Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lessons in Leaving

Lessons in Leaving... title comes from song that Kenny Rogers' duet partner sang at concert, a Jo Dee cover.

Talking about brain retraining: I am trying to retrain my brain to see pain not as a source to panic about, but as a temporary and necessary part of being in the world that will get better given some time and patience. Man, that's hard!

The good from today: Well, first I was in the Western Prom and it was too hot and muggy. I went downtown and got there earlier than usual and was pretty anxious for an hour or so. Then I met my friend C, who saved me with her conversation and the ability to connect to someone, and then met with my therapist. And Amber, briefly.

Kenny Rogers was going to be on the maine state pier/ferry terminal and I didn't know if I had enough energy to go. I don't even like Kenny Rogers *that* much, but he is country. And outside, a 15 minute walk away, and free.Sooo, hard to pass that up given that the weather was quite decent at 7pm when it was time to go. Mid 60s, felt warm enough but less muggy.

Sooo, I was nervous about if I would be able to enjoy it or even have the energy to walk there, but I did. Concert started at 6 with opening acts, so I timed it to get there at around 730 because person on the phone who I called at Waterfront Concerts told me 7 to 730. Market closes at 7, so took my time getting there, got there at 7, and was told he was in his second song. Perfect!

It felt good to be doing something out of my routine and to have a purpose. I wasn't sure where I was going to sit, but I knew there was a bench right outside the ticketed area I had sat in last year. Found it, some people sitting there but was able to share with them. Got into some mild conversation about country with the guy next to me. He was a Kenny Chesney fan. Had an adorable blonded haired maybe three yr old daughter. There were maybe 20-30 people standing and hanging out behind ticketed area. One older couple dancing, looking totally in love, was so cute. People looked happy to see him.

The sound quality wasn't very good, and neither was the choice of songs. But it was still cool to hear him. His farewell tour. The songs he did that I know were: What Condition your condition is in - with the First Edition, which is a song the oldies station used to play.
Surprising. Very early in show. The song about "She believes in me..." I don't know many Kenny Rogers. There was a woman with him, forget her name. She did Jo Dee Messina's Lessons in Leaving, and THAT made me excited. Not a very good job of it, but exciting to hear a song I knew. Maybe 4 songs I knew.

I stayed for about 45-50 minutes, alternating between standing and sitting. Bench was not great for my back but not as bad as it could have been.

As I was leaving, I saw a guy sitting on the wall by the entrance to the ferry terminal with a sign asking for money. I was following other people hoping to beat my post-event anxiety but when I saw his sign, I didn't want to miss the opportunity for a good conversation. People who are .... disenfranchised often are also much more open, have big hearts and are very engaging to have conversations with. I actually walked back a block or two to give him a dollar, then got into a half hour conversation with him about country music, music in general, life, and the importance of being yourself. Very nice energy about him. We could just barely hear Kenny from there, but when The Gambler came on, his face just lit up and it was so nice to see. His dad used to listen to Kenny Rogers, and it had been his favorite song. He lost his apartment due to high rents, and his job when they found out he was homeless. He's moving to the South for lower cost of living and more jobs there. I just like open people willing to share their stories with me. It made me happy, and made him happy as well. The human connection was obviously worth more than the dollar, but the dollar was the key that opened it up. If only "normal" people were as easy to engage in meaningful, fulfilling, honest conversation as the panhandlers that so much of society denigrates. Not all of them, of course, but I seem to have a good sense of which ones will be. That's the second panhandler I've had a heart to heart conversation with this week!

He used to volunteer in an organization that gave out supplies to homeless people, but now finds himself on the other side unexpectedly. Sad.

The walk back, which I had been fearing so much, actually went fast. Places where I normally would have to take breaks I didn't have to this time. It took only 15 minutes or so to get from ferry terminal to Monument Sq and I didn't even feel exhausted after. I must have been happy because of him. Or else I was aware of my tiredness but not panicking over it, I dunno. I felt somewhat invigorated, like I accomplished something. Walking through the Old Port at night is invigorating also - the nightlife is just.... It's like a different world. I seldom am in the old port at night. All the people spilling out of everywhere, the people outside every resteraunt, it's... there's a sense of joy that pervades.

I timed the bus well and got back to Mon. Sq. around 9:15 for the 920 bus. Saw Mysti briefly. Got on bus. Saw a girl I've met before who works at the candy shop in town and had a very enthusiastic conversation with her the whole way back. We both were out later than usual. Just about the candy shop, being in the old port at night, fancy resteraunts that my dad likes, just a sharing of energy that felt very genuine. I felt in my element and happy to be sharing with her. I felt happy to have gone out of my comfort zone and done something different, and accomplished somehow. To be independent, to have achieved something fun on my own power, without having to beg anyone for help in any way. That was probably it.

So that's hopefully worth the fact that my back hurts more now, but hey it was already hurting somewhat before and a girl has to try to find a way to have fun in her life.

I know that soon after I write this I will likely dip back into anxiety or likely even the despair I had this morning and most of the afternoon, so I am enunciating every detail so that I can remember, joy is possible, even on humid, warm days when your apt feels like a dungeon and outside feels 10 times worse, even when you think there's nothing left in life that could possibly make it worth living, joy is possible. But it always comes where you least expect it.

I thought I'd be so tired I'd need to (try) to take a cab back, but it ended up being the best part, somehow.

The energy put out needs to be countered by benefits somehow.... Can't be all sensory/physical overload .....but if there are enough benefits to counter the risks and sensory.... then good can come. What a delicate balance that is!

Have to overcome my aversion to pain, sensory stuff, etc, in order to have some sort of life and not be panicking all the time. One day at a time.

So THAT was my day. Having a problem with apt, that I can't begin to solve yet, but trying just not to panic and remember life is still possible. One day at a time. I don't know the answer but I am trying to remember not to panic, and I will find my way. Now to eat, watch TV, hope the heating pad helps my back, hope I can sleep, and then do tomorrow. Goodnight all (soon)!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fun with 60s Music Street Musicians

Wednesday, May 14-15-16ish, 2016
I was sitting at Mark's hot dog stand, having a conversation. I was about to leave when I decided to check on the guitar player across the street to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I do love live street music, and I'm not really picky about what it is, I just love the vibe of it. But, that said, I do have a special place in my heart reserved for music I actually know and like. That's a rare find. So I cross the street and I'm like, "Hey, I know this song. What is it? I couldn't place it at first, then after 2 or 3 lines I'm like Neil Diamond! and I start singing along to Solitary Man. Totally exciting. The guy was super nice and had a great personality, too. I told him how much I loved Neil Diamond, and he was like "Do you like Shiloh?" which happens to be one of my favorite 60s songs of all time. Oh, man, that was fun! I closed my eyes, let the emotion of the song surround me, and sang my heart out. He had a great smile on his face while he sang, clearly enjoying sharing the song with me.
I was late to meet a friend, but I called and let her know and decided I could stay for one or two more songs. I wished I had gotten there earlier! But I am glad I checked to see what it was. Now, of all songs in the entire world or even 60s universe he could have done, the next one surprised me and delighted me, x100.
"Oh, I could hide 'neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o'clock alarm would never ring..."
It was the opening of Daydream Believer, which used to be like my #2 favorite song of the entire 60s. Monkees. Ohhh, fun, fun, fun, I've never heard that song sung live before. I had to go, but he said he'd do Simon and Garfunkel next, and I couldn't resist. Sounds of Silence. I was too tired to sing more, but I could have, and oh, wow, I would have loved to stay for like a whole half hour or hour. What a delight. I said "How do you know all my favorite songs?" He said "You're my biggest fan, everyone else has just walked by and not paid any attention. We made each other happy then! He wanted to take a selfie and I said Cool, and we had Mark take it so it came out good. Mark even offered him a free beverage cus he sounded so good and played a private concert right by the hot dog stand for us. smile emoticon He has a mailing list, so I might even get to see him again!
It is quite rare to even find a random street musician singing the Beatles, but to find one singing random awesome 60s songs that I have never even heard live before, *that* is a treat. I'll listen to most street musicians for at least a few minutes, but this was something else.
Then I went to the market to see Shirley, who gave me some useful advice and a lot of emotional support, encouragement and validation about trying to get services. She made me feel heard. I was late and trying to fit in a lot to the conversation so tiny bit overwhelmed, but in retrospect, that is what she did. I have only met her a few times before, but I am lucky to know someone like her. She knows the system because of her son, and she can help give me guidance about what I should do.
Then Ryan and Amber in the mkt, and came home.
Before then, Kathy, the friend of the lady who usually has the dog, in the western prom, some nice sun there. An accopello (sp?) female singing group in Monument Sq. This guy Wayne who said he knew me from somewhere. Turns out I went to see a room he had for rent 3 yrs ago and he remembered me from there. Said he was sorry the room didn't work for me cus he thought I would have made a great roommate!
So considering how bad I felt when I got up, and how depressed, anxious and hopeless I usually feel every day, and how little structure I had today, I made a good day out of my time today. I can be proud of that. The sun sure helped, but trying to reach out to people around me is what makes me feel safe, calm, and connected, for at least a few hours a day. Makes up for yesterday I suppose when I had very few connections.
You never know when you're going to find something that makes your world feel all right again. You may just turn the corner and find a 60s music singer.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Post from FB, Second time of seeing 60s singer - John Kyle is his name. 

Ok. Before I get too tired. 60s singer.
He is so cool with the obscure 60s songs. Of all the Peter, Paul and Mary songs he could possibly have done.... He chose a little known song called "Day is Done" that I used to LOVE but hadn't heard in so many years that it took me half the song to remember the name of it. I love that feeling of familiarity, the excitement of anticipation, the sudden burst of realization when you figure out what it is.
Oh wow, I totally forgot just how amazing that song is.
Seriously. Amazing. PPM have a lot of great songs but he overlooked all the obvious ones and went for the true gem.
No wonder I'm so tired, lol. These were some quality songs.
Then he did by request Puff the Magic Dragon and some of Leaving on a Jet Plane, also Marvelous Toy! He did Troggs Love is All Around, Sound of Silence, I can't really remember the rest even though I wrote them down. 7 or 8 songs. Nate came by, and requested an Eagles song, which he did a few lines of .Nate liked it and tipped him.
Then there was American Pie... my request also... he did everything by request.... so anyway he only knew the first couple verses.... but I have had this middle verse of American Pie memorized since I was a kid...Never thought that'd come in handy... But he played the music on the guitar and I sang and I felt so powerful.... I was creating music where that had been none before.... I have never gotten to sing solo to .... music before. Like karoke I guess. I put so much passion into that verse. I felt confident. It felt good! We were trading lines of the song, trying to remember the lyrics. It felt good.
I just looked it up, I got the lyrics right! For some reason, these few verses have been stuck in my head for years. They're just so emotional, I love that.
"Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Well, I know that you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancin' in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"
This song has a lot of verses, lol
Then he actually knew some country, not to sing so much but was familiar with and liked, and did attempt a few verses of Whiskey Lullaby. Also he turns out to have been a computer programmer from LA, which Rob might be interested to hear! Spent like an hour there. Didn't know he'd be there. Got there at 3:45, left around 4:45. Knees are a little sore from trying to dance but hey it was fun. Then hung out with Nate at the market a bit.

Monday, May 16, 2016



The gasp of delight. The utter and total disbelief that something so amazing could be happening. The smile that flashed on my face no matter how bad I felt only minutes before. The song that eminates from my throat. Me on 60s radio, lol. I couldn't hear the radio well in the market today, and when the next song came on I thought it sounded like the beginning of Edwin Starr's "War" so I didn't get up to investigate. But then I wasn't sure, so I got up to see, and what I heard was like being thrown into a bath of warm water. Safety. A song I hadn't thought about in ages, but used to love. I gasped and literally spasm-ed in delight. Since there were too many people too close to sing, I just closed my eyes, tapped my fingers and swayed my body to the rythm of the song, and for three minutes, I felt the energy of the song course through me, not the energy of my anxiety. For three minutes, I lost track of everything around me. I was distantly aware of people talking and ordering food on either side of me, but they were in another world. I made sure I wasn't in anyone's way, and then I closed my eyes and let go.
"Sweeeet cheeeeeeerrrry wiiine, Sooooo veeeeeerrry fine..."
With all the hyper-focusing my brain so often does on unpleasant stimuli, with the nearly constant overwhelm I get with negative stuff, I am so thankful I have the ability to hyperfocus on POSITIVE stuff occasionally. And this is why I am so passionate about 60s music radio.
Having never drank before or partaken in the drug culture, I often wonder if my 60s music high is similar to that, but I think it's a lot safer. smile emoticon
I should add that this doesn't happen with every song, just the ones that really surprise me and are awesome. So maybe one song per hour if it's a good station. Which is more than enough. Today, it was this song.
Sweet Cherry Wine, Tommy James and the Shondells, 1969
"Come on, everyone we gotta get together now
Oh, yeah, love's the only thing that matters anyhow
And the beauty of life can only survive
If we love one another
Oh, yeah, yesterday my friends were marchin' out to war
Oh, yeah, listen now, we ain't a marchin' anymore
No we ain't gonna fight, only God has the right
To decide who's to live and die
He gave us sweet cherry wine, so very fine
Drink it right down, pass it all around
So stimulatin', so intoxicatin'
Sweet cherry wine to open your mind
And everybody's gonna feel so fine
Drinking sweet cherry wine, yes they will
Watch the mountain turn to dust and glow away
Oh, Lord, you know there's got to be a better way
And the old masquerade is a no soul parade
Marchin' through the ruins of time
To save us He gave us sweet cherry wine
Sweet cherry wine, so very fine
Drink it right down, pass it all around
So stimulatin', so intoxicatin'
Sweet cherry wine, everybody's gonna feel so fine
Drinkin' sweet cherry wine, yes they will
Oh, sweet cherry wine, so very fine
Drink it right down, pass it all around
So stimulatin', so intoxicatin'
Sweet cherry wine, come on
Drink it with your brother
Trust in one another, yeah, yeah
He gave us sweet cherry wine
Drink it right down, pass it all around
People, don't you know the cup is runnin' over?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, oh
Come on, come on, yeah
Ooh, ooh, ooh"