JULIE ANDREWS APPRECIATION POST

This.song.is.genius.This.song.is.everything.This.song.means.so.much.to.me.HOLY.SHIT

I’m not quite sure when I first witnessed the triumph that is The Sound of Music; I don’t have a distinct or specific memory of it. But I can tell you that is my FAVORITE musical of all time and that because of this and Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews has remained an untouchable goddess to me. She.is.everything.

But beyond my insane (and some would argue unexpected) fandom of Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music, “I Have Confidence” is one of my favorite songs EVER. And for me, as a musician, holder of a Music degree, and overall music FAN that is SAYING something.

The song is a Rodgers & Hammerstein masterpiece, especially the lyrics. I think one of the reasons why musical theatre is so powerful is because of it’s ability to tell extremely compelling stories but also have the songs be relatable to the viewer/listener so that even when you leave the theatre, you can take those songs with them, hold them close, and call them yours; to feel a sense of belonging and ownership to them. Like, yes, “I Have Confidence” is what Fraulein Maria sings as she’s sent from The Abbey to the house von Trapp, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about being terrified about what’s about to happen in your future and doing your best to meet it with a positive outlook; You find yourself in a set of circumstances and you must move forward, but you’re scared and you know what? You somehow scrape up the willpower and positivity to say, “I can do this! I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to make it work! I’m going to cast aside this self-doubt and I’m really going to go for it, no matter what happens!”

Personally this song is crucial to me because I struggle so much with this sort of thing. It’s so hard to will yourself to be bright, upbeat, and positive. Some days it feels impossible. Some days it’s easier to feel depressed. This song can be the perfect antidote to give myself more energy, to play a role in moving myself forward, and leaving the bad, self-sabotaging feelings behind.

My heart should be wildly rejoicing.
Oh, what’s the matter with me?
I’ve always longed for adventure,
To do the things I’ve never dared.
Now here I’m facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?…

…Oh, I must stop these doubts,
All these worries.
If I don’t I just know I’ll turn back!
I must dream of the things I am seeking.
I am seeking the courage I lack.

The courage to serve them with reliance,
Face my mistakes without defiance.
Show them I’m worthy
And while I show them
I’ll show me!
So, let them bring on all their problems,
I’ll do better than my best.
I have confidence
They’ll put me to the test!
But I’ll make them see
I have confidence in me…

…With each step I am more certain,
Everything will turn out fine.
I have confidence,
The world can all be mine!
They’ll have to agree
I have confidence in me.
I have confidence in sunshine,
I have confidence in rain.
I have confidence that spring will come again!
Besides what you see I have confidence in me.
Strength doesn’t lie in numbers.
Strength doesn’t lie in wealth,
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers,
When you wake up, wake up!
It’s healthy!
All I trust I leave my heart to,
All I trust becomes my own!
I have confidence in confidence alone.
I have confidence in confidence alone!
Besides, which you see, I have confidence in me!
It’s just so bright! So sunny! So positive and pure! And Julie Andrews’s delivery of it is spectacular. I believe every word she’s saying! There isn’t a doubt in my mind! And I want that for me, you know? I want to shed all my doubts and tackle life and move forward with grace, despite any stumbles or mistakes because I know in the end they will help make me who I am!
Does anyone else have song like this they hold close to their heart, musical theatre or otherwise? Drop it in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

The Tape

Hi All!

So re: my last post, I am doing much better. In case you do not follow me on social media (namely Facebook and Instagram), I recently lost someone in my life who was a supervisor at one of my jobs. And it was very sudden and I was not aware of just how sick she was, so it all came at a bit of a shock. Even though I only knew her for two and a half years, she left enough of an impact on my life that her loss deeply effected me. She was so kind and sweet and funny. I always enjoyed talking and laughing with her and so I will deeply miss her. What’s so strange is that about two weeks prior to her passing, I had requested her as a Facebook friend and she accepted. And I remember feeling trepidatious about reaching out (because of the whole employee/supervisor thing), but we got along so well and the night I sent the request (which was the night of the Golden Globes) I remember thinking, “Ah, fuck it”. And I think she accepted the next day.

It bums me out when people die, mainly because I think the simple reality of like, “Oh my gosh, I can never have this person anymore. I can never see them or talk to them or be with them ever again”, that’s a very traumatic, jarring feeling. The reality is so simple and plain but getting over it (or even through it) is difficult and exhausting, especially because I did not know how ill she was. It did take time, but as each day passes I feel as though I’m slowly coming to terms with it.

The thing about getting older is that death triggers other deaths you’ve experienced and it cause a chain reaction domino effect. And that can be a frightening thing to try to contain. I’m not sure if I’ve ever told this story on this blog, but a few years ago it was Easter Sunday. My family and I had just returned home from Easter dinner with our extended family and everyone was settling in, getting changed, and winding down. Days prior, I was cleaning out my basement and I found a strong box with a few of my great-grandmother’s affects (who had passed years prior), among them a unmarked, older looking cassette tape. I though that was curious and I had brought it up to my room to listen to it later.

So here I am, after Easter dinner. I go into my room to get changed and I stumble across the tape again and I figure, well why don’t I listen to it right now? I had recently got a record player which had an attached tape player in it, so I popped it in and began to listen. It was a woman speaking. No music. It was a woman and a man having a conversation. It only took me a few minutes to realize that the woman was my grandmother (my great-grandmother’s daughter-in-law, who had almost been gone 10 years ago at that point) and my dad’s father (my great-grandmother’s son, who I refuse to call “Grandpa” or anything because he was deadbeat alcoholic who I never met, whose voice I never heard).

I later learned this tape of conversations existed because my grandmother, Roselyn was in the middle of divorcing my dad’s father, Jack, and her lawyer told her the proceedings might go easier if she could get him to say something implicating to use against him on tape. Nothing was ever really captured from what I understand. But in these intimate conversations, Jack was being really sweet with Roselyn; He was trying to win her back and get her to come back home. And my grandmother would politely laugh and tell him to stop and knock it off and she’d ask about the cat and the kids (my dad and his siblings, who were all grown). See, my grandmother had gone to California to get away from Jack, as he was incredibly abusive. And one day she decided she had enough and left. And the tape was just filled with these beautiful, intimate conversations I had never been privy to listen to, aside from the fact I hadn’t even been born yet when they were had.

But as I listened and I listened, I began to feeling incredibly overwhelmed and unspeakably sad. Suddenly I felt as though I was holding back a dam of tears. See, Roselyn had passed away in 2004 (or 2005). And I remember being 14 and not quite sure how to take the news. I didn’t cry. It didn’t really effect me. I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to but it didn’t. Which was weird because I loved my grandmother very much and I felt as though she did play a hand in raising me. And she was always so sweet and kind and generous and gracious and a consistent presence in my life. I chose not to go to the funeral (my mom asked) and never thought much about it. When she was alive, we would go visit her every weekend. And as a kid I got sick of it; I got tired of going every Saturday or Sunday and wasting my time there. There were so many other things I wanted to do; As a kid, it was the last place I wanted to be. So when Roselyn died, it just felt like we got a break from visiting her every weekend; and I enjoyed that freedom.

But I had to turn the tape off. I was still holding back this dam of tears that was about to burst forth. I went back downstairs, sat down, and tried to pull myself together. And then suddenly, I couldn’t hold it together anymore. And I just broke down. I sure scared the hell out of my parents, who had no idea what was going on. Remember, we had just come back from Easter dinner where I was emotionally together for the entire day. I think we all actually had a nice time. It took awhile for me to get the words out, to tell my parents the story about the tape and how it affected me. And it was like all those years of not grieving just caught up with me. I think I cried for over an hour. I never realized how much I missed her. How much I wished I could talk to her again, now that I was older. I still have those wishes. The family members who passed away when I was young, I wish I had the chance to be with them as an young adult because I think I would appreciate them more and enjoy their company more. Especially my Poppy (Nonna’s husband, my grandfather), my Zia Angelina (Nonna’s sister), and of course my grandma, Roselyn.

Everyday I wish they were here with me. Not just in my heart, but really here with me. And I could talk to them in a room and we’d sit around a table sipping espresso. But I know that won’t happen – though maybe in dream.

I know death is a part of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to those you love. It’s still hard.

It’s still hard, but it can get easier as time goes on.

I believe in that for sure.

Yours,

-RKB

invisibility cloak, dementor’s kiss

I was recently informed tonight that someone I knew quite well died suddenly.

And as soon as I heard the news through the cell phone receiver on a phone call that was not mine, I could feel the energy being sucked from my body. Like a dementor’s kiss, but the dementor has an invisibility cloak. I can’t see it, only feel it. Feel my energy slipping, slipping away as my body grieves what my eyes (and ears) cannot process.

I felt like falling and collapsing.

I (still) feel my energy dwindling.

I feel lightheaded and sad.

And in disbelief.

But maybe mostly stunned and sad.

When I feel like this, I like to be left alone in silence; No TV on, don’t talk to me, no music.

I need the silence to cradle the moment or else I might break.

I had to call someone to tell them the news. And it was hard.

And now I’m sitting in silence, hoping this will provide a minor cathartic release.

But I’m not sure if it is…

Thank Gosh

Thank Gosh for movies, Thank Gosh for friends

Thank Gosh for silver tequila, Thank Gosh for the soundtracks from 80s b-side movies that no one remembers

Thank Gosh for two-sided conversations, Thank Gosh for car rides

Thank Gosh for heat in the winter and cold in the summer

Thank Gosh for water when I’m thirsty, Thank Gosh for the freedom not to care

Thank Gosh for silence and being alone and warm sheets and that moment right before you fall asleep that’s almost like the anticipation of a kiss

Thank Gosh for good-natured laughter, Thank Gosh for the listeners and observers with wide eyes and a full heart

Thank Gosh for the moment when anxiety leaves your body and you let yourself believe it’ll never come back, but also know that it probably will and oh my Gosh, this won’t last forever

Thank Gosh for the ability to try, Thank Gosh for clarity

Thank Gosh for now and then and now

Thank Gosh for that sunset this evening and that crescent moon with its sharpened blade

Thank Gosh for accomplishments making us feeling accomplished

Thank Gosh for fitting in with the out-crowd

Thank Gosh for all the memories, Thank Gosh for the ability to let some go

Thank Gosh for companionship and love, but maybe also for all the bad things in the world, so we can tell them apart from the good.

Thank Gosh for honesty and balance

Thank Gosh for the rules that I’ve learned so I know how to break them.

Thank Gosh for parents and brothers who care

Thank Gosh for forgiveness and patience

Thank Gosh for the nighttime peace that overtakes me as I will myself to close eyes and leave this planet for awhile

to enter the unconscious realm of dream that is connected with some dimension of the afterlife where maps exist and paths are being drawn and made and transmitted by radio into the synapses of our minds, making our hearts thump a little faster and harder as we wake up, trying to figure out what it all means.

Because we can’t take the map with us. So Thank Gosh.

because figuring it out is part of the journey.

And what is human existence without that?

1.18.18

Hi Fam!

So I had a good day today. I woke up a little later than I wanted to, but I guess that’s what you get when you don’t go to bed ’til 1…I’m still working on that bedtime routine. (Personally, I blame Star Trek Timelines).

I got my meditation and exercise out of the way and honestly spent most of the day creating a website to house my film/TV portfolio. I’ve created and completed so many projects (eight in about two years) while at Montclair State and wanted a place to house them all so prospective employers could view them in one place. So I made it, it’s done, and it looks beautiful. It is also password protected and for the eyes of my future employers only. 🙂 =. I feel proud, accomplished, and excited. I am thrilled.

Additionally, I applied to an internship that got me stoked! And I wrote a really good cover letter for my application. I’m usually my worst critic and will nit-pick everything I write to death, but I’m proud of this cover letter and really hope I get an interview. Fingers crossed!

Aside from that, I finally went out to see Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and really enjoyed it. Frances McDormand is everything. Seriously. If you haven’t seen this film, do yourself a favor and please go see it. Definitely worth the Golden Globe for Best Picture. And when the movie let out, I serendipitously ran into two friends of mine who had just got out of Lady Bird across the theater I was in. (Another wonderful film that everyone should see.) So that was all nice and good; We talked for a bit and then went our separate ways.

One thing I continue to notice in all these new films coming out lately is there are a lot of stories being told about parental relationships. And I’m not sure if that’s even been done en masse before. And I like that a lot.

If I’ve discovered anything about myself these past few years it’s that I highly value stories. I hunger for them. I want to tell them, I want to participate in them, I want to listen to them. Good stories are art. And art makes Life worth living. As long as I’m creating or partaking, I’ll think Life is worth living. It’s in these moments that peace exists and feels as though it could stretch out infinitely, forever.