The sun was shining…

…and I woke up this morning, late-ish (around 9:30am) with no hangover.

The reason why that’s a miracle is because I spent the night before drinking with my housemates, one housing manager and a potential new housemate before finally passing out at midnight (I know, what a rebel).

I went into the kitchen and put the kettle on. This seems normal but I know that throughout the day I will put the kettle on roughly 10 times in an effort to remind my body that it still needs to function and do things. Of course, I never do make myself a cup of coffee.

I am very depressed at the moment, you see.

My friend crashed in the spare room and he arrives back from the gym as I’m getting dressed. I then proceed to clean the kitchen. As I clean I’m reminded of “Invisible Women” where data tells us that women do 75% of unpaid work, being that looking after children, caregiving and cleaning. It does not improve my mood as I scrub the sides down and load the dishwasher. I live with six men (save for one woman that I never see and certainly never cleans) so it feels a bit like everything’s against me the minute I step outside my room.

My friend hears my woes about my current situation and helps clean the kitchen before he leaves. I am unemployed and I describe to him that trying to find another job is like wading through a swamp. I feel like slimey creatures are clutching at my ankles and weighing me down and my chest is full of sand. He completely understands and yet of course, doesn’t want to fall down in that pit with me so he changes the subject. This is the norm for most people. I am predominantly surrounded by males in my living life so I’m accustomed to their inability to sit with pain that they can’t fix straight away.

He leaves and I start to cry on our sofa in the hall. No noise. Just silent tears. I am staring at two dirty glasses on the table and I’m sad I missed them when I cleaned the kitchen and I want to get up and put them in the dishwasher but I can’t move.

My body doesn’t want to move. I’m aware I need to send my CV to people who can help me grab a job until I find something more stable. I’m aware that many people have offered suggestions and help for my situation. I’m aware there are options. I’m aware that I’m aware of how I’m feeling and that it is a phase. I’m aware of my awareness and still I am aware that I’m seriously pissed off that I’m in IT anyway and because of that, my body does not want to move off the sofa and do things.

Whenever I am feeling shaken, down, depressed or upset I always repeat one of my favourite quotes, “Action is the antidote to despair” – Joan Baez. I repeat this as I put a load of washing on. Actually it finished hours ago and I’ve yet to hang it up. I repeat it as I hoover my room. I repeat it as I make breakfast and eat food I don’t want to eat because eating food reminds me that having no money coming in makes eating harder to do.

I am in THAT PHASE that not many people know they’re in when they’re in it but feel fucking terrible and can’t explain why. I have temporarily lost my will to function doing things I liked to do. I haven’t picked up my guitar in two weeks. I am literally having to drag songs out from under my belly to still write a song-a-day. I don’t even sing around the house. I am a mute bird. You know what they say, “If the bird ain’t happy, the bird don’t sing” – Billie Holliday.

I’ll be honest, doing the job I did for a year was not easy. My employer was cruel, calculating and an outright, capitalist misogynist. I literally stuck at it because working for a private club run by internalised misogynistic women felt worse when in reality, both sucked immensely. There’s nothing worse than entering a workplace where you know your rights and your worth and everyone around is stripping that from you because they basically hate themselves.

I only do one job at the moment and it’s sweeping an alleyway in Putney once a week.

I pick up trash and brush cigarette butts to the end of the alleyway. Then I slosh the edges of the alleyway in super strong bleach and sweep up human shit and urine (there are five homeless people sleeping in the alleyway when I’m not cleaning it). I don’t have to clean up the space that they use as a toilet and I was advised to leave their spot for them to clean but I looked at the spot where the guys had defecated and I thought of my mother. Over a year ago she messaged me saying she was sleeping in a park with her dog. I stood in the alleyway looking at this mess thinking of her and where she went to the toilet and I said to my boss (who knows about my home life) ” I really hope my mother isn’t doing this”.

Anyway, that job got me thinking about past jobs and past experiences.

When you’re hired to clean an alleyway, that’s exactly what you do. You go there, put on a mask, sweep and you’re done. There’s no back clapping (having to kiss someone’s ass). No hidden agenda. You’re just there to do a job. I also do other handy-person type jobs which I love. I fix washing machines. I help install fire alarms. I paint huge studios. I was saying to my friend this morning, “No wonder men do all these physical jobs. You never have to think about your feelings when you’re doing them”. He added that not only that but after a day of it you can look at your work and feel a real sense of achievement because you can see the results of your physical labour. It’s quite intoxicating.

When I think about music it feels like an endless emotional fuck pie of, “What if?”. That’s why I learned to love recording in studios. I would shut myself off with the producer and make magic. The shit part is when you finish and suddenly you feel you’ve got to make everyone like it for it to be a wonderful piece of art. I don’t even gig enough to push my record out and it’s because I just don’t like gigging in London that much. Underpaid, badly marketed,  too much work and not a lot of outcome. Then you’re chastised for not doing it for the love of music.

Oh, I love what I do, I just know my worth too and my worth isn’t cheap. I’m not clamouring onto a conveyer belt with the rest of the wannabes in this city so I can get 30 minutes on stage and a free beer. I do music when I want to do it. Not when it’s expected. It’s also become apparent that the UK audience especially just…don’t like vocal women. In fact, I’d go as far as to say; The UK doesn’t like women.

We’re not alone though. Clearly the USA don’t like women either and ironically both countries have an extremely strange obsession with celebrities, the elitist lifestyle and narcissistic tendencies when operating social media whilst also teaching women that they don’t have the same rights as men. We’re taught daily to measure ourselves up to what feels like the impossible and it’s impossible because it actually isn’t real. Then we’re taught that like the Emperor’s New Clothes it is merely a veil to throw up so we don’t pursue things that actually matter yet we buy into it anyway because everyone else is and to be different means to isolate yourself. Knowing how much you’re worth to yourself throws a spanner in the works of the systemic construct in society that tells you that you need others to validate you. To consider your worth first is the ink mark on the table cloth that everyone works hard to ignore.

In a job, any job, you’re having to compromise every day. “Well, you’ve got to compromise to get what you want”. If you’re a creative reading this I KNOW you’ve had that line said to you a number of times which we all know means, “You have to put up with bullying, abuse, shit pay and all sorts of unexpected pain to get what you want”.

Is it really worth it?

I recorded both my records by working odd jobs and busking. I pushed my face into the ground to get the money. What I’ve learned is that I suffered greatly in the long term by doing it this way. The busking community is neither compassionate or productive. It is dog-eat-dog no matter how many exchanges the buskers may have on social media about each others boundless talent. Everyone is out there to mark their territory and take gold each day (literally). No time is made to make real connections or real friendships when you’re treated as competition. As a side note, I have to say that music isn’t competition for me. No one can do what I do and I can’t do what others do, thus making competition futile. If it’s competition to you, go and do a real contest. X Factor still exists for such people. I compromised and dealt with stalkers, buskers not talking to me and people assaulting me for the records and rent and it bit back at me hard. Am I grateful for the experience? Fuck yeah, I am. I’ve come out wiser, stronger and smarter.

Compromise is a term that’s been popularised for people who actually don’t have to compromise a damn thing. If you’re getting what you want and neglecting others, you’re doing it out of Threat. You are doing it to bring those around you to their knees because to you, the view looks better from up there and no one can over throw you. That’s your fear driving that. If you’re compromising and receiving nothing soothing or kind, you are killing yourself unnecessarily.

Compromise is actually an action born out of compassionate thought.

The ability to see situations from both parties and initiate a dialogue that allows the freedom and safe space needed to reach an actual compromise.

I know what some people will say, “Well, sometimes you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do in order to get what you want”. True, there is that.  That’s when compromise is an action out of self-preservation. We take the job with the abusive boss because we need rent money, because we’ve having a baby, because your parent is sick and you need the extra cash. However, that “compromise” negates to look after one’s self thus taking away your drive and personal identity and forcing them to change in a way that isn’t always healthy and in other times, downright destructive. Suddenly it’s not self-preservation, it becomes a Threat in disguise.

Here’s the honest truth. Most people we meet do not have their shit sorted out. They have issues (we all do). We’re all shattered pieces frantically trying to keep up with what society tells us to do and because we don’t sort it out by a certain timeline (by some mystical fucking overlord who no ones sees but everyone seems to obey), we sort our shit out on other people. When we neglect our needs we neglect the very fabric that holds us together to perform the tasks we actually enjoy – like making a bloody cup of coffee.

We sink.

Do I feel like a failure because I haven’t done my Songs For June for my mailing list? That I can’t afford the guitar I’ve been trying to buy since January? That I have no savings? That I can’t afford to record new songs? Absolutely. Of course I do. Yet a big part of me knows my body and mind will only serve me and the people around me fully when I’m feeling wholesome which I currently don’t feel. How do I compromise? Well, I write a blog and tell you the truth on how I’m feeling. On how a LOT of us feel every day and the best part about sharing this is that I’m not unique. This is not a lone thought. It becomes everybody else’s. It becomes alchemy.

I think for too long we’ve taken the word “compromise” and made it into a weapon used against the weakest (those with less money, power and status) so that the few who are rich, connected and selfish, stay benefitted. They will never share by the way. Aligning yourself with such people. Back-clapping. Kissing arse. It won’t get you anywhere near their pedestal because people like that don’t get there by sharing. Their system works on Threat. There’s no room for anyone else because to them, they are it.

Knowing your worth is the key to smashing those systemic systems that drive our ability to work smarter into the ground. By working smarter, I mean we work towards a system that benefits all and not the few and that begins with ourselves.

You and I are not responsible for the people out there working their shit out on us but we are wholly responsible for us being able to see through it and avoid those toxic episodes that only serve to weaken us and strengthen them.

So, tomorrow. I go and sweep the alley way. The weather is hot so I’m certain it will stink and I’m prepared. My compromise is out of compassion. For myself and those clients sleeping rough. I’ll find a job to tide me over until I find my feet yet I know I’ll tread carefully and I’ll ask myself who it’s benefitting the most if such an opportunity arises.

It it only benefits one person, I’m out.

 

Emily Lee

 

 

 

 

 

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Importance of Being

8E011019-22E7-4F72-A002-A321B2ADBF8B.jpeg*TRIGGER WARNING*

Whereas the following content has been written to further recognise the importance of its chosen subject this blog post contains the subject of physical and mental health and may affect some people who read it. 

 

 

 

Does anyone else worry about their health?

I sure do. I mean, I don’t live the most crazy lifestyle but I still worry about whether I eat well enough, whether I’m eating right, whether I’m treating my body right. Whether I’m treating my mind right. Yet I also worry about what people think of my body and I worry about what think of my body. I just want to keep going with my mind and body and as I’ve gotten to thirty-two years of age, I think about it more and more.

I had a health scare last year at around November time. I went for a smear and they found “abnormal cells” on my cervix and further testing revealed that I had an HPV infection that required a procedure called LLETZ treatment. This requires a doctor getting a white hot looping device, putting it up my genitals and burning off the “infection” as much as they can.

Now, if you’re reading this and you’re feeling queasy that’s ok. We don’t like to talk about our health however there’s a reason why I’m sharing this.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a viral infection. It is NOT the same as HIV and HSV. There are 100 varieties of HPV that pass through with skin-on-skin contact –  40 of which are passed through sexual activity. HPV is present in pretty much everyone on the planet. It manifests as moles and warts (fingers, gental and cold sores, throat). For example, when I was in primary school I got numerous warts springing up on my hands, probably around thirteen in total. They disappeared when I went on holiday and swam in the sea. I was probably also less stressed on holiday (home was not a great place to be). So you see, I have a strain of HPV.

HPV is incredibly common. 79 million Americans have an infection of some kind and 14 million people get infected with it every year. Eighty percent of people who are sexually active are infected with HPV but most people have no idea they’re carrying it.

Women are given a smear test to check if HPV or anything else is manifesting in the cervix. Sometimes HPV is detected, a sample is taken and it clears up on it’s own but other times it can remain and has to be removed by the doctor. Men have no formal test for it. Men can carry it and have no symptoms at all unless that particular strain of HPV leads to genital warts or warts in the throat.

Anyway, it’s very common.

My HPV infection didn’t go away and had to be operated on. They didn’t explain what the operation would be like exactly until I was in the room..which of course by then it’s not something you can walk out on. I was bordering on cancerous cells (which is what my HPV had transitioned to) so I had to have it done.

The reason I’m writing about it is because finding out the news and having the procedure has been the most traumatising experience of my life. When I found out the news I had no idea what it meant. Did it mean I was contagious? Was I spreading cancer to my partner? Would they be able to remove it all? How bad was it going to hurt?

I had one friend in Australia who has had the same procedure and granted, she was frank and said, “It’s awful and you will find it horrible for a few weeks but it’s worth it to not get cancer”, yet what I truly did not have was a woman in my presence who took time to sit with me and talk about how I felt about it. I felt my emotions had to be pushed aside and just let the procedure happen and cross my fingers that they got it all.

I remember asking my female friends about it and they all had the same response to it. If they hadn’t experienced it, they didn’t ask any more than what I told them (or ask me how it was making me feel) and if they knew someone who had something similar, they replayed their experience and…that was it.

I started wondering how it felt for other women who like me have no mother, grandmother, aunt or sister to talk to or are unable to have these women as an option to talk about a subject that’s so emotionally distressing. I had no way of gauging what kind of history my family had when it came to cervical cancer or indeed, any other health issue they might have had. It’s incredibly lonely and has hands down been the most distressing part of trying to get on with my daily life to date.

When your physical health is being compromised and it’s out of your control you imagine the worst. You can’t help it. Humans are biologically tuned to detect danger and run for the hills and when the danger is in you, it’s terrifying. Combine that with having no one to talk at length about this issue, it becomes a mass of oblivion you feel you’re floating in with no way out. My boyfriend was incredible at listening yet I wanted a woman. It’s not about having answers when you’re distressed, it’s knowing someone will sit in the dark with you and hold your hand during the whole shit storm and for me, I wanted a woman do to that with.

I had the procedure in January and it was way more traumatising than even my friend had said it would be. I shook so much that the speculum (the instrument that holds your cervix open so that the doctor can operate) began to fall out a few times. During the half-hour procedure the nurse and doctor had to gently hold my legs down because I shook so much as I was starting to panic at how long it was taking. Don’t get my wrong, the staff were amazing and they did it kindly but it was still horrible.

Would I have felt as traumatised if I didn’t feel stigmatised for having an HPV infection?

Probably not.

Where does that shame come from?

I’ll be honest I don’t have many female friends that are willing to talk at length about this experience with me. I’m at an age where people are buying houses, building businesses and having babies and maybe prioritising someone else’s health issue is more often than not an inconvenience if you’re busy dealing with your own issues, you don’t happen to relate to it or would prefer to not know about it due to your own fears (I feel the latter is the one most responsible).

I understand all that and yet, it didn’t take away any feelings of isolation, fear and abandonment away. It felt stigmatised. It merely amplified them and reminded me how incredible independent I would have to be to get through such a trauma and carry on.

So why am I writing about this?

I’ve realised over the years that if I wish to accomplish things that make me happy, I have to rely solely on myself. I have to be my parent, my guide, my best friend and my ally in order to get me through the tough times. Therapy taught me to be these things because my therapist knew I didn’t have access to any of these gifts to the extent that I needed outside of my own mindset. But this experience was too much for me to handle.

After the operation I was informed that I could not go swimming or take a bath or do any physical activity for 4-6 weeks.

Now.

My job entails me cycling up to 20 miles a day. I am self-employed. I do not get sick pay. Having the operation cost me £165 for the op day and recovery the next (I then rested Saturday and Sunday). I had to be back on the bike on Monday. They recommended that I rest for four days and by Monday I should be ok to cycle.

I was alright for a few days. Then I suddenly bled a lot in the second week when I cycled too hard to one place. That scared the shit out of me. You have to wear pads every day (which I hate) and it’s uncomfortable and you just don’t feel like you. 

I have felt for weeks (and still feel) that my body isn’t really mine. It’s a slave to whatever the hell went wrong in there. It seems silly but I feel like I’ve let my body down somehow. It’s as if developing HPV was a punishment for not being healthy enough, or good enough to my body. Yes, this is irrational but that’s what happens when you’re not talking to enough people about it. Your imagination runs wild. There’s not enough to calm the storm in your head.

There’s SUCH a stigma to this as well. It’s unreal. It’s the most common infection humans can get and yet you still feel like somehow you’re dirty and it’s you fault that your body has morphed from a common infection to cancer cells. I know people can develop cancer that isn’t from an HPV infection and cases like that are STILL stigmatised heavily. We are so afraid of our own mortality that we always try to look the other way when it’s happening to other people and tend to neglect our own health issues in the process.

Here’s the thing:

There are SO MANY THINGS I want to accomplish with my music. All I really and truly care about is my music because it makes me feel so fucking good. Like, way better than anything else. I found a job that enables me to really save for the first time without having to starve. When I’m sick I panic because there is no safety net, no back up plan. I am at the mercy of whatever wants to mess my body around and I’m learning to go with the flow but it’s daily practise with daily moments of falling backwards into old habits of self-doubt and thinking the worst.

I know to some people, choosing to write about this sounds narcissistic, selfish and self-indulgent. Who cares about my personal life anyway? However this has affected my journey through music massively. I am far more conscious of time. I’ve pushed myself into situations that I would normally avoid out of fear but knowing my body can change the course of things without my saying so makes me realise that I don’t want to wait around for opportunity to find me. It has made me more brave, more resilient and surprisingly, more hopeful about the future.

I launched my merchandise shop on my website. I launched my records online. It has taken me so long because this health scare (along with other unexpected shortfalls) has previously stifled my ability to step forward yet the fear of what’s been happening has pushed me to do what frightens me because the result can only be positive. It can only help me progress in what I love the most.

There’s also a small chance, my experience will resonate with others who have gone through similar moments of isolation and fear and maybe, just maybe, we’ll have the courage to be more open about this issue.

I’m incredibly open about mental health and I am because it affects me daily. It makes sense to work and filter through daily the thing that affects you the most and your physical health is of no exception. Talking openly about these stigmatised issues is important to ensure people get the help they need. It also ensures that people can empathise more even when they’re not affected by the issue themselves.

My housemates, both female and male were so uncomfortable talking to me about it before and after My female housemate told me she’d gotten a result that said she had borderline cells and ignored it. That speaks volumes about our attitude to issues like this.

had to bring it up. had to ask for help if I wasn’t physically able to do something myself. When you’re not aware of something you tend to forget it exists, although technically it’s not the job of the person affected to remind people to care more, however, just knowing that one can talk openly without the fear of feeling ignored, isolated or suppressed would, we hope, tap into people’s conscience more frequently.

We can’t make people care but what does anyone lose by caring about other people in distress?

I have a further appointment in July to see how it went and hopefully they got it all.

I guess I’m saying in this post please look after yourselves and please look out for other people because I can guarantee that you are a pillar of strength to somebody so reaching out to someone in distress is also treating yourself with the love and care you deserve.

If you have any experiences of your own about this kind of issue feel free to comment on this blog.

 

Love Emily xxx

www.emilyleemusic.co.uk
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Dance My Demon Away

 

I woke up on this bright Saturday morning, curled up in a fetal position. I was clutching my hair with both hands and I was sobbing under my duvet so my housemate wouldn’t hear me.

This is not a new feeling and it’s not unique to me but I’ll tell you what, after twenty years of feeling like this it sometimes feel like these days are never going away.

I have just spent a week attempting to finish my EP. It was a very productive but nerve-wracking experience. Not less because I am working with someone who is close to someone I used to be very close to and it’s been a painful couple of months to digest life without them. The songs are also very close to me emotionally. Perhaps I could’ve spared myself the anxiety and worked with someone else but I love what me and this guy make and we’re on the same wave length 98% percent of the time which serves to prove that we’re a good match musically but I’m also a big believer in confronting your fears head on and getting the best out of that moment. Of course, it hasn’t been without it’s emotional moments.

I am an emotional person. That doesn’t mean I cry at everything and lose my temper at any given moment, it means I’m in touch with how I’m feeling incredibly closely. When I was younger my living quarters were full of highly emotional people with no boundaries or switches to staunch the emotional waterfall. So at any given moment, you’d be faced with a highly anxious or frightening moment (usually from my parent) and so the tools that we learn as we grow to harness these emotions were lost on me completely. I do therapy to help me digest my emotions in a way that is healthy and compassionate for me and the people I’m around. It takes practise and concentration and most of the time, I’ve been doing “really well”, my therapist says.

 

However, I had about three panic attacks on the first day in the studio. I had to go sit in the loo and just try and breathe. I sat in there so long at times that the automatic light would go off and I’d just be sat there wishing the sudden darkness could swallow me whole too. Then I would look in the mirror and say out loud “I can do this”, about thirty times before heading back in.

But you can see how anxiety can destroy someone at times. It lies to you, deludes you and can make it physically impossible to do ANYTHING. It’s like it crawls into your head and tells you loudly, “YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE”, and, “YOU CAN’T COPE”, and the hardest one, “NOBODY LIKES YOU”.

We’re still not finished. We probably have another day to finalise everything but I feel better having turned up and done it for five days.

My producer noticed that I shoot things down before I’ve done anything. That I see the worse in everything before I’ve even taken the first step and it really upset me to know he’d noticed that. Not because he shouldn’t have told me but because I didn’t want to BE like that….

I know, I’m being “open” and possibly for some people, “too much”.

Listen, I understand that some people like a bit of mystery when it comes to musicians/actors/creative types. It’s almost like they are the puzzle and we spend a lifetime trying to work them out. Eddie Vedder once said “The music should do the talking”, and to an extent, I agree, but I’ve found people more fascinating when I know bits about them. Consider Eddie’s interviews about his father and how detached he felt from him? Or Springsteen when he speaks about his dad. We get an insight to their “human” side and it makes us feel closer to them and ultimately, as much as we like to feel we’re “unique” and therefore need to be alone in our “uniqueness”, we actually depend on each other.

In all honesty, I could uncover every secret I have and still people wouldn’t know me. People can read a fact, or a blog about someone and they will always have their own opinion so in that respect, what does it matter if I share my thoughts on depression and anxiety? What does it matter if I do an interview with a magazine about mental health? No one knows me any better. Not even my past boyfriends know me very well. They do what we all do; assume.

Assuming is so dangerous. Assuming things is why I had panic attacks this week. It’s why I burst into tears. It’s why we lose people from our lives, it’s why we step on people. Assuming comes from lack of knowledge and past experiences and what’s frightening is when your mind and body don’t seem to be able to take the step that clears up that crap and makes it logical. Combine that with depression and anxiety and you feel like you’re being held suspended in limbo and you have no idea how to get to the ground…in fact, where IS the ground? I can’t see anything at all….and now I can’t breathe…..

You see how bad it can get?

I have cut back on therapy sessions because financially it’s draining me and I’ve definitely felt the affects though I go each month. I sleep little, eat little, cry much. I have nightmares and wake pre-dawn sometimes for no reason. I do things like exercise every day in the morning if I can, mostly because of the back pain I have (welcome to the joys of heavy equipment) and because I was told years ago that it helped with depression, and it does.

So I have devised some tips for myself and for anyone else who wakes up and wants to cry. These help me sometimes. They don’t have the same effect every time but it’s the effort that counts and if done regularly, you WILL see a difference.

“Keep a journal”

Ok, I’ve been keeping journals since I was fifteen years old. It doesn’t have to be much. But date it and make a note of the time. Talk about your day. Write about a negative (if one happened) AND a positive thing that happened. For example, I wrote at some point this week “Felt shitty about studio today but found some prawn-flavoured Mccoys – they are fucking delicious”. It sounds weird but considering I am now thinking how I felt even a bit happy finding my favourite flavour of crisps, it can tip the balance between feeling miserable and feeling a bit blue and it’s these tiny moments that make the difference and train your brain to not dwell in the shit. You can write pages of shit but as long as you mention something good, you’re doing your brain so much good.
The reason writing is good is because it allows you to really digest what you’re feeling because all your thoughts are happening internally first and then you see them come to life on the page. There’s a technique for that. One friend of mine calls it “Conscious Writing”. I call it “Emotive Writing”. It’s when you write EXACTLY how you feel. So you can forget your grammar, full stops and spelling. You just WRITE. It’s for no one but you so who cares if it makes no sense even to you? You’re just letting the demon wander on paper for a while. It can be scary and it may feel at times that you’re setting yourself back but you’re not. You’re addressing your shit and that’s difficult and scary. Addressing it is not letting it win. It’s the opposite. You are crushing that shit down so you can breath again.

“Exercise”

We would all like to be P!nk or Britney Spears when it comes to being at our physical best. These woman work hard on keeping fit. Of course, they have enough time to work on things like that (my dream is to basically have P!nk’s body) but some of us don’t have the time, money and really, the ENERGY to do this. I started off running in 2011 because I worked for a musical where ALL the women were incredibly fit and healthy. Unfortunately, I’ve been told by my osteopath that I literally can’t run ever again because of a back problem I have and that’s been incredibly difficult to deal with. I go to the gym with my friend but if you’re unable to gym as I couldn’t, here are some alternatives. Remember, take your time. It took me two weeks of walking to be able to run AT ALL in 2011…

. Power-walking: Easier on the joints and bloody fun. Also has been proven to burn more energy than running because of the core control you need while you move. Plus, you get to do it to your favourite songs. Steps: “Gold” being my favourite.

. Skip rope: I am shit at this but I will try to do it for one verse of a song (and then I feel like I’m wheezing for England) and stop for quick breaks. Plus, they cost nothing in a sports shop.

. Pilates ON YOUTUBE: So I’ve been told you can’t really do Pilates because someone needs to be there in case you’re doing it wrong but A) I can’t afford lessons and B) How wrong can it be when some classes on youtube are really good? Check some out today.

. Stretch. Any stretch. Never too much but enough that you feel a bit taller. You will feel better as soon as you’ve done it.

. Dance in your room: Believe it or not, I still do this. I will spend up to two hours (late at night when I can’t sleep) dancing to music with my headphones on and MP3 player in hand just dancing around the room. It’s perfect. You get a work out. You control the playlist and no one sees you doing it. You save that for when you decide to go out, which is basically never, ever, ever apart from maybe once this year but by jove, when you do you’ll be the best dancer there.

“Talk to people”

So, I can list on one hand the people I talk to regularly. And by one hand I mean two. I talk to two people. Why? Well, in truth, no one else picks up their phone. I know a lot of creatives so really when I’m talking about my anxiety and fears about music, I’m really talking about THEIR anxieties and fears and who in the name of Hades wants to talk about that? In all seriousness though, it’s not a whine I want, it’s to find answers but people love whining and they’ll assume (there’s our word again) that I want to do the same. Some people aren’t equipped to deal with your problems and that doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them the wrong person to call. Guilt can make us not talk too. People have their own problems and it’s pretty shit to feel like you’re basically adding to someone’s problems if they’re already going through a hard time so we stay silent.
I’ve basically felt for a few weeks now that I’ve exhausted all my lines from when me and my boyfriend broke up. I still cry about it and I assume my friends are sick of hearing about it. I feel like those contestants on, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and I’ve used up all my lifelines and now I just have to figure it out ALL BY MYSELF while Chris Tarrant (substituted for my negative side) quietly judges me while I fumble through my brain trying to think what the right answer is and then it’s the WRONG answer and I don’t move on to the next question and I feel like a massive failure which then makes me want to call up…oh wait….no lifelines….

There is always a lifeline and it’s usually going to be you. You can do this. If people can’t answer the phone, do something else. Write, watch something, read a book, dance or even have the biggest cry in the world. Channel it and let it happen.

“Breath”

We do this every bloody second but have you ever sat back and just breathed? I’ve looked into meditation and the breathing I do with my therapist has been the most beneficial for me. When you breathe you allow your body to connect to you and you’ll find that your body, in contrast to your mind, actually wants you to be happy and calm. When we’re thinking, “Oh FUCK!!! I’M LATE! I’M ALWAYS FUCKING LATE! WELL, WHO GIVES A FUCK THEY’LL PROBABLY BE LATE TOO AND WHATEVER BECAUSE THE CUNT DOESN’T EVEN LIKE ME SO WHAT’S THE POINT IN EVEN GOING???” your body starts to become gripped in the panic too…..that is a genuine thought I’ve had and I began to shake and sweat. So I sat on the tube and breathed. I imagined my belly getting bigger and smaller with each inhale and exhale and then I listened to the sounds around me saying in my head “I am present. I am here. I here a woman eating a doughnut. I hear kids chattering. It’s annoying but I am here breathing right now in the present”. Breathing really does help.

“Remember, you are not alone”

You really aren’t. You are never alone. You are not alone in feeling this awful. And DON’T take on board that chat when people say, “But people have it worse off than you”, because that as a helpful gesture is crap. Yes, people have it better and worse off than ourselves and at times it’s good to sit and take some perspective on what you have but to measure people’s misery against your own is not always productive. Also, when you are gripped in anxiety and depression it’s almost impossible to suddenly think, “But so-and so’s just tripped and smashed her knee in, why am I crying?”. It’s making your feelings less valuable and your feelings matter.

Berne Brown did a talk on The Power of Vulnerability and she was told by a professor “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist” and it means, everybody can hurt and feel pain.

The Brown talk is amazing. Watch it here by clicking on this teeny blue line here —–>    

That doesn’t mean we don’t work on what we’re given. It doesn’t mean that we feel awful and we have to sit in that awfulness until something comes along and changes it because it won’t. You will change it. That doesn’t mean we blame others or past experiences for our shortcomings (which I have done, I do and I try to stop every time it’s noticed *like my producer noticed*) they’re not responsible for right now. I am.

It’s about pausing and acknowledging that we are feeling the pain but we can stop and find the things that bring us joy, the things that make us grateful. It is, and always will be difficult for me to acknowledge the bad moments that have happened and will happen again in the future but there is a bigger part of me that wants to stay open, stay vulnerable and keep talking because from vulnerability comes the strength to experience joy and happiness. I have hope for good things in the future and right now. If I were to shut myself off so I wouldn’t feel unhappy and sad ever again, I wouldn’t be able to feel good, or laugh ever again and that is not a life. So, keep talking. Keep letting people see you.

I started writing this blog in my pyjamas with tears running down my face, I have finished it by being dressed in clothes and ready to leave the house to go food shopping. I haven’t showered and the clothes I’m wearing are from yesterday (still KIND OF clean) and I haven’t washed my face but I’m amazed that I’ve gone from lying in bed morbidly thinking who would miss me if I wasn’t around, planning to stay in the dar to being sat cross-legged on my bed about to leave and get myself a wicked big Easter egg. I might not do much else but I’m out of my bed. I’m in clothes. I’m about to face the world.

I don’t expect many people to read this but just to pull back my skin and let someone see my vulnerable side has made me feel better. I instinctively feel that I’m not alone.

Whatever happens after, I will handle it and so will you.

I will leave you with a great quote from Sierra Boggess:

“You are enough. You are so enough. It’s unbelievable how enough you are!”

Have a good Easter xxx

Caroline

I write this from my bed because I’m sick. Fortunately, I’m not sick sick. I’ve had a bug and a headache since Sunday and I’ve been struggling to keep food inside my body….maybe I’m quite sick.

I’ve been meaning to write another entry. My last one was over six months ago and a LOT has happened since.

So….where do we go from?

I’m currently recording my second EP which is exciting. Exciting and terrifying. I’m working with a producer meaning I still write all the words and melodies but they’re helping me construct the music because I wanted to have more than just guitar in there. Plus, I have no idea how it all works on the computer. I’ve actually loved being locked into the studio with them and making the music happen So much so, I almost don’t want to share it with anyone else. It’s become ours completely. I’ve never worked with a producer before like this and I’m loving it.

We started in September and we’re still working on it. I’ve stopped doing any gigs of my own simply because I can’t spare the time. I’ve yet to pay for the producer’s time (and I thank you over and over for your patience) so I’m working many different jobs to get me through the winter and pay some well overdue bills, like my tax bill.

It’s so weird. No one tells you how expensive doing music is. I wonder if it’s something people don’t think about because the money’s just there for them or because they don’t want to reveal that being a musician is not as amazing as it’s presented to be.

Actually, I started writing this blog because of these lyrics from Tori Amos’ song “Leather” which goes:

 

“Look, I’m standing naked before you. Don’t you want more than my sex? I could scream as loud as your last one but I can’t claim innocence”

I’ve been listening to that album of hers (“Little Earthquakes”) for as long as I can remember. In fact, the whole album is lyrically beautiful. “Winter” is especially wonderful when she sings:

“When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do? When you gonna make up your mind? Cos things are gonna change so fast”

I don’t know. Maybe these lyrics are ringing more than usual because of several things that have happened to me in the last six months.

i) I had to let go of my manager, who was also my best friend of twelve years. I mean, I still wanted him to be my friend and I wanted him to step down because I didn’t feel he could and would not understand what I wanted to do with my music, which is the way for most artist/manager relationships. I just wanted my friend back but as of yet, he’s not spoken to me since September. He was managing me for free to which I was so grateful for but our relationship became more strained and aggressive the longer it went on. He drove me to all my gigs and never asked for petrol (I would offer), he even bought merch for me. All these things are great but our friendship was breaking down completely. I was finding it hard to deal with myself (before I started therapy) and it always felt like he didn’t want to listen. All I wanted was for him to want to know about my depression and how bad I was feeling and how I was trying to get better and because he seemed so upset and stressed himself (which is fair enough as he has other things to worry about), I felt he couldn’t be there for me. I thought asking him to step away as manager would fix the friendship but he hasn’t spoken to me instead. I’ve texted Happy Birthday this month and he’s thanked me and said “How are you?”, but I’m upset he didn’t want to know that a month ago. Now I think, “Do you really want to know, or are you just being polite?”. I don’t think I’ll ever know and it makes me sad, like I did something terrible.

ii) I did free work for a signed artist who promised me a lot more than he gave and who basically blanked me when I asked him about the paid projects. Also, his entire crew seem to be made up of really misogynistic idiots (one of which sent me a threatening message)…so really, I’m well out of it but it upset me that someone twice my age felt they had to treat me like that, and it felt like my manager didn’t protect me from that. I guess we were both duped. It went on for about five months of broken promises. Some people are just idiots like that.

iii) I’ve been attending weekly therapy sessions for over two months now.

iiii) I have stopped busking as much and trying to work on my music and myself more.

Let’s start with busking.

I want to lay it down RIGHT NOW that busking isn’t as great as the media and other buskers say. In fact, being a musician is downright hard in total. It’s totally fucking mental and disorganised and awful quite a lot of the time. Also, WHY don’t other people talk about it more?

You go out to play and you have NO IDEA what you’re going to make. Think about it. When you got to your job you know exactly what you’re making that hour, so you know you’re working that nine hour shift with the end result of making said amount each week or month.

When you’re busking you do not. I don’t have a clue what I’m going to make each time I go out. What I do know is that I have rent to pay. Phone bills, storage bills, food, travel, therapy, toiletries (do you know how MAD I am that I have to buy tampons for something that’s out of my control?). Up to this writing, I have no money for rent or storage, and they take priority over food, even travel. There have been days where I’ve had enough for travel (£32.40 for the week, zones 1-2) and that’s it. I mean. IT. Then I go busking thinking, “As long as I make THIS amount, I’ll be ok”.

I’m sure you can imagine, it’s a rather precarious situation to be in. Physically and mentally.

Over time I’ve managed to go busking because I want to sing for me. Not for money. Actually, I think any person who goes busking to make money is an idiot. You’re not going to enjoy your experience if it’s only about money, which goes for a lot of people who take jobs for the money. Which is one reason why me and my manager fell out. He had a very well paid job but it was appallingly stressful. I mean, to the point where he’d only snap at me and be moody and fiery ALL the time. It was like him waking up in the morning was stressful to him. No amount of money is worth that feeling like crap over and that’s why I got other jobs even while I was busking during the summer.

I was tired of having my worth measured by the songs I sang. I was tired of other buskers parading their income in front of me and let me tell you right now, men are worse for this, not women. Women are just eager to get through an hour of busking without some man coming up to grab their vagina or breasts, or having some juvenile teenagers heckle them a song request. We just want to do what we love doing. If we make good money that enables us to pay our bills, that’s a bonus. If we get people messaging us on our Facebook pages telling us we made their day, that’s an extra gold star for us.

Time and time again I’ve had male buskers come up and ask me how much I’ve made (to which I never reveal) and then proceed to shut me down if I’ve not made a lot or tell me and I quote from a regular busker, “It’s because you’re a girl. The public feel sorry for girls”.

It’s amazing that women can’t be seen as EARNING their money and fans. There has to be some pitiful element to it. Like we’re incapable of doing well with our strengths. It’s our “weaknesses” like being attractive or sensitive or talented. No wonder women feel so dispensable sometimes. Having your worth measured by attributes like that is plain irritating.

WHATEVER.

I’m not saying women aren’t competitive either. They really can be, I just don’t worry about it. Maybe because as a woman myself, I know where it’s coming from but I choose to move on with myself. Male or female, communication is the key.

I wanted to stop busking as much because I’ve had these stalkers coming to see me for nearly two years to which now it’s in the hands of the police. I hate that it’s a real issue and some of the buskers haven’t stood with us about this. Whether this is out of fear of looking “difficult” or losing a fan, it makes me very angry. There isn’t any use sitting on the fence because when that fence falls down, you have to land on one side. Physical threats are never ok and nor is stalking someone to the point of harassment.

I wanted to stop busking as much because I was concerned with how it made me feel to be messaged asking when I was busking. It’s lovely for people to enquire but then…what do I do gigs for? I do them for people who want to see me live. A lot of buskers put up their times when they’re playing and I get it, they want people who are possible visiting London to see them live but personally it sets up a precedent that’s hard to break from.

Here’s how I see music and performing it. When I play, I play like it’s the last time I’ll play. I have to. I want to. It makes me feel ALIVE to play like that so when I DO play, I want it to be when I want to, not because someone else has summoned me. I actually got some shitty stalker called Tony who sent me a photo of his status slagging me off for not putting up the times of when I’m busking whereas other buskers did. I may be a musician but busking is not a service to particular people. It’s a passing trade. I rely on passer-bys, not recurring people. They’re not paying £5 each time. They’re standing there for free each time and I have a problem with that. I busk to show people a preview of what I do. It’s not THE show, it’s A show and not the best one at that because we’re outside battling with the elements and the other noisy stuff that comes with playing on the streets.

I’ve been refused pay for projects because people assume as I’m a “busker”, I’ll just do it for free. Blimey, even the PA of the man who owns THE richest football club in the UK changed his mind when I told him how much my hourly rate was. All because I was busker and therefore I was expected to play for free. I mean. How does that work? How does me playing music every day – my music –  make me NOT a professional? You see, it makes no sense but it bugged me. That’s why I do my own gigs, my own way.

The reason I hold by own gigs because I want to present my music in a professional place with my music being played the way it should be played. If people would rather pay nothing to see a musician than to see them in an actual music venue, that to me isn’t being supportive. It also means I have no means of supporting what people “apparently” like about watching me. It means I have no chance of financing my music. It costs money and I don’t come from money. It’s financed totally by me and there is no one that pays for studio time or for the CD’s to be made so you see, I rely on the people who pay to see me and who buy my EP.

I’ve had a lot of people talk about Pledge and Kickstarter and I have a lot of music people who have tried it successfully but I’m against using these platforms. I did the research and I’m not totally cool with the setup, like the time limits etc because let’s face it, I don’t have the money laying around to pay for things while I push a campaign. I’m always on the edge (especially in winter – even my accountant is boggled at how I survive in London) and I don’t want to the stress of pushing a campaign onto people’s laps. Also, as weird as it sounds, I’m not eager to ask for help, not because I have trouble asking but because ultimately….I make music for me.

I don’t make an EP in mind thinking, “I wonder if people will like it? I wonder what genre it is? What if people don’t like it”. I mean, I do think these things to an extent but really, I’m listening to what want and I just think it’s hard to listen to yourself when you do these kind of campaigns. So many musicians I meet say they found out what their audiences did or didn’t like and deep down I think, “But how do you feel about your music?”. There’s something about these campaigns that make me feel like because you’ve asked for someone’s help, it’s got to be something they’d ideally like and really, I don’t want that pressure on me. Music is about expressing myself and I’m ok with not everyone liking that.

You never know. Six months from now I may change my mind and think, “Fuck it, I need some money to make a record now!” and I’ll be calling Pledge but for now, I’m sticking to what feels right for now. It just feels sometimes that doing those campaigns means having to care what others think more than what I feel?

As a musician, am I meant to care solely about what other people think? I don’t think so. I think I’m meant to decipher what I want because it’s music and it’s subjective and I make it.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m meant to care about what others think and adapt myself accordingly. However I always think this:

“Does ‘doing what exactly what I want’ mean not thinking about other people’s feelings? Because that’s just not the kind of person I am. Maybe it can mean whatever I want it to mean, like taking care of myself and not letting people walk over me. Yes, that’s much more like it” – Carolyn Mackler “The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things.

I read that book when I was thirteen and haven’t looked back since. I struggle still. Do I ever struggle. It’s hard to stay yourself when you’re told to change. Media, films, TV, magazines, music business, strangers, even fans telling you what you should be doing yet I guess I hold onto that side that says, “Errr, why?” and no one can give me an answer. All this talk talk talking and when you talk back you’re met with silence.

That’s why therapy helps. I do a combination of CBT and CFT. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. It helps you see present situations as they are and how you don’t blow up over them. It teaches you to examine your old habits and how they do and don’t help you. It was very difficult. I walked in thinking “So I know what’s wrong so let’s just tackle that and I’ll be fine and you’ll tell me ok and I’ll be out the door”, but it’s way, WAY more than that.

First off, I’ve never acknowledged just how bad stuff in the past was. Like, really awful. It took my therapist listening to one story in particular for my therapist to sit back in her chair and say, “Emily, that is fucked up. I’m sorry but that is fucked up”, because I said what had happened,”wasn’t that bad”. However, it’s been acknowledged and I’m a lot stronger and wiser to listening to the parts of my life that need listening to and ignoring the parts that need to be ignored.

There is a danger to sharing this with you for me. I’ve been open about a lot of things about my mental health and past and I’ve liked doing it because it feels good to be open but also I’ve had people like those stalkers come down to the South Bank come down and talk to people who are watching me “You know that girl has mental health issues? You know she’s mad”. In fact I saw the guy (his name is Keith) down there yesterday who said it and who’s a regular stalker and when I was playing, I played a new song that’s on the new EP and I stared at him and said into the microphone, “That’s for you, Keith, because you know fuck all about me”. and it felt good. People who use your mental health against you are nothing but ignorant.

If people reading this don’t understand me or what I’m writing about, that’s fine. If they want to be shitty to me because I’m open about it, that’s their problem. They’ve got a lot of time on their hands and instead of seeing someone just talking about their issues on their page, they’re seeing it as an opportunity to be a wanker. Great, it’s clearly the only thing they’re good at. Being a wanker. Also, if people reading this expect me to be a musician with no feelings, no good and bad bits then…..well….you’re going to be disappointed. I’m so incredibly human which means I can feel bad and good and I also happen to feel ok about talking about them.

I went quiet on my music page to concentrate on myself and I feel so much better for doing so. I also want to write that although I write about how hard doing music is, I’m aware that I chose this. I’m not going to write something wanky like “music chose me”, because that really is stupid, like I’m not in control because I am. We all are. We all make choices with what we’ve got and I am not alone. I have very few people who can relate to what I go through but they exist and they fight too. I love you guys, and I love love love writing and performing. I don’t want to do anything else so I won’t be.

I want to stress something that’s very important to me. The people who come to my gigs, the people who message me asking me if I’m ok, the people who share my videos and comment with positive messages, I want to thank you very very much. Thank you for always being supportive and for reading, for listening and for being patient. Thank you for allowing me to be me and you guys are fabulous the way you are.

I can’t wait to finish the EP. I can’t wait to release it into the world. I have finally got to a point in my life where I like myself and after living for many years after not liking yourself, I feel a lot stronger and prepared for whatever life brings.

Lastly, this post is for Caroline. Caroline, we only met briefly a few years ago, long before I started doing music but you have been stuck in my head since. How you entered the studio like a whirlwind of colour and how you never fitted in and how proud I was to meet you yet we only met twice. I don’t know where you are now or what you’re doing but I hope you remained a hurricane of energy and despite you saying that you, “never fit in”, I was happy because I didn’t feel alone. The song “Caroline” was about you but I realised it was about how I feel a lot of the time and like I sing to you:

“Caroline, forget about the reason why.
Caroline, don’t you think you’d better try?”

So people, I’m going to try….

 

 

Paid In Blood

I write this from the desk of the place where I’m temping.

Yes, you read that right. I’m temping. I’m currently wearing proper office shoes that pinch my feet and a skirt I wore six years ago which is so old that it perished at one job and I had to staple it together to make it look acceptable until I could take it home to sew up.

Because this is my life right now. Ms Musician Woman is temping and not busking on the South Bank, Trafalgar Square or Cheltenham and not doing as many gigs.

Why? More importantly, do you even want to know?

I’ve never understood why people felt they had to justify themselves to people yet only yesterday I had to do exactly that for a ‘fan’ who shared a post they’d put on their personal Facebook page, condemning me for not putting up the times of when I’m busking. This ‘fan’ then sent it to my personal and music page on Facebook, forcing me to feel some sort of regret for not busking as often as other people. I could’ve ignored them. I could’ve just said “Fuck off”, but I didn’t. I’m writing about it instead.

Let’s go back, shall we? Back to last year when it all began to unravel…

 

I was asked to go abroad to perform. Amazing, you might say. I certainly thought so. I wasn’t really keen on going with the company but I figured it would help broaden my music. How many chances does an unknown singer/songwriter with no support, no help and no money get? None, we take what we can get within our limits.

I had a brilliant time but I felt uncomfortable with the company. I felt exposed and my limits were pushed in terms of my personal space but I came home feeling triumphant as I sold a lot of CD’s and my music seemed to attract a lot of people. The same company appeared to be enamored by my music and it didn’t take long to realise that it wasn’t just my music that they were enamored by (you can guess, guys. We’re all adults here).
I was promised a lot. I was promised a meeting with a huge publishing company because my songs were ‘brilliant’ and a meeting with the biggest booker in the UK because this person ‘had to see me play’.

Well, it turned out this company would help me but as long as I did exactly what they wanted, passed over all control and forfeited my manager. It turned out the publishing contact was ‘expired’. Turned out the booker ‘didn’t take on unsigned acts’ so they weren’t interested in me at all.
In the end I blew the company right out of my life. That all happened in the course of five months. Five months of complete garbage and flattery shoved in my face in place of actual opportunity. It didn’t make me feel good. I felt foolish and idiotic and started to believe I was actually probably shit at music and people just wanted something else out of me.

And then…

I had an IUD fitted. For the guys reading this, that’s a special coil put in your vagina to help ease period pains and bleeding (Did I just say vagina? Yes, yes I did). My periods are so bad that I’m unable to sing when they’re happening. I lose a lot of blood and my energy levels are at an all-time low. The pain is also incredibly bad. Crippling. I even went to a vocal coach who explained that during a period, for some women the water retention affects the vocal cords making it harder for them to meet to make sound which is why my tone would sound sluggish and I’d be too tired to sing. I thought the IUD would be for the best. I’ve been on pills to control my periods before but the level of hormones in them were too powerful and they made me very depressed. The IUD has the lowest level of hormones in it out of all the options available to me I decided to give it a try.

What followed was three months of extreme, and I mean EXTREME pain. I would lie in bed gripped in absolute agony while my boyfriend would lie next to me watching me weep and contort my face in pain. I was told it would settle and it wouldn’t. It just wouldn’t settle. It was put in in September 2015 and removed three months later. It made me emotional, and completely broke me, really. You can’t busk with a smile on your face when you feel like needles are being dragged across your cervix. It’s not possible. I suffered greatly. I went back to the clinic FIVE times over this period and told each time ‘It’ll settle, you’ll see’.

Seriously, what a crock of shit.

It was after having the IUD removed THAT that I started to lose my voice. I just couldn’t make notes come out of my mouth. I remember supporting an artist in their hometown and by the end (having played only five songs) I couldn’t reach the notes. I just stopped near the end pretending I had finished. I came off the stage and cried, shook it off, went to the front and smiled while I signed CD’s. When me and my manager got in the car I cried all the way home. I couldn’t understand what was wrong.

I remember busking afterwards and not being able to reach any notes or even hold a note for more than five seconds. I collapsed into tears right there next to the London Eye pitch and two homeless people came and sat with me to comfort me. Mike and Sharon. They were lovely. They just listened to me while I sat there covered in snot until Mike gave me some napkins from McDonalds and listened to the tales that had completely shattered my confidence.

I went to a vocal specialist who said although there was nothing wrong with my voice, I was suffering from exhaustion. I then went to GP who referred me to a therapist who diagnosed me with severe depression.

While this was all happening I was living in a property in North London. It was pleasant enough although there was no contract which always makes me feel shaky because landlords as a rule can’t be trusted. Over time it became obvious in the house that I was expected to pay bills that I hadn’t even seen. The other tenants were angry about this at first but like many young, naive individuals, they felt it better to keep their mouths shut and hand over the money even though there was no proof of bills. I’m not good at keeping my mouth shut when I feel something’s wrong. Communication was awful between myself and the person in charge of showing us the bills and eventually I had a huge argument with the other tenants, all of which turned on me declaring that I was ‘being difficult’, ‘being paranoid’ and when I shared my story to my friends on Facebook (stating how fucking horrid the other tenants were – after blocking them from social media) explaining that I needed to move asap, the landlady called me a ‘psychopath’, that I was ‘bad news’ and if I posted anything on Facebook they would ‘come down on you so hard, I swear to god’.

So, I wasn’t living in a healthy environment. As I’m sure lots of you know, when you live in a property you only want a safe, clean environment to unwind after having been working all day. I wasn’t getting that. Instead of allowing me to leave, I was bullied, ostracized and then threatened. I packed and left in one day after being threatened.

After that I crashed in the West of London on a blow up mattress in an office. A friend helped me out a great deal. It was lovely of them but of course I was still reeling from the events of the house I’d been in and still trying to save money AND still busk and just keep going…

During my speedy escape from the house I severely injured my fore finger making finger-picking on the guitar very difficult. It’s been nearly four months and it still hurts from time to time so I started temping to compensate.

What some people don’t understand that when it comes to busking there’s a huge, huge amount of pressure on you. You’re not only trying to advertise your music by sounding the best you can sound and portray a happy-go-lucky image (because no one ever gave money to a miserable busker), you’re also trying to make enough money to eat. You are then subjected to the mercy of the public. I’ve been assualted, I’ve been heckled at, I’ve had people attempt to rob me. I’ve had men follow me back to my storage and I’ve even had ‘fans’ travel hundreds of miles just to follow me onto the tube to find out where I live. I’ve had it all.

The pressure to make money during the winter months proved too difficult for me. I couldn’t handle the pressure of that plus living in a shitty environment, PLUS dealing with having to pay rent on time and try and feed myself PLUS deal with having the same stalkers watch me Every Single Time I was out there trying to enjoy myself when I played.

What other people don’t understand is that doing music from a working-class background is hard. I don’t have parents and I don’t have money. Sorry, did I shock you? Did you expect me to sugar daddy my way to the top of the charts? People like me exist. We work hard and the shop is never, ever shut.

A TV plugger told my manager once, “The thing with Emily is that she’s absolutely brilliant and she’s got everything she needs to make it but she has no label and she has no money”. There you have it, kids. An honest, non-bullshit statement from someone who actually WORKS in the industry. And before anyone gets in there, NO I don’t want to go on reality TV. That is killing the music side of the music industry and shame on you for suggesting it.

I forget sometimes that while growing up I was subjected to a lot of abuse. I don’t mean a little bit, I mean a LOT. Growing up was a chore. It wasn’t something I wanted to do at nine years old just because it was tiring. Carrying all that AND dealing with all the shit I’ve written about before is TIRING and then you get people who don’t even know you throwing shit at your face. I always imagined I could handle anything after being kicked out at seventeen. That I’m practically Superwoman for withstanding all the physical and mental abuse but I’m not. I’m human and like all humans I’m vulnerable at times.

I’ve had people tell me I look fat when I play, that I should have my mole removed from my face, that my music’s sad, that my music is arrogant, that I’m difficult, that I’m psychotic, that I’m too old, that I’m pushy, or I’m shy, I don’t busk enough, I busk too much, I do too many gigs, I don’t do enough, I’m too political, I’m too headstrong, I’m ruthless, I’m not willing to change  I charge too much for gigs (£5-£8 or you kidding me?) or I’m this or that or whatever and you know what?

None of these assholes have ever said this to my fucking face.

Assholes have a tendency to never say this stuff to your face. You know why? Because it’s redundant when you say it out loud. Your opinion is worthless and void of any meaning.

But you know what’s really brought my mood down the most in the last eight months? People who say they’ll do something and they don’t.

I feel 99% of people are made of 99% bullshit. I got great advice from a Nashville singer who said “If people want to do business with you, it won’t take more than three days”. She is not wrong. If people say to you “We love you, we want to work with you!”, it’s definitely true if they come back with a time, date and price within 3-5 days. It’s simple.

Do you know HOW MANY times I’ve heard what I like to call the ‘BSR’? (BullShitRant).

Many, many, many, many, many times. It’s now usual for me to check my emails and see a message saying “We’d love to have you for….we would love the opportunity….we think you’re fantastic”, yet nothing, nothing has come of it. It actually makes my job as a musician suck. It’s like people say, “You’re good, but you’re not good enough to work with”, which I’d actually respect them more for if they said that. It’s my job, it’s got to be good enough or people won’t want me. Simple, right?

That pains me too. I put a lot of effort into my music. It isn’t a damn hobby. It’s my job, my LIFE.

And it is a job, by the way. This isn’t me picking up a magazine and having a good read before tucking into a chicken pie. It’s work and it’s hard and it can grind you down unless you have a good support network around you. Mine sometimes feel painstakingly lacking at times. I have my boyfriend and I have my manager (who’s my best friend of twelve years) but my other friends are new (since being in London) and they have a lot of shit going on in their lives too. My moods are pretty terrible at the moment. Huge highs and extreme lows. Even those I’m closest to find it incredibly hard to be around me. Fuck, on Tuesday I went for an interview for yet another temping job and I felt like ants were crawling around in my head. I felt so stressed and alone and helpless I wanted to run into the street and under an oncoming bus. I felt I couldn’t handle just…living.

I’ve been on a waiting list for therapy for over a year now. I see a woman every six weeks but I’m trying to change my therapy because psychotherapy is not right for me. I’ve spoken to a senior head nurse and CBT is the way for me I’m certain. I can’t afford to go private so for now I’ll have to sit tight and wait while the ants crawl inside my head.

I hope this clears things up. I’ve always believed that communication, honesty and authenticity are the driving forces for going forward in life. I also feel miles better for writing this down.

I hate being bullied and I hate people feeling like they own me. Nobody owns anybody and I don’t owe anybody anything, just like the hundreds of people who wander past me while I’m singing don’t owe me a living. They’re just happy to give. I’m happy to just give myself to music and if I can put on a gig that people come to, I feel successful, no matter how shitty people can be sometimes.

I’m laughing right now because a very wise manager of mine (Hi, Ross) said to me the night after I got smashed on alcohol and sang a song in his living room WAY back in 2011, “You should be doing music. But Emily, if you do music you can’t just do it on the side. You have to eat it, wake up to it and sleep with it. You have to make it your life”, and me being hungover I just said, “Yeah, whatever”, and thought”Yeah, right”, but he wasn’t wrong. I’ve never forgotten that moment with him.
It has to be my life because nothing but nothing makes me feel better. Music makes me feel like I have purpose. I can play in my room and sing and feel like I have purpose so can you imagine what it feels like when you play to a crowd who want to hear you?

Pretty damn fucking special. It should do. I paid in blood to get here.

Blood, sweat tears and fears.

So those that doubt me or try to mold me. Have some faith guys, you don’t even know what I’m capable of.

And those that have been with me all the way, you just know it’s going to get more exciting.

 

Stay tuned xxx

 

Special

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Hello All,

Here I am writing again. I find that I write these things at stupid o’ clock in the morning. I hardly ever stay up late as I can’t squeeze enough work during the daylight hours at it is but…hey. I just need to write this down.

It’s funny actually. A friend and fan called Marcus messaged me a few days ago saying “Have you put a blog up?”, and I said “No, but how strange, I’ve been thinking of putting one up”…..so here it goes.

As most of you know I’ve finished my EP. It’s been sent to print and I should be getting it this week or so. I’ve registered my music and I’m finalising a gig where I can present my music like a pro (ha!)

I won’t lie to you, I’m pretty scared. I’m excited of course but I’m also nervous.

For starters, I had originally wanted to make an album. That’s what I started in 2013 with my boyfriend at the time. He convinced me that my songs were great (it took a while) and he contacted his music friends to help.
I had some of the best musicians I’ve heard playing on it, contributing to what I felt at the time was a great debut album.

However, further on down the line I started to feel that my sound and the stories behind the music was being blocked out. A “wall of sound” was kind of blasting my voice away and even though the music sounded great, it really wasn’t doing anything special for my voice or the lyrics.
What made it worse was that me and my boyfriend broke up. We had disagreed on a number of things on the album including the arrangements and the instruments but we were also struggling personally as well. It wasn’t the best of break ups and we haven’t spoken since.
My ex paid for all of the recording process. The drummer, the bassist, the studio time and for that I’m truly thankful. I got to see how they work and what they could produce which is pure magic for someone starting out in this business. It also felt wonderful to have someone who believed in me so much that they were willing to shell money out for me.
After we broke up I knew I’d have to fund the project by myself. We split on April 16th 2014.
On April 17th I went out to save every penny I had in my night job and busking to fund the album.

I was sent the music files by my ex (before we stopped talking) and I was unhappy to discover that certain parts were missing including bass lines and drum parts. By the time I even looked at the files properly it was too late to ask my ex for the rest of the files. We had become too hostile with each other.

I sent the remaining files to three trusted and pretty great producers I know to see if they could rectify the problem either by more mixing or re-recording. All three of them said “I can do what I can but it’s not doing your voice any justice at all”. Mixing a track is incredibly hard. My album tracks had not been recorded at the same time. They had been recorded bit by bit. First guitar, then drums, then bass etc which gives the whole track a rather stilted feel rather than a genuine band feel which is what I’d aimed for.

I realised that I could either polish up what I had by re-recording what me and my ex had spent over a year on or start all over again….I chose the latter.

Ha! I’ll never forget one of the producers saying, “That’s incredibly brave of you”, and me thinking, “Oh fuck, that means I’m doing it wrong…?”, but you have to trust your instincts and mine was telling me to start again.

In terms of putting my voice to a record I realised that people had only ever seen me play on my own. I’ve played with a band (with my own songs) once and I think for a while I shortchanged myself and believed I couldn’t BE good without musicians, without the support of other people carrying me along.

Realistically, there was no possible way for me to fund any more recording sessions with these musicians again even though I wanted to so badly. When you’ve heard some of the best musicians in the world play your songs, you don’t want to take a step back, you want to keep the best but as that popular saying goes, “Beggars can’t be choosers”.

I’m also a huge fan of this. I live by this quote, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it”.

It’s from Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”. She says it when Lavender asks how Miss Trunchball gets away with abusing the students and I’ve loved that quote since I first read it as a child. It means doing the unexpected can pay off.

I fully expected to crash and burn when me and my ex broke up. I certainly was a mess for a few months. My source of encouragement and security seemed to be whipped out from under me. I had to turn to myself to get up and keep going and it was NOT easy. My Nan died in May which added to the heartache enormously and delayed any progress in my music but that had to happen. I had to grieve and digest before continuing, I just didn’t realise that at the time.

I did a lot of research and asked my trusted musician friends about doing an acoustic EP. I wanted to present my music exactly how I perform them live and I was given the name of a producer called Will Baker from Vendetta Music Recording Studios. I was lucky in that Will loves singer/songwriters and he liked my stuff (else I wouldn’t of worked with him – we BOTH have to enjoy the recording experience!) so we recorded in January.
He also was kind enough to go to Abbey Road Studios on my behalf when I woke up with a viral infection and was too sick to go. In fact, I remember puking while on the phone telling Will, “I can make it…..I’ll take a taxi”, before collapsing. I was truly lucky to find him, Thank you, Will.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Why is she telling us this?”. Indeed, my manager said, “You don’t have to justify your actions because you’ve gone from making an album with a band to an acoustic EP”, and he’s right, I don’t but I feel that speaking about it makes it less scary that I embarked on a completely new direction to the one I’d been so determined to follow before.

I was starting anew and wanted it to be really bloody good. I also wanted to know that every penny I had saved went towards something that I was 100% happy with. It’s amazing how meticulous you become when it’s YOUR money being put towards YOUR music. I drove Will nuts for three days in the recording booth. I refused to leave until dead on 6pm and even booked an extra day so that I could spend the night before listening to the tracks over and over from my shitty speakers, to my good speakers, to my headphones via MP3 player to computer speakers to get an all-round feel of what the mix was like. I came with pages of notes for changes and adjustments that needed to be done the next morning.

Jack White mixes tracks then wires them to his car radio. If a track sounds good through car speakers, it’s possible that it’ll sound good anywhere, hence why I got the idea of listening to my tracks via four or five speaker systems. Good Ol’ Mr White. It’s not a new method but it’s a flawless method for aspiring musicians who want a great sound.

“If you’re second guessing yourself, it’s usually someone else’s opinion whispering in your ear” – That’s what I often thought whilst recording. Isn’t second guessing a bitch?

I’m an independent musician. I fund my music by busking and taking the odd paid gig when I can as I’m self-employed. That’s madness, really. My new housemates think my job is mental. They can’t imagine having a job where you don’t know what your income is. I always say, “I just have faith that I can get through this day/week/month”. It’s having belief in yourself and THAT’S what makes me feel good about doing an acoustic EP. When I think of how I felt before I started the EP it makes me think of, “Take Me To The Burning” which in fact I wrote AFTER I recorded the cd. I remember telling Josh all the negative things people kept saying to me when I started the EP and Josh telling me, “Fuck ’em. You do what’s right for you”, which inspired me to write….

“Shadows that stole my attention. Poor words that added to the tension. How could I have been so blind? I am what I am is what I’ve said, won’t allow sweet poison to fill my head, Not one of them, I’m one of a kind”.

It really is nice to lock yourself away, even when you’re really bloody low and write something out. It’s like sucking the poison out of a wound and sometimes I believe the uplifting words I write….

So there you go. Now everyone knows why I gone from recording an album to recording an EP. I’m also terribly nervous because listening back to the tracks I realise how personal it is. They go down deep into a place none of us like to talk about but once the burden’s off our backs, we all stand a little taller.

I’m glad I recorded the EP the way I did too. I told my brother and manager, “If I were to die this year, I can go knowing that I made a finely recorded cd”. Something I didn’t think was even POSSIBLE a year ago.

There will be more blogs. A never ending journey will have never ending stories and no matter what, I WILL continue to record more music. Even if it takes a lifetime.

Thanks for reading, I hope you like the EP

Emily xxx

Waste Of Space

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Hello again,

Now. This post is going to be my scariest I think. I’ve been wanting to write it for about 5 weeks but I’ve been stopping myself because quite frankly I’ve been terrified to. It’s a very personal blog I’m about to write but the incident and the moments that happened after are fundamental to who I am as a person now and who I am as a musician.

We begin in June 2011. I have graduated from university last year with a 2:1 in Drama and I’ve just quit my lessons at the acting studio I was attending. I have broken up with my boyfriend of nearly 3 years a few months before, dated an actor who I didn’t relate to so I broke it off. I have also walked out of my bar job because the manager spoke to me very badly because I asked him for time off work to help with a theatre project. I have no money, no career, no prospects and no friends. I used to have to steal food from shops because my job paid so badly and I had neither the courage nor the motivation to look for anything better or ask for help off my grandparents.

The picture you see of me above is me in 2011. Before music, before hope, before anything. I weighed roughly 10 stone. I’m not eating. Instead I’m drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes so I don’t feel hungry as I can’t afford food. I can’t stand this picture because it reflects a very lost and lonely girl who looks too pale and thin but it’s important to show what I mess I was. The picture reminds me of Irma Thomas’s song “I Wish Someone Would Care” where it goes “Smiles, smiles hide lots of things. The good, the bad, the hurt. All of this goes too”.

I’m drinking and smoking pot daily. I tried it for the first time at aged 13 but I didn’t start again until I was 21 and I’d met my future boyfriend at uni (the guy I eventually broke up with) who was a regular smoker. I started smoking when I moved to London because my boss at the time would only allow breaks to smokers, so of course, I did it for that reason.

The only peace I got was hanging out with my housemate at the time. We would smoke joints together in the kitchen of the flat and talk about…..well anything. He could play guitar better than me since I’d only just picked it up and I would teach him Fairground Attraction songs and we’d sing and play for hours.

One night he comes home and we have a heated argument. About what, I don’t remember but it resolved itself when he kneeled in front of me as I sat in a wicker chair and he kissed me. One thing led to another and I ended up staying in his room that night. This continued for a couple of weeks. We regularly hooked up and here’s the awful bit: I didn’t use protection.

I know. When I look back I think of how stupid I was. How incredibly naive but I just didn’t care. I was so lonely and full of pity I wanted anyone, ANYTHING to fill that void I was feeling. I didn’t care about pregnancy, I didn’t care about diseases. My mother told me about her antics when she was a teenager and one thing I’ll never forget is her saying “When there was someone inside me, Em, I felt that they really loved me”.

I remember being disgusted when she told me that at the age of 13 or 14 but in 2011, I got it. I understood because I’d reached a new low in my life. I was crawling and begging for anything that could lift me in some way but none of those things, sex, drugs or drink was going to pull me out of it. I just imagined at the time that they did. This guy was the first guy I’d been with without a relationship or waiting for a while first. It was “new” and “exciting” and not me at all. I felt “being me” was what was holding me back.

Then the bombshell hit.

Me and this guy are discussing ex-partners and he finally admits he slept with a guy. He hadn’t used a condom. I immediately know something’s wrong. The feeling I got. I just know. So we go to a clinic Monday morning at 10am.

At 6pm we walk out the clinic. The guy I’ve been sleeping with has HIV and I’m on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for the next few weeks.

I can’t describe to you how awful that day was. I remember it like a bad dream. I remember the guy coming into the women’s side of the clinic and grabbing my arm, pulling me away from my conversation about STI’s with another girl.

He tells me he’s positive and just like that my hearing goes. Have you ever stuck your head out of a moving train? When it’s going really fast? If you ever get the chance try it. You can’t hear or breathe or think. You’re just blasted with this huge force that swallows you whole. That’s what I felt when he told me and the first real thought I had was, “What will my little brother think of me?”. The little brother who looked up to me for inspiration and support. His sister has fucked up her life because she didn’t care about herself at all.

He took me into a little office and explained. I kept saying “What happens now?”, repeating it over and over again. As if someone would walk in with all the answers.

What followed was long chats with the nurses on duty, procedural medication talks, and the odd outcry of wailing from me and this guy. As we leave we agree that we can’t tell our families. They just won’t understand. I tell my only true friend and the disappointment in his voice just kills me but he tells me to stay strong and not dismiss anything yet.

Let me explain what PEP is for those that don’t know.

PEP is given to patients who have been exposed to the HIV virus. To be effective, PEP must be given at the latest of 72 hours after exposure. It is taken for 28 days. It can cause side-effects like nausea, headaches and chronic diarrhoea. PEP is not 100% effective: it does not guarantee that someone exposed to HIV will be rid of the virus after taking this medicine.

The reason I wrote that bit is because growing up I wasn’t taught about HIV at all. Not in school, nor at home. I didn’t know how you could catch it.

I never knew how ignorant I was until this incident happened. My self-deprecating self had blinded me to the point that I was abusing my body and had possibly shortened my lifespan.

I was constantly ill on this medicine. I took on a new job and had to travel a lot around London. My bowels were never settled (down to stress as much as the PEP) and my headaches were incredibly painful. I was also warned by my nurse that PEP has the ability to make things become intensified. For example, if I were to drink a pint, it would feel like I had drink 5 pints and like-wise if I smoked a joint, it would feel like I’d smoked 3. I remember setting my alarm for these pills. Every 12 hours they had to be consumed and they couldn’t be even a minute late. The terror I’d feel as I’d swallow them, willing them to destroy the virus that possibly lay in my body. At my last blood test appointment, I remember being told that they felt I had an 80% chance of contracting the virus. My world is falling apart.

So, I’m in limbo. Waiting for my sentence on these pills to pass, no acting lessons, no studio, no friends. I was too ashamed to tell my siblings and grandparents. I kept it a secret until I’d find out the results.

One night I was invited to a gig by someone I’d worked with and I accepted, hoping to distract myself from my own thoughts. What followed was a night that changed my life.

I hadn’t checked the band out before setting off out and I was a bit apprehensive. My experience of live bands in London hasn’t always been positive so I had my reservations as I arrived at the venue. I do hope the band won’t mind me using their name as they were and still are a huge inspiration to me. They were a band called The Duke and The King from America. They’ve since disbanded but they still reverberate with fans in the UK.

Anyway, I arrived with low-ish expectations. My workmate doesn’t have bad music taste but we did differ dramatically at times so I was wary of what was coming.

The band started and to put it bluntly, they were just mind-blowing. If you can think back to a moment in your life where a piece of music, a band, a singer, a song just cut through to you, you can understand. This band was it. So much soul. I can still, STILL remember the singer singing “I got the highest heels on the street”, what the lights were like, where they stood, everything. They made me feel bright and hopeful about the future.

Now the next bit is what I like to think of as a, “moment of clarity” or a “spiritual awakening”. It’s the end of the gig and I HAVE to go up to them all and tell them how great they were. I’m was a very shy person back then and it took some encouragement to approach them.

All of the band members said thank you and I get to the last one. He’s the most soulful one of all with a bear-like quality to his body, powerful and safe. I shake his hand and he asks, “Are you a musician?”. I reply, “No, I’m an actor, well, trying to be”. He shakes his head and says “Naw, you’re a musician. I saw you dancing at the front. You’re a musician. Give up the day job and get playing”.

For some reason I was absolutely overjoyed at his words. I felt happier than I’d been in years. I felt lighter, more hopeful than I’d ever felt about something. I bought both of their albums and the next day I’m playing them in the kitchen. I realise that if I got my results back in a few weeks time and I had HIV, I wanted to do something worthwhile with my life. Something that made me happy. Something that got me out of bed, MADE me want to get out of bed.

While in the kitchen, I sat on a chair, picked up my guitar and started to strum the four chords I knew. What came first was my song “Blue”, about feeling worthless in a relationship. Then, “Baby, I’m Willing”, about a guy I had really liked and didn’t want me back and if he didn’t come get me someone else would snap me up! Then “I Love Someone Who Let Me Down”, “Mr Moonlight”, they all came out in a rush.

I started to write about the things I couldn’t tell anyone. My crazy living situation, my health, my parents, my fears, my dreams. They all got wrapped up in notes on the guitar and gave me a voice.

I’ve always felt odd talking to people about anything personal. I find people aren’t really listening they’re just waiting for their turn to speak. But writing a song? That’s different. Music ignites something in all of us. For the first time I had the freedom to talk about anything and I continue to do so to this day.

I was given the all-clear from HIV in November 2011. One month later I’d quit my demanding job and only worked at night. I bought my first guitar, a 114CE Taylor just before my 25th birthday. I saved for 4 months to get it and begun my journey into music.

What did this experience teach me?

It taught me never to underestimate myself. It taught me that no matter how challenging life gets, even if you make it worse for yourself at times, you can climb back out of that pit of despair. In all honesty, I should’ve learnt that already considering my upbringing but those experiences weren’t mine to learn from.  I was merely an observer to some else’s downfall. The guest at someone else’s party. I had to have my own knock-down to see if I was worth saving.

It all began with pain. When you have pain in your life you tolerate it, or in my case, I chose to drown it out with drugs and alcohol because it was too much. My Granny used to have nerve damage in the side of her cheek for about 25 years. Some days it was really bad and some days it was just about bearable. That’s what living feels like sometimes. You’re aware that it’s there but you learn to live with it and the more you try to push it away, the quicker you get at blocking out the pain by playing music, crochet, dancing in your room, meeting new people, or even, just telling that bad voice to quieten down because you know that what they’re saying is completely wrong.

I know I get badly depressed sometimes. I know people don’t always understand and I know most people want to turn away because they’re not comfortable with the situation. I completely understand now, but before I resented the people who were scared of me and my “bad days”. That’s why I drank and smoked pot. It wasn’t getting rid of my issues, it just put them on hold until I was brave enough to face them. The risk of being infected with HIV was my wake-up call. I knew I had to stop treating myself to badly and allowing others to treat me poorly too.

After my all-clear I slowly regained myself again. Very slowly. I still had knock-backs and drank heavily. I suffered from stage fright and I’d drink four double whiskeys before even stepping near the stage to sound check. I also ate late and bellowed my songs out and smoked. I developed soft nodules in 2012 and was told to quit everything and was sent to speech therapy.

But always, always, music was pulling me through. Dangling a ladder in front of me and whispering encouragement when I dropped down a few rungs. A friend said to me once “I think something out there just knew you were having a bad time and gave you a gift one day”. It’s a sweet thought.

I take very good care of my body these days! I wish I could say the same for my heart and it’s emotions but that’s another blog!

I felt I needed to share this story because I’ve never written it down and I felt now was the right time. I didn’t write in my journal for the entire ordeal. I was too scared to see the words on paper and too ashamed to speak about it to anyone…….but if we don’t talk about our mistakes or admit when we’ve gone wrong….how can we learn from them? How can we grow and love and cherish things when we don’t fully appreciate how they came to be? Sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty to plant the seed just right.

Music saved my life. It gave me a reason to live and continues to keep me strong. I wrote a song tonight, just as I started this blog. It’s called “The Game”. It’s about feeling ashamed when you fall for a guy who doesn’t make his mind up as to whether he wants you back. Yeah, we’ve ALL been there….

I’d like to conclude by saying, take care of yourselves out there. You’re all valuable people and your worth is defined only by your belief in yourself. Strength is a choice and suffering is another that we feast upon because it’s easier to swallow. I’m going to stop stuffing my face with that, roll my sleeves up and continue making a good amount of strength to get me through life.

My next blog will be out soon. Thanks for reading xxx