You can start by listening to ShiftyTeeth’s EDM take on Remember This or CrowHurst’s crazy noise glitch remix.
12.12 Brighton – The Brunswick Pub
16.12 Edinburgh – Henry’s Cellar Bar
17.12 Glasgow – The Old Hairdresser’s
It is nearly 1am and I am making a music video for my song Remember This tomorrow. I’ve been planning this video for about 6 months and it’s finally becoming real. In order to best cope with my extraordinary nervousness and excitement, I am watching some of my favorites videos that my friends have made. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure.
Nostalghia – Cool For Chaos
Little Red Lung – 50 Fingers
Dorian Wood – Glassellalia (live with chamber orchestra)
This is a story of a woman who lost her voice and found it again.
If you had told me 2 years ago that I would have spent over a year and a half in an emotionally abusive relationship, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m too smart, too creative, too independent, too strong willed to ever be ensnared by something so destructive. I would never be a victim. I would never have my kindness and compassion used against me. I would never be so depressed that I would avoid phone calls from friends, knowing they would hear the sadness in my voice, or that I would stop promoting shows, because what was the point, or that I would debate if it was worth it at all to go into my job, because the worst they could do was fire me. In the end though, I was. I loved someone who loved me but in his words, was “not strong enough to not abuse me.” I loved someone so much that I thought that perhaps if I loved him enough, he wouldn’t have to feel so empty and lost.
Not me. It’s not my fault that he was bullied as a child, that an ex was mean to him, that he felt like he didn’t belong. Not me. I am not responsible for his or anyone else’s happiness but my own. Not me. It is not my job to teach another adult to be kind. Not me. It’s not my duty to make anyone whole. Not me. Not ever.
Most of all, it’s not my fault. I hid what he did for so long because I was ashamed that I let it happen, that somehow, it was my fault. I was afraid people wouldn’t like him. It was my fault that he called me an asshole for asking someone to help me fix my wireless router. It was my fault that I took out the recycling on the way down to his car to greet him and thus clearly was not adequately excited for him to be home. It was my fault that I sat next to someone else at a party to watch a movie. It was my fault that people like me. It was my fault that I make music, an activity in which he felt he couldn’t actively participate.
That last one hurt the most. When we first got together, he loved that I was a musician and would share my music with his friends. He was proud of me and went with me to SXSW for my very first time. However, I noticed during one of my sets, he was fiddling with his phone and barely recalled to applaud between songs. No matter, I thought. He’s just shy, that’s all. As time went on, he started becoming more and more hostile towards my music, making comments like “I didn’t think you’d need to play as much music now that you’re with me.” Conversely, he bought me an amp for my birthday and donated to my album and would point to these as evidence of his support, even has he scanned papers for work on the floor next to my piano as I was practicing, told me my songs weren’t quite interesting enough for him as creative criticism and berated me for hours or incessantly texted me when I spent time with my band mates.
Worst of all, he took offense to my writing process. I like to be alone to write. Strike that. I NEED to be alone to write. I need to let my emotions percolate, to filter unedited through me, to express themselves in their basest and most vulnerable form. To do this, I need to be alone, to concentrate, to tune in to my inner workings. He told me that this made me inhuman, a bad partner, a disappointment of a girlfriend. I was crushed. I wrote in secret. I wrote in between moments. I wrote frantically when he wasn’t around. It was slowly killing me, this fracturing of myself and this disavowal of an essential part of my identity. How could I balance being an artist and a person when those two things appeared to be incompatible concepts in the confines of my relationship? In our last month of dating, he returned to my music, saying he loved it, but by that point, the trust was gone.
I decided to write this blog on my music page as a testament to what happens after the storm. I made a post on my personal Facebook thanking my friends for being so supportive of me. I stated that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and that I was stating so publicly not to shame my ex, who in fact I have a lot of compassion for, but to express gratitude for those who have been so kind the past few months and for those who might not have the chance to speak up. I posted it to let others know that it’s not shameful to be abused and to have loved someone even if they treated you poorly. I was stunned and touched by the responses, both in public comments and private messages, in texts and phone calls. So many people reached out in kindness and even more still sadly confided their own stories of abuse. I lament that abuse is spoken of only in the abstract and not in the detailed, human form. It can take so many shapes and it is tragic to me that so many close to me have experienced it.
The storm has calmed. I have learned the true magnitude of my own strength. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from my amazing friends and family. I have realized that nothing will ever come between me and my passionate love of life and music ever again. Going through this past year has made me even more intelligent, more creative, more independent, and more strong willed but also more humble and so grateful for everyone around me.
So what should you expect now? A new music video for Remember This. Shows in the UK. A brand new top secret fairytale project. I’ve learned how to speak up and I will sooner die than stop.
Me: Hi! I was wondering where your quarter inch monster cables are.
Dude #1: Quarter inch? Like on both ends? Like for an instrument?
Dude #1: Like for a guitar?
Me: Yes, it could be used for a guitar. I am using it for my keyboard.
Dude #1: OH ok, go talk to Pro Audio over there.
I head over to Pro Audio, assuming that Dude #1 is just a door person or for some reason, cannot grasp the idea of using a quarter inch cable for anything but a guitar despite working in a music store. I approach Dude #2, who greeted me in Pro Audio.
Me: Hey! So, I am just looking to get a quarter inch monster cable.
Dude #2: Oh, like for an instrument?
Me (starting to sense a theme here): Yes, for a keyboard. Quarter inch to quarter inch.
Dude #2: So you want to connect it to something?
Me: I just need a monster cable that has a quarter inch on both sides.
Dude #2 to Dude #3: Hey, can you get this girl a quarter inch monster cable?
Dude #3 (to me): Is it for an instrument?
At this point, all of the mellowness I had acquired from yoga was wearing off. I realized I was so hungry I wanted to eat my own shoe. The sheer incompetence of these three people was mind boggling but I needed my cable so I persevered. I wondered “why are they questioning my use of one of the most common audio cables ever? do they doubt that I know what such a cable is for?” Dude #3 guided me to the wall of monster cables and with a sigh of relief, I picked out the quarter inch cable I needed and proceeded to check out.
Dude #4 at check out: So, you play music?
Me (exasperated at this point): Yes, I do. I should start labeling my cables so I don’t have to get new ones. I must have misplaced one of them.
Dude #4: Maybe you should label it with pink tape so no one would want it.
Me: (silent death glare)
Dude #4: Or hey, if you label it with pink, I guess all the girls would want it.
Me: (escalating death glare with unconscious pouting in attempt to not strangle the human with the new cable)
Me: (deep breath) I will label my cables with any color I want, blue if I fancy, and I will put my name on them so that people will know they are mine not to take them. I have my own band and am in several other bands, including one with 10 guys, so I would just prefer knowing which cables belong to me.
Dude #4: Oh cool, you play with lots of people? So when you’re playing…
I stopped listening at some point and recall telling him I played keyboards and omnichord and sang but really my goal was to get out of there before I went bananas. I had already made my point, that the color of label was irrelevant and I was too annoyed to want to talk to him or any other of the half-wits I’d already encountered.
I immediately starting talking to a good ( and incidentally male) friend of mine to untangle why I was so upset, and my reasons are thus:
1. Buying an audio cable should not be about gender. I can’t imagine multiple people questioning a man walking into Guitar Center asking for a very common cable about how he was going to use it. By the end of my visit, my answer would have been “to strangle all of you in one 20 foot swoop.”
2. Much like purchasing an audio cable, labeling an audio cable should not be about gender either. Why assume that I like pink? Why assume that men in my bands wouldn’t like pink? Why assume it would be BAD if they did? Why assume that some other random female would want my cable because it had a pink label on it? All of these assumptions hurt people and force them to conform to whatever definition we have of who can like pink for fear of being ashamed. Much as I don’t want a random person to just assume I like pink because I am a female, I don’t want any person, male, female, or anywhere on the gender spectrum to think it’s wrong for THEM to like pink.
3. Being ignorant to one’s own sexism is harmful to everyone, including you, Guitar Center Dude #4. Your comments made me feel horrible, which I am pretty sure was not your intention. You were just doing your business, selling your wares and making conversation. However, now you’ve got a whole blog post written about your accidentally sexist ass. I did correct you by pointing out that color coding cables by gender is pointless and I did so with as little anger as possible because no one listens to an angry feminist, oh no, they want you to be calm and educate the world. I wish I’d had the wherewithal to explain to you why cables don’t need to be gendered and why it’s wrong to assume that anyone should like or not like a certain color based on their gender, but I was tired and sweaty and hungry. I hate living in a world where I am expected to be calm after someone has made the aforementioned erroneous assumptions about me and just about everyone in the binary gender system, a world where women are seen as the unwanted alternative (“ew! pink cables!”) and men are afraid to be anything other than disdainful of things associated with women as if liking them would somehow threaten their very self.
So there you have it. I want to live in a world where I can buy an audio cable without it being gendered. I want to live in a world where anyone can like (or not like) any color they wish because it’s pleasing to them, not because they are a certain gender. I want to live in a world where people realize it’s stupid to draw a line between masculine and feminine and make us all gather to one side or the other lest something terrible befall us. Most of all, I just want to use my new cable to daisy chain my keyboard to my electro-harmonix holy grail to my helicon voice live two and back out of my amplifier so I can make music RIGHT NOW.
It was 3am. I was wrapping up a demo when a message from my old friend Adam popped up on my screen:
drunk- but wanted to let you know some real feels
im really proud of you from afar and i never tell you
life is too short for that
i hope one day we can hang out
but honestly so excited
Adam and I haven’t spent time together in years but we’ve known each other since 3rd grade. When I was a teenager, I admired Adam’s bravery to get on stage with his guitar. I wished I had the guts to sing songs for other people but I spent most of my time in the audience. My friend Adam lost his brother recently. He was a lover of music and a free spirit from what I could tell, though I had not seen him since we were children. I remembered that Adam adored his younger brother and I had sent him a note of condolence when I read that he passed away. I had not heard from Adam but didn’t take it at all personally. I just thought he was processing his brother’s death and knew he would say hello when the time was right. Adam and I talked about how he wanted me to continue making music because his brother would never get the chance. He told me how much he respected and liked my work and all the while, I wished that somehow I could just give him his brother back. I thought about the teenage me watching the teenage him on stage, back to back playing guitar with our friend Jack, and how hard I worked to be that person on stage making those sounds now. Adam encouraged me to never give up and I listened to him.
In the end, I can’t give Adam his brother back but I can keep making music. It’s a little easier knowing that I have an old friend on my side.