(Entry below was written on September 29, 2005)
I still remember the day I bought the Garbage single, Only happy when it Rains. I was at the mall with my sister, and I put it on in the car as she drove us home. I remember listening intently, staring out the window but not seeing a thing. My sister laughed at the line ‘I only smile in the dark’ but I could only focus on the movement and power of the song, filled entirely with Shirley’s rich, dark, distinct voice. It’s still so vivid.
I remember also the day when I bought the debut Garbage CD. I think I had only heard Only happy when it Rains and Stupid Girl at that point. I was in the mall with my sister again and I remember looking for the CD and not finding it and getting annoyed. My sister told me to ask the guy that was working in the store, so I did. She made fun of the way I asked him for some reason. And I remembered the line from that old ‘EMF’ song: ‘ You say to me I don’t talk enough, but when I do I’m a fool.’
I took the CD home and during the summer when I turned 16, I must have listened to it every single day. I listened to it over and over until I knew each song by heart. I would lie in bed, hold the CD and stare at the back cover- at the picture of the band standing on some street at night. All the guys wearing black and Shirley in her wine colored pants, light t-shirt and blue nail polish. I would stare at her long red hair, slouchy pose and heavily lined eyes while listening to each song so carefully and deeply that it seemed like my life depended on it.
How did she know everything I was feeling and couldn’t articulate? It was some kind of miraculous thing. No music had ever affected me that way before, reaching so deep inside me. And no one’s voice ever compelled me to listen so closely, it was emotional and raw. I would listen and forget who I was… finding strength in every note that emerged.
No other band could ever capture my imagination in the same way, and give voice to the things I was always scared to say, or just didn’t know how to say. I couldn’t get over the depth of it, the gorgeous noise complemented by a perfect voice. I listened to it so many times, each time still hearing something fresh and new. Something special happened, and I didn’t feel quite as alone as before.
I hope Garbage never stops creating music.
“Everyone I know has gone away
died or left or just forgot to stay
sometimes took for granted
sometimes turned away
sometimes didn’t say what…
I meant to say”
-Garbage (Dog new tricks)
(Entry below was written on February 12, 2006 )
I slept most of the day away yesterday. I was bored and kind of depressed. Since I slept so much I was wide awake at 2am after a failed attempt at writing. When I’m really sad I can’t write anything at all. I have to start out at least thinking that I have something somewhat valuable and interesting to say.
I didn’t feel like I did, and I couldn’t get in a comfortable writing position at all. It got so my own writing was actually putting me to sleep, so I decided to watch television and happened on the movie Life or something like it, which had just come on at 2am. It was a movie I had been curious about, so I stayed up until 4am and watched it.
It’s weird to see Angelina Jolie in a comedic role. It looks like it was somewhat awkward for her and I never really felt her fear in any way. In case you didn’t know, the movie a sort of romantic comedy about her character who is a reporter, interviewing a homeless man who claims to be psychic. He tells he that she is going to die in a week, and after his other predictions about sports scores and weather come through, she starts to get scared.
When she sits on her bed in tears saying “I’m gonna die” it was just so unconvincing to me, totally forced. Her cameraman (and ex lover) says she has lived a meaningless life seeking the approval of others, and that’s the only time where I felt that the movie was successful in trying to put across its message. It summed up the whole point.
Angelina’s reporter character never seemed real , or like a workaholic who never had fun like she was supposed to be in the beginning. She had a full life: friends, a great apartment, a fiance, a hot career she loved. I didn’t really see what the problem was.
I felt like I would have died a happy girl if I had all the things she did. Though I felt kind of bad when she asked her fiance what would make them last forever and he mentioned her ‘great ass’ and that she was ‘kind of funny.’
There was a complete lack of spirituality in the movie which also bothered me. Because if I knew I had a week to live, I’d definitely be spending a couple of days in church, confessing and praying to absolve my sins. That’s not very Hollywood though.
There were certain scenes with her family that felt really off as well, except some conversations with her ‘perfect’ older sister that I really identified with. But still and all, she had her own full life and I was kind of let down that there were not more insights about living in the moment and living your dreams.
I thought it was going to be more powerfully put across. It seems she gave up her life-long dream of journalism for love, and I guess that was hard to buy, being acted by this actress in particular. Don’t waste your time on this one if you ever consider watching it.
Anyway, the snow is still coming down outside, and it’s all really pretty and calm, so maybe now I can finally get to writing. Why can’t it just snow every day, day in and day out, so I could stay inside, warm and secluded forever?
(Entry below is an excerpt of an entry that was handwritten on 3/19/2013)
I’m not sure why, but these days I’m compelled to finish each of my journals, using up every last page. This journal has a warped back cover that makes writing on the right-sided pages uncomfortable, but I still can’t just leave the last pages blank. I used to be able to, some of my old journals have a couple of blank pages left in the back, so I don’t know where this sudden compulsion came from.
Right now I’m supposed to be working but there is nothing to do. I have a couple of calls to make that can wait until tomorrow. It’s strange to think that this is what I used to do, back when I was temping. I would write when I was bored at work. Now I’m doing that again, doing a job that’s way less demanding than previous jobs I’ve been promoted to, making way less money but feeling much better because I have peace of mind now.
I also have a healthier savings account, plus no debt. And I work from home, which my 23-year-old self would never guess I’d be able to do in a million years. I never really thought much about the future. I thought about my needs in the moment. Ten years ago, my motivation for working was to pay off my student loan, and save up enough to move out of my parents house so I could finally date without restrictions.
Now I’m not sure what my motivation is, besides staying alive, staying in independence in my own apartment, having my own life, even if it happens to be a very quiet, solitary one. I think some people thrive in solitude though. To some people, like me, it’s just easier. It’s less pressure and stress. Life can be lived and enjoyed at a slower pace, which is much more tolerable. Some people need constant excitement, stimulation, and drama, but I don’t.
I once heard that J.K. Rowling was fired from a couple of jobs for writing instead of working. I’m not sure if that’s true. But if it is, it was meant to happen that way. She was meant to be out of work and on her own so she could focus on the real, true work that made her happy In the process, she made a huge impact on the world as a whole, and on the publishing industry.
It also gave her a chance to leave a lasting legacy. Because of her books, she will live on forever in the minds of children and other readers. So I guess I should try to trust that things happen as they are meant to, as disturbing as that thought can be.
Acceptance can sometimes be the hardest thing of all- acceptance of the world, acceptance of the self, acceptance of the way that events unfold, acceptance of things/nature/people and all that is out of our control.
Being unable to simply go with the flow is a very difficult thing for people to do. It can cause us so much misery because we feel that things have to turn out “our way,” when really, most of life is out of our hands.
This is why it’s so hard for people to believe they have any power at all. But we can do things to change our circumstances. We can do things to make our lives better incrementally. It involves making up our minds to do so, creating new habits, establishing new patterns in the brain, and overcoming inertia.
It’s so easy to become consumed with the outside world and ignore the self, but that distraction is detrimental to the self. To feel alive, you have to go within, you have to pause and listen and ask yourself what you really need.
In my case, the questions are always: Do you want to make others happy? Or do you want to do something else and make yourself happy? Would you rather rest and enjoy the quiet, or a book or a movie rather than go someplace loud and annoying to please someone else?
(Entry below was written on November 15, 2005)
I think I’m in love with Kurt Cobain. I think maybe I always have been. Nirvana was big at the time when I was going through puberty, and I always knew there was something beautiful and captivating about Kurt.
It just hadn’t really hit me because I was so young. And now that I’m almost the age he was when he died, it just makes me see him in a new way. All that he was able to express in his life, all the things he created and shared.
I rented Kurt and Courtney last night and expected it to be really engaging and revealing. Instead, it left much to be desired. There wasn’t much there about Kurt himself, or his life. It was mostly skewed to paint Courtney as this mega bitch who is capable of extreme violent outbursts.
And I have to say that the filmmaker argues his point well. The film is a succession of creepier and creepier characters who claim to have been close to the couple, and somehow they can never seem to get to the point.
Throughout the whole movie I was waiting for it to get to the point, but it was just meandering and strange. It wasn’t some sort of hardcore expose like I expected it to be. I was wondering what it was that made Kurt fall in love with and marry Courtney, since she is so brash and he was so quiet and almost fragile.
They seem like two people unlikely to even know each other. And I realized (even more) what a huge loss Cobain’s death was and why people idolized and adored him. He was gentle and humble, he found value in simple things, and he didn’t like life to get too complicated.
I never knew about Kurt’s traumatic childhood, so that was somewhat revealing. This movie was way too disjointed to make any real sense though. And just when you think it’s nearing a breakthrough, it bottoms out, leaving you with more doubt and speculation. There are strong arguments both favoring and going against the conspiracy idea of Cobain being murdered. so you’re left not really knowing what to believe.
“Sunday morning is everyday
for all I care
And I’m not scared
Light my candles
In a daze cause I found god”
(Entry below was handwritten on 3/24/2013)
I went to the Garbage concert Friday night at Terminal 5, and it was amazing and very fun. It’s always amazing to see Shirley Manson and hear her sing live. Garbage’s music makes sense of my life and makes me feel so good and so happy.
I was at one of the top balconies but in the front, so I had a clear view of the stage. The only drawback was having to stand pretty close to a large speaker which I was sure had shattered my left eardrum at one point. But now it’s Sunday night and my hearing seems to have recovered back to normal.
Shirley sang The One from Not Your Kind of People which I was so pleased to hear. And in the beginning they performed Automatic Systematic Habit and I was pretty much in tears with all the happiness I felt. It’s amazing how healing and comforting music can be. It’s like certain singers, songs, and melodies just hit that one perfect spot inside you that manages to soothe your soul.
Shirley thanked us, her fans, for being part of the “magic of our (the band’s) lives.” I thought how surreal it was that Shirley could put on this amazing show and then be so articulate, lovely, and sincere when she addressed the audience. She doesn’t seem to be part of this earth, but from some better planet somewhere. She is so graceful, intelligent, sweet, charismatic, and powerful. I just wish I could be like her. I wish some of her characteristics would rub off on me.
Getting older has given her this strong self-assurance that anyone can easily see. She inspires me endlessly and I will never get tired of her or their music. It’s a lifesaver, a harbor in the storm, a safe haven, a beacon of hope in a tumultuous world. And I’ve been holding onto it for dear life since I was 16 years old.
It’s strange and amazing how things happen. Garbage came out with their first CD when I was at the height of my teenage angst, when I desperately needed to be understood. I heard their songs and was instantly calmed, because I felt understood. I felt like Shirley crawled into my head to pull out the lyrics I was hearing her sing.
It was synchronicity, it was meant to happen that way. They were meant to come together, and they did so in such an odd way, to bring hope and joy and inspiration to millions of people like me all around the world. What an incredible gift that is, such a beautiful contribution to human life- just so pure, true and honest that it could not be denied.
The impact that Garbage and their music have had on me and my life is unparalleled. And I am simply so pleased that they exist as a band, and that I have the incredible privilege to listen to their music, and go see them play live.
In a lot of ways, I’m still that lost and confused little girl, looking up to and admiring Shirley Manson and wanting to be like her, longing to unleash my own power.
Picture from Terminal 5 show courtesy of http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2013/03/garbage_played_1.html
It’s easy to feel tiny and insignificant in this city (New York). It’s easy to lose your train of thought and hard to be inconspicuous. I look up and realize that it’s a whole world here, and everything keeps moving and you have to keep up or be left behind. I always kept up with everyone else, some people surpassed me, but I never fell behind. It can be tiring
I look up sometimes at the huge buildings and wonder if there is anything else in life for me. There must be many more opportunities for a fuller life that I’m overlooking. Instead, I remain in my lifestyle, doing what I think I should do. Doing what others expect of me, while still trying to hold on to who I am inside- the real me.
The girl who loves to sleep in late and longs to quit her job and live more simply. The starving artist always looking for meaning, for something deeper, who doesn’t want to get swept up and lose herself along the way. I can do small things like where black nail polish in the summer to work and black eye liner at all hours of the day, but it’s just barely keeping the real me alive.
I don’t want to become some corporate drone. I want to have a youthful spirit always. A few years ago I saw Shirley Manson at the Fuse studios being interviewed with her band. She looked youthful, healthy, happy, stress-free, and carefree. She looked amazing and she was having the time of her life.
She lived her whole life doing only what she wanted, and now she is an authentic, genuine, unique individual. She never has to ‘grow up’ if she doesn’t want to. And everyone loves her for it. She didn’t conform and go to college when all her friends did. She sought the fun in life, the real life that most people are afraid to pursue.
That day I saw Shirley, she didn’t look or act like a typical 38-year-old woman you see in New York. She was lighthearted and unburdened, beautiful and secure. She had no lines on her face, no bags under her eyes, she sat up straight and didn’t slouch. She was charming and true. And I long to become someone like her.
I want to be happy in the knowledge that I made of my life what I truly wanted, and never apologized for it. I can’t see myself as some corporate exec at her age. I want to be doing anything but working in a cubicle being forced to wear some inhuman professional demeanor for people to respect me.
Shirley can do what she wants, say what she wants, wear what she wants and still pull it all off with grace. Nothing anyone thinks will stop her. She won’t get shit from people for doing what she wants. No one holds her back. I want to feel that free someday.
I miss those days when I could just be dreamy and write poetry and listen to music repeatedly. Those days that were empty of worry and responsibility. I hope somehow I can recapture that part of myself that I know is lying dormant while I tend to the tedium of day-to-day life.
“I’m feeling small,
climbing the walls,
I don’t let it show…”
-Shirley Manson (Dumb)
On an episode of Project Runway they had this challenge where the designers had to walk around NYC for an hour with a digital camera taking pictures of things that inspire them. They had to do this in order to base their next design on one of the pictures they took.
Anyway, it got me thinking about how totally unexpected and random things can be inspiring sometimes.
Like this morning I saw this old man on my way out of the train station who was holding this black handbag that looked almost like a purse. I can’t explain why and it might sound strange but just seeing this old man and they way he was holding onto this black handbag was inspiring for me.
I happened to change my handbag to a black one as well, and for some reason his image resonated with me. Just for a moment I felt that all was right with the world, and everything would turn out OK no matter what I did, and I felt that I have no reason to fear anything. Maybe I’m losing my mind, but it was a nice feeling. I guess the meditation did it, made me more present than I am most days.
The incident reminds me of this poem:
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
William Carlos Williams
and I want you…
to make it good”
Shirley Manson said these words to Eric Avery at the Garbage show I went to at Hammerstein Ballroom in April of 2005. While she spoke, she held the top of the microphone stand with one hand and turned half away from the crowd, looking down at the floor the whole time. As the crowd started screaming, he started the intro to Sex is not the Enemy on the guitar, muscles flexing, and Shirley sang the first “ooo ooo.”
It was one of those moments in time that was pure perfection. It could never be repeated. It was one of those rare moments when you realize you’re alive and everything makes sense and you recognize breathing and seeing and hearing, for the illuminating gifts that they are. It’s one of those unforgettable images that stays with you, haunts you, promises you there is much more to living than anything you can imagine.
It’s weird how every day is different. I’m slowly starting to realize that. It’s very subtle but every single morning is a fresh start. It’s a new chance for something different to happen, the possibilities are endless. You never really stop to think about it, but it’s true. You could meet a new best friend tomorrow, or get a chance to do something kind for someone, or get a surprise in your favor, or find something out that is the clue to your future happiness.
I’m not repeating the same day over and over anymore. I’m stretching myself and what I believe to be possible. And everyday I feel that I’m getting a little bit better at it, a little bit further.
(Entry below was written on March 06, 2006)
I had a dream last night that I was supposed to fly out to Portland, Oregon for some reason, around 5pm. I had my luggage with me at the airport, nervous that I was going to fly alone for the first time in my life. There was a group of people also going on the same flight who looked like students, they were young. They were sitting around at the airport at this long table, eating. It looked almost like a cafeteria. I was nervous and anxious about flying and didn’t want to go.
I kept packing extra things in my bag that I had forgotten. I was nervous about time and making it back in time to catch the flight. I kept remembering things I forgot to pack and I knew I was going to be late. I went back to where the other students had been eating and they were gone.
I kept checking the time obsessively, minute by minute. I got back home and started packing again when I realized I didn’t pack pajamas. I gave up at that point feeling disorganized and dumb for having missed my flight. I felt confusion throughout the dream. I was telling someone how I was scared of flying, and had no one to hold on to during take off and landing.
That must be symbolic for something, feeling that I’m running out of time to go somewhere important? Feeling inept and overwhelmed and left behind? Those were the major themes there.
Today was nice. Work was busy and the day went by fast, and I got to wear this pretty new, long, green beaded necklace I bought over the weekend. I went shopping for some badly needed new clothes for work, and it’s funny how new clothes make you feel better. Like a new person almost. It makes it a bit easier to get out of bed in the morning, knowing that you’ll be putting together a new look.
And I wrote another poem today, though it might need just a little bit of revising. It’s interesting to see how my style of poetry writing has changed as I’ve gotten older. I try to break out of my usual patterns in poetry, but that’s just the way I hear the poem spelling itself out in my head.
I did it yet again, I bought another book while having just started that one I mentioned called On a clear day you can see yourself. I was at the bookstore and remembered that I had wanted to buy another volume of the journals of Anais Nin, and I found volume 6 which she wrote from 1955-1966. I had been eyeing that volume for a while and since I finally had extra money, I was able to get it today. It was only $6 but I’m cheap like that.
I read just the first entry and was immediately engrossed. The other volume I read, Volume 4, absorbed me so completely that I had to read more of her diaries. She really has a way with descriptive passages, and weaving her thoughts together. It’s compelling. Now I can’t decide which book to read.
“I wage a constant war against reality”
(This would have been better posted last month but here it is anyway, originally written on February 15, 2006)
-A blonde girl holding a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag
-An old man getting off the train holding a paper cone of flowers for his valentine
-A girl crying into her cell phone in the ladies room, trying to hide her face
-A mad dash and long lines in a sea of red at the Hallmark store
-A woman arguing on her cell in the bookstore over getting someone a gift, hanging up on him.
-Office people in scandalous scarlet attire
-An email from an old friend insisting that it’s ‘just another day’ and being relieved to be stuck at work until 11pm.
-Massive heart-shaped balloons looming over cubicles
-Street vendors selling white beat-up looking teddy bears
-A pretty young woman on the train dressed up in a black minidress with curled hair, heading for a night out on the town. I sit beside her going the opposite way.
-My phone silent save for my mom and a few caring friends
-My supervisor talking on the phone with a loved one in another language, hanging up on the person and storming out of the office in the middle of the day
-Teenage boy behind the counter at the drugstore asking if he can be my valentine
-Feeling surprisingly light-hearted myself, despite being a lonely heart
-Writing my first real heart-felt poem in years
This holiday does strange things to people.