(Entry below was handwritten on 10/25/2015)
Last night was the Brooklyn stop on the 20 Years Queer Garbage tour, where they are performing the entire first album for the first time as well as all the b sides released between 1995 and 1996. The show last night was in Flatbush Brooklyn at Kings Theatre, a historical, huge theater that was recently renovated.
It’s a pretty spectacular place. Even Shirley Manson had to comment on how it all took their breaths away when they walked in the first time. I was in Section 3, row Q, seat 14. I had an extra ticket so I gave it to a guy who was standing outside asking if anyone was selling a ticket. I offered it to him for free, just so I could have someone accompany me. He was nice and normal enough, and bought me a drink to thank me.
My seat was pretty good, but I still wished to be closer to the stage to get a better view of Shirley. Those spots are always difficult to get. I missed the opening band, Torres, but I didn’t mind that much. I was there for Garbage. Dom, the guy I gave my extra ticket to, said he saw Garbage the previous night in Long Island and that their set started around 9:10pm. But the band came on pretty much on time in Brooklyn.
Before they came on, a large projection showed a short clip on how life was in 1995, and everything that was happening in the world then, along with some clips of Garbage in candid moments backstage. It ended with their most recent publicity shot, one band member appearing at a time, and the white screen stayed up throughout the first song, a b side, ‘Subhuman’.
It’s always a real treat to hear them play live. The music just fills my body and makes me feel so joyful and alive. I wasn’t as close as I would’ve liked to be, but I could still see Shirley’s face and make out that it was her. Her hair is short again, almost to her shoulders, and is dyed a bright pink. She wore a pink sheath type dress with black stockings and black arm cuffs, and a long necklace with what looked like a jeweled lion’s head pendant.
She was sweet and humble and funny as usual, saying how she was told once that Garbage is not a Brooklyn band, to which she replied, ‘What the fuck does that mean?’ She told the audience that they were now playing in Brooklyn, which proved that person wrong, and she said something to the effect of “That’s why you must never think of yourself, the way other people think of you. People try to keep you defined in this little box of their idea of who you are.” And she is right, of course.
That is the whole philosophy of the band, to be an individual, regardless of whether or not that makes you an outsider.
It was strange and wonderful to hear Shirley sing songs from the first album, like ‘Not my Idea,’ ‘Dog New Tricks,’ ‘Sleep,’ and b sides like ‘Trip My Wire’ and ‘Driving Lesson.’ Many of those songs I had never heard live and had only seen them performed on old VHS tapes of concerts from their first tour that I bought on Ebay.
Listening to all those songs: ‘Supervixen,’ ‘As Heaven is Wide,’ ‘Stroke of Luck,’ transported me back to being 16 years old and discovering the band and so many other things back in 1995. It was a strange feeling because I instantly remembered the mindset I had back then, all my longings and insecurities, and all my naiveté about the world- the real world outside of my school.
My world, mentally was so small and limited at that time. And while I have grown considerably, that lost, lonely 16-year-old girl still exists inside me, the one who just wants so desperately to experience love and maybe even more-so, lust and passion. Garbage vocalized all those desires I had so perfectly in that first album, as well as all of my frustrations about feeling misunderstood, a misfit without any idea of what it meant to have friends or enjoy my youth.
I was way too busy intellectualizing it all the time, trying to find rationalizations for things, and trying to express a mass jumble of feelings and emotions through journal writing and poetry writing. The lyrical content of those first Garbage songs just really spoke to my soul, spoke the words that I couldn’t find a way to say myself, and resonated with my heart on a very deep level.
Shirley Manson always amazes me, she always puts on a killer show and entertains the hell out of her audience, and does it always humbly and with grace. She is a beautiful person, but still real, and she has more energy on stage than any 25-year-old would have.
I watched her and realized that she lives in a world separate from mine. Mine is mundane, while hers is full of creativity and self-expression and glamour and fantasy. I despaired knowing that even though this band and their music has had such a profoundly positive affect on me throughout my life for the past 20 years, they will never know who I am or acknowledge me in any way. And that I can only admire them from afar.
I thought about what I would do or say if I had bought one of those meet and greet packages where you get to meet the band, get something signed and take a picture with them. And I imagined that I would be so starstruck and tongue-tied that I’d barely be able to string two words together coherently. But it would still be so amazing and a miracle to actually speak to them face to face. I think the excitement of that would totally overwhelm me, but it would definitely be worth it.
Garbage is supposed to come out with a new album next year. If that happens, I hope I’ll muster up the courage to buy one of those VIP meet and greet packages so I could finally meet the band that I have idolized and adored for much of my lifetime, and which I will continue to love and find the deepest comfort in, in years to come.
This deep connection I feel to their music and their message will always be a fundamental part of who I am . And will always be a major source of joy and inspiration in my life.
“you must never think of yourself
the way other people think of you.”
(Entry below is an excerpt from one that was handwritten on 9/26/2015)
I’ve really been into listening to Rose McGowan’s new song, RM486, and watching the video. I find the song inspiring and thought-provoking and the video as well. It’s unapologetic-ally in-your-face artistic, and I respect and appreciate that. I love people who are not afraid to be themselves, and express themselves.
People who are true artists don’t care what anyone thinks of them. They just do whatever they are compelled to do. I love having this whole weekend for me, to do or not do as much as I please, to meditate, appreciate where I am in life, and feel hopeful for a positive direction for my life to take.
There is a lot of potential and possibilities for me, and I wasn’t seeing it. Suddenly, something like a new, beautiful song can awaken you, and make you see things from a different perspective.
I try to tell myself that instead of change being scary, it can be refreshing. It can invigorate you and wake you up to reality and truth. Rose McGowan is 42, has no children, and is a total badass. She is an artist, living on her own terms only. There isn’t any set formula for how a person should go about living their life.
A person can explore many identities if they choose to. They can choose to throw away all the old things in their surroundings and start fresh. It’s really a simple thing to realize. But there are options in life, everyone’s life.
This is what Rose McGowan said in an interview about her new song, RM486. I love her response-
Interviewer- ‘What do you want people to take away from this song?’
Rose-‘I just want people to take away freedom. That you can be free. You can do anything you want, you can create anything you want, you can be anything you want, and it’s completely okay and better to be different, in fact. I think if we’re just 10 percent more artistic in our lives, great things can happen. That’s all!’
(Entry below was handwritten on 4/23/15)
Prompt: Writing makes me..
Writing makes me happy, makes me feel like myself, makes me feel that I am leaving a mark on this world- leaving behind a legacy. No one may care after I’m gone. But I still write because it is a must. I have to do it. I don’t have a choice.
I enjoy it so much that I sometimes wish I could call in sick to work to spend the day with my journal, writing books and writing prompts for inspiration. I write when I should be sleeping, like right now. But writing now allows me to sleep better, to unload my mind.
Writing makes me discover what I’m thinking about, obsessing over. Writing seems to give meaning to my life, which at times can feel so small and pointless. Writing makes me feel connected to the energy of the universe- to get the feeling that I do play a role in it and have a right to participate fully in life.
Writing makes me feel heard, as there are so few people in life who actually listen. Writing makes me feel accomplished, whole, connected to who I am and who I was at other stages of my life. Writing is the common thread that has always been there for me throughout my life. I would be lost without it.
Writing makes me relax, helps me breathe more easily, reminds me of who I am, reminds me that I can be creative. Writing allows me to have a deeper awareness, to question things, to work out thoughts or problems, to have epiphanies. Writing makes me feel good about myself, makes me feel that my thoughts matter and have importance.
Writing shows me that my whole mood can change, just by focusing on an activity that gives me pleasure. There are still so many new experiences to be had, lived, written about. There is still all of my life ahead to explore and discover, and I need to learn how to ‘never say never’ because I can’t predict the future.
Writing makes me feel blessed to have a working mind, to have abilities, intellectual interests and stimulations. Written words are beautiful, they are captured energy. Writing is a simple pleasure that reminds me of simpler times when I didn’t have many worries weighing on me.
Writing makes me hopeful, makes me anticipate upcoming adventures, however small and solitary, that I can enjoy describing later in my journal. Writing is something that never gets old or stale. It is always fresh, relevant and exciting. Writing arranges my brain in a way that makes it easier for me to get on with living.
Writing always makes me feel like a fascinating person, exploring her talent.
(Entry below is an excerpt of a handwritten entry from 2/18/15)
I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo which has been really enlightening for me. I got rid of, threw away and donated tons of crap: DVDs, books, VHS tapes I never watched, a bag full of clothes, costume jewelry and shoes, clear plastic sleeves holding magazine pages that I saved in a binder but rarely looked at.
I even went through my Ipod and deleted old songs and albums I no longer listen to, and songs that take me back to the past in a negative way, bringing up memories that I’d rather forget. I consolidated my storage space as well, by following the author’s tips on how she stores handbags inside other handbags (to help maintain their shape) and how she folds t-shirts. I folded a lot of t-shirts and placed them neatly in a drawer, which freed up a lot of closet space instantly.
While reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I was already considering all the things in my possession that didn’t bring me any joy at all and how much I couldn’t wait to be rid of them. This is a book where you have to stop several times while reading because it’s so convincing that you can’t wait to get started clearing out your old stuff.
I immediately went through my closet and pulled out things for donation that I knew I didn’t love, didn’t wear, and had been meaning to get rid of for so long. I could suddenly recognize them as definite clutter. I could never seem to take the last step berfore, but this book somehow did the trick. The author helps you deal with feelings of guilt for items never used or money wasted or things kept out of a feeling of obligation, like unwanted gifts from others.
The advice is so clear and absorbing that it just ends up making perfect sense. This is one book that truly resonated with me and I am reading it now again for the second time. I also went through and read all the reviews of the book on Amazon.com, just out of curiosity about how others went about their clutter clearing journeys. And how their lives changed as a result.
I think it’s good to clear things out because it creates the space for something new- or a new idea or perspective to come in. I still want to work through my kitchen drawers which tend to collect a good amount of junk. It was a relief to go through my cupboards the other day and throw away a bunch of bottles of vitamins and spices that had expired.
I’m more interested now in the fresh and the new, in what’s to come in the future rather than what has been in the past. If I continue to evolve for the better, so the circumstances and people in my life should follow suit and be better for me than anyone or anything that has come before. I have so much more space now in my home thanks to Marie Kondo, even though I thought I was already pretty minimalist.
(Entry below is an excerpt that was handwritten on 11/21/14)
I sometimes wonder, am I just happier and better off on my own? Without anyone making demands of me? Some days I feel I’m too lazy to be in a relationship. I’d rather sleep or rest or read or write or exercise, then get dressed up and go out. Staying in is usually way more fun.
Like tonight. It’s Friday night, and after a rejuvenating nap after work, I got so much done. I sent out a few emails, did a workout, did a meditation, took a shower, put away laundry, washed dishes, had dinner, and now I’m writing.
Sometimes, usually, I want to be writing but then there doesn’t seem to be much to say. I remember when the writing urge used to take me over completely. I let it take over me without worrying that I may be missing out on something. The words that emerged from my own mind were way more interesting than any book I could read or any movie I could watch.
I would not procrastinate on it. I’d simply sit and get to it whenever the feeling struck me, and I was always inspired to write often, and a lot. I went through and completed many journals that way.
I think I’ve come a long way this year. I remember how it feels to be happy on my own again and to have peace of mind. People grow only at their own pace, when they feel ready. This is not something that can be forced by another person- no matter how much that person wants the best for the one they are trying to help.
Maybe my journey through this life requires my being alone in order to learn the things I need to learn- and to do the things I came here to do. Life is a mystery, but I feel that people over-complicate it. People should simply pursue what brings them happiness- even if those things are not the norm: like being solitary, introspective and observant.
I think people beat themselves up way too much over things that can’t be controlled, and torture themselves for not being a certain way that they want to be. It’s good to want to improve oneself, but not at the expense of the true self. A person should never try to go against their primary nature and natural inclinations.
I think if you accept yourself as you are, you can find contentment and peace of mind. You have to be who you are, even as the world and people around you, and family try to make you become the person they see you as.
I need my solitary pursuits and my pursuits of inspiration and spiritual satisfaction. It’s only one life that we get, and we need to let ourselves live in the best way we see fit. Maybe some people are born to make a big impact on the world, to affect it deeply.
And maybe others are here to take in as much as they can, to learn through experiences, to absorb information from others, from books, from creative endeavors, from work and from play.
Everyone plays in their own unique ways. Some play through work, or sports, watching films, writing, dancing, singing, completing little self-created projects, trying experiments in living, volunteering, giving to others, enjoying live music, creating music, journalling, laughing with friends, trying new and thrilling experiences, or simply breaking their routines.
I don’t think there is any wrong way to play as an adult. We are all free to be and do what we want, and we owe it to ourselves to explore those things and ask ourselves honestly: what do we really want?
(Entry below is an excerpt of a handwritten entry, written on 12/6/14 a little after 1am)
I try not to fear having many regrets in my old age about my life. I feel I’m doing the best I can with what I have been given. It’s not in my nature to be an extrovert with many friends and constant social outings.
It’s not in my nature to be a thrill-seeker. I prefer the quiet and contemplative side of life. I enjoy observing the world and wondering of my place in it, and I need to stop telling myself that there’s something wrong with that, or with me.
I get so happy when I have a free weekend with no social obligation to attend to and no work to do. I can just be free and enjoy being me and doing whatever I want to do. No one can tell me what to do or not, and I don’t have to answer to anyone.
For me, the written word was my first true love, and there are always more books to read, more things to learn, more experiences to write about, more writing topics and prompts to discover that can inspire more reflection.
There are always people around to observe, and to learn from. People complicate things, expect life to be perfect but it never is. So I take note of the little things- the little pleasures and luxuries that are wonderful but are often taken for granted:
Like the gentle beauty of nature, a beautiful song, a delicious meal, a good nap or a good night’s rest, the unconditional love of family, sleeping in, working out, reading a good book or article, watching a movie that makes you think, discovering a new interest or talent, throwing away old junk and clutter, helping other people in some small way, having a healthy mind that can learn and absorb information, having a healthy body to carry you through the world.
I know things are good for me and I have everything I need. So I just need to always remind myself not to compare myself to other people, and just live one day at a time.
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 7/26/14)
It’s Saturday afternoon and it’s raining. So I’m glad I got my errands our of the way. Yesterday I went to a poetry reading for the first time in a long time. It was at a bookstore and was hosted by Afterword magazine. I took 3 free copies of back issues that were being offered, and also showed up hungry so I ate a lot of the cheese and crackers and pepperoni slices they were offering, along with some red wine. They didn’t seem to mind though.
I started chatting with John, the editor-in-chief, and his friend, Pat, also a contributor and part of the staff. We talked about my town and Jersey City, and this Lowe’s theater there that shows many classics like Hitchcock and Carrie and movies like that. I don’t know what John’s day job is, but Pat said he was a train conductor. They were both personable and friendly. And it made me feel comfortable to talk with them.
I told Pat how I used to write a lot of poetry, but haven’t written much lately, so I hoped that I would be inspired by coming to a poetry reading and listening to other people’s words. I told him how that usually works to inspire me and it ‘opens the mind.’ He agreed enthusiastically.
We talked how summer is so busy with friends and family events, and how John hoped people would show up to the reading. They plan to have another reading in October, to celebrate the release of the next issue. John has been publishing Afterword since 2008, which I found impressive.
The reading started late, and I found I was the only female there in attendance, with about 8 guys. Most of them read their work. They were good readers and their poems were interesting. And they even started a ‘collaborative’ poem, in which each person passed around a piece of paper with a poem (a few lines) that John had started, so that everyone could add their own couple of lines. That was fun to do and something I’ve never seen done at a reading before.
The poetry had many of the same themes- loneliness, isolation, heartbreak, some humor, human observation, anger, outrage. All in all, I was glad I attended and was exposed to different perspectives and new images. I was glad for the chance to get out of my own head for a while, and realize that everyone feels fucked-up every now and then. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
This afternoon, the library was closed so I sat here on my couch and read the 3 issues of Afterword that I brough home from the reading. It was nice to be immersed in poetry again, in the insights of other people. Reading the issues inspired me to write a poem called ‘Adulthood’ – it’s a few pages back before this entry. It’s a fairly OK poem, nothing great but also not terrible. It feels good to be able to write anything at all.
John read our collaborative poem at the end of the reading, and said it would be published in the next issue. When giving the instructions for the collaborative poem, he said to just write ‘whatever is in your head,’ so that’s what I did. I didn’t want to think about it too much and miss out on the poetry that was being read.
John spoke about the importance of creativity, and how the whole point of the evening was to spark the creativity of those who attended. And I think the reading was successful in that mission. He talked about how we all work our day jobs, but when he gets home, he picks up his pen and expresses himself creatively. He said we should all be creative, just for ourselves, just to add interest to our lives, and make them more fun. And he was right.
He said not to worry about writing for money or publication, or fame and fortune, however great those things may be, but just for the joy of it, to be creative just for creativity’s sake. And I found that I could completely agree, and relate. Even though I usually don’t write or create as often as I’d like to, I still long to do it. To listen to myself and rediscover who I am at this stage of my life.
My mother will be retiring at the end of October. Recently, she started thinking about when she started working at her job and remembered that when my sister and I were little, we used to accompany my dad on Friday nights to pick up my mom from work. He had to drive into midtown Manhattan. She worked a night shift so it was too late and dangerous to take a train home.
She mentioned how funny it is that my sister and I were so little back then and she’s been at her company so long that now we have grown up and are professionals, working our own jobs.
It’s amazing to see how time passes and things change over the years. I started remembering and looking back at those nights we would go to pick her up from work.
It was exciting for us, we would get take-out on Friday nights and then leave a few hours later to ride into the city. It was always adventurous and interesting for our young minds. I always liked looking at the tall buildings and the lights on the bridges. I had nothing on my mind mostly, except maybe the song on the radio.
And things are so funny when you are a kid. I remember waiting in the lobby of my mom’s building one night. We had gotten there a little earlier or something and my sister and I decided to get out of the car and play in the lobby.
We had these little bouncing rubber balls that we would skip along the floor and across to reach the other wall on the far side of the lobby. The lobby was huge and empty. A perfect play area for two little girls.
The sounds of the rubber balls bouncing off the walls and across the floors would echo loudly through the building and we would giggle and then laugh again at ourselves because our laughter would echo even louder through the lobby.
We kept trying to play but be quiet at the same time. And this was totally amusing to us. We were simply being kids, enjoying ourselves, laughing and having a great time. Just because we could, just because we were alive.
It was an unexpected moment to remember and kind of relive just from my mother recalling us picking her up from work as little girls. And now she is retiring soon and we are in our 30s and my sister has a family of her own.
I’m grateful for happy, joyful memories of a carefree childhood. Those are the things people relive with their own kids and anyone who spends time with kids. A child’s thoughts are so simple and refreshing. They have no worries or real concerns. They live just for right now.
“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?
I tend to ignore my age. I wrote about this in my journal a few weeks ago, a few days after I turned 35. I don’t feel my age or look it. Someone I spoke to recently said she would’ve guessed I was 28, so that’s what I jokingly say my age is.
I don’t think anyone can be defined by the amount of years they’ve spent on earth. I think age and feeling one’s age has more to do with experiences, risks taken, lessons learned and wisdom gained.
I sometimes feel really young, like I’m still 18 or 19 and then there are those days when I feel way older. It’s like a mood thing. When I’m caring well for myself, I feel young and energetic.
When I’m eating the right foods, meditating regularly and exercising, that leads to a whole other perspective. A healthier and happier one. But it’s not always easy to remember to do. I let myself be motivated by how I will feel afterwards. I think how awful it feels after you eat something unhealthy, or forget to meditate or exercise for a long while. And also, when I fail to write.
Writing is something I’ve done consistently since I was about 9 or 10. I started writing poems and stories, then keeping journals. I feel alive and like a younger version of me when I write, especially by hand.
It’s an immediate connection to my identity. I’ve written a lot more lately in my physical journal and thought about posting some of those entries here, but there is some writing that you just feel you have to keep to yourself sometimes.
I still fear getting older, but I try to think of aging as becoming the best version of myself with each birthday that comes. If I’m still here, it means there is something for me to learn in this life, and I look forward to finding out what it is. I look forward to fully realizing myself.
There’s something about turning 35 that makes me want to stop putting up with nonsense, with the bullshit that should be ignored, and just be who I am without apologies. If not now, then when?
Any age is a good age to realize that there is no one else to please, only yourself.
You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices is working. How do you pass the time?
I would hopefully have a physical journal with me, so I could spend the time writing. Airports are not exactly comfortable places for sleeping and there would be little else to do, except maybe people watch.
This sounds like a nightmare for me, since I am such an impatient person. I think I would spend lots of time pacing around, then sitting to meditate. Then finally to write.
I would hope my journal was empty, and I’d have a good number of pens. Trying to write for six hours straight would probably be tough, but I would attempt it.
I would write letters to everyone in my life, and everyone no longer in my life who still resonates in my heart. I’d let out everything I’ve ever wanted to say to everyone I’ve ever known.
I’d probably also write a list of all my favorite possessions, and see if I can get it to be under 100 things. I do this now from time to time, when I let things go and new things come in to my life, so I make sure I’m not stuck in a constant avalanche of new things without discarding some of the old.
Our tastes and lives and bodies and minds are constantly changing. My miserable times usually come from trying to hold on to someone I used to be in the past.
It’s wiser and better to stay in the present, and look towards the future, and realize that the future can be molded by decisions made today. I wish I had my priorities in better order back in college. If I could go back to that time, knowing what I know now, my life would be totally different. I’m getting away from the idea of this prompt. But I think I would write about all this for six hours if I had no other distractions.
I would map out my whole life, decide which decisions I would like to undo and leave behind buried in the past, and plot a course for the future. I never really thought about myself at this age (I am now) when I was younger. I figured the most fun to be had would be in my 20s. But life is what you make of it, and how much you decide to explore it, and explore yourself.
I think it would be lovely to have six free hours to meditate, then write, then meditate some more. Maybe sleep, if I could find a comfortable place. I would write about my dreams, my hopes, my fantasies, my regrets, my wishes.
I would write down my prayers. I would try to recall everything that I’ve ever read that gave me some inspiration or insight. I would probably end up with a fine, completed work. A sort of autobiography.
I guess this is the type of thing writers seek out when they mention dreaming of a secluded cabin in the woods. Every writer’s dream is long stretches of time and days of peace and quiet, disconnected from the world, left alone with his/her own thoughts.
Recording the words of that inner voice is the most pleasurable thing to a writer. It gets us to a euphoric state that we want to constantly return to again and again.