the hardest thing is a rendering, a moment moving too fast too endure
would you abide and smile wide, because i want to remember this for sure.
[…] our pictures say with sight what we can’t say with words,
[…] a picture will survive, so smile and look alive,
a camera lens is opening, a wider angle’s yours.

look alive, incubus.

 

saturday [january 24].

http://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8665/16432129105_edd2e4f436.jpg?resize=500%2C500&ssl=1

free concert? in a library? 
(William Prince, Cassidy Mann, Don Amero)

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7429/16245875679_393a9bb3a0.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

including this guy—Will—two days back from China?!

yes please!

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7387/16244723060_da9538b95a.jpg?resize=500%2C500&ssl=1

sunday.

http://i0.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8581/16430806842_a797ebb9e1.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

monday.

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/16431193052_7a493574c4.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

http://i0.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8566/16406139516_dab9eaa1ac.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

imagine my surprise when I looked down to what i thought was a raquetball court,
but instead has been morphed into the basketball hall of fame
including a ladder. 

tuesday.

http://i0.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8582/16245493969_9769853f46.jpg?resize=500%2C213&ssl=1

wednesday.

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/16245837067_513ff9b8ac.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

pebble was all explode-y when i did two twitter chats simultaneously.
[is the correct term tweet chats? if so, i hate that and refuse.]#BellLetsTalk 

http://i1.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7435/16429983861_e6c9f97e63.jpg?resize=500%2C500&ssl=1

this sign has been here forever. it has been back to school season for a looooong time, my friends.

thursday.

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7320/16429986261_2577083acc.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1
check out my friend Darren’s bass videos yet?

http://i1.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7396/16245834897_bcf59b3c0b.jpg?resize=500%2C282&ssl=1

sometimes Bryan and i then eat snacks on buses.

http://i2.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7389/16245833997_d615e4d15e.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

then go bake cinnamon swirl loaf with my grandma

http://i1.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7421/15811694413_28b62ce0e6.jpg?resize=500%2C500&ssl=1

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7317/16429981841_c99e0a6b7c.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

bryan’s wrist is quite a right angle…

http://i1.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7313/16245489929_036430a46d.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

friday.

http://i2.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8641/16405761566_349f2f0179.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

wesmen win!

http://i2.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7404/16245838297_c8812238ef.jpg?resize=500%2C500&ssl=1

saturday.

http://i0.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7286/16430801612_7aa151a0f2.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

now on the pharmacare formulary—concerta.
thank god because, you know, that target thing.

sunday.

(begin february.)

http://i2.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7383/16405759646_7752a24141.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

cauliflower crust pizza. yes.
despite that my kitchen is a demolition zone. 

Rolling into 2015, I thought that I would have already thrown some tracks [or at least a track] into my 2015 soundtrack playlist. Instead, here’s one that’s resonating—in some ways—but not quite hitting hard enough to be soundtrack worthy (at least at present).

Regardless… here it is.

stop the press, everything a mess
you can look alive, but you are not at rest
and ideas are flowing through your head
a million miles an hour while lying in your bed
a lucid life you never thought you’d lead
are you working every day,
are you working just to bleed?
i know, i know, i know, i know, i know.

staring at the wings of the famed, 
they’re dipped in gold
and feeling you deserve what you heard
but it doesn’t go that way
oh the tongues of men and angels,
i speak like love, oh love,
will i stab you in the back?
working every day, i forgot what’s most important
—love.

here i am, dear Lord,
tasting hints of fame
i don’t want it anymore
if it’s not You that i gain
wanna fall at Your feet,
don’t wanna fall from Your peace
i understand

have you ever been the man
that just ran when you knew that God was talking?
have you ever heard His voice through the noise
but just let it get away?
oh the tongues of men and angels,
i speak like love, oh love,
will i stab you in the back?

how come i go with mine
instead of Yours
when Yours is always right?
i’m sorry.
just pour into me
—love.

a heart at rest is harder now,
don’t let it go away
hard earned pay, 
or hard earned pain?
right now they’re just the same
what’s the use, why work so hard
when it’s not what you crave
when what you need is
love.

look. here i am dear Lord,
tasting hints of fame
i don’t want it anymore
if it’s not You that i gain
wanna fall at Your feet
don’t wanna fall from Your peace
i understand. 

i won’t be satisfied with okay
and I can’t be okay with alright
so point me to the edge of life,
i’ll stand up on my toes
stretch my fingers out to there
and bring it back here.

because it’s too important,
for us to forget
we’ll unify our thoughts,
God will hear and save
God will hear and save us.

all together standing up on our toe[s],
we’re reaching for a freedom that they don’t know
so catch it as it pours out, we know what we need
don’t get tired when you’re running back to show them.

–okay, flyleaf

 

My friend Chris often posts pictures of “how might we” questions he has written down in a notebook—a practice I emulated last week, and used to prepare for my conversation with Richard on Thursday.

I didn’t reference the notes once—I didn’t need to. While we weren’t too sure of where we were going—and found ourselves in many different directions!—Richard, more concise than myself, was able to summarize our varied of conversation in a single tweet.

how might we: encourage / move / allow story / gradually / better / encourage / become / embrace / bridge / explore / transcend.While writing this, I fired down a string of questions into a black Moleskine, attempting to pare down the 835+ words that have been strewn about thus far.

encourage.
move.
better.
become.
embrace.
bridge.
explore.

question.

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is, “We’ve always done it this way.”

—Grace Murray Hopper

I question everything. I kind of think that refusing to question everything means that we become, and remain, stuck—we do not grow, and thus, we do not change.

How might we encourage change? and at that, the type of change to build connection through story—to build community through connection. To encourage the asking of questions rather than the acceptance of the familiar.

 

i wont be satisfied with okay / and i cant be okay with alright.

 

During our conversation, Richard noted that many people don’t know what their story is.

How much do we know our ambition, our purpose, our goals, if we don’t know our own stories? The stories we are creating, writing, LIVING, every single day.

Knowing our stories though, like living them, doesn’t come passively, or with passivity—it comes with being fully alive in them, and in sharing them. How much are we living passively because we don’t have enough opportunities to share our stories with our communities? And if we do, what are the barriers to sharing? Do we, perhaps, as a society, feel as if we cannot open up enough to ask questions of our own beliefs, experiences, our stories, by intentionally communicating these things with others?

We talk with one another every day–do we really engage, or do we just talk? Are we really having a conversation, or are we sidestepping the brokenness right in front of us? Are we swerving around the questioning, the longing, the creating, the uncomfortable, the fucked up? (Are we using this agility to deke around that fucked up even exists?) That problems exist right in front of us, even if they are separate from the base of Maslow’s pyramid? That no problem, no experience, no struggle or triumph, is greater or lesser than another?

it was a beautiful letdown when You found me here,
yeah for once in a rare blue moon, i see everything here,

i’ll be a beautiful letdown, that’s what i’ll forever be
and though it may cost my soul, i’ll sing for free.[…] i don’t belong here, feels like i don’t belong here.
i will carry a cross and a song where i don’t belong […]

we a beautiful letdown, painfully uncool,
the church of the losers, the dropouts, the sinners, the failures, and the fools.
what a beautiful letdown—are we salt in the wound?
let us sing one true tune.

–the beautiful letdown, switchfoot.

the church of the losers, the dropouts, the sinners, the failures, and the fools is where i want to belong. Messing up means we tried.

In the context of faith: Do we worship in this same way? One-sidedly? Aiming for perfection that doesn’t exist—and doesn’t matter? In the church, or in any community, do we have—or how can we facilitate—a conversation around story?

Around sharing our experiences, our downfalls, with freedom from fear.

The stories that make us the people we are.

 

I got on the bus and put my earphones in—my iPhone shuffled to Okay, above. I repeated it five times.

‘cause it’s too important for us to forget
[…] so catch it as it pours out,
we know what we need,
don’t get tired when you’re running back to show them. 

So, let’s start here in the comments, or e-mail me

what’s your story? 

and i scratched these words into a black notebook…

last straw, jack’s mannequin

There are so many unexpected ironies included in those lyrics with what was to come—foreshadowing.
i’m one year older now since the last time I saw you in case you wanna know, i’m about to say what i’m up to.
first of all i’m a sluggard, moving slow in a clumsy way
some peace of mind is what i want, but that will be the day.
i’ve been going without fault for so long, and this must end
running round in circles, i’ve been so far from myself
searching for the energy, and the time to make a change
to make a change in my life, instead of watching it pass by
do something now while i’m alive
 
i’m twenty-two, don’t know what i’m supposed to do
or how to be, to get some more out of me
i’m twenty-two, so far away from all my dreams
i’m twenty-two, twenty-two–feeling blue
 
[…]
afraid that i will be weak forever
i can’t stay in this shape any longer
my life’s just another cliche
 
twenty-two, millencolin
As I did of 2013 when 2014 started, I refuse to recap my twenty-second year: It was important, it changed me, but that change did not occur through circumstances I chose. It was important to me—it still is important to me—to share those stories, to be transparent, for a variety of reasons. Among the most important, though, can be summarized concisely in my friend Jay’s words: “We cannot control our circumstances, only our responses to them”.

i’m keeping quiet until the phone stops ringing  lately it’s hard to disconnect, i just want something real i’ll find my words if i can just stop thinking the room is spinning, i have got no choice be patient, i am getting to the point… 

spinning, jack’s mannequin

I grew, I came out on top with a few more scars inside me.
you watched that poor girl waste the best years of her life and i’ll be damned if i am going out i will not go out that way.
last straw, jack’s mannequin.
I’m alive and determined to make this count.

i can’t remember when the earth turned slowly so i just waited with the lights turned out again i lost my place, but i can’t stop this story 

Tomorrow, I turn twenty-three.
i keep forgetting when the earth turned slowly so i just waited till the lights come on again i lost my place but i can’t stop this story i found my way, but until then i’m only spinning 
spinning, jack’s mannequin.

The original post in this series can be found here—the recap of that discussion can be found here. The second set of tracks can be found here.

Previous tracks: The Resolution – Jack’s Mannequin, Even if it Kills Me – Motion City Soundtrack, Feeling Good – Muse (cover), Typical – MUTEMATH, Workin’ it Out – Hilary Duff, The Year of Discovery – Tess Dunn, Caves – Jack’s Mannequin, Twenty Two – Millencolin, Diane the Skyscraper – Jack’s Mannequin, Weightless – All Time Low, Watch the Sky – Something Corporate, I Swear This Place is Haunted – A Skylit Drive.

I cut the last post off in July—from the point of August on, even though the battle had yet to begin again in September and was nowhere near over, the vibe of the tracks shift to recovery. 


Rise – A Skylit Drive

I wrote in mid-July about feeling like a grenade. Rise was a response to that–

some days i feel like a loaded gun / i paint a target on everyone […]

some days i feel like i’m fucking done / i’m waging war against everyone / it’s killing me, like it’s killing you / what’s done is done, what will you do?

–but also to freedom from that feeling, even if briefly. From February through September, August was the only good month—the only month that I felt healthy, like I could do what I wanted. Like things were falling into place. I went through August with no ER visits, no blood transfusions, and only scheduled doctors’ visits. I started Concerta for ADHD, and I could feel my world changing for the better as a result.  I went to Vancouver—I left my surroundings, I felt more free than I had in months.

run / you think you’re running away: i think you’re running in place / i’ve never seen you this way.

do not pray for an easy life / search for the strength to walk the line / i see a hope that’s hard to find / so don’t run away.

this is the end.

Things were better, it could have been the end, things could have gone back to a better semblance of normalcy—I re-ignited the hope just to go into another battle.


Cars and the Pixies – The Rocket Summer

can i be honest? / i’m ready for this year to die. / can’t help but notice / every corner where something ain’t right / i’ll be honest, i’ve got the kind of mind right now / to not be modest / i’m sick of walking on eggshells / and i believe that life should be epic.

the cars and the pixies / and the cure ain’t gonna fix me.

September was when I finally realized that I needed the chaos that had been 2013 to this point to end—“ready for this year to die”. I knew that, slowly this time, I was on another decline health-wise and there was nothing I could do except wait—the hormone meds weren’t working and I was being told surgery to remove the fibroid was 2-3 months out—at the rate I was going, there was little to say I’d still be alive in 2-3 months. It was like being in a medical-system crapshoot.

the coin you call it / if heads we’re going back to the heartland / if tails it’s falling, you know, i think i could care less where it lands / i’m exhausted, and overwrought / i’m a message in a bottle, tossing, turning here out in the sea / i’ve been swimming so long, come on / i’m ready for you now to read me.

After nearly dying in September, after surgery… this was what became true:

this is the year we start living (the cure ain’t gonna fix me…) / who says it has to be a new year to start a new year?


Word Forward – Foo Fighters

goodbye, jimmy / farewell youth / i must be on my way, i’ve had enough of you […]

years that i’ve wasted, these i-owe-yous.

they’re just fucking words. / this is life or death. / it’s time to clear the air / you’d better save your breath. / say have you heard, the poison in my heart / the voices in my head? / years that i’ve wasted, these i-owe-yous.

i meant every word, for word, for word, for word.

but it’s only words. / i meant every word / they’re just fucking words.

This is life or death” is among the only way I can represent what September was. There really is no single song that can do that moment justice, because that same moment where I was lifted off of the ER bathroom floor and wheeled into resuscitation was the same moment that the good started happening—and with the recovery, the return to life, came the real battle. (There were many times where David Grey’s A Moment Changes Everything felt appropriate, but really, it was the collection of moments that lead to the resolution, not a single one).

The ridiculous thing about medicine is a lot of it happens based on words—it’s based on your ability to articulate a situation, and usually it’s based on the fact that they care only about your symptoms, not your feelings. I left an appointment where I dropped an f-bomb in my primary doctor’s office vowing never to return (which I did, three months later after a terrible experience with a potential new doctor), because it didn’t seem to matter that I’d almost fucking died that I wanted a new gynaecologist—or that I needed a new one. It didn’t matter how I felt–I’d wasted nearly a year of my life, I’d almost fucking died and I wasn’t into the excuses. A week later I did a less-fabulous job reaming out my now-former gynaecologist, because he was so sincerely apologetic. I gave him a bit of a diatribe, I meant every word, and I left. Which is huge when the past five months of my life had basically revolved around this man especially.  The thing is, I’ll never know if my story will change any of his patients’ outcomes—because they’re just fucking words, on my end and his.

 

New Skin – Incubus

Recovery, the healing process, is largely metaphorical based on a physical concept. It’s not physical, it’s all in the perception of the physical aspects. There’s little I can really articulate about the process, other than finding myself again—which is where this song comes in.

at first i see an open wound / infected and disastrous / it breathes chaotic catastrophe / it cries to be renewed: please renew me! / its tears are the colour of anger / they try to form a scab / to the touch, it’s stiff and resilient: underneath a new skin breathes.

it’s all been seen / with the exception for the right parts / but when will we be new skin?

as outwardly cliche as it may seem / yes, something under the surface says “c’est la vie” / it is a circle, there is a plan / dead skin will atrophy itself to start again / look closely at the open wound / see past what covers the surface / underneath chaotic catastrophe / creation takes the stage

dead skin will atrophy itself to start again

it’s all been seen / with the exception for what could be / when will we be new skin?

[…] fallacious cognitions / spewed from televisions / do mould our decisions / so stop and take a look / and you’ll see what i see now.

 

Not Right – The Rocket Summer

In more than one situation, but the medical situation that was 2013 being the prime example, it has occurred to me that the true impact of something doesn’t hit me for two months. That was early December (or, the very end of November if we want to be technical). It’s the point where I can’t distract myself any longer from what happened and I have to figure out a way to deal with it that works. I’m still figuring it out. I’m “blistered but I’m better”, I don’t know what it is, but off and on? I’m just not right

But I’ll get there.

I found this song literally last week on iTunes and those moments where oh my God, this is my life? I had one.

sundown’s coming / don’t let it stop you from nothing / cause ahead i see that there’s a light on, a right on / break down in pieces / tell me all your secrets / you won’t get lost, i promise / there’s a light on, right on / there’s a light on, right on.

lately, been meaning / to let you in on some feelings / here i am, do you see them? / shine that light on, right on / there’s a light on, right on / a safe place to admit . . .

that i am not right / i don’t know what it is, i’m just not right / i need someone to untangle a couple wires inside / if we’re honest, i am not quite right

shine your light onto my weaknesses.

something cut me / there’s bitterness in my bloodstream / been holding on to dead things / shine that light on, right on […]

so heaven help me / meet me as fast as you can / of the corner / of the state and the maze in my head.


Avalanche – Sons of the Sea

There are many things that bring experiences full circle—the fact that in writing an e-mail to Jay, who encouraged me to engage in the soundtrack project, I was shaken by Avalanche (oh, literality…), was that full circle experience. This happened a couple months ago, however, it never really left my head. In a way that needs little explanation, I’m closing off December of this hell of a year with Avalanche.

I saw none of it coming—most of it is just debris that I want to leave behind, but memories that will never leave. An “avalanche in the blink of a year”.

avalanche / in the blink of a year / tidal wave of debris / unrelenting and free / on my heels and i fear / time, like an arrow in my chest / sent across salty air / as a child i didn’t care / now i bleed like the rest.

but there’s art / in that wave of debris / most eyes will see a mess / but good things coalesce / when yeasayers can see

so i’ll stand / face that liquefied hill / what i fear now the most / is the spectre, the ghost / of my past it hurts still

avalanche / an emergency /  hence the chance to emerge / i’m a seed on the verge / of becoming a tree

 

And that . . . was 2013.

From the resolution to the avalanche . . .

It’s good to be alive.