IMG_3020in college i made a quilt for my boyfriend (first <3) on our first christmas together.  now that i think of it…our only christmas together.  we broke up about a year later.  he dated, got engaged to and broke up with another girl in the span of about 7 months after our break up and i was devastated.  soon after their demise we became friends again; i was still madly (stupidly) in love with him (the idea of our future together)(you know, the one where he reached his potential)(you know, the future that does not exist in reality).  the blanket i’d made him came up shortly thereafter and he got sheepish.  he finally told me he’d thrown it away.  not given it to someone.  not thrown it in a goodwill bag so someone could have been warmed by it, loved it even…nope.  he’d thrown it in a dumpster.  mind you, we did not break up on bad terms.  the truth of this reality hurt but i didn’t pay attention to GIANT red flag waving in my face.  i didn’t pay attention to the fact that something i’d made with care and given him with love was tossed out so easily, so carelessly, so meaningfully, so awfully.  the rest is history.  it obviously didn’t work out.  i thank the universe OFTEN that it did not work out.  i think of that blanket.  i wonder and hope that someone plucked it out of the dumpster, knowing that it held care and love and meaning.  i still hope someone has it and loves it.  part of me thinks it wasn’t in one piece going into the dumpster.

fast forward almost 17 years…to that date a couple weeks ago; the third one with a man.  the man with the hands…and the eyelashes.  i had offered to take him to the airport and he asked if i’d take him to BART instead.  “the airport is too hard…BART is easier…my mom cries every time she takes me to the airport.”  i agreed and picked him up at his apartment.  i walked into his open door and said “hi.”  he came walking out of his bedroom with a laptop bag in one hand and an old blanket in the other.  he walked toward me with his hand out stretched, an offering to me and said, “would you like to have this blanket?” (i get choked up just thinking about how sweet it was.)  i said “yes” and took it and as he turned away from me he said he’d had it since he was little.  i didn’t really give it much thought at that point.  we made our way to the car, chatted; he’d read the letter i wrote him the day prior (before our second date) and thanked me again.  “i really like what you wrote in that letter.”  he’s intense.  it’s awesome.  i drove, we talked, we were silent, i could feel his nerves.  instead of BART we arrived at his friends house where he needed to leave a bag of his stuff.  we hugged and i kissed him on the cheek.  like a real solid kiss and he did the same in return.  my light hair was caught in his black beard as he pulled away.  (it’s these kind of details that always get me…)  we parted ways.

i got in the car and cried.  then i’m thinking of that blanket and i started bawling.  with this man, i keep getting these “full circle” moments.  little puzzle pieces snap into place and i’m like, “oh!”  there is plenty of mystery and no definite “yes,” no definite “no” in our future…as is the way with the future.  it doesn’t exist yet.  but i’m living in the sweet, sweet little victoriously lovely universal moments in the present.  “you can trust your gut.”  “here’s a sentimental blanket in return for yours so rudely removed.”  “you want to say that?  here’s your opportunity.”  i keep asking the universe for more time with him.  neither my gut, nor the universe is answering the mystery of that request.

so, we’re texting while he’s at the airport that day and i say to him, “so before i treasure this blanket…it’s not like your roommates poop blanket (there was a story there…oof.) or some leftover ex-gfs, right?  you did say you’ve had it since you were little?”  “haha, yes.  i’ve had it for over twenty years.”  now…i’ve obviously done the math…because i am me.  he was younger than nine years old when he inherited (probably- look at how girly it is) this blanket.  this means even if i don’t know every move he’s made in that twenty year period, it’s moved with him at least five times.  do i have this mans woobie?  this has to be significant, right?  i’m choosing to believe it is.  no matter the significance to him or the outcome here, i will treasure that blanket…in my heart, always.

thank you universe.  thank you job.

signing off from snuggle central…

m.

alice

I feel you, girl…

I’m not a disciplined writer. I am magically given beautiful little lines on the fly: in my car while listening to music, in the bathtub, while watching a documentary… I always write them down, those lines. I will jump out of the shower, wipe off my hands on a towel and type them into my notes app. I will turn on my bedroom light after I’ve been lying in the dark for an hour trying to sleep and write them on any scrap of paper in my room. This is a lie. (Why lie now, you say? Well, it made for a more interesting follow up than just saying I grabbed my phone again. There is something so unromantic about writing poetry into a gadget…) There are no “scraps” of paper in my room. I am obsessive about being tidy. I cannot work, I cannot write, I cannot relax in an untidy atmosphere. For a while I thought this was an excuse for not being a disciplined writer. Like I will avoid sitting down at my computer if there are dishes in the sink, folded laundry on the stairs, my bed is unmade from earlier…all these little things add up and then I have put off my writing for an entire day. But I’ve learned I just have to do those things, get them out of the way so that I can clear my untidy artist brain and get to the goods. Because the thing about the beautiful lines is that I must write something around them. I have to dig for other words, other metaphors, other truth, other poetry that is hidden deep somewhere inside.  The mysterious and creative apparitions are awesome, but then I have to do the work. I really haven’t done any lately.

And my head is particularly messy right now. I think I have songs writing themselves in my sleep. But during the day that shit is locked down! I go on one good date and I am a fucking case.*  Hands that have touched my body hundreds of times in a clinical way are now sitting comfortably, casually on a table between us. It is a revelation. They are the hands of a man; like a real life grown up man. They are strong (I know from experience), they are big and they have perfectly trimmed fingernails. I keep getting flashes of them a week and a half later. I’m sort of obsessed with hands. I always have been. So I’m staring at these hands and I realize I gotta pull my shit together. “He’s talking Megan! Fucking listen!” So I look up and focus and “oh my god…eyelashes… seriously? GET IT TOGETHER, you dick!”

The thing about hands now, is that mine must remain open. I absolutely must let him slip through my fingers, not that he’d let me hold onto him now anyway. But I could try, I could white knuckle the shit out of him.  But white knuckles are not nearly as beautiful as open hands. Straining is never as sexy as surrender. (I just “mmm”ed out loud as that line fell out of my brain onto my keyboard.) It’s too true. Besides, I’ve got work to finish. Not just any work…my EP. What I always call my “little album” lest people assume I am thinking it’s a masterpiece. It’s not my masterpiece. I actually hate most of it right now.  It’s a start. I’m hoping it’s a start anyway. More doing, more paving… He’s off to do and pave too. He’s smart and adventurous, thoughtful, funny and honest…and absolutely not ready for me. This truth sucks. The suckier truth? I am not ready for him. I have work to do. “Playing it by ear” blows, but it’s more honest than a promise. Not that he’d make one. The jury is out… its either bad timing or not meant to be. I know which one I’m hoping for.  Oh, I am a hopeful little creature.

So this is me being disciplined about writing today. I needed to get this mess out to mine the depths. This is a pretty intimate blog post, no? It feels intimate. Too intimate! Writing songs should be intimate though, I think. My favorite art is always either very strong or very vulnerable.  Sometimes those are the same thing.  Often.  It’s strange and embarrassing to write things down that feel this vulnerable: to allow anyone the chance to critique them or try to unravel the mystery of them, to add their perspective. I guess there is always a bit of mystery that remains. Most people will not know about whom I am writing in my songs. They will hear my voice but it will be a mixture of poetry and truth. I say “they” as though there will be listeners. Please God, say there will be listeners to critique and wonder and speculate!  Ha!

Holmes: “Poetry or truth?”

Lestrade: “There are many who would say they are the same thing?”

Holmes: “Yes, idiots.”

Yes, idiots.  Sometimes I do get a little confused…

m.

* I crushed on him pretty hard for over a year. He dated and liked, maybe loved and hoped for other girl(s) during this time…just so you have all the facts.  I don’t want to be dishonest about his care/concern/value of me.

Going Home (my losing essay for the Real Simple Life Lessons Contest) :)

In 1998 I started college as a music major and four years later I graduated with a BA in a different major study that landed me absolutely nowhere I wanted to be.  I had sung all my life.  If I needed to memorize something, anything, my mom would set it to music.  I knew every song on the radio and took requests in the car.  Melody had always been my second nature.  After my first music theory class however, I changed my tune and decided to take the easy route.  I told my mom I was nervous about music “changing for me,” that it was something I loved so dearly and couldn’t imagine it being “ruined” by rules and regulations, so I switched to an easier major.  I had a boyfriend in a band at the time and, embarrassingly enough, I figured he’d have this massive rock career and I’d be the Lucy to his Desi.  I would get into the show any way that I could!  I cringe every time I think about it.  Why do it for myself when I can get someone else to do it for me?  Immaturity at its finest.  I still sang at church.  I went to every live show I could.  I made a study of band members; how they moved and communicated with each other and with the audience.  I longed to be on stage; to share in the spotlight and sweat.  I never felt as at home with myself or in my soul as I did when I was listening to or participating in live music.  

Eight years later, firmly planted as a catering manager in Northern California I was still longing for something I’d given up.  I continued going to shows and watched videos non-stop; still dreamed of being a singer and writer.  I decided I needed a change and had some friends invite me to live with them in London for a few months to get a new perspective.  So I gave up what I knew of stability and moved with a suitcase full of belongings for an indefinite period of time.  It was my “Sabrina” moment!  I was so scared when I first arrived; really unsure if I wanted to stay or just scurry home.  I found myself waiting for hours in the morning after getting ready, blogging and generally keeping busy in the flat so I didn’t have to face to the world outside.  Then one day I made a plan and took a wander with my tube map and A-Z and from then on everything changed.  I worked in a little cafe a couple times and went to drinks with my co-workers in cozy pubs.  I wandered museums, independent photo exhibits and Maida Vale (Bjork lived there!).  I went to concerts and in-store performances by myself and with friends.  One of my new friends, Josie, sang a lot in little clubs and I would go listen to her and was inspired by her confidence.  After an almost violated visa situation I found myself in California once again with a renewed passion for performing music.  With the confidence I gained from traveling alone and the evolution I went through allowing myself to dream and listen to my inner workings for three months, I came home and asked a musician friend if he would accompany me at a local coffee shop. 

We got a slow start at the end of 2010 and then I backed off for about a year.  It’s strange how clear things can be, then routine and money worries drown out your inner voice.  2011 brought renewed energy and confidence and for a year now my music partner and I have been playing open mics, won second place in a local talent competition and started being paid for gigs at restaurants and weddings.  It may not be super stardom, but I am getting paid for what I love!  I was given a gig bag and a microphone for my birthday this year by pals who come to hear me sing and a guitar by a new friend.  I had been fighting learning an instrument for years and I finally had the thought, “I just have to do it!”  This way I can go it alone and play wherever and whenever I want.  I posted a message on Facebook about needing a guitar, with an intuitive ‘greatness-will-come-of this’ feeling and a girl I barely knew gave me her guitar and texted me later saying, “Now that I think about it, that guitar has ALWAYS belonged to you.”  I’m learning to play now all these years later.  It’s not always easy.  I have given up my autonomy for the time being to cook and clean for my mother as rent.  It’s Feist that said, “It may be years until the day my dreams will match up with my pay,” and maybe they won’t.  It doesn’t seem to matter as much when you’re doing what you love.

Only time will tell if I’ve wasted all these years or if the time spent was necessary to grow and learn to have something important and relevant to say through my music.  I have regretted my choice to give up on my music major, but music has still become the driving force of my life.  I believe, even if you make a wrong turn, you’ll end up where you’re destined to be.  All I know now is I’m on my way home.