Faith and Fear

I am not used to slowing down. I find myself more often then not, either working or thinking of a new project to work on. Stopping, is not a thing I do often. Not because I would be opposed to taking a break, it’s more because of all the change happening in my life and my desire to keep up with it. In a way, running along side the change to see where it leads me. I’m a dreamer, it’s how I operate.

But dreamer or not, you can’t evade reality forever. Bills still need to be paid, people still need to be tended to, and life happens. Every time, completely throwing you off your rhythm. Often these things happen in spurts, and sometimes, all at once.

That is where I am right now.

Next year, in January to be specific, is the time I plan to start playing open mikes at local venues. January is also the time I am hoping to leave my delivery job. Due to restaurant management completely falling apart, and possibly causing the entire branch to be closed soon. It also turns out that January may also be the month where my housing situation may get a bit more complicated. Not to mention that same month, is already going to be incredibly financially tight due to the holidays.

All that to say, I’m feeling pretty fucked.

This feeling reminds me of looking at the beginning of a sand storm. The moment when it hasn’t hit yet, but it is just this wall. An orange wall of dirt and rocks, all hurling towards you at nearly triple digits.

Then there is that moment. That moment when the world slows down and the severity of the situation really hits you. You realize that you can’t out run this thing, you can’t hide from it. There is not a thing you can do to prevent this thing from hitting you.

That moment where there is no plan or prevention to be made. No words to be said. You are completely powerless.

We all have sandstorms and some of us may even be in the midst of one right now. Many probably more severe than myself. Regardless, when we face these storms you have two choices. A) Worry and freak out about what will happen, or B) Accept the situation, buckle down, and maintain hope.

I may not have been on this earth as long as many people out there, but I have figured out one thing. Worry gets you no where. The amount of energy we put into being anxious over one thing, a thing we probably can’t even control, is ridiculous. All that time meditating over the issue, dissecting it, begging for a solution, for what? Nothing. Nothing other than probably an ulcer.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s ok to be afraid, that is a natural reaction to seeing an endless wall of sand barreling toward you. However, don’t let that fear control you. Instead choose to hope and to have faith that this hell will end. Because the storm will end, but it is up to you if you are going to come out stronger, or let this storm destroy you by worrying so much about it.

The clouds will eventually pass by, and there probably will have to be rebuilding. However you will ultimately make it through the devastation. The rebuilding may not be easy either. It may even take years, but it will end.

Until then, choose to have faith. Choose to have hope. Because if you choose to worry and grow anxious over this thing you can’t even control, it will destroy you.

In complete honesty, I have no idea what my life will look like in a couple of months after this storm hits. How I will pay the bills, if anyone will care for my music, or where I will even be sleeping. I know one thing though, I will pull through this stronger, and so will you.

(Photo Credit: pixabay.com)

 

NOTW: Creatives

Creative people are insane.

Like, legitimately.

I am actually fairly certain, that all of us creative types either belong, or have once belonged, to some sort of loony farm. We all just, somehow, managed to escape our, totally justified, confinement from society. Maybe we escaped using a smuggled plastic spoon, that we shaped into Abraham Lincoln’s head, and pick the lock to our cell with it. Not to escape, but so that we could go find a different room that had better acoustics for our ukulele practice. Then, one of the guards discovered us, and was so impressed by our mad skills to shred that tiny guitar, released us so we could unleash our madness upon the world.

What a mistake he made.

This week I have discovered how grateful I am for my fellow, crazy ass, right brained people out there. I am talking about the people who can never just see something and accept the way it is. Rather, they take it all apart, throw it in a cup, shake it, then throw it at the wall to see what sticks.

The sort of people when looking at a sky scraper, think how cool it would look upside down, like a stalactite in a cave.

The sort of people that hear a death metal song, then transpose it to work on a xylophone.

I am talking about the sort of of people who decide to throw on a wedding dress, cover themselves in white makeup, then find a place to stand in the park. Only so that they can observe how people react.

If you are one of these people, know that you are doing this world a service. You are adding a bit of kayos, in what would otherwise, be a very boring existence. If you are not one of these types and more align yourself with our left brained counterparts, know that you are doing this world a service. You add much need balance to this world, and a bit of ‘actually getting shit done’. Because I assure you, without you, we would just have a bunch of very colorfully dressed people standing around calculator, all asking “What do?”.

So, if your left brained, right brained, or even have a whole brain, what are you thankful for this week? How about something that you have recently come across that inspires you? If your feeling social, feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on twitter (@PunkMusical). We’ll talk about this potato chip I found that looks a lot like Sigmund Freud.

(photo credit: pexels.com)

Feeling the Burn

I have found that people who are physically active typically gravitate toward a certain form of exercise, or at least stick to one area. Typically because they want to build themselves a certain way. For example, one could be craving to bulk up, get stronger, lift harder, literally rip their shirt every time they even look at a weight. Alternatively, a gym goer could desire a more lean build, built for speed not so much for comfort.

Typically I try to strike a balance between the two, but more often then not I find myself the camp of the latter. For a few reasons, but primarily because I have fallen in love with running.

Ah yes, running. The wind rushing through my hair, blood racing through my veins, makes me feel like I am some sort of super hero every time I finish a five mile. Of course, I didn’t always feel this way about my preferred form of exercise.

“What the hell?! It’s only been five minutes!” Is what you would have caught me saying about four years ago during one of my many attempts to conquer the spinning conveyor belt of death.

“Ok…ok I need to take break…catch my breath…not die” I recall saying while jamming my thumb on the down arrow to the speed till it reached a more reasonable pace. Then, I would do just that, take a break, try again for five minutes, break, so on. Every time feeling like my heart was about to leap out of my chest and do a jig in front of me.

Funny thing is, though I felt completely miserable at the time, I couldn’t help but to love it, even then.  Maybe I was just some sort of masochist, but there was just something about it that fascinated me. Even though ever time I did it I was convinced I was going to die and was sore for days following.

Maybe I became addicted to running for the sheer challenge it gave me. Maybe, it represented some barrier in my mind that I was determined to overcome. Maybe I was just fixated on becoming a healthier me. Maybe, I did it for the rush it gave me, the thrill of pushing my body to the limit every time I ran. Or, maybe, I really am just some sort of masochist. Either way, I was determined to make this thing happen one way or another, because I was in love with it.

As we go through our journey in life, we eventually find these thing that we can’t help but to fall head-over-heels for. Writing, photography, gardening, sports, cooking, we all have passions. Sometimes our love for them grows so strong, we even make the decision so presume them seriously.

That’s when the honey moon ends.

Like running, I have fallen deeply in love with music. Not just music as a whole, but the idea of being a musician. The thought of being the person who births new music into this world, excites me to no end. I have made it my goal in life to becoming this creative individual. Which is a great first step, but between here and our end goal, there are many steps to be taken.

These steps will include, excitement, disappointment, loss, gain, joy, defeat, intimidation, failure, success and so on, probably until the day we die. And even though it may be our life’s dream, there will be days when we just straight up don’t feel like doing it. Not because you don’t love it anymore, it’s just that you are starting to feel the burn.

As any physically active person can attest, during long period of exercise, especially if you are working a particular group of muscles, you will start to feel very fatigued in those areas. AKA the burn. That burn comes from your muscles being torn apart during exercise, so that they can be rebuilt stronger and tougher.

It’s natural, it hurts, and it sucks. Especially when you start feeling it during the middle of a work out. When, you know, there is still another half to get through. This is the point where you have to make the decision to, a) give into the pain and quit, or b) keep moving forward, despite the pain and difficulty.

There is an old saying that sums this up pretty well, Anything worth doing is never easy

When you do anything worth doing, you are, 100% guaranteed, going to meet difficulty. The kind of difficulty that will bring any sane person to their knees. But you know what the beautiful thing is about that? Your aren’t sane. You are in love with your passion. You are committed to her and love her with all your heart, and would, never in your wildest dreams, let her go.

But, just like in a marriage, crazy shit is going to happen along the way and a lot of hard lessons learned. You will have to learn about her. Her good sides, her bad sides, strengths and quirks. Some days, it will feel impossible, and during that time you maybe tempted to give up.

When you start feeling over whelmed like this, and thinking of leaving your passion behind you. Stop. Take a breath, and know what you are feeling is temporary.

You are probably feeling worn and tired, even crazy intimidated. That’s ok, It’s only natural to struggle. The important thing is to remember that you will pull through this. You will finish this race, stronger, and more prepared for the next challenge.

In sickness and in health, till death does you part, you will chase her to the ends of the earth, and nothing, will get in your way.

Back to Basics

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Who said it was ok for people to wake up this early?

Shit, I am already running late, need to get going.

Shit, I’m going to be taking the late shift today too?

Shit, why did I take that?! What time is it?

Yep still running late. Thought that would change for some reason.

What else do I have today?

Shit, I have to do some work for the channel today, on the video that is already a week late. That HAS to get done today.

What, I need to find time to work out too, you know, get out the anxiety?

I should stop requesting for late shifts at the deli. But I need money. fuck money man. hate money. why can’t I just get paid for what i love doing already? why does it have to be so complicated? shit still running late! need to eat or something. why do i care i hate this job anyway. need money though. why can’t the things i work on make money for me. how is this going to  work going to be late need to get up earlier but have to get stuff done but i am tired but need to push out new projects otherwise bad stuff need to get going

Now, I feel like the act of categorizing one’s self is a stupid thing to do. We are all different and unique. Any ‘test’ that you take either from a psychologist, or on the back of magazine, could never accurately describe who you are as a whole. However, they may be able to give you some guidance about a trend that you follow or have a tendency towards (maybe not so much the magazine, but still). That being said, I resonate a lot with certain personality type called a type ‘A’ personality.

A type ‘A’ personality stems from the theory generated by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R. H. Rosenman back in the 1950’s when they conducted a study on heart disease. They wanted to see what kind of personalities have a higher tendency to develop heart disease and complied their findings into two opposing categories. A type ‘A’ personality, typically being people who have a tendency to have a constant, powerful, drive to do something and to make an impact. Then the contrast, type ‘B’ personality. Who have a tendency to take a more relaxed approach to things and tend not be be as competitive about everything.

Not surprisingly, they found that the type ‘A’ tends to be more prone to develop heart disease and die in an early grave. Probably because we are convinced that we are superman, and can bench press a bus with our shear will power.

This isn’t a particularly new development for me though. Ever since I was a kid, I was always trying to think at least a couple steps ahead of the game. Either when playing a game of ‘Yugioh’ with my friends or even when ‘playing pretend’, I always made an effort to plan ahead so I could divide and conquer. Not to mention I knew for a fact that I could bench press that bus if I worked hard enough and planned it correctly.

I don’t believe one personality type is necessarily better than the other. It’s just two sides of the same coin. Either way is a valid form of work as long as you balance it a little. (i.e. Type ‘A’ takes a break every once in a while, and type ‘B’ gets their lazy ass in gear sometimes.)

However, when you have a tendency to want to take on the world, you will be quickly, and easily, overwhelmed.

In a constant battle for supremacy and control of my own mind, with millions of voices and theories racing through my head at once. As you saw, it can turn into a serious struggle.

The other day, I was planning through my day for the third time: ‘Ok, go to work, hopefully have enough time to grab lunch, back to work, work on website… Ok sounds good, oh wait. I’ve got to fit guitar practice in there some where too…’

I stopped myself.

I’ve got to fit guitar practice in?

I was saying it like I had some appointment to check my prostate.

Type A, B, D, personality regardless, the day I say “I’ve got to” when speaking of the instrument I adore, is the day something needs to change.

How about “I get to play guitar” or “I have been blessed enough to go play an instrument I love.”

Recently I went to a book signing with my roommates, but before the signing, a group of authors hosted a panel discussing their very first works they had ever written. It was an incredibly inspiring experience, especially for a small time musician and writer such as myself, to hear these veterans discuss their humble beginnings and how far they have come as novelists.

At the end of the panel the group of authors took a few questions from the crowd. One of the questions asked was “How do you know that your book is ready to publish?”

One of the gathered authors replied with another question. “Why be so worried about it?”

Of course was met with some confusion.

She explained (and I am paraphrasing) “You know, everyone is always so obsessed over when the book is ready to throw out to the masses. ‘When can a I publish this? When is this ready to go?’ An important questions sure, but hardly the point. It’s the process that matters, not the product.

This sentence will forever echo through the caverns and crevices of my mind.

It’s about the process, not the product. It’s about doing it because you love it, not because you just want to make money. If you are doing it for the money, you will be quickly disappointed.

Money, fame, fans, likes, subscribers, all of it is fleeting. It will come and go. When you discover your passion, chase it because you love it. In fact, don’t even expect that your book will even make money, or that you will be the greatest rockstar known to man. Just do it because you are madly in love with doing it.

I have been so distracted by entertaining the thought of creating content for the sake of content, I’ve missed the point of why I do all this in the first place. To create music and art that may encourage people through their own hardships and struggles. Not to be some sort of think tank, that solely exists to push out more and more content till I am used up and withered.

I love being a creative person. I love writing music, working on my blog, and making goofy videos on the internet for the world to enjoy. I would love to one day make a living off of doing these things, but that’s not the ultimate goal. It’s about enjoying what I get to do in the the first place.

NOTW: This one pains me to admit…

…and, I mean, it really does.

But before we get to that, please allow me to welcome you to my second installment of Notes on the Wall! (NOTW for those of you keeping track at home) How much longer will I be keeping track of these entries? For as long as it sounds cool to me!

I hope you all had a wonderful conclusion to the end of your week last week. Maybe, you even have even found a few things that motivate you, or are just straight up thankful for.

Today I am going to share with you something that I am both, very thankful to have and causes me to physically cringe at it’s very thought!

My delivery job.

Yep, I am honestly very blessed to have it.

Getting mixed signals yet?

I hate my job. Like. Hate it. I like really, really just think it’s plain icky. However, I am one of the most blessed people in the world because of it.

Stumped yet?

I am grateful for this job because, though it’s a crappy side job, it’s a side job that has allowed me to have a roof over my head and food to eat everyday. Truthfully, at the end of the day, if your side job is at least doing that for you, then it is a success.

Now, I am not going to give a speech about how you should always be ecstatic to walk through the doors of your particular crap hole every day. What I will tell you, though, is that you could be a lot worse off.

As of right now there are five percent of Americans who don’t get a job to complain about. Five percent who have much bigger problems then having to get up early for the morning shift. There a group of people, just like you and I, who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from or where they might sleep tonight.

It is also worthy of mention, that it’s because of this crappy side job that I get to do this. It’s what funds the electricity to use this computer and to purchase the needed equipment and software for this expanding project.

I won’t lie to you, I greatly look forward to the day that I get to throw my resignation in the general manager’s face, along with a pair of middle fingers. But right now, I am just glad I have a job to complain about.

So what are you guys, maybe even begrudgingly, thankful for? Or even something that maybe inspiring you this week? Please feel free to share in the comments or, if you are feeling adventurous, shoot me a message on twitter (@punkmusical) about it!

Have a fantastic week!

(Picture credit: Flicker.com)

The Time Machine

So, I’ve been into this whole ‘going healthy’ thing for a while now. You could maybe blame that on me once being approximately eighty pounds over weight, or the fact that I used to work at a gym, either way I’ve drunk the kool-aid and am in deep.

As time went on since my ‘large and in charge days’, I fell in love with running. Weird right? The fat kid falling in love with running. The same fat kid who swore that he would only run if there was a zombie chasing after them. Regardless, it has turned into my favorite times of the week. It clears my head and works up a good ‘honest’ sweat.

Like most people who work out, I also listen to music. If anything to keep me going and stay in the rhythm of things. Not to mention, If you couldn’t tell by this point, I kinda have a huge crush on music. Don’t tell her.

Just before I went for my last run, I was flipping through the music on my phone to see what sounded appealing. As I did, I came across a name in my artists that I hadn’t heard in a long time, Flyleaf. Thought ‘why not’ and started jamming.

Listening to these old songs, some of which I hadn’t listened to since high school, certainly brought a smile to my face. Like visiting an old friend that you haven’t seen in years, flipping through an old photo book together.

Nostalgia washed over me, then as songs progressed and changed, so did my emotions. Going from joy, to reluctance, happy, to sad and the pattern continued till I found myself sitting on the side of the road weeping. “What the hell?” I found myself asking. “Its only a few songs, why am I feeling this way?”.

It then it dawned on me. The last time I had even heard some of these old songs was during one of the hardest times of my life.

When I was about sixteen, my mom had gotten re-married. Re-married to a man who I didn’t care much for, nor did he for me. A few days after the marriage ceremony we all moved to his house in the country, thus starting a years’ worth of disputes and anger.

During my stay there, he and I were always in some sort of argument or disagreement, and with every passing day it got worse. Till eventually one day, on way walk home from school, I just froze in place. I couldn’t even bring myself to take another step forward. To take another step forward felt like taking another step towards death.

I took a deep breath and decided to, instead, take a detour. Specifically to the small lake that was on the property, where I often went to clear my head. On my way there thoughts of ‘why‘ started washing over me. I tried to turn up the music in my headphones to drown out the voices, but I couldn’t help but hearing:

Why was this my reality? What did I do to deserve this? Why do I have to face this hell everyday?

I hardly even made it to the lake side before shear anger and frustration washed over me. My thoughts turned into yelling. Which then gave way to blind rage. I shed the backpack I was carrying and chucked it half way across the lake side. In the process screaming at the top of my lungs:

“Why am I condemned to face this hell everyday? What would you have me do God?”

Then the music, that I had up till that point been ignoring, sounded over the kayos and said:

I want you to Arise

It was at that moment I collapsed under my own weight and shed tears like I had never before. Just like I was on the side of the road the other day. Despite years of difference, experience, and growth, I had been taken back to that exact moment in time. I felt like a vulnerable, angry, and confused teenager once again.

It’s funny how that happens isn’t it? Music, or anything really, can act as this sort of trigger that just takes you back years, decades even. To a you that, if you met today, would feel like a total stranger. This isn’t by any means a bad thing either. Some times its exactly what we need.

Of course most memories are not always so dramatic, and the trigger can be in the shape of anything. A book that your mom may have read to you as a kid, the smell of baking bread, or even the sound of a bird chirping. Anything can magically take you back in time.

Though I had a wave of emotions wash over me during that run, that was all they were, just emotions. It was something that had taken me back to a difficult time my life, but made me look at how far I have come. How far I had ‘arisen’.

That day by the lake stopped me were I stood to tell me something, to arise, and that run stopped me in the same way, to tell me to keep going.

It’s one of the reasons I am so madly in love with music. Sometimes it forces you out of your routine, tackles you if necessary, to deliver an important message. A message that is forever book marked in your brain. Every time I have since listened to that song, I may initially get sad, but the sorrow turns to joy when I realize that I have arisen and I continue to.

(Picture credit: Wikipedia)

Through the Fire and the Flames

What is fire?

According to dictionary.com it’s “A state, process, or instance of combustion in which fuel or other material is ignited and combined with oxygen, giving off light, heat, and flame.”

Well at least in a literal sense, sure. What about a more . . . metaphorical meaning. What does it mean to us?

Fire is something that is neither good nor evil. It has no agenda or alignment, and because of this it can mean many things. It can be a curse or even a gift.

Though often we may associate fire with negative things. I think the most common association with fire may be when it burns down a building. When it comes and takes everything away from you that you have ever possessed and worked on because someone didn’t put out their cigarette.

This of course is a terrible tragedy, but it is not fire’s fault. The fire did not intended to take everything away from you. Though it’s not even capable of thought, yet fire does so much. Not only to harm us, but to help us. To build us up.

For centuries fire has been a great tool for man. From lighting, to cooking, to keeping warm on a cold night, fire has been our friend. It is even safe to say without fire, there would be no mankind. Many times though, fire doesn’t always feel like such an ally.

Sometimes, fire can take the form of a challenge.

As my journey in the life of a musician has continued, my daily challenges and struggles have only increased. This is happening because I am pursuing something that is most defiantly not the norm, and because of that I am always meeting a lot of resistance. I have found whenever you are chasing after something worth doing, there will always be complications. Sometimes these complications come bearing at you like a freight train.

Any time we try to do something good and creative, or even something new, there never fails to be a difficulty standing in the path. I am not even referring to the things that you can see coming a million miles away. No, I am talking about the stuff that goes wrong at the very last second.

One example could be, if you are a just starting to make your own podcast over something you are incredibly passionate about. You are super jazzed about it and are ready to go! You boot up the program to record on your computer and are about to start talking into your brand new microphone, but you notice something. The little record light on the mike isn’t glowing even though it’s plugged in. After fiddling around,  you come to the realization that your new expensive piece of equipment is faulty and you need to get a replacement. Thus delaying your new project by that much longer.

Or if you are a mechanic and you have just assembled your next car. After months of work and research you finally stick the keys in the ignition to start her up. You may have even tried this five times before to no avail, but this time it has to work. You have after all, put so much work into it. You turn the key . . . and not a sound.

These are the flames from the fire, and they are something we all have to deal with at some point. Much like fire, these are things that you can’t always predict or control. Not to mention they will always be there. Something will always be something going wrong, no matter what you do or say.

So what do you do?

The hard cold truth of it is, there isn’t anything you can really do to prevent it. You will be hurt at some point, even devastated. Not everything you do will be a success and there probably will be many things that will go wrong on your next project. It is inevitable and you can’t prevent it no mater how hard you try.

What you can do though, is don’t let the fire defeat you.

Don’t let it get to you and bring you down. Believe it or not, these flames are not here to necessarily hurt you. Like fire, it is only natural and will always be there. What it is doing, however, is making you stronger.

When a blacksmith is working with a fresh piece of iron they first have to make it malleable and soft. To do so they have to place the metal into a burning hot furnace. Into the flames. Then pull it back out to shape the piece of earth, and then put it back in again to repeat the process. This is called forging and right now, we are in the iron in the flames.

We will be forged and once again put back into the fire to be forged more. It’s not the most comfortable process, but it is one that will allow us to withstand anything. Soon we will be shaped into something beautiful.

Until then, don’t let the flames get to you. Remember, they are only little flames, and they will only make you strong.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)