nye 2018

100 years ago it was 1918 going into 1919.

You know, human beings have a penchant for believing that current reality remains permanent forever. But it’s not true. 100 years from now we will be in 2118 going into 2119. I will likely be dead, but everything will be different and beyond our wildest imagination and past our most absurd flights of fancy.

This has been the most chill New Year’s Eve I’ve had in awhile; no friend or family obligations. I’m home alone. The cold rain falls outside – and it’s nice.

I’ve been sipping whiskey throughout the night, snacking here and there. I just finished watching 11:59, a Star Trek Voyager episode about Janeway’s ancestor, Shannon O’Donnell, an early space engineer who Janeway has idolized since her youth, but later learns she’s not quite who she thought she was. I think the episode gets a lot of shit from fans, but it’s always been one of my favorites because 1) A lot of the episode takes place outside Voyager – Mulgrew plays O’Donnell who stumbles upon Portage Creek, Indiana in the year 2000 – so there’s a lot of filming that takes place outside the Voyager soundstage – plus it’s always a treat to see Mulgrew play another character – and 2) It talks about that even though sometimes our heroes and idols aren’t quite who we though they were, sometimes their character and the people they meet and leave an imprint on is really what makes them an integral part of our past, not necessarily the feats they accomplish or the fame they may get because of it. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well or doing the episode justice, but it’s a goodie – And it’s on Netflix.

And speaking of Mulgrew, I finished listening to the Born With Teeth audiobook, which she reads – And oh! What an experience. She could read anything and I would gobble it up. What an excellent book. It’s one of my favorites. I also recently learned Mulgrew narrated an abridged version of Mosaic, which is a Janeway backstory novel written by Jeri Taylor So I started listening to that and even read along for awhile with my own copy.

Tonight I’ve also played guitar, practicing some of the songs I’m planning on recording in the studio this Friday. Really trying to get some lyrics right, rewriting them and making little changes here and there. Trying to get them perfect.

And I also watched some Brooklyn Nine-Nine, for laughs.

I found out a guy I graduated high school with, whom I just saw a month ago at a friend’s wedding, unexpectedly passed away from a drug overdose two days ago. And it gave me quite a shock, not because I was particularly close with him, but because it was literally a month ago when I saw him last. And he was a nice guy. We sat near each other at the church. And he didn’t recognize me in my dress and when I told him who I was, he was so excited and gave me a big hug. We hadn’t see each other since high school. That evening, we sat at the same table during the reception and enjoyed the party together.

I seem more open to writing in the cozy quiet of night, or right after a death. And I’m not sure why that is.

My parents just got home from a family gathering. They’re wet from the rain and tired while talkative. I just realized how late it is. 11:59 is coming up quick. But I feel no different when the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight. I never have. Always anticipated a change, but nothing ever happens.

However, my Dad’s made some chocolate tea for me. The TV is switched on CNN (to my dismay) and I will hit the “Publish” button and close the laptop for the night.

Happy New Year’s, everyone. Please strive to be happy and healthy.

-RKB

 

Everything changes all the time and real-life metaphors are everything.

Somehow during yesterday’s storm I somehow fucked up the left lens of my glasses and I need to go get it looked at tomorrow; My vision’s been impaired. I need to take action to see clearer. So right now I’m wearing an old pair of glasses to get by and it’s been okay. But it’s not the best. Kind of uncomfortable to be honest. Sometimes relying on old methods isn’t a permanent solution. I’m still figuring it out.

Things change fast and slow all the time. Sometimes we can’t see it until after it happens. Sometimes we feel it more than we see it.

Today was one of those lazy days hanging out at home – Catching up on TV and snacking in pajamas. I hadn’t had a day like that in awhile. It felt good. (but also a little shitty. Sometimes I feel bad for letting myself indulge like that. I need to get over myself.)

I find myself thinking about how friends sometimes leave or diminish in our lives somehow, some way. But when they do, we start to recognize the indelible mark they’ve made on us – In the way we speak, tell a joke, view our outlook on life, respond to others. And how when we lose those friends, other friends come to fill in that gap made empty. But they do it with such force and will of life. Something dead was there before. We didn’t even realize it was dead. Now it’s a beautiful bouquet of flowers with hummingbirds and bumblebees. We must water and tend our relationships all the time.

We learn so much from each other that sometimes when there’s a falling out, it’s easy to equate a lot of things with that relationship, things that you shared. Things that afterwards seem less enjoyable because you shared them. I’m getting over this bullshit.

Last weekend I was going to shows and traveling alone and so my routine is all out of whack. I’m really looking forward to getting it back on track by hitting the hay early and waking up and being productive. I must be productive. Exercise! Errands! I’m even getting a massage tomorrow. (One that is desperately needed.) I must clean my room and do my laundry. Get my affairs in order. Catch up on email. Pay bills. Figure it out.

Life is so amazing and short. I’m realizing I don’t have time for other people’s bullshit. I wanna love my friends and and get out there. Enjoy life. Do things. Do things that will make the memoir interesting. That’s my mantra. I don’t want to rely on others if it means diminishing my own sense of self. I’m a strong, independent woman. I am Life.

Tomorrow morning, I’m making coffee and a to-do list and getting started. Dust the cobwebs off the shelf. I’m going to listen to all the music I’ve been putting off. I’m going to start teaching myself more songs on guitar and work on my technique. I’m a Jill of all Trades. I’m going to meditate and breathe through every triumph and tribulation. I am breath embodied. I’m going to organize and feel good about myself, feel good about Life.

But first, sleep. Sleep is important.

 

Suzuki

To anyone who’s known me/knows me well knows that Saves The Day has been a very important part of my life since circa 2007. And I don’t believe this to be the time or place for me to recount my entire journey with this band (perhaps someday), but I’d like to just say a few words about the track, “Suzuki” on Saves The Day’s new album, entitled 9.

Before 9 even came out, a website posted the tracklist and I was absolutely intrigued to find that Suzuki was the name of a song. Suzuki is one of the fascinating things (imo) Chris and I have in common. He studied cello (as the song says) and I, piano. Suzuki was a really important part of my life as it helped to develop my musical ear and was a foundational part of my early music education as a kid. And being that I was awarded a music scholarship for writing an essay about the guy, that small coincidental factoid somehow makes the world seem way rounder than it really is.

On Friday, when 9 came out, I went to that track first because I was so excited to hear it. It was around 5:30 AM when the world is still dark and quiet, and 30 seconds in, I hear my name in the song and immediately thought, Is this a dream?

Cutting out the part of me listening back over and over to confirm I hadn’t misheard, since Friday I’ve still been sifting through many emotions. They are complex and multi-layered. It’s a lot of things being felt at once. But I think most importantly, I’d like to acknowledge the self-reflection I’ve been experiencing, which is what 9 is – A self-reflection of a band/life-long music career and the story behind it, the ups and downs that come with it. But for me, I think back to my 10 year journey with this band and it makes my heart swell beyond it’s own capacity. I feel so honored and thankful to be acknowledged, and even that acknowledgement and thankfulness does not seem like enough to express the gratitude and love I truly feel. The journey, my journey, is nowhere near finished and I do not know where it will take me, but I feel so overwhelmingly blessed and grateful to have had the privilege of spending it with this band and the friends I’ve gained through our mutual love of music.

I’d also like to say (despite my name drop) that “Suzuki” is a very well-written song and I find myself constantly tearing up about it because the weaving melody and performances from the entire band are just so heartfelt and tangible and real to me. It’s cathartic time-travel while simultaneously making reality feel cinematic…It’s still difficult for me to articulate.

Additionally, the first time I saw Saves The Day was at Highline Ballroom in NYC in 2008 where Moneen and Kevin Devine opened for them. It blew my mind and changed my world forever. Kevin is opening again for them on their upcoming tour and it somehow feels so right for all this to be happening right now. Hope to see you at a show –

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I look at myself in the mirror in triangle pose.

Who is this girl?

My hair in free fall, like a lion’s mane. I look into my shrunken pupils,

I think about all the things I’ve said and done and need to do and I breathe, slowly.

Examining myself, looking at this thick girl in the mirror, thighs massive, defined biceps trying to shed their bottom fat.

And it’s okay. I’m not vain about it. But there’s something about acknowledging a reflection, finding the confidence in your own eyes to accept yourself and connect with the soul within you.

And when you’re home and in private, stand naked in front of your bedroom mirror and realize you will never have a Hollywood body – and that’s okay too.

And instead of picking out imperfections, find a place to love and appreciate.

The curve of the belly. The protrusion of the clavicle. The small of your own back.

It is in the this gradual acceptance and love of myself that I have found deep compassion for others.

 

the yard

I’m in the yard watching the spontaneity of flashing fireflies. It is peaceful and quiet out here.

Last week we cut down a really big tree in the yard and can now clearly see past our fence to Parallel Street. I miss the tree but love it’s absence and how it brings in so much natural light into the kitchen – even at night.

I meditated twice today. I think I need to start doing longer sessions. I did a 15 minute one today. I opened my eyes and it was like a whole new planet. My anxiety is still persistent, but I’m smarter than to fully identify with it. It’s not truly me.

I remember when there used to be a swing set in the yard. All plastic and metal. When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine the yard without it. Now I often forget that it existed at all.

My dog’s buried in the yard. A secret kept. I wish I felt more emotional about it. But I suppose my upbringing was very much rooted in solemn, factual understanding. I couldn’t change it if I tried.

God bless the humidity when it leaves. Like anxiety it is sticky and viscous and clings without asking, choking. It makes me panic. But I am not my anxiety. The weather is not its humidity. It is a side-effect, a part of the whole.

I’ve been thinking about melody composition and what a magical process/accident it really is. I listen to Tigers Jaw and dream of being in a band and looking into your eyes and singing to you because I can, because I understand. I understand.

I never want to move to New York. I love the yard too much. Where the ghosts of old friends making smores in 2007 are almost fully faded. Where the birds and bees and cats and squirrels and skunks run and fly free, where the poison ivy grows.

As the night goes on I slow down my breathing and feel the weight ease off my chest.

I will make friends and go on living. I will learn new skills and stay close with the people I love most. I will gain more than I will lose. I will grow as a person even when I think I have already grown. I am the grass. I am a wildflower. I am an untamed wild stallion crying on the prairie.

I want to love more openly, but I am atypical and unexpected and too calloused for my own good. I toss my neck and scoff and make others uncomfortable. I am terrified of admitting to any feeling that may make me vulnerable. I have had my heartbroken. I have felt embarrassment and shame. I do not know how to get over these hurdles. I am still not over those teenage moments. I do not trust men’s intentions at bars.

I love all my queer friends because they understand what it’s like to be different and not fit in. And I think that’s why I get along so well with them: Because I have never fit in anywhere in my life. Occasionally I’ll dip a toe, but the water soon dries up or gets too cold.

Will there ever be a time where this yard will no longer be mine? Will there be new yards with swing sets and dead dogs and animals and flowers and dusk summer nights alone wailing to laptop screens on fingertips bated breath oh wait I have to breathe close my eyes look up at the sky silhouettes of trees –

Deep breaths,