10-15 years ago, if you’d asked me where I’d be on my 29th birthday, I probably would have replied in one of two ways. I would either look cast down and my eyes would water. I would have changed the subject. The other option was to respond in a false joking tone and say, “Oh, I won’t be around. I’m going to be dead before I’m that age. Promise.”
It would be easy to assume that it was just that I didn’t want to get anywhere near 30 years old, to grow older. That wasn’t the case. There was nothing more inviting than an age where I could seek my own stability. In reality, I actually did believe I’d be dead before I ever reached 29. I remember writing in my journals that I felt like no matter what happened, I’d still die before that. It was this conscious decision I had made in order to push forward long enough to, I guess, “pay my dues”.
Frida Kahlo once said “I tried to drown my sorrows but the bastards learned how to swim.” and in many ways, I did the same. I was reckless with myself and would risk a lot because I didn’t think it mattered. I didn’t think time mattered because I had decided that mine would be limited here anyway.
As life goes on, though, many things change our paths and lead us to where we’re really meant to be. Some people do make terrible decisions, some do finish themselves off before they’ve even had the chance to love, laugh, and live, and some just die tragically young. Then there are others, like me, who no matter what we tried to accomplish a task we had set so determinedly, somehow get bumped through the murky waters of life, only to end up on the other side with a lot of doubts, guilt, worries, but a new gratitude for what they’ve got.
I’m not saying that I don’t have my bad days, where I start to fade off into that dark hole again. Instead I am saying that when I head into the dark hole, I try to remember to bring a flashlight. There are some experiences that can work like that. They become a beacon of hope for people who are exhausted from the fight that they put up just to try and stay alive long enough for the next experience, taking it one day at a time.
It’s my 29th birthday. I’m not dead and I’m not expecting to be or looking towards it. Instead, I’m looking right in front of me and seeing what’s really there.
A chance to make life fun, interesting, and sure, even a little complicated, but worth it. Life is worth it.
To start off this post, I have to share something with you all.
It’s a really awesome fact that I will listen to almost anything as long as it’s not misogynistic or hate-ridden. I may not like everything I hear, but I give it a shot, and usually most stuff sticks. I like indie music. I like some pop music. I love love love industrial and various other subculture music. I fell hard into affection with The Cure, The Pixies, Annie Lennox, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and David Bowie at a very young age. Shoot, I even have really crazy dreams about encountering musicians I admire. In one of them, I was hanging out with the Golden Girls when David Bowie walks up to us with a goat wearing a shimmering rainbow coloured scarf and heart shaped sunglasses. We hung out. David sang for us, and Sophia told us awesome made up stories about Sicily. If you think that’s a weird dream, I won’t even mention the really fun one I had about Daniel Day Lewis. Some things are just better left to the imagination.
Point is: I am a music fetishist. Okay, maybe fetishist gives the wrong idea but I do love music. When I was a kid I had a ton of ideas of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I considered bar tending, so I could gain worldly knowledge and understanding of other human beings (as well as great stories for my future novels). I thought about being a poet. The thing that stuck out most, though, was how music made me feel. In the midst of a lot of craziness, hearing great lyrics and a strong arrangement could push me forward. When it came time to pick a major in college, there was no hesitation. I was going to be a music promoter and agent. I had it all figured out. I was going to ignore the cliche bands that the generic masses listened to and I was going to push the amazing underground bands I came across. I’d heal the worlds music wound.
I was so full of shit. That’s okay though. We all are at some point in our lives.
I think it’s kind of obvious that I didn’t become a music promoter and agent. I wanted to do it so badly that I entered into it naively. I didn’t realize how sexist the industry was just yet. I didn’t realize that even with a ton of women in the industry, it was still an old boys club. Nor that my own music business professor would be inclined to treat the girls in his class as jokes. Pity, too. He was rather cute since he was still rather young. It incredibly diminishes a mans sexiness to treat a woman like she’s incompetent. Such a turn off. After spending a year chasing that dream and giving it my all, I realized it wasn’t right for me. I wanted it, but I didn’t want that agony of pushing myself and working my ass off only to get pushed over by a guy who thought he’d found a new secretary.
I should have fought for it.
Realistically, I’m happy that that venture didn’t pan out. I probably would have been happy enough with that career and lifestyle but I wouldn’t have met the people that followed that lifestyle change if I hadn’t walked away. That’s not to say that I think I was right to have given it up. I gave it up for all the wrong reasons. I gave up because I thought that I would get tired of the fight. It’s probably true that I would have but I’d have been doing it for a good reason. I would have been helpful in changing the way the music industry perceives women, particularly those who work behind the scenes.
Lately, I find myself going “What the HELL is this crap?!” at a lot of music out there. I say worse stuff about certain music videos and the way some female singers are treated (and treat themselves) while in the public eye. During those moments I sometimes stop and feel like such a hypocrite. Who am I to get annoyed at what’s being put out there when I had a chance to change that and make it into something better? Then I think “Would it really have been better if I’d tried?”. I guess we will never know. But I did let myself down because I took the easy way out. I opted for something I knew I was good at and that wouldn’t be such a struggle. I love art and history. I’m psyched about it any time I encounter a new gallery or museum, or an artist with a unique eye. I just can’t help but see it as something that comes easily to me because I didn’t have to discover it. My love of those things have been with me for as long as I can remember. Just as my love for literature.
My love of music was a discovery though. Like a first love affair with someone who could bring you up when you were in your darkest pit. I let that lover go for all the wrong reasons and just as many people ask themselves about their first loves, I ask myself about my first passion. People mistake love with passion. On a lot of levels the two look and feel the same but where love is soft, subtle, and nurturing; passion is chaotic, scrambling, sometimes dirty, and often times explosive. My discovery of music was chaotic and explosive. Particularly when I found the music that connected with me and how I felt.
So while I may not be a music promoter and agent, I can definitely say I love to share music and I’m going to.
I figure the best way to do that is here. I’m including several genres of music and in various languages. Everything from anime songs to dark and broody songs.
Enjoy the sound wealth!
(Billie Holiday’s music is eternal. No doubt about it. You just can’t argue with the reminiscent value it has. If you can argue it, you’re wrong. Simple as that.)
(I like how tribal some of the arrangement in this song is. Using unique instruments and making it sound fluid and modern is such a great method in music.)
(This song breaks my heart. It’s about a gay man whose father rejects him, and due to it being the 80’s and unawareness, he dies of aids, suffering and alone.)
(Nana was one of the first serious style shoujo animes I ever watched and a lot of the music was kind of transcendental for me.)
(This remix would get me going in the morning when I had no choice but to drag myself through the muggy hot mornings in Miami.)
(I really love what they did with Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana. It feels like a perfect fit.)
(This stuff just makes me happy. It was used in the Novela “El Clon” which was (primarily) about forbidden love but had a very fascinating core story about what happens when human beings mess with the natural course of humanity. It touched on topics like human cloning and how it affects everyone involved, being and feeling lost, addiction, family, and destructive behaviour.)
(To be honest, K-on! is a lovable guilty pleasure of mine. I like to hop between happy and serious animes. The spectrum for anime is so vast that the music is really fascinating in how it captures the spirit of each anime. Especially when it’s done well.)
There is so much more that I could and would share in this post but it’s already so many videos that I’ll have to save more for later. Happy to share though!
When massive changes come into our lives, there are so many possible things that can occur within us. We can transform from caterpillars into gorgeous butterflies… or we can shrink like ugly brown leaves in Autumn. Let’s face it, even the bravest of people can become shell-shocked when encountering something new that’s far outside of what they could have ever imagined. I am not particularly brave but I’m not cowardly either. I’m in the healthy middle where if poop hits the fan, I can roll with it and come out standing. Whether I’m as I was before is a completely different matter. Due to the fact that I am a (confessedly) tad emotional at times, things can often hit me very hard and even if I do tend to take things as a lesson and grow from them, that doesn’t mean they can’t leave scars in the meantime.
I am, to be completely and most unabashedly honest, utterly lost. I was once a very go go go individual, always with a project, always independent. That changed when I moved to Canada (or Canadia as I like to call it). I’ve always wanted to travel and live abroad but in my imagination it was going to be some place amazing with a ton of rich history dating back CENTURIES upon centuries. As a History nerd, that concept thrilled me in a way that chocolate, girl toys, and watching anything Bradley Cooper does never will. And Bradley Cooper thrills me. Oh he does. My husbands not even jealous about it, which is awesome because it’s not like I’m ever going to get to meet Mr. Icy Blues. Point being, I had plans.
REALITY: PLANS CHANGE.
That can kind of suck. In ways one wouldn’t believe. Where I was once on a path to being a History Professor with a background in marine archaeology and ancient art, I’m now a housewife. Don’t get me wrong. I love taking care of my guy and he is great at taking care of me (especially during tear-filled breakdowns about how I miss my crazy family so damned much it hurts) but often times my mind wanders right back to the shoulda beens and coulda beens. I am not one of those people who picks up a hobby to fill a void. Yes, I enjoy knitting scarves and making jewelry. I love watching anime and am kinda enjoying this blogging thing a lot. At the end of the day though, it’s not what fulfills me and pretending it does is a very unhealthy way to push into the coming years. The question is: Is having a “secure” future with a job of my dreams, most likely without my awesome husband in tow, worth it?
Kind of obvious answer here: Hell no.
I know a lot of self-assured women out there probably just guffawed at that but the fact is, I DID grow up with instability. My parents tried their best. I don’t resent how I was raised one bit. The reason my husbands worth sticking around for is simple. A life filled with everything except that one cure for the hollow aching in ones stomach to know that they will have someone at their bedside if they get ill, or to understand the really dumb jokes we make, that person who can hold you when you sob at 3am in the morning over something you can’t control but wish with all of your might that you could, makes no sense. We die alone. Everyone says that. I get that. Funny thing though. We aren’t BORN alone. We’re not. Which means that whichever route you prefer to take is up to you. Live alone, thrive on money and whatever makes you tingle inside as long as it harms no one else. Or live with someone who drives you nuts sometimes but makes you laugh and smile a hell of a lot more than they make you angry. I prefer the latter.
That doesn’t mean that I’m comfortable giving up independence and the career I love. It means I have to tweak my career options to still fit what I love to do within the realm of what I can do. That’s hard as hell in a very small town that has no desire to pursue these matters. Art and History get shelved in the far back of the priority bin here. I can hope that changes or we can figure out what our lives will have to be like for both of us to be comfortable in the future. Personally, I need my family. Hell, I need a LATIN FOOD restaurant that isn’t Taco Time (which is almost 2 hours away by the way!). As a Hispanic American who has to deal with so many levels of ignorance here that I cringe whenever someone equates Puerto Rico to Mexico (I have an awesome friend from there who has many similarities to me, but we are completely different culturally speaking, and that’s just fine) or whenever someone tries to lecture me on the struggles of minorities when they themselves are not a minority, I get fidgety and fantasize buying a plane ticket back to the States.
Here are a few of my gripes:
1. Many people I meet feel the need to lecture me about the United States. I have to listen to everything about how our education system “is” (and they are often times WRONG) to conspiracy theories about how the Boston bombing was a hoax set up by the government (which let me tell you, the governments of MOST countries have so much on their plates right now that bombing a race is probably their least priority and I find it shocking that anyone would make such an uneducated suggestion followed by “So I don’t care if those people died because like, there are people like, dying in Venezuelan hospitals, like right?!”. I grew up in Massachusetts you dillhole. I don’t want to hear that crap, nor do I have any desire to feed into the anti-anybody mentality.
2. Getting blasted about Native culture by anyone who isn’t Native. Hi. I can read. I’m well aware of the current situation. I won’t voice my personal beliefs on the matter but I will say this. I will not tolerate anyone insinuate that I’m a racist against ANY Native culture. Why? Because Puerto Ricans are TAINO’S. I.E. A Native tribe currently encountering similar circumstances and ailments, just handled very differently. Different methods, same results. So I don’t judge.
See? Not actually that many gripes. There are some things I like about where I am and some I dislike. Kind of the same as anyone else in the world right now. What matters is how we approach the situations we are handed. What matters is how we make the best of everything around us and try to be the better person when someone strives to upset us. Also, sometimes people don’t even mean to upset us. They might be having a bad day and that in itself is okay. It’s not okay to treat your friends or loved ones badly because you’re not sure how to handle whatever you’re going through. That’s when you stop, clear your head for a moment, and ask for help.
Currently, I’m in shadow-mode. I look at my own shadow and don’t even know who it belongs to anymore. So what? I’ll get to where I’m meant to be eventually. For now I make the best of it.
But for the love of all that is good, stop trying to convert me. I’m an American Puerto Rican Israeli with a bunch of other ethnicities tossed in there.
Like my dad says: “I don’t need to do anything except stay Puerto Rican and die.”