Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” —Haruki Murakami | Kafka on the Shore (via blogut)
Confession: I was talking to Da the other day about how it genuinely surprises me to find that people listen to what I have to say. I talk a great deal, put my words down on paper, virtual or actual. For the most part it’s me recording my thoughts and opinions down where I could come back to them because my memory occasionally flakes on me when I need it not to.
It’s never occured to me that people actually consider my opinions with some weight, or that they find truths applicable to themselves in them. At least, not outside of my direct circle of friends.
You see, the truth is, I don’t think of myself as anyone of any particular importance. I’m just me: a ball of occasional spaz and flail who sometimes gets a mite bit carried away with how strongly she feels about some things. Half the time I expect people to find me weird, lacking in any real concept of boundaries and personal space and having too many opinions on entirely everything (I know I sometimes do, it’s why I tend to go off on tangents).
Also, sometimes I worry people think I smile too much.
(I don’t know what it is with people having issues with people who smile too much, sometimes I think they find it unreal. Like there is so little to smile about in the world. IDK.)
I was a motivational speaker for two of MB’s classes yesterday. She’d asked me the day I joined her at the radio station if I would consider coming in to speak to her kids and when I asked what about, she said simply: “About your music, your passion and your journey towards it.”
I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant by that, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it.
Instead, I told her that while I couldn’t commit right away (work comes first after all) I would go and check to see if I could secure a night off and then I’d let her know if coming in would be doable.
A week later, I confirmed that I got the night off, sent MB a text that I was good to go for the 19th and went about sorting the logistics that would enable me to bring Rufio halfway across the city to my old university (not easy, haha ._. uguu thank you, Daddy for driving me and my lost boy to work the night before).
Standing in front of an audience is always nervewracking. I tend to care very much about how I am received by people (strangers, really) that when I panic about it to friends, I can only thank their patience in reminding me that there are people who love me and that if others don’t, that’s no fault of mine.
I have an intense fear that people won’t like me off the bat. I know that I’m not alone in this feeling, but it is a frustration of mine that I’ve yet to figure out how to do away with. As a performer, this is probably a thing I need to do away with, because when you put yourself out there in shows and offer all that you are, you need to have thick enough skin to handle the bad that comes with the good. You can’t expect everyone to like you — you can hope that they’ll give you a shot at sharing yourself with them, but for that, the most you can do is hope.
So anyway, I walk into that classroom, Rufio tucked under one arm and take one look at the forty-odd students that fill nearly all the seats.
It makes a girl feel small and really awkward to have all those eyes trained on you, and when you’re running on nothing but adrenaline and a breakfast of siopao from the local 7-11, you don’t exactly feel as shiny and composed as you would have wanted to be (I’d just come straight from a full evening shift after all and was just hoping that the make-up I’d put on my face would make me look moderately presentable).
I know that I said a flimsy-ish “Hi,” before I ducked my head, focusing on the table in the far-end of the room where I set Rufio down. And then I put my faith in MB, who explained to her class that she would be acting as a moderator for this whole thing.
So MB goes ahead and introduces me to her kids, and half the time I find myself wanting to make like an ostritch and plug my head in the sand because this girl sings my praises so highly the urge to run and flee is comparable only to how badly I want to live up to all of the things that she finds good in me.
How I managed to make it out alive on the other side of a little under two hours, I have no idea. I had loads of fun, that’s all that matters really.
The format of the “seminar” (dear lord, so official-sounding) thing was simple: I would talk about myself — as an alumni of the school (we went into a bit of storytelling about how I picked my school, my personal decision to shift courses when I realized that Business Management was going to be a total nightmare for a girl struggling with numbers), as an individual who is a member of the current working force, and finally, as an artist working to manage my passion — my music — while juggling real life. And then in-between discussions I’d treat them to music: originals and covers.
Music Therapy, MB called it. In all honesty? It was like being allowed to hold a live in a classroom. Very unorthodox.
We did our best to encourage dialogue with the kids. I tend to turn to these things I would like to call “wit” and “humor” when I’m attacked by stage fright because while conversation is easy, being handed the floor for a prolonged amount of time frightens me. I know what being in a class listening to an invited speaker is like and the last thing I wanted was to be the kind of speaker that didn’t hold their attention.
So, thank you Tumblr — you broke the ice for a moment there. The afternoon class only had about two or three with accounts, but the first class had half their number lifting their hands when I asked if they were on Tumblr (some even knew Dreamwidth and Livejournal, WELP). And also, thank you for music, because it was wonderful to realize that even with a five-year age gap (at the least) between me and these kids, my musical tastes were not too foreign to them.
I honestly wish my glasses weren’t broken or I’d had contact lenses to wear that day, because I couldn’t see all their faces as clearly as I would have wanted, but it was incredibly flooring to see firsthand (and find out by other means later on in the day) the impact I had to some of the kids.
I’m not an established name and sometimes, in this country, that’s what matters the most to some people — your credentials, how many awards you’ve won, because all these things speak to us of experience, which in turn speaks of authority.
I have none of those. Any entries I sent in to Metropop never made any of the qualifying rounds and contests as a whole terrify me because when you’re not the one picked to win, you wonder if you’re deluding yourself by calling yourself skilled or talented.
(I talked to them about that, about how opportunities missed shouldn’t be taken as a mark against yourself — because really, they aren’t. It may have just been that what you have to offer isn’t what the company or group was looking for. And moreover, that it was — and is — important to stay true to yourself and to stick to your guns, because if I had listened to all the people who had told me that to advance in the music world I should sell my songs for other, more established names to sing, then I probably wouldn’t be very happy with myself.)
The response of these kids mattered to me a great deal.
Like, for one, during the afternoon class, one girl in the fourth row ducked her head while I was singing “Sunrays and Saturdays” (and I cannot begin to smile over the fact that when I asked ‘Do any of you enjoy Vertical Horizon?’ one of the boys in the back row exclaimed an emphatic ‘Yes!’).
I asked the kids who lingered after that class if she was okay and what went down there and they just said that the song must have gotten to her. Recalling now how I paused in between the verse and the chorus to ask “Hey, are you okay?” (she nodded, I think, and then promptly swatted her male seatmate who I’d noted reacted at about the same time she did) I do hope she is since I distinctly recall that that verse was this one:
It’s not that we’re bad together / we’re just better off apart
I was seventeen once too, you know. Heartache over another is no small thing. But… yeah, anyway.
We dubbed the classes “Sound and Sense” (incidentally, this is the title I’d intended for a creative non-fiction piece that I’ve since shelved) and MB told the kids they could cite it in their CVs as part of their seminars attended. In hindsight, it works.
Sound covers not only music but talk; implies an exchange between individuals. Dialogue, or even just the act of listening.
Now, this next bit bears special mention because I’ve been trying to figure out how to work this into this entry. Truth be told, everytime I think on it I do get a bit choked up inside:
One of the girls from the morning session approached me right after MB had collected their reactions papers and gave everyone the go-signal that class was done. I remember that I caught her eye while singing my closing offering and I’d given her a smile because… well, it did catch me off-guard to find myself so observed, and when I get that way, I tend to resort to smiles to hide my nervousness.
It’s a world-shifting thing, to be told: “Thank you.” Two words. Which carry so much, because we can go and explain our feelings away and we’d just come back to those two to best express ourselves.
I was fixing up Rufio’s cord when Max (hurhurhur, yeah bb, if you are reading this, yeah I remember you) walked over to tell me that my rendition of “The Middle” had gotten to her and how she was a musician too but that she’d had to set her guitar aside to focus on other things, but that she just really wanted to say thank you for coming in to speak to the class and for sharing everything that I did with them.
I still have to go quiet when I think about our exchange and how it mirrored an overheard conversation in the washroom later that afternoon between one of the afternoon students and a friend of hers who wasn’t in the class.
(As someone who used to cry over overhearing girls make fun of who you are because they don’t know you’re in one of the stalls, hearing someone talk enthusiastically about how amazing it was to sit in the class was a huge boost to my otherwise failing self-esteem. Yeah, this is why staying up for nearly 24hours is something I would never recommend. My mind goes places I don’t want it to and that kind of messes with whatever bravado I’d managed to store up to boost myself with. Oh and Marsky, these two are your orgmates, I look forward to bothering them next month at the Art of Cosplay.)
We all try to hope that when we meet people, that we are able to leave something in them that makes them feel good about themselves. I know I do, and having the universe all but orchestrate for me to see that I do, that is a gift that I will always hold close to the chest.
And since I am bad at ending things like this, I’ll just end it with saying “Thank you.”
Thank you, MB, for inviting me over (yes, I know you are reading this I did say I would write about the experience). And thank you, to all the kids from MB’s 9:40 and 2:40 Thursday PERSEF classes. I don’t know all your names (I kind of wish I did tho; so if you read this, I did mean what I said, feel free to drop me a comment on DW or a message in my Ask), but I appreciate the warm reception I got from you and I do hope that you enjoyed my coming in to talk as much as I enjoyed sharing my stories with you.
So yeah. Now to copy this off Notepad and throw this up on Dreamwidth and Tumblr.
Have a great day, guys.
Just some thoughts about perspectives on intelligence in Sherlock. I get the feeling this will be a long post, so I’m going to stick it under a Read More so I don’t inflict it on all of you. Still, I think it might be interesting, so….
“Because there are so many Sally Bloody Donovans in the world. There are so many children who are so, so smart and so, so sensitive not being recognized, being told that they are brilliant so why are they getting Ds in their classes, being told that they are freaks or not good enough, who are being lectured by the Sally Donovans. So many who fall into drugs because they are so bloody bored they have no other outlet. So many who drive themselves into depression, into anxiety, into loneliness, because there is no one who will accept them.”
I read this earlier and I had to take time out to cry because… well, I guess because it was something I needed to read.
Reblogging this here because even if you’re not a fan of Sherlock, the subject matter in this post could be incredibly relevant to you. It’s an amazing read. And I think something that everyone should see.