have to get hit with this shit now? During Christmas? The time of year when there is supposed to be peace on earth or some shit?!”

I meditated on this thought for a while. ‘Why would this be happening now? How am I supposed to be happy when I am experiencing so much pain and worry?’

Then I discovered something. This is what Christmas and the holiday season is about. Finding peace in pain. Joy in adversity, love in death.

To realize this, I really had to think about why the holidays are when they are. In the winter. The season that, for most of human history, has been associated with death.

Think about it. Winter is a depressing season. In winter, crops die, the trees are barren, and everything tucks away into a hole to seek shelter from the harsh weather. Before more modern days, If you didn’t prepare for the winter during the rest of the year, you were straight up dead come January.

So what do you do when faced with such extreme adversity as when the very elements turn against you? You find a reason to celebrate, to be thankful. This is one of the reasons why we as a species we decided to hold our biggest festivals at the end of the year, during the most depressing season. To find joy in the midst of pain. Because this time will pass, winter will end and the flowers will bloom again.

We just need that reminder. That, just because there may be death around use, doesn’t mean we have to be. If we live in life, live in joy, then adversity will lose some of it’s sting. Time still passes and another season is just around the corner.

***

I hope all of you guys out there have a fantastic Holiday season, and thank you so much for joining me! It has been an incredible year full of change and growth, and 2016 is just going to be better! Until then, enjoy some eggnog and a little Irving Berlin.

With all the love,

Remy

P.S. Keep kicking ass

(Photo Credit: pixabay.com)

Life Lessons with Daytime TV

So we finally broke down and got Netflix over at my place, (which I guess makes me officially a young adult now) and it’s, admittedly, amazing. I’ve had a ton of fun poking around in the Netflix-averse, and experimenting with different shows to see what I might like.

Though I love seeing what all I can get into on this thing, I also love rediscovering some old shows from my childhood. Shows like Seinfeld, Fraser, NCIS (I was a weird kid, I know), but there’s been one show in particular that I’ve re-kindled my love for, Scrubs.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, then stop reading this and look it up on Netflix, it’s amazing. If you don’t have half an hour to burn then I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Scrubs is a comedy/drama(ish) show that follows the story of a medical doctor, by the name of John Dorian, and his many misadventures he and his friends get into while under the roof of their hospital, Sacred Heart. The story starts with his first day, fresh out of medical school, interning under the terrifying/lovable doctor Cox. Leading up to when he is teaching his own students by the end it all.

The show lasted for about nine years, and, just like any long running series, you really got to know these characters. More then just the people you watch live their lives for half an hour, but it became more like hanging out with a group of friends. You knew these people in the show. They where your roommate, your collage friend, your girl friend, mentor, co-worker. These where people you hung out with outside the nine-o-clock reruns on NBC.

Not only did you know the characters, but you knew their struggles. Heart break, disappointment, failure, and some days, paralyzing fear. However, the thing that always got my attention in all of this, is that they kept going despite all that. Daily these group of friends were looked down upon because of their rank, had to manage eminence amounts of stress, and, sometimes, death.

I suppose the most appealing thing about the show for me is getting to witnessing the journey. That these group of people had a goal to help people and be the best doctors they can be. Some days were easier than others to do that, but despite the pains they encounter every day, these doctors still cased their dream. With more vigor than anything.

In a way I have felt more encouraged in my own journey by re-discovering this series. Like the doctors in the show, I also have a powerful passion, to be a musician and to help people, and, like them, I am going to screw up and learn along the way. No one knows how to shred a guitar or preform a heart surgery out the gate.

The skills can be learned, but the important thing is to find that passion, your reason to do all this before you do it.

You can’t ‘teach’ passion. You can’t attend a ‘dream’ seminar. It’s something you have to discover, then everything else will fall into place over time. We all start out as awkward, naive, interns that have nothing but the bag on our back and head in the clouds. We will struggle, make stupid mistakes, and someday’s have our faith’s seriously shaken. The thing that helps though, is to know that it’s natural to feel these things, and that you’re not alone.

Whenever we do something worth doing, we are going to encounter opposition, and one of the opposition’s greatest weapons is isolation and loneliness. This feeling of that you must be the only one feeling this way. That, somehow, everyone else must have had an easier time making their dreams happen or, that you personally are just not equipped enough to do what you love.

Let me tell you right now, all that shit is a lie. You know what else, I think you know that already.

We all aspire to reach a magnificent goal, but we have a lot of growing to do. And growing, is never easy. The important thing to remember is that it can be done. Others have been in this exact same place and they have come out the other side, and so will you.

It has been done, and you can do it too. Don’t buy into the lie that you are the only one struggling to do great things. Because we’re all dreamers baby, and we all feel the pain.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

NOTW: Un-certainty is the only certainty

Wait a minute. . . it’s not Saturday. Why is there a new post? What is this madness?!

That’s right boys and girls! We are doing something different this week! May I be the first one to welcome you to a new segment here on the Punk Musical, ‘Notes on the wall’!

“Notes on the wall? What does that even mean?!” I hear you asking. Well for an explanation, I will need to give a little background.

A few months ago, when the not-so-metiphorical shit hit the oh-so-literal fan, I was feeling pretty depressed and lost (for additional background check out the ‘About the Punk’ page). So I decided to do the most cliche thing I could think and wrote myself a letter. A letter about all the good things in my life, and about how generally awesome I was.

Except that I was to lazy to actually even write a whole letter, so I compromised with sticky notes. Sticky notes that I put on a wall adjacent to my bed so that they where in view throughout the entire room.

The thing was though, I was only planning to do a couple of them. Just to be visual reminders that things will get better and I will get out of my slump.

Here’s the thing though, I am up to like twenty five now and my wall is covered. Not only that, but I have them color coded depending on the subject!

I can’t really explain why I kept doing it. I guess it was because I just wanted to try to keep account of all the good in my life, and how it should be cherished.

So I had the realization the other week that I didn’t want to just keep that to myself. I wanted to share it with you guys! Just a few things that either, I have learned to been thankful for this week or has inspired me.

This week I discovered how thankful I am for the uncertain.

Sounds weird right? If someone would have gone back in time and told me that, I would have first asked how they managed that whole time travel thing, and then asked about that whole ‘thankful for the uncertain’ thing to. I guess.

The reason the uncertain particularly appeals to me right now is because, up to a few month ago, I could have probably told you exactly what my life my have look like ten years from them. I was on a steady track up management within the company, and probably would have eventually landed some sort of general manager position.

Sounds . . . fun

But now, I couldn’t tell you where I would be two months from now, let alone ten years. While the uncertainty can be scary, it’s also liberating in a way. That anything can happen!

Who knows what tomorrow holds, could be a cake!

I challenge you guys to find something that your thankful for this week. Though there is always crap in this world, there is also always something to be thankful for. It could be from working that job you always wanted, or that you simply have another day of life.

So, what are you guys thankful for this week? Feel free to comment below with your answer or hit me up on twitter @punkmusical!

(Photo Credit: d.umn.edu)

 

No one ever said it would be easy

The past couple of weeks have been an entertaining to say the least. Filled with just enough drama to remind ya of the good old days of high school. You know, the good old days! The good old days of when you just finished that project that you spent days slaving over, knowing that it will be worth it because its going to allow you to ace that class (especially because you put all of those big quotes from famous dead people in your power-point). However when you wake up the next morning, a bead of cold sweat falls on your brow when you realize that you completely forgot your English four book report on ‘The wrathful Fahrenheit of 1984’ That is due that very morning! Its ok though because Mrs. Burnsteen is cool and will probably give you till tomorrow morning to turn it in. Which is all well and good except that you have a party tonight with Megan and she will be so pissed if your not there! Ah yes . . . who couldn’t miss those days? Not only the drama but also how you felt that it would all be worth it in the end because you are going to go to college and get that great job.

At least I thought that I had a plan and knew all of what to do. That if I study this for this long, and take these classes in this order, that it will all just click into place like some sort of massive jigsaw puzzle. Of course that is not true. There is nothing that you can really do in school to be prepared for the actual world. You can have the highest honors in college and get straight A’s in all your industrial design classes, made the best projects, aced every test, but once you leave that campus there is no telling where you will end up. There are no guarantees that you will get that great job that you have been studding for since high school. Honestly it seems that most people don’t, at least right out the gate. The great ‘American Dream’ of going from high school on to college, onto that great job, onto starting that ideal family with a wife and 2.5 kids is flawed. I think a lot of us know this at this point, but if we do why do we keep comparing ourselves to it?

I suppose the point I am trying to make here is that I was kinda hopping that things would just fall into place. I had the plan that I would work and save money. Then use said money to support myself and my study of music. After studying music for a while and ‘mastering’ it, I could start teaching it. That way I could still work with music, which of course is my passion, and get paid for it. Maybe play a few gigs on the side and maybe even get discovered.

This was my thought process at least. Simple, straight forward, easy, stupid proof right? Of course not.

As everyone on this little blue marble we call Earth knows, there is no such thing as simple, straight forward, or stupid proof. The best plans and even the best intentions get warped one way or another whether you like it or not.

As I have stated in the prior post to this one, my goal for this blog is to journal about my experience to peruse my dream to become a musician and an artist. There are of course questions that bubble to the surface. Many of them are fairly easy to spot out the gate. Such as music doesn’t pay a lot, how am I going to pay the bills? What will others think? What will my Mom think? How am I going to get the experience I need? Where do I even start? Most of these questions I don’t have answers to yet and that creates difficulty. Not to mention anxiety that would need to be over come due to completely shifting my focus away from what I have been doing for years. It doesn’t make it any easier but at least these are things that are expected to be encountered. The expected can be planned and maneuvered around. Take the ideal ‘American Dream’ that I was referring to earlier. You take these classes at this time and gather this amount of credits by this time you can graduate. Then get the good job that will set you up, because you worked hard through school and deserve it. You meet a challenge, form a plan, and over come. Life being the challenge, the plan being the ‘Dream’, and the overcome is succeeding at life. However what is life without a little kayos right?

What I am essentially doing is turning a new leaf, and in doing so it is often the beginning that is the hardest part. It starts with taking a long look in the mirror and discovering that you need to change. The hardest part is then acting on that. One needs to face their past before they can hope for a brighter future. There is no plan one can make for that.

For about two and a half weeks I was suspended from my full time job. The reason for my suspension is that I had an employee that was convinced that I was out to ‘get’ him and complained about me to the higher ups. My bosses were forced to do an investigation on me due to the complaint. Of course the investigation turned up with nothing because I am of course not out to ‘get’ this individual, when in reality I don’t think about him much at all. I was ultimately allowed to return to my position. Which is fantastic, but now I went two weeks with no pay and no compensation for the bogus suspension.

‘Well that sucks, but you have some money saved to keep you afloat right?’ You may be asking. Well . . . no. I was not wise in my savings in the slightest. I had to pay off people for the money I borrowed and proceeded to get things that in reality I didn’t really need at the time. The pay wasn’t much to began with and my spending wasn’t helping. Now the floor fell out from beneath me and I have no safety net. I can’t blame anyone else for that but myself in honesty. Now I have to leave my two room mates to pick up the pieces as far as the bills for the month and I am left feeling awful. It is a good lesson and certainly one I won’t forget soon but it does lead to strain at home.

As if on cue I then find out that I am going to have to get my wisdom teeth pulled out as soon as possible otherwise I could develop a terrible bacterial infection that would destroy my molars. Truthfully I should have had them removed when I was a teenager but there just never seemed to be the money or time to do so. Well here are the repercussions of that particular decision. Thankfully I have decent insurance but it still won’t cover the entire procedure and I would still have to pay some money up front on the day of the surgery. Money that I don’t have. Thankfully though I have some friends that were willing to throw some money in the ‘Remy doesn’t want to lose all of his teeth’ fund.

I have good friends to help me through these difficult situations but stress and anxiety can’t be helped but to creep in to cause doubt and fear. Being a victim of depression, anxiety has been something that I have always wrestled with. Sometimes it feels like a loosing battle and when everything is up in the air the way it is, It just makes it worse.

The thing is with this profession that I have fallen in love with is that there is no set template to follow. I can’t go to college for X amount of years to obtain X degree and get a great job afterwords to obtain lots of money and proceed to just generally win at life because of it. Even for those that do have a ‘template’ it is not easy either. To pursue anything that is worth fighting for there is going to be sweat and tears shed for it (Hopefully not blood, if so I would ask you to possibly re-evaluate your life’s calling). Its also going to take time. More than likely months and years worth of hard work before it probably turns into much of anything.

Also life is going to throw everything at you. The world doesn’t owe anyone anything and it will not pull any punches, and there is no way to plan around it. All it does, though, is it make it that much more worth it in the end. It will just make the victory that much more sweet when it is achieved. I am saying this as someone who is going through it right now. It sucks. Its hard. Sometimes it is difficult to sleep at night because I worry about how to pay for everything and how I am going to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal.

I KNOW one thing though, it will be worth it. The wounds will heal and the tears will dry and I will, we will, be on the top of this mountain some day, looking down at the long winding trail that we traveled. The trail that was full of jagged rocks that cut us and dangerous animals that sought us harm, and smile when we remember that it is all behind us.

Until that day, I fight. I stumble. I learn. I grow. I get stronger. I will succeed

A New Day

Hey there world!

Welcome to my first, of hopefully many, blog entry! First of all, I am using you. That’s right reader, I am in fact using you. Just wanted to go ahead and let you know where we stood with each other before we continued. For those of you still left reading, please allow me to explain myself. I am awful with keeping a journal and, really commitment in general. So my hope is with trying a new medium I might be able to keep to this one.

You see, my life has taken an interesting turn. The kind of turn that makes you re-evaluate your situation, your job, and your life propose. You know, THAT kind of turn. I thought I would try to take advantage of these recent events and try to make some better choices. Thinking that maybe if I documented my journey along the way that someone, somewhere could get some inspiration from my experiences.

What I have been doing up to now can be summed up in one word, survival. Its been all about what job can take care of me for the longest, where to get money, who not to piss off. While these are important things, they have also have been all I known. While I was surviving, I was not living. I was just technically not dead.

What spurred this recent realization is that life has recently been having fun kicking me in the pants. I have become estranged from my family, dating life turned into a massive flop, had a terrible bed bug infestation that took most of my worldly possessions, lost almost all connections with friends, and, as I am writing this, I am having my job ripped from my hands. ‘Well what is special about you?’ You may be asking ‘Everyone gets their ass kicked by life sometimes.’ You may be saying. To that I say you are completely right. There is nothing special about my situation compared to anyone else. Not a thing. Everyone has a sob story, everyone has circumstances that suck, and we are all seemingly just in some sort of competition to beat each other for a massive pity party.

I am not here to complain (well maybe a little bit) I want to make a change. I want to start trying some new things, meet new people, and to start following my dreams. What all that means, I have yet to really figure out. If I may give a little back story.

There where two things I loved as a kid, robots and cop shows. Maybe even merging the the two to make a robot cop show (Robot cop the TV show?). I always thought that machines were super cool. How they move and all the little intricacies blew my tiny still developing mind. As far as cop shows go, I took my love for them from my Mom and Dad because every night there was usually NCIS or Law and Order on TV. It naturally became a comfort to me.

As time progressed so did my tastes. For instance one day I managed to muster the courage to touch that demo ps1 counsel at our local used games store after being convinced it was the work of dark magic. After a few moments of examining the controller and pushing the colorful buttons I realized I had made things happen on the display. Let me tell ya’ll, I was so excited that I for a split second I thought I was a wizard.

As I got a little older and matured some so did my interests. One day when I was watching some show on the family television. The show had just ended and began rolling credits and playing its outro music. The music that was playing was like something I had never heard before. It had this strange melody accompanied by a haunting rough voice. I had heard this sort of music before of course from all sorts of media but I was never allowed to listen to it. I grew up a fairly conservative household. So much so that my mother felt that such music was of the devil and was to turned off immediately. There was something special about it though. Possibly it was because it was the forbidden fruit, I wasn’t sure, all I knew is that I wanted more of it. I watched the credits intensely to see who was credited for the music, and I had my name. Nirvana.

Little did I know at the time how much that one moment would chance my life forever. The more I resarched, the more I listened, the more I fell in love. Not just with Nirvana, but with music! The problem was of course I wasn’t ever supposed to have heard it. So I came to the conclusion I could never let my parents know about the band, but maybe I could learn more about this thing called music?

Not to much later there was a musician that came to my school to talk to us about the violin. After a brief lecture she stated that she hosted violin lessons at the local community center and asked if anyone wanted additional information. I jumped at the opportunity and expressed my interest to my Father.

Growing up we never had a lot of money, a good majority of it was due to my Father’s inability to keep a job. He was an incredibly intelligent and intimidating man but he struggled heavily with depression. Due to his struggle it was hard for him to keep motivated with his current position and often burnt out. When I brought up the idea of me taking lessons there was only one outcome . . . No. My world fractured and I rose my voice back, which I never did, and I asked why. He gave me a massive glare and told me ‘there wasn’t enough money, and I wouldn’t like it any way’. Anger grew within me but was quickly suppressed once I remembered who I was talking to. After that moment I just accepted that as my reality. That I wouldn’t like the violin anyway so why even try?

I thought what did I know? What did I like? Robots came to mind.

When High School came around I had a couple of computer courses under my belt. Even though my Mom, siblings and I were still recovering from my parents recent divorce, I still managed to do alright in school. I was filling out my course registration sheet for sophomore year. I had already put my reservation in for computer engineering 1 and was pumped for it! Out of curiosity though I looked over the other courses available and saw Guitar 1 available. My heart skipped a beat and thoughts raced through my head. ‘I hardly every touched a guitar, I hardly ever touched an instrument before!’ It continued ‘I do like music though, but . . . I wouldn’t like it’. Then a different thought passed through my mind ‘I’ve never really tried before’ and with that I marked down my reservation.

I found playing guitar exceedingly difficult at first. I always felt a little behind everyone else in the class. I brought it up to my instructor and he was more then happy to help me with my struggles, and I had many of them. There came a point when I asked him for help almost every day. He never turned me away. He was so supportive and helpful that he made me want to be a better musician.

At this same time my grades in computer engineering started to tank. I lost my motivation for it. It wasn’t that I was even that terrible at engineering, I just couldn’t convince myself to care about it anymore. I didn’t care though because I had music again!

As if on cue though, Mom had gotten remarried. Remarried to a man who did not care for her kids. He and I clashed constantly and eventually it got so bad I moved out in Junior year of High School. I was thrown into the world far before I was ready and lost my direction. I then wasn’t so concerned about grades or music but more so about how to feed myself. I jumped from house to house till I was out of school and had a job decent enough to live off of and rented an apartment with the two room mates I have now. For years I worshiped money and any stability I could get out of necessity. Always looking for the next best job, what could get me more money, and always looked for who I shouldn’t piss off.

That kind of mind set is completely understandable given the circumstance, but it is no way to live.

Life never got easier. Jobs never stuck around long enough, was never able to save enough money, and most of all, never had the time for my music. I never would have any of thous things and I probably never will.

That is why I need to take the initiative. Take my life back and take my music back.

So, if your still with me after all that, that is my goal. I am going to record my journey, my thoughts, and my struggles the best I can. In the hope of that maybe someone out there might join me. To follow your passion and to say fuck to the naysayers. I hope that you join me in my laughter, in my confusion, in my fear, and in my triumph.