Friday, June 14, 2019

DYING TO LIVE / LOVING AND LIVING - My last unmixed tape

Not for general consumption but since its you, here you are. I've been in two minds about even sharing these but here I am, or I should say have been for a number of years, between Dying to live and loving and living my life.

I been feeling every line, far longer than I care to remember.

The last time I promoted myself as an artist was 2011. I was trying to write my way out of easily my 4th life changing depression. Submerging myself in my craft was beginning to pay off in that onstage I was truly beginning to let go. Offstage however, art was having the life choked out of it and escape was becoming less and less.

Sadness’ undertow had me by the throat. 

Pain silenced my voice 

In my earlier experiences with depression I would cut my skin deeply, trying to match the pain I was feeling inside, hoping to get it out. Unable to have an emotional release, frustrated and flabbergasted when I was dry out of tears, I’d grab anything sharp to help me weep. If I couldn’t cry, bleeding would have to suffice.

I’d never consider myself suicidal. I’d never want the attention of a ‘suicide attempt’, I think the shame would make me kill myself. I have always had suicidal fantasies however. Like if I were dead then I could imagine people responding to my death the way I thought they should to my life. Ah but then how would I see that. No.

If I could cut deep enough to release my pain that blade would remind me I’m very much alive. Carry on. Things aren't the absolute worst they could be, and should they ever be, well, then my escape plan is to just apply more pressure and just go.

Now I’m reminded of a piece of graffiti all the way upstairs on the 6th form block in high school that read something like ‘A-levels escape route’ with an arrow beside it pointing over the wall to the ground below. My type of humour. 

A good sense of humour is great to cover pain and scars, but there is no humour in ending your life as an escape from however you may be suffering, or as a statement to those left behind. Especially if you're feeling like you've not gotten life started yet. Then you haven't even seen the best part. The thought of leaving this existence without having thrived as the best version of myself, purpose full, inspiring, impacting and sharing my gifts, is sadder than all the sadness. There's so much work to do here first. Heal first. 

So I exit

Pain strengthens a voice 

I learn to release through music.

Circa 2009 I wrote Dying to Live and Loving and Living believing in things I was yet to see. One song to access my feelings, examine my thoughts and sort them, the second to project my attitude, healing and growth beyond them. Not that I had such clarity at the time. The only personal plan I had was to not give up and never stop. I had fully hit the glass ceiling of trying to please everyone else, and I had shattered. Times over. 

While I prepared my art to share with the world, I would begin rebuilding myself stronger like Kintsugi pottery, gold in my imperfections. Eventually a path lead me back to the UK where I could start from scratch  experience and build around my music. I soon however found myself in a new version of the same circumstances living for others more so than myself. Life was once again marginalising my time to focus on my art. It was the internal work that had to take precedent. 

I have never doubted myself creatively. I have known myself as a creative since birth, but I hadn't realised how little confidence I had, and how much I’d lost along the way in every other aspect of self. I’ve now spent more time in my shadow than my light and gotten to know my self better with these two songs. The journey within continues but now that these two songs have been recorded and given a little polish I have completed my journey with them

Through break ups, loss of friends, family feuds and turmoil, creative differences, homelessness, sofa surfing, heavy depression, departure from the spotlight, false starts and technical difficulty after technical difficulty, Dying to Live has been recorded no less than twice and Loving and Living no less than 3 times. So we’ve been through it together.

Now they can almost be just songs for me. I still find it difficult at times to sing along to Dying to Live and in the recording I can hear the strain in my voice as the pain I access to emote the song grips my throat and I push through it. Loving and Living I am no longer happy with the reference to dying but I'm very certain about how that makes me feel about cherishing and making the most of life.

I look at my scars now mostly healed and sure I recall some of my lowest moments, but can't actually remember what all of them were for and that makes me smile. Perseverance is beautiful. So I leave Dying to Live here in case someone needs to find it, perhaps it will help lead them to Loving and Living.