It’s turned into a month of improvisation. Even my regular events are being rescheduled, so I’ve lost the only anchors I have to a normal week. It’s hard to make plans when I don’t know how I’ll feel from one day to the next. Harder when I don’t know the next chance I’ll have to spend with the people who love me the way I need to be loved. I can tell it’s been too long when I start to dwell on my insecurities, and the days feel more and more heavy.
I’m letting this period be a way for me to ease away from alternating between isolation and anxious clinging. Being busy is forcing me to pay attention to the current moment. To be present with the person I’m with, but more importantly, with myself. Otherwise, I can’t handle the thought of how much stimulation I’m facing.
Slippers, because she needs to find ways to be more comfortable in her day-to-day life.
Dolly’s been sleeping on my duvet again, an old habit of hers. It’s a sign that fall is here, as she prefers to swaddle in the dark when it gets too cold by the window. She also recently decided to start sleeping on my pillow, and I can feel her purring through my skull, a new and unexpected development in our relationship. I love the fact that I’m still learning things about her, that she’s still capable of change as she approaches a decade with me. As always, I have the fall to thank.
A lot of progressive trance has been in the mix during all this upheaval. It’s a genre I’ve never purposely explored until recently. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make my own covers interesting by adding lots of dynamic elements and making sure phrases aren’t used too often. These DJs do the exact opposite with lots of repetition and minimal elements, yet somehow make each song a journey in itself. It’s a pleasant puzzle to try to solve. Now I have many new addictions that have been perfect for night time rides and counting yellow highway lines.
I wonder if these songs will end up reminding me of a time I’m constantly being broken down so I can heal properly. The old ones don’t mean the same thing anymore.
The journey lasts an hour, by turns moving and bittersweet, a mixtape without a name that’s possibly the most thoughtful collection of music anyone has ever given to me. It’s the addiction I’ve been waiting for. Proof that I can still be understood when a feeling is shared if not a history.
Yet new songs on repeat don’t define this moment, cause I can’t tell when one moment ends and the next begins anymore. There’s no sense of permanence in anything. I don’t know whether to be scared or relieved to know that everything will inevitably change.
Shawn thinks I’m plummeting towards rock bottom cause I need to prove to myself that I can pull myself out. The idea was on the very tip of my consciousness, and it’s getting harder to deny how right he is. I’ve always been a person who needs to explore the limits of the possible. I just wonder whether I’ll survive the fall.
Holy shit how did this song find me in the middle of blanketing white snowfall, instead of summer? I’ll take it either way. I’ve needed a new addiction after too many maudlin jazz albums, too often fuelled by hard-living and a woman. This means I’m ready for a taste of warm weather. I miss the wind through my clothes and the smell of girls’ skin when it’s been touched by sweat and sunlight.
I’m in the process of simplifying, which has meant figuring out my priorities, and truly letting go of the things I don’t need, whether it’s a bad habit or relationship or thought. Maybe this is why I haven’t been feeling my age; it feels like I’m constantly starting over in various parts of my life.
This hasn’t made writing any easier. I’m always waiting for a feeling to last, but it tends to pass before I have a chance to get it down on paper. Maybe the instability is what I should be writing about. Not about who I am, but how much things are changing.
Audra recently wrote about how frustrating it is when she can’t get into a state of permanence. She said it particularly well here: “I know it is not realistic for all progress to be linear, or for things to be able to become constant once they become good. But I sure do daydream about it.” It makes me feel so validated when someone is able to put into words the things I’ve been going through without having talked about it with them.
My dad asks if I want to get a picture before we start, Lisa says he must know me very well.
In between: Chris finally kisses Angie. It’s a goodnight kiss while her creepy colleague is asleep in the same room, yet somehow manages to be the sweetest first-kiss ever. I start to grow my hair out and wear it down, out of boredom. People say it fits me. Byron brings me his toys so I’ll toss them again, and I begin to wonder who’s training who. Lisa meets my dad. We finally watch True Romance and Gary Oldman becomes my new favourite actor. I rack up over 150 hours played in Awesomenauts this year, and I’ve made online friends (it’s weird). Assad loses another general to the rebels, there’s still no end in sight after three years of fighting, and otherwise I remain blissfully ignorant to the world.
Before playing at Slaysh we decided to call ourselves The Jeff Band, featuring Jesse as frontman and Father as Dad. Our half-hour set consisted of five songs, Jesse charming the audience with his banter (as always), and not a single unrecoverable mistake made.
When there’s only one take, it’s easy for me to get caught up in focusing too intently and losing my place. That’s why no matter how much I practice, I’m always nervous about playing solos and carrying vamps. Nevertheless, it’s good to know I’m still capable of such feelings, and that in some ways, we’re forever children.
Howard the Fox Project on her Godin 5th Avenue, an archtop with curves in all the right places.
Slowing down hasn’t been easy. Being efficient is an old habit of mine. Only now do I understand how much passes by when you’re constantly going at full pace. I’ve been savouring every experience, holding each one in my awareness and letting it be as intense as possible.
If only it didn’t feel like I’m falling every step of the way, constantly expecting to land on solid ground. I’ve never been so unsure of everything. The book says it’s natural to experience some unnerving groundlessness when the foundation of old beliefs falls away, but knowing this is all part of the process doesn’t make it any easier. I never would have expected to be going through so much upheaval at this point in my life.
French toast loaf is the most ingenius thing since syrup.
Good company has been helping me ride out the storm. People have been nurturing my sense of secure attachment by saying the things I need to hear, helping me get shit done, and taking the initiative to make plans. If only it didn’t leave me feeling even more overstimulated and distracted at a time when I’m constantly trying to remain focused and present.
I’ve been looking for new inspiration and listening to as much new music as I can find recently. I haven’t dared go into much of my old music. I suppose that means I’m not yet completely over something or other. Thankfully, people send me new songs all the time (this gem courtesy of Mansour Chow), and often it keeps me going until the next addiction.
I haven’t picked up my guitar lately either. For the first time, the break has been self-imposed, though out of a desire to pursue other interests more than anything else. Also possibly the fact that I lost two months of growth when I chipped my thumbnail, and I’m not interested in learning anything that requires a thumbpick right now. Ever since my dad gave me Larissa as a birthday present two years ago, I haven’t able to put her down until now. I’m hoping it’ll reset a few bad habits, and give me more focus when I start again.
Practicing guitar has been the one tangible way in which I could tell I was improving. Now that I’m taking a break, I’ve been faced with an unsettling sense of stagnancy, cause I’ve always held self-improvement as one of my main reasons for living. But I’ve also realized that it’s not always possible to continually improve, so I’m trying to be happy with who I am at the moment, and accept that it’s natural to go through cycles of growth and stagnancy, pain and healing, frailty and strength.