On Songwriting

Hello, friends!

I’ve tasked a student of mine with creating a notebook full of ideas that could become seeds of poems. I am starting my notebook today, and the first line I want to stock it with is from the Owl City song “Dreams & Disasters”:

“Think of the sun and the sound of it risin'”.

Owl City, “Dreams and Disasters”

I like this line because the sun doesn’t make a sound as it rises, of course, but it captures instead a different feeling. I tend to like lyrics and lines much like this one that aren’t literal, but instead relate back to mythology, the Bible, and the fanciful. Oftentimes I find those more clever and meaningful. I like the way those phrases can turn.

After I listen to a song a lot or read too much of a certain author, I start to imitate their writing style. I was listening to “You Make Me Smile” by Blue October (below)


when this spilled out:

“Something As Soft”

This is “Something As Soft”, and you might recognize some similarities to “You Make Me Smile” in lyrics and tone. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. It was not a single listen that caused this to spill out, I listened to it maybe 20 times over the course of writing the lyrics.

I have wanted to write an album around this song and others that I recorded that night, but I think I’m afraid to start. I wonder if my sad or even sad-ish songs help people, and that is what has stopped me from recording this type of thing in earnest. I think it’s one of those things where I was told enough times that they didn’t help that I decided to believe the naysayers. I was also annoyed that they didn’t make people get up and dance like I wanted them to and instead made them sleep and relax. I wanted to change my sound and in the process killed it.

I want to record an album again. I want to be able to write an album that sounds like me in the way that Mago did. I get the feeling that it will be raw, but full of joy this time. If this happens, it will have plenty of weird chords and time signatures. I had a producer once record a tiny album with me and we talked about sounding like Radiohead and he said that at some point people might be wondering if Thom Yorke was writing my lyrics. I want to fall somewhere between Hozier and Radiohead, one instrument at a time.

More later, y’all!

Mago

PS., here’s a Gratitude List:

  1. My instruments
  2. My husband
  3. Alaska
  4. COFFEE
  5. Good food in the fridge
  6. That I have a lesson today
  7. Grocery sacks so that I can carry all the groceries in in ONE TRIP
  8. Friends who care
  9. That it’s my birthday week
  10. Rain that makes Alaska green
Advertisements

On Productivity

Hello, friends!

I hopped on the scale and apparently I have lost 9 pounds in about a week! That’s more than a little crazy to me, but according to everyone I have spoken to, that’s just water weight and should come off fairly easily.

I’ve had people rag on me for my weight, with some even going as far as to say that in order for me to love myself, I must lose weight. That comment makes no sense. I mean, that can help, but that’s not everything there is to it! I started on the journey towards loving myself long before I decided to lose weight AND hated myself even when I was thin. I’ve gotten a lot of conflicting messages about weight and appearance, both from media of all kinds, from the people around me, and even from myself. I used to be deathly afraid of having a double chin, and look what happened! I have one now. Do I hate myself for it? It’s kind of a nuisance, but no! It’s part of what I look like right now. Am I working to change that? Yes. This is not something to hate myself over.

My double chin.

The message I have gotten over the years (as evidenced by my fear of having a double chin) is that being fat makes me worth less than a skinny human and as such should be avoided at all costs, even if it means depriving oneself for extended periods of time. Not okay. I went through a lot of shame before realizing that there’s more to one’s worth than how much they weigh, how closely they follow time honored traditions, or how much they live up to others’ expectations. I am loved constantly and consistently.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the same ideas go for being productive, as well. If you aren’t accomplishing X amount of things during the day/week/month, you’re a failure. This pressure to constantly be doing something can lead to burnout, at least according to this awesome Buzzfeed News article. It specifically talks about millennials, but I think that anyone can suffer from burnout.

It makes some interesting points about how millennials were told from a young age that if they go to college and get a good job, they’ll have it made like the generations before them. But financial disaster struck, rendering their hard work somewhat useless. Being told to work, work, work their whole lives, they overwork themselves in this environment that is different from what they were promised in their childhood. This leads to a culture wherein many burn out and crave more than the hand they were dealt.

I’ve seen this come true with my husband more than for me. Both of us were born at the oft-reorganized tail end of the millennial generation, with him born in 1996 and me in 1997. I don’t want to be lumped in with those who eat Tide Pods, so I tend to call myself a millennial. He has worked very, VERY hard for the things he has accomplished, even going past burnout. He never went to college, and has gained a ton of wisdom and knowledge through work and life experience alone. He’s a hard worker, no matter how much he hates the job or how difficult it gets. It’s what he does. He is the most determined, productive individual I have ever met.

I, however, am just getting started on my adulthood journey and I find it difficult to stay committed to things when the going gets rough. The exception to this is my husband. I am determined to stick with him to the end, no matter how hard it gets or how much we annoy the crap out of each other. He is the biggest help on the adulting journey and he constantly pushes me to do better. One of the things he said to me yesterday was that my best is not what I am doing. I challenged that, saying that he could not determine my best since he isn’t me. He then gave examples, giving evidence that he had pushed me and I had done better than I had done before.

My clean kitchen!

At the same time, is it imperative that we are productive and improving all the time? I see posts on self care, but many of the items described involve distracting oneself, which I find does not help me. I find that the best thing I can do for my mental health when I am sad is to actually get up and do things. As described in my post Wholesome, I find that smashing my daily to-do list gives me more satisfaction than actually taking an off day. I wonder how to fill the time when it’s not structured, and rattling around in the empty time often leads to extra stress and sadness that should not have been there. But then there come the times when I just…can’t do anything.

A lot of times recently have been because of nausea and cramps (I appear to be in that time again) that make it difficult to even move and I’m not able to achieve my fitness goal for that day. Other times I’m just feeling sad and the work doesn’t help at all. Then there are the times where my mind throws such a hissy fit that it’s difficult to even move. Those are the times when I think it’s important for me to take a break – when nothing else will help and both my body and mind need a rest. It’s important to push myself and push myself hard, sometimes past the point where I feel I will break (I get past this most of the time), but it’s important to also stop and rest when I need to. If the stomach pain gets bad enough, my husband makes me draw a bath and sit in it until I feel better. And it helps. Sometimes I need someone else to get me to chill the heck out, listen, or redirect.

Today’s to do list in the process of being smashed.

I believe that my need to accomplish things comes from having far too much time on my hands rather than too little. As with the weight loss, I’ve been taking steps to fill my time and improve. Too much is too much, though. I need to be careful not to actually break myself, like I need to be careful to not undereat or hurt myself exercising. I have a tendency to get overzealous and do too much at once if I get passionate about something, never to pick it up again. Because of my struggle with moderation, I also think it’s important to remember that I am not a failure if I don’t accomplish much one day. There’s a next day so long as I’m alive. There’s never a need for shame and rarely a need for guilt so long as I – we – are improving.

With that, I leave y’all.

Love,

-Mago

Blog post and gratitude list = SMASHED

OH, QUICK, 10 THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR:

  1. Beautiful Alaskan weather.
  2. Finally feeling motivated today.
  3. Friends who accept me.
  4. That I’m successfully losing weight.
  5. That I’m not melting in Texas right now.
  6. My wonderful husband.
  7. The way the air smells here.
  8. Remembering to do things on my list.
  9. That I’m able to get up and move around today.
  10. That ice cream exists. (what?? I’m not eating ice cream today???)

Like this content?? Smash that like button like I’m smashing these lists and sign up for my email list!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

Did this help you? If so, buy me a coffee here and keep the posts rolling!

A Seat At the Table

I don’t know if I have exhausted the topic of happiness. I was doing some reading on writer’s block and the author thought it came down to fear – being afraid to write something and pushing through the fear, breaking it down.

I know I’m afraid of a few things. But in that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a dream I had last night.

In this dream, I knew myself and knew how much I was worth as a human being. It was simple and profound as I saw all of the roads that opened up to me because of it. I was worth more than to just be a memory. I was worthy to be given a chance, to be heard, to be cherished and loved. In that dream, I didn’t see myself as a burden. I didn’t see myself as unlovable, I didn’t see myself as unworthy of…anything. I had a shot equal to anyone else to get what I wanted. I was not guaranteed what I desired, but the universe dealt me a fair hand. I was not worth more than other human beings, but I was not worth less. I was given a seat at the table, and I made my voice heard.

I had power. I wrote a few lines this morning:


I still do have this power. I am not made less because of how I see myself. I have an equal opportunity to receive happiness. It was an incredibly enlightening dream.

Fear holds me back a lot. All of this got started because I don’t often believe I have a chance to win any contests or be heard by anyone with a large social reach. I don’t quite see myself as likely or able to get that chance. Then something clicked
in my brain and I had the thought of, and pardon my French, “fuck it, I have a chance, as good as anyone’s. Let’s do it” as I was contemplating writing to someone about my music. So I did it, then had that dream.

I have heard a phrase over and over again that’s just now getting stuck in my head –

“What you seek is also seeking you.”
I’m not sure who said that, but I know it is real based off of what I have been seeing in my life as of late. I know nothing can come from nothing, so there must be something good about what I’m doing and I should honor that.


I wrote this a few nights ago as I was falling asleep. We are made of starstuff, as I believe Carl Sagan put it.  I believe it.

So it seems that the spot at the table is still open. It is up to me – and to you – to take it.

And to the person wondering what they are worth –

You, too are offered a seat at the table. Your worth is infinite. You have a voice. You have a heart that is special and your desires are valid. Speak up. You are loved. I want to hear what you have to say. Who knows who else you can touch with your words and your actions! You are also a star.

And to you, dear star, I say – shine.


Love,

Meg

Like what you see? Buy me a coffee and keep the good times rolling!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Hello, fine readers!

If I’m honest, I’m dealing with what I think are the beginnings of burnout. I haven’t been spending hours of each day posting on B and B. I haven’t spent tons of time promoting it, either. Most of the time I’ve been spending has been at work or with my husband. I wonder if it’s because I have more things going on than normal and I am stressed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit the blog – it just means I’m going to have to manage my time better.

Devoting an hour out of my day normally for this is easy. But with my husband around, I want to spend more time with him because I go to work in the afternoons. So it’s getting more difficult to me to budget time for everything. As a result, my desire to write has taken a nosedive.

Am I going to quit?? No. I have goals to achieve, people to meet, lives to touch. My words need to be here, I’m sure of it. B and B is a piece of my heart. Perhaps the posts on the weekends will be shorter and I’ll write more on my “longer” days.

I’m still trying to figure out how to be consistent and not quit when things get hard or when I “don’t have time”. If it’s important to me, I will make time. And B and B is incredibly important to me.

I think my marriage has been teaching me a lot about that. I am consistently becoming a better person because of my husband (and a bit more foul mouthed) because he both inspires me and pushes me. Sometimes I have moments where the gushy feeling subsides and I wonder where it went, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped loving him. At that point, it becomes less of a thing that is felt and more of a choice to be made. And I choose him. He chooses me. He teaches me to be consistent. One of my favorite things he says to me is “If you’re gonna do something, do it right”. I think about that at work a lot and while doing chores. It reminds me to not cut corners. But it can also be applied to marriage – and blogging, for that matter. I hope I can use it in everything, because I’m a person who slacks on everything except for the things that immediately interest me and are easy. And once those things stop interesting me or they get hard, I quit them. Or if I feel like I’m falling into a manic phase, I kill my interest in them.

I’m learning that that’s not okay. I will always be devoted to my marriage, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult at times. I’m learning to be part of a team instead of just looking out for myself. I love him, but he teaches me how to love better. He shows me love even when I don’t deserve it. I want to be more like him, and I beat myself up for not being on his level. He stops me from doing so.

Beautiful things are difficult to obtain. I can’t take credit for this phrase, some Greek person made it up. But the meaning stands. Good things are worth fighting for, and at times must be fought for. And I will continue to fight for my beautiful things.

I love my husband. I love this blog. I love you.

Until next post,

Meg

Home

Hello, esteem’d readers!

It is colder than cold outside, so my friend and I spent a long time yesterday building bolo ties out of shells and coral.

This was a true adventure – the Gorilla Glue did not want to hold, so we ended up having to hot glue most of them together after about two hours of wrestling with them. It’s odd. Some materials have better luck with Gorilla or Superglue. Others need to be hot glued. It’s a learning process..

But at the same time, my bolo tie hero, the owner of the Etsy shop Sweet Tea Salvage, followed me on Instagram. I am so happy. She is sweet!

About today:

I’ll be honest, it has been hard. I deal with a lot of depression at times, and today it’s been difficult. I feel pressure a lot to spin it into a happy ending or make there be a point or moral to my experience.

Sometimes there isn’t, sometimes there is, and today is just sitting here. My husband and I went out and I got very sad and didn’t want to move once we got into the car.

It sucks. It sucks badly, and I find myself beating myself up over things long after they have resolved. My husband usually gets over things quickly and doesn’t make a fuss after he has, but I lock onto mistakes I have made for a long time until I feel like a total failure. So he made me laugh this morning by making me punch myself (softly, with sound effects) saying that that was a simulation of me beating myself up. He makes me laugh and sometimes frustrates me, and I love him.

Alaska and my husband feel like home, but I feel a profound yearning for another piece of home, for lack of a better word. I am not one to love myself, and I know that if I find comfort and shelter in my own turbulent mind, I can better make it through the hard times. I think the dysphoria set me off, clued me in that something was missing, and gave me marching orders to find it. I still haven’t found it, but I feel closer to it when I feel good about how I look or I help another person or my emotions and identity are validated. I look in the mirror and feel confident about my appearance. That’s something rare. I feel alive and free to grow. I value that.

Two more good things that happened today:

I got my stegosaurus bolo in today!! I didn’t make it myself, but it is handmade by LobeArtMart on Etsy. Here’s a picture, featuring my goofy face:

I spoke to a friend far away who also wants a bolo! I hadn’t heard from them in awhile and had missed them.

I’m building my home, piece by piece. Thank you for spending time with me!

Rebel, Rebel, you’re worth your Salt!

I’m sitting in a Wendy’s parking lot waiting for the restaurant to open so that I can speak to the manager.

Don’t get the wrong idea, this place is great. I’m not upset with anyone! I’ve come here to work with him on some paperwork so that I can begin working there! I’m really excited.

As I was driving here (Driving?? Me?? In Alaskan weather?? Nooooo), I was listening to David Bowie. One of the songs that came on was “Rebel Rebel”. I found that even though I’ve heard that song a zillion times, I related to it more than usual. The Rebel figure seemed to be doing more than just rebelling – they were being themselves, and Bowie’s character was attracted to them for it. Not everyone understood the Rebel, but what sticks out to me is that those that did loved them for it.

I also listened to it when I was getting ready for this journey, and I envisioned myself as the subject of a movie. “Rebel Rebel” played in the background as I got all my stuff together, and it had an 80s movie text overlay that read “Alaska, 2019”. Call me weird, but stuff like this in my brain makes me happy.

Another song that I relate to is “Salt” by Bad Suns. It speaks to me of confusion with identity and not feeling at home in one’s own skin. I understand that. It doesn’t lend the same movie opening feel or positive feeling/ending, but it’s something I think people can relate to. Empathy is one of the biggest tools to have, in my opinion, and writing songs that connect with people is a powerful thing.

I am grateful for friends who listen, something more powerful than a song. I spoke at length with my friend Wally this morning, and he listened. He didn’t claim to have the answers, he was just there for me. It was affirming and validating and was another reminder that I’m not alone in this.

Well, I just went into a Chevron to pick up cold caffeine while I wait and I saw people staring at my bolo tie. I don’t know if they thought I was strange, but I’m going to keep it on. Those who enjoy it will enjoy it.

Friends, the time is now for us to part. Thank you for reading!