Wednesday, May 23, 2007

invisibility, changes, dreams, frustrations, and places with familiar smells
obligatory start-of-summer introspective post
the one where you realize, 'holy shit, this kid's got issues'

So, summer.

Monday evening I got back from a week long sojourn to beautiful Albuquerque in which I finally got to realize the dream that is my very own professional brass quintet, in which I hung out with good friends and drank beer and hiked and enjoyed every minute of it.

So why was I so relieved to be back home?

Why was it Monday night at the Loophole and I didn't want to be anywhere else except there, with my crew of good friends, in a loud, smokey, trashy little dive drinking Shiner Hefeweizen out of a plastic cup?

Changes are hard, even when they are exciting and promising. ABQ was fun, and it was exhilarating to think of everything that would be mine in the fall. But it was also extremely difficult to be there and not be moving in- to have to think about all these things before I've said goodbye to everything here.

I'm leaving Texas, something I've wanted to do since the minute I moved here. But I know I'll miss it like I've missed every place I've spent any good amount of time; I'll miss the familiarity of places and people, of routines and expectations. I'll miss knowing what comes next as well as all both the changes that I have welcomed and those that have taken me by surprise.

I can't help but have been changed by this place, by my experiences here. I arrived in Texas still struggling with so many things: my relationship (or lack of) with Jerry, my goals and hopes in regards to music, my self-image. Somewhere in the middle I learned a valuable lesson about love, I acquired two cats, I went back to school. I became the trombone player I wanted to be, I worked harder than I ever had before. I made friends with unexpected people and remembered what it was like to be silly and free. For the first time in four years I've let my hair grow out past my ears and I took up running.

But the one thing that's full-circle, in a sense? I'm still alone. I'm still all my own person. I can't claim ownership of anyone's time, no one can do the same to me. On this end of the Texas equation it's free of that gut-wrenching pain of not being with the person I loved, but it's filled with uncertainity, and let me be perfectly honest, terror.

We are all hypocrites, aren't we? Let's say one person is mad because someone they like is ignoring them, hoping they'll go away and get the picture. But then they turn around and do the same to someone who likes them. That someone, annoyed and angry, in turn shuns someone else because they are, to put it frankly, kind of a joke. But how terrible is that? Maybe everyone's a joke to someone, but a treasure to someone else. Maybe we all deserve a chance, or at least a little honesty.

What if one day a friend asks you about information regarding one of your friends, for a friend of theirs? But your friend, the one in question, recently stopped telling you anything because they decided they didn't trust you anymore and that made you cry for the first time in a now all these people (because no, that's not the first time, nor will it be the last, that people will use you for this particular kind of information) who ask you these personal questions are doing you no favors, even though they mean well, they're just grinding in the hurtful fact that you don't have the information, that even if you did you would be hesitant to give it, even though that's what the original argument was all about in the first place. In some perverse way, this attention only serves to make you feel even more invisible than you do already.

Here's the crux of it: Those times when I think, 'gee, I'm great! Everyone should love me and bask in the joy of knowing me' are tempered with the moments that someone shuts me down, brings me low, and points out something that isn't so great. Those times don't last, because sometimes things I thought would hold steady forever fall apart without warning. Those times don't last because in the face of it, I hold myself aloof still from really trying with people, from digging in and letting myself go. I don't want that to hurt like I know it can- who does want that? And obviously things are changing for me and there's no real reason to go seeking out a situation I'll have to leave in three months.

But I want something. I want to meet someone knew, and feel the thrill of getting to know them. I want long, challenging conversations and I want the other person to feel as excited about me as I do about them. I want to feel like the friendships I've made here will stand the test of distance I'm about to submit them to. I want to get a thrill from someone's touch. I want to feel beautiful because of myself, but not just for myself. I want to let go of all my fears and actually do, whole-heartedly, intently, earnestly, what I've set myself up to do.

And I don't want to have to wait until I get to my next destination.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

um, argh?

I'm sitting here trying to be diligent and get at least half of an unedited version of my 20 page research paper detailing the effects of popular Brazilian samba on racial attitudes and culture in Rio de Janeiro (a work I have convincingly titled "The Colonization of Samba: Identity, racism, and radio in 20th century Rio de Janeiro"), but right here around the middle of page five I find myself extremely distracted and highly in need of sitting around a coffee shop shooting the shit with friends.

I feel this way about writing papers: I love doing the research. I love reading up on the topic, finding ideas that justify my own, learning new and useful information. I love sitting down to write and having it flow, I love getting up on my soapbox and proving the shit out of my salient points. But! I hate. I hate citing shit, making sure I credit everything, having to go back through texts to get the exact idea, writing up bibliographies and footnotes, and most of all and most hatefully, I hate editing.

As for setting goals, as in 'tonight I will get to page 10 and tomorrow I will round this sucker off and send it on its merry way,' for me and papers this doesn't usually work. I have to break it down into smaller, more manageable sections for my highly distractable brain. I should instead say, 'tonight I will write five pages or at least to a decent stopping point, edit them to flow smoothly with what I would like to say next, and tomorrow I will write five more pages or to a decent stopping point and edit them to flow smoothly with what I would like to say next.' Of course, the paper is due Friday, but I can't be doing any of it on Friday because of gigs and work, so that leaves ten pages and the general edit to do all on Thursday. Which means that I will be sitting here Thursday stressin'. I will not write my best work and I will be unhappy with the finished project, which is unfortunate being as I am incredibly geeked about my current field of study.

So what should I do? That chai latte will still be there tomorrow, right? Nose to the grindstone, right? I'll be happy I did it now, right?



This is my second-to-last academic paper, barring the highly unlikely chance that someday someone asks me to actually use my secondary musicology degree. Sweet, sweet freedom is just around the corner.

holy shit

I now know someone in the Vienna Philharmonic.

I gotta go practice.