Good evening, good afternoon, good morning to you wherever you are!
I have a question for you this fine day.
What would you do if you had nothing in your way? What would you do if you found out that the mountains you have been climbing were just bumps in the road? What would you do if you didn’t fear judgment? What would you do if you wereunstoppable?
Unstoppable is a big word.
I don’t know about you, but I associate this big word with freedom, and I associate feeling free with running, singing, or dancing. You know the feeling where are all of your cares and worries fade into the background and it’s just you and the music? Yeah. That one.
There was one night when I was in Maryland where I grew very sad. I just took off running. I ran and ran, leaving the town behind. When I looked behind me, I saw the Maryland State House, which normally loomed above me, reduced to a tiny point on the horizon, three miles away. I had covered three miles. I felt free. It was almost a symbol of leaving my problems behind.
You might be asking, “why do you like to run? Running’s hard.”
The answer is that I like the satisfaction of having traveled a long (or somewhat long) distance and being able to see where I have gone and how far I’ve come. The truth also is that I can’t flat out run for more than probably fifty feet without stopping.
I could surely get discouraged that I can’t run more than 50 feet without the need to lose consciousness. Here’s what I do instead.
I set a goal. Something like “run to this next street corner”, and if I can successfully run to the next street corner from my current position, I pat myself on the back, walk a bit, then set another goal and achieve it.
I don’t tell myself I’m gonna run 4 miles nonstop. I’m not there yet. Instead, I do what I can. That makes me feel unstoppable. I’m not a wrecking ball or a bullet – I’m a slow, steady, consistent unstoppable. Things like this are just as powerful as bullets and wrecking balls. There’s power in consistency.
Another image I can give you is hiking. I’ve gone on since nice hikes. In Texas, my family and I hiked a short, scrubby mountain just for the hell of it. We were seriously like, “oooh, trailhead” and then found ourselves up a mountain before we knew it.
I was thirteen and terrified of heights. (I still am terrified of heights.) This climb was incredibly scary for me, and I wanted to turn back several times. But I didn’t stop. We were richly rewarded for it. The view was incredible. We could see the entire valley laid out before us. We could even see our campsite! This was one of the best views of my life.
In 2013, I fell into depression. It seemed like nothing helped. I wanted to give up many times. I kept going. Throughout that time, everything felt gray. I kept going. There were times when it felt like there was nothing to live for. It hurt. I kept going.
Eventually things got better, and I saw a purpose in what I had gone through. I am able to help others who are going through the same thing. I went (and am still going, to some extent) through it again when my dad died. That’s a tool to help that I wish I hadn’t gained, but there’s a reason behind it somehow. I don’t entirely know why I lost him, but good things have come along with the bad. That’s why I keep going.
No matter how far I go, I often lose track of the good things in my life because my inner bully/critic convinces me that there’s nothing but darkness. Sound familiar at all?
The only thing I can do here is what I can. The to do lists I make are good at helping me stay productive when I don’t want to do anything. They help me keep moving, to keep climbing. There are few things more satisfying to me than being able to cross things off my to do list. Anything to do to keep moving.
There are these incredible moments when I have a good day, or I get a bunch of stuff done, I learn a new skill, or I get a really interesting spiritual impression.
These are the views that are worth climbing for.
These are the rewards that are worth the run.
I don’t know exactly what’s going through your head and in your life. Nobody is the exact same. But if you’re anything like me, I want to encourage you to keep climbing, though. The view is incredible at the top.
I haven’t changed out of my pajamas today and have been feeling quite lonely and sorry for myself. My husband is in Anchorage working and I miss him. He shouldn’t have to go to Anchorage on the weekends* unless it’s for fun! The man works way too much. So even though I have already posted today, I’m going to post again.
I’ve been listening to the Rite of Spring far too much lately. It opens with a solo bassoon and is known for brutal time signatures and dissonance – what’s not to love? It’s what the kids call a hot mess, and it’s like me, but in classical music form.
I love songs written in odd time signatures, and my favorite movement of the Rite so far, “The Augurs of Spring”, causes me to geek out beyond words. The opening, pounding chord just gets me every time. Call me weird, but the Rite really causes me to think instead of just going along with the piece. It is layered and complex. It’s not for everyone.
Listening to one song by another complex group of artists is enough to make my mom nervous. The group is The Bad Plus, and the song is called “Silence is the Question”. It was a favorite of my dad’s, and it is a favorite of mine. I’ll show it to you.
It’s a bit on the long side, but it’s worth every second. If it makes YOU nervous, feel free and give it a pass. I’ll love you just the same.
These pieces are like me because they are frenetic, all over the place, and don’t always make harmonic – or even rhythmic – sense. I make sense in some ways, but I definitely don’t have enough common sense, I’ll admit that straight off. I change my mind a lot and still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve been playing with the same energy that makes up these songs and myself, and have come up with what could be a musical self portrait. My strumming finger has been out of commission, so I haven’t been able to practice my ukes. I have taken to writing sheet music on my computer instead. Here’s what parts one through three sound like.
The title of Part One is Clusterf**k in C# major (pardon my French here) and it says so on the header of the score. It lives up to its name – two pianos bashing against each other rhythmically and melodically for nearly a minute. It’s in 5/4 and is as crazy as me.
If that’s not crazy enough, I switched things up just to be sadistic for Part Two and wrote in 7/4 with the same seven sharp key signature, my old friend C#. If you’re not musical, all you need to know is that I’m insane. If you are musical, you need no explaining. You already know. On top of that, there are very few parts of Part Two that actually make melodic sense. It’s kind of representative of my manic side.
Part Three is simple compared to the first two parts. 2/4, but same key signature and with a recorder this time. I like recorders. Recorders are nice. I want to see these parts played by someone who knows what they’re doing. I feel like a supervillain cackling in the wings. Or at least I will be.
I now need to write a fourth part that resembles my depressive side, or maybe two. I can see them being very slow and somber. I’m going to keep in C# for as long as I possibly can. I also think I’m going to cool it with the crazy odd time for these next sections. More villainy awaits!
Until next post,
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*Anchorage is about an hour away from where we live.