Overheard.

In a locker room, thinking about how to go about the next couple of weeks. Whilst scrambling to get ready, I overheard the most beautiful conversation that brought me to tears.

The usual cleaner was speaking to a regular gym-goer and they were talking about that it was better to be loud and happy than quiet and sad. That there’s worse enough things in the world without adding to it. That her friend’s 23 year old son had died of a rare cancer today. Out of the blew and he hadn’t begun living his life. That it makes you realise you have to take everyday day by day and live it fully.

After hearing previously from my friend that her grandparent lost a dear friend today also, as his flat exploded killing him and his two children.

I broke in tears and a sigh. That changed my mood. It put things into perspective. I’m 23 and have a lot to be grateful for. It’s as if she was talking to me directly. So I owe an unknown thank you to her. What a beautiful human being. Thank you.

 

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The biggest elephant in the room

Depression and anxiety.  

I think we can all agree, this tackles a huge amount of people worldwide and we all need to do our best to talk about it and help where we can.

Depression and anxiety are a pair that can completely destroy a person. I don’t think J.K Rowling’s books are for someone that is in that dark room and can’t get out, as Buzzfeed suggests.

Getting help can be one of the biggest and hardest steps to take. And I find it so shocking that it isn’t spoken about more and help isn’t well advertised. My whole heart goes out to people who are suffering. Nothing can quite pin point that darkest feeling. BUT there is hope. You are not alone.

I’m going to list helpful things I’ve discovered along the way, in the hope that someone out there suffering will read this and it may help them take the first steps.

Videos / Books

Books can be daunting especially when you’re in that state. But watch videos if not, just in the background to start off. I guarantee you will get hooked.

Jim Carey’s speech:

Even the best people go through these stages.

Eckhart Tolle is the most captivating person I have seen. He sounds a little strange when he talks but he is living without a single worry, and you can tell by watching him. He is so present and in control of his own mind he gets so much from every day life. This instantly makes sense and you can apply his advise to any situation. Also what he says is logical! Unlike your Ego. He also appears on Operah’s chat show. I also highly recommend his book, The Power of Now. It is the best book I have ever read and it saved me from some very dark moments. It helps you create space and stops you from identifying that these thoughts are you. I read that book in two days non stop, on buses, in between work, whenever I could. (I have never been into reading and usually extremely slow at it). I was obsessed. It blew my mind. I couldn’t understand why I had never heard of this book and some of these most obvious theories.

Another short book I would also recommend is As a Man Thinketh. Although it has some out of date words, it is short, so simple and so so right. It explains these irrational thoughts and makes you realise there is hope and that it is changeable, within your control.

Also when you are out of that darkness spot. But are still feeling anxious and depressed and still feel stuck. Listen to Tony Robbins podcasts on Youtube, watch his workshops on Youtube. You’re in for a shock and you will feel empowered.

He deals with people who are suicidal and have a number of anxieties and want help shifting their life.

For a more motivational chat. Listen to Zig Ziglar’s podcasts / book or buy his CD’s online.

Things to try:

Affirmations in the mirror in the morning and before bed. – You start the day and end the day reminding yourself of what you really are and are capable of.

Yoga –  You might not think it’s for you, just go and try it! (If you can’t afford classes, Youtube)

Walk round the block even if you’re upset

Meditate – Just put it on and listen even if you think it’s not helping. (Headspace is particularly good)

Deep Breaths and take baths

If you can get access to CBT or Therapy do it. If you can’t go and ask your GP, they will help. – There are so many stigmas to therapy… it is just talking to someone it’s like having a non biased friend to hear you out and give you suggestions!

And the most important thing is talk about it or write it down so you can physically see it, the thoughts are out there and not running around in your head. They are thoughts. There is help out there. There are people that care.

You are important.

(I couldn’t sleep, eat or do anything. I felt physically ill. I soon came to realise, I wasn’t. It was my body’s way of asking for help. I went out and found all these tools and resources. I’m still a work in progress, but it’s training. It’s like going to the gym and working out, the more you do, it the easier it is. One habit of your thoughts has been dictating, it’s time to train the other part of you.)

Soaking it in

Soaking it in.

Sun, piano tinkles echoing through my earphones and the view.

Thinking what brought me here?

Why do I enjoy this so much?

Why don’t I feel like this all day, everyday?

Why don’t I do this more?

But do I need to do this more?

What is it about this setting? The atmosphere?

Peace. I guess. Maybe because I’m on my own? But does that make me lonely?

Why am I not just sat here enjoying the moment? It’s like this compulsion. Am I allowed?!

It feels like a magical moment, that’s slipping out of my hands. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to forget. Not that I would.

It just feels like I’m force feeding myself every single detail of this very moment, because it feels like maybe, maybe I will inevitably be engulfed by my worries, left gasping.

Can’t I stay in this bubble?

Deflecting the knocking and the negative feeling and the grind?

But I guess we feel. I guess…

Are feelings even a sure thing? They seem to fluctuate rapidly like a switch. Someone flipping the kettle on to boil and before you know it the flat, cold, water is bubbling throwing steam into the air, fizzing with passion and energy.

Maybe this is my bubbling moment

But am I content with this being my bubble moment?

Have I found the core? Happiness? In the middle of a park, with some strangers?

It’s almost as if, as soon as I realise that I like it, I can’t enjoy it, it fades, slips through my fingers. Then my memory failing and trying to realise what my bubble is? Or what I want it to be? Or what I need it to be? Or what it should be?

For some reason I struggle to go with it, I’m so scared of that switch reflexing back after reaching that optimum heat. Like I’m desperately holding the switch down, not letting it pop up. Causing the water to over flow and become uncontrollable and it’s too intense and too hot to enjoy.

Maybe because I know I can’t recreate this perfect moment again.

So I’m sat here.

Soaking it in.

The Doubt. Pondering and wondering why.

 

But I’m no Katherine Jenkins so who am I to say and who is there to listen?

Are you the next Katherine Jenkins? Yes, yes I am. Minus the boobs, whitened teeth, hair and voice (no I’m not bald, yet.. although the receding hair line is definitely making progress).

 

snap.

Singing has always been a challenge not just because of the stereotypes, but because you can’t physically see it. To
 be having lessons based on something that you can’t see puts a lot of trust in the teacher and yourself. Sometimes it can be disheartening to be told what you should/shouldn’t sound like and what’s your ‘real’ voice, when you were born with it. Some of the encounters of a musicians life.

 

It’s a competitive field, obviously, so you’re in a constant state of wondering whether it would be better to move abroad, move city, if you’ll ever be good enough, if it’s more of a case of spend more, get further?

 

And being freelance, doesn’t really give you stability. It’s a state of limbo, having it’s ups and downs. You realise how much you do for your students. Even to the point were you’re  viewing a house and realise that the bars on the inside of the tiny window in the living room, might not give the greatest impression to parents. Doesn’t exactly scream friendly, just screams. As if finding a house isn’t enough of an ordeal, you also have to think what a students parents would think. The endless search of trying to find houses that is habitable and that students are going to feel comfortable in. Not forgetting it’s pretty rare to find a house, that is reasonable to rent that doesn’t come with damp, broken furnishings and stairs you need to have climbing gear to reach the top. It could be the difference of getting more income each week.

 

Then you have the realisation that after 4 years of studying. I didn’t envisage teaching a 13 year old girl the same Adele song for 3 months, but I’ll admit, it’s got it’s positives. Having a reason to look at those guilty pleasure songs, seeing improvement – sometimes, see a glimpse of how much  1:1 lessons which gives ‘troubled’ student encouragement  that they are listened to and cared about and that they matter.

 

It’s especially difficult to keep training, keep paying for singing lessons not knowing wether you will eventually have a career in this field. When do you stop focusing on your career? Are you missing out on enjoying ‘the now’ because you’re constantly focusing on how to get better? A constant inflicting battle of wether you are doing the right thing and when to take a break without feeling a wrath of guilt.

 

And even if the majority of classical singers feel this way, instead of voicing this common feeling, there’s always a protective wall. Radiating the impression that we are fine, doing well and that we have to compare and compete. When in fact, we all share a common interest and all have the same ambition. All struggling to get an inch of the performance buzz, that we all love so much. I think it should be spoken about more, between musicians. Because sometimes we’re left thinking am I the only one that is feeling like this? Somehow I don’t think it’s healthy… but I’m no Katherine Jenkins so who am I to say and who is there to listen?

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Step-by-Step to Disconnection?

We’ve all googled at some point ‘step-by step guide’ to help us get want we want quicker. From DIY guides to improve our success. My question is, are we blocking our own creativity and individuality, by doing this? Are we finding a script to disconnect from our primal senses? Maybe that sounds far fetched… and a bit straw clutchy, but I think it’s leading down the road to being unfocused and impatient.

 

Technology. It leads us to access and unlock information and takes away the privacy in our everyday lives. Moving into a house without internet for a week, especially when you’re freelance is tough! My house mate and I had almost forgotten what we did before the internet. We were literally lost, sat in the new bare kitchen, feeling like we’d been dragged on holiday with our parents in the middle of nowhere. Withdrawal symptoms maybe? I suppose you realise you have an addiction to something when it’s take away and it changes the balance and routine of your life. Even though I don’t count myself as a prisoner technology, I realised I depend on it hugely and being connected to ‘friends’. I mean who knew endlessly scrolling through news feeds would be such a big part of life? Obviously, there’s more than just social media that we use… Not having access to Spotify, not receiving texts because of iMessage, it was dark 2 weeks.

 

Step by step guides encourage that access and freedom to tools to help us achieve what we want. Even a step by step guide on how to draw a fish, we haven’t learnt to redraw it and perfect it, or create a unique fish. We just follow and copy the process of someone else’s. I mean, would the feeling of success be more fulfilling if we had created it ourselves? Maybe it’s down to the individual and whether you are drawing that fish for other people or to get some sort of self gratification.

 

Step by step guides vary to dating advice. Which is great. It can be helpful and makes us feel like we’re in control, encouraging us to turn up more prepared and confident, leading us to believe it works? But is that what we should be doing? Should we be told how to feel? Especially that Youtube has become massively popular, it makes it more excusable and vlogging has generally increased dramatically over the past couple of years. (To the point were little girls say they want to be a vlogger when they grow up-sigh).You can subscribe to these channels and watch endless amounts of advice on scripting scenarios and conversations, instead of waking up in the morning and have a gut reaction.
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Gut instinct. We don’t trust it. Second guessing it. I think we’re becoming more conscious as a nation (with exceptions) of what we should be doing, how we should feel that we’re listening to everyone else options about what is the right thing to do. By doing that, neglecting ourselves, our feelings. I mean when we’re 80 about to go to sleep, with nothing to look forward to, those same people won’t be there. We are the only people who will be alone with ourselves. Will we be satisfied and will we know how we feel?

People, what happened?

I think the most defining moment of my 20’s was realising that a lot of the of people around me, had a complex and seemed so wrapped up in their insecurities they would end up pushing people away. By being some self absorbed, millennial, single-child syndromed, freudian being. That on a surface level, they seem like a normal person, but one day you start to see sides of someone that really does need to do some soul searching on a ‘Garp Year’, as they have currently waited in the kitchen, in silence, for five….FIVE hours. For you to stroll in unaware and out of social politeness you end up cornered in a conversation about them.

Maybe it’s my generation… kids growing up with access to the latest gadgets, flashy cars on finance and education that seems to come with invisible debt (invisible if you flee from the UK, which right now seems like a good choice, unless you don’t want to start again from scratch and have no friends- it’s definitely there.) You can’t blame us when you can get a monthly instalment to get just about anything. The unaffordable becomes just about affordable but relentless until retirement… good idea? Who knows, we’ll find out.

From nightmare housemates, to egotistical colleagues, to partners, to everyday people you may pass in the street, more or less I found it unthinkable that a lot of people I had met, were not just  random people, who had collided paths with me, it was most likely because the majority of people out there had a complex.

The variety of housemates I had endured living with just about ticks all the wrong boxes: the girl that decided it would be good idea to smear poo on my friends towel. A girl who called herself a ‘feminist’ (sexist), liberal (UKIP sympathiser) – basically a walking contradiction. A girl that decided talking to people on chat rooms then inviting them into our house was a good idea, but soon realised when he refused to leave, it probably wasn’t. A guy that used to leave different shades of ‘marks’ in the toilet, that made you think it was originally brown, for his mum to come to clean, which must have been pleasant for her. Something weird must be going on with our generation.

Maybe because of the constant stress of trying to achieve, earn more money, for when you retire, have a family-white picket fence n’all.. We are just on a selfish path of destruction of society and the feeling of community. The saddest thing I notice, is that everyday when I walk to the train station to work, I can guarantee seeing the same old man smile and nod. Not because he knows me, because it’s old fashioned. I don’t see that happening when I have no money to retire with and I’m still bitterly working, whilst hating everyone. Not saying I will be purposefully horrible, but these people that I have met, are all going to be collecting their pensions/working/ walking the Earth and will have encounters with the younger generation, can you ensure that the above candidates would wave or flash a smile? I’m not too sure.

I know that the sudden realisation of graduating and that living away from home, being a freelance musician, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But still… maybe it’s people like me, that encounter others, that seem to unleash hell on everyone, and in order to stop this from reoccurring, they build a wall up (#trumpideology) and become bitter thinking that they deserve a better life than this, because their six year old self was wrong.

When I was six I remember playing with my doll’s house, looking at the clouds, telling myself, one day I was going to go and play on them. 23 year old me realised you need money, it’s condensation and I will probably need a visa, thanks to Brexit. It’s a dark time.