Blogging Everyday in July|Social Media

Do you ever log onto Facebook and see someone’s post about something great that happened that day?  Do you log onto Instagram and see photos from some new and exciting adventure?  Do you see tweets on Twitter from all your friends who appear to be hanging out without you?  Can I let you in a secret?  It’s not real.  Not really.

Yes, great things are happening in your friends’ lives, but that’s not all.  Think about what you post on social media.  You only share what you want people to see.  You of course share the good times, the fun times, the spontaneous jam sessions, and midnight adventures.  How often do  you post the dark times, the lonely times, the times you feel left out?  Exactly.  Because when people are negative on social media, they look annoying and pessimistic, unless they find a way to do it in a funny way.

And I’m not saying any of this to point a finger.  We all do it.  I do it.  Go through my feed and you’ll see photos from my adventures and posts about how great my friends are.  I once had a friend from college say that I only take photos in scenic places.  Which is only true because that’s what I share.  I do my best to make my ordinary surroundings look extraordinary.  I go out of my way to find something beautiful.  I push myself.  And I think for a while it became less about the adventure and more about the photo.

When I lived at the camp in Mammoth, 85% of my photos were taken in the same location, but if you didn’t live there, you’d never know it.  I could walk less than 200 feet and get a completely different vantage point.

I took far too many ski lift photos to show how sporty I am.  Except I rarely skied more than three hours at a time, and I usually went up for less time than that.  But that’s only because I had the luxury to do so.  I want my life to be an adventure, so I did my best to show that I really was adventuring.

In reality, I spent a majority of my time at work, and the rest of my free time drinking, sleeping, or wasting time with the boyf on Netflix.  I’d probably ski once every week or two.

I gave the illusion that I travel a lot.  I’d post photos of Costa Rica or Ireland like it was no big deal.  But those trips were life changing, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to do another one.

A lot of times social media can bring depression.  We feel alone or sad or lost, and people post about how their lives are so great.  You’d never know that those same people have struggles too.  If social media is getting you down, maybe you should unplug for a little while.  I know I’m thinking about it.

Because social media isn’t all negative.  It has a way of building community.  I am able to keep in contact with my friends from literally all over the world.

So we have to take the good with the bad.  Step back, look at what you have.  And maybe, the next time you get annoyed at how great someone’s life appears, think about what you’re sharing.  Because you’re probably comparing their positive with your negative, and that’s never a good idea.

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Blogging Everyday in July|Songwriting and Other Thoughts

I’m not an amazing songwriter.  But I can make up lyrics.   That’s just a thing that I do, and I’m pretty sure anyone else can do it.  However, I was asked to write on songwriting.  I had this idea to film a time lapse of my songwriting process, but I’m too tired and I don’t have good enough technology to do something so neat and elaborate.  So I’ll just write about it.  I’m always writing.
On a side note, I am more than halfway through this thing.  I have 11 days left.  This is the 20th day that I have blogged in a row.  Unfortunately, I feel that my writing is starting to get worse, as my eyes grow ever tired.

I very rarely sit down to write a song.  Songs just come to me.  Last night my heart was bleeding into my soul and I was aching, ever aching, so I picked up my guitar with the goal of playing through some songs.  I hoped maybe the music could heal me.  Instead, lyrics came to me instantly and I wrote a song.  A link to that song is here: From the Outside.  Possibly a five minute process.  Not every song takes five or ten minutes, but I don’t like to leave things unfinished, so every song is written in one sitting.  Sometimes I’ll add a bridge or fix the timing or something later, but the product as a whole is usually one sitting.  Editing doesn’t often happen on anything I do, in case you haven’t noticed.
But none of this makes me amazing.  I’m not bragging.  Because not every song I write is amazing.  I’m fully aware that I write a lot of shitty things.  I just need everyone else to know that I recognize my imperfections.
I once had a conversation with Kim Walker-Smith (yes, that one) about songwriting.  She was telling my friend that no one can write a song in one sitting, in a couple minutes.  That when that does happen for anyone, it’s very rare.  That was when I learned of my rarity.  Because I write every song like that.  I write every poem like that.  I write every blog like that.  I’m an impatient person, so I need to get it all out as quickly as I can.
Since moving to the south, I’m suddenly surrounded by musicians and songwriters.  Some of them have tried to tell me what I’m doing wrong.  They’ve tried to get technical with music.  But I rarely call myself a musician.  That’s not what I am.  I don’t care if the chords sound good.  I don’t fix things.  I don’t write music for other people.  But if a musician wanted to take my music and my lyrics and add something amazing, I’d be down.  That’s just not what I’m searching for.  I can play piano.  I dabble in guitar.  I can hold a beat.  That’s all I need for what I do at the moment.  It’s really hard to make people understand that.
So I do everything wrong.  I’m just wrong.  Thank you, and good night.

But really, though.  I started to say that I don’t write songs with the intention of writing songs.  They just come to me.  I think that’s where the best music comes from.  I think maybe people who struggle with songwriting might struggle because they’re trying to write a song, they’re trying to find the perfect lyric to fit.  If it’s right, it doesn’t have to fit, or maybe it fits already, you just can’t see it.
A lot my songs come when I’m already playing music.  I’ll be in between songs, just messing around with chords, and something new will suddenly appear.  That’s my favorite.

So I don’t really have a songwriting process.  I don’t really have a writing process.  I just write.  I just am.  I simply exist.  I’m a writer, not by vocation, but in biology.  My genetics force me to pour the words out.
But lately I feel that I’m not allowed to say the things I want to say.  People are getting too close to me, and my rough edges, my blunt honesty, my liberal Theology, makes them get too offended.  I am just too much.  When my friends start reading my blog, I almost can’t handle it anymore, because they assume everything is about them.  I don’t mean all of my friends, just the sensitive ones.
Have you ever heard the song “You’re so Vain?”

You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

I understand why that song was written.  Because I know those people.  “You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you.”  And maybe it is.  But assuming doesn’t make it so.

I’m in a place.  My heart is in a place.  And I just want to go home.  But I probably want to go home, not because I don’t belong here, or because I feel unaccepted, but because I feel trapped.  I was so mad at God because when I got back from Ireland I wanted to move, but I felt trapped in Mammoth.  Now I feel trapped here.  I can’t go home.  Really, we always want what we can’t have.  Until I can be satisfied, I’ll always want to be somewhere else.  And the only way I’ll ever be satisfied is if I allow myself to just be still.  Just be still.  Just be still.  My heart is never still.  Still.

Alabamily

I haven’t done this in a while.  Just stopped and let my thoughts flow here.  So maybe it’s time to do that again.

Last September I went to Ireland on a trip that changed my life.  While there, I felt God calling me elsewhere.  I felt like he was saying Florence.
I came back to Mammoth with no definite place to live, but found myself stuck in a lease with my brother instead.  I thought I would move in a month or two, felt my heart screaming at me to get out.  But instead, we couldn’t find a roommate to take my place, and I settled.  And then the snow got good, so I decided to stay a little bit longer.  I became someone I’m not.

I went to LA and spent some time with some old friends.  One of them gave me the wise advice to pick a date and go with it.  So I did.  I chose March 15th, and I was all ready to move then.  Until everyone around started dragging me down.  Until everyone around me had their own opinion.  Until everyone around me couldn’t understand why I could move to a Southern state, a “less progressive” state, a humid state.  How could that ever be home?  I honestly don’t know.  I just know what my heart says.  With every beat, it says get out.  Get out.  Get out.  Get out of Mammoth.  Get out of California.  Get out of this stagnant life you have let consume you.  What the hell are you still doing here?

I started doing things that have dragged me down.  I started spending time with people who I have allowed to change who I am.  I have all but cut ties with the people that I love here.  I let someone have my heart who definitely doesn’t deserve it, but that’s always the case anyway.
I feel torn.  I feel pulled in a thousand directions.  I feel like my life is out of control, as if I don’t get a say anymore.  My mom kept telling me how I need to save more money.  My brother wants me to stay longer so he can have more time to find a roommate, because he’s being picky.  My manager wants me to stay because he doesn’t want to find a replacement.  My new friends want me to stay longer because we can hang longer.
But what about what is right for me?  What about my life?  Where is it going?  Am I still holding onto something that is broken?  Because it feels as though my hands have been sliced open and are dripping blood.

I might be past my breaking point again.  I think I’m done here.  I probably should have left a while ago.
I need to find an Alabamily.  I need there to be something ahead of me again.
Because I’ve forgotten who I was.  I’ve been ignoring my soul.  I’ve been ignoring God.  I’ve made mistakes.  So I’m still here.

Going Back

How does one just go back
From a dream like this?
Where the earth shook?
Where everything changed?
A soul connection
Guided an unspeakable adventure
Once again ripped to pieces

Yet it seems I’m always going back
Hollowed out
Like I gave myself away by mistake
Leaving my heart behind
Because it seems to know
Where it belongs
Better than I do

Shredded across the continent
From coast to coast
And beyond
Puzzle pieces given out
Hoping to make a bigger picture
Someday

But what is to be made of this?
Fearing we’ll never meet again
Was it all for nought?
Probably not
Yet I can’t help but question
The reality of it all

Stumbling down the rabbit hole
I must have
Call me Alice
Always running late
An appointment I’m afraid to make
Please take me there

I wish I could keep it
Not only in memory
But to replay
Everyday
Before my eyes

I want to feel real
Knowing this has been felt before
How does one return
To normalcy
After living out
A fantasy

I refuse to accept my life as a dream

Going

There is something echoing through me
A feeling of family
When you find it you must grab it
Because it always leaves you behind
In my experience

A soft cadence touches your cheek
Gently running its fingers through your hair
As it passes
Beckoning you home
But should you go?

Heart and soul are torn in two
Subtle justice crying out
Which is more right?
Is there any wrong?
No good with choices

I’d like to say I know where I’m going
But there is only a fear of turning the wrong direction
I know I only need to follow the light
Wherever it takes me
I’ll go

I’m not going to ask you to hear me out
Already crumbling in your presence
Searching for more reasons not to go
Afraid I’m trying too hard
No desires to scare you away

You’re like the swallow on my arm
Always finding its way home
A soulmate that deals fine with separation
Yet what if there is no such thing
Is this only temporary?

Questions dance through my mind
Becoming a forever puzzle
Missing some pieces
Collecting them
There are too many corners

There’s this standard that is unreal
You’ll never reach it
Stop trying
But never give up
Because your dreams are worth having

I ramble through
Yet I must be going somewhere
Maybe I’ll follow you
Maybe we have the same destination
As we meet in this intersection

I’m not sure what I bargained for
I’d never ask for more
My heart keeps finding the broken
We all have a story
Welcome to mine

Shaken

I was shaken
Today
The hills reached out and grabbed me
Tried to strangle me
And I felt it

I could have stayed there
Frozen in time
Forgetting my purpose
Yet only for a moment
As I was drawn in

Yet I escaped
I believe
So I’m here now
Not myself
But someone, still

So I pray
Finding something else
As I’m lost in a new adventure
Hearing stories
Losing my own

Somber

Somber
We sit in silence
As a quiet trembling passes through us
Knowing there is nothing to be said
Aching for something we never knew we lost
Asking for silent contemplation
Hiding in plain sight

I had never watched a grown man break before
Had never seen someone mirror my heart so
This soul has seen things
There are stories to be told

Wondering if it is time to share my own story
A longing for unknown community
Secrets ready to be revealed
Is this peace within me due to my chaos being absorbed?
Yet my heart still goes out to you
Are you ready to listen?

Whispers will penetrate a dark place
There is no need to be afraid anymore
Feel what you need to
A gentle giant
You were created