Listen to Alt-J. The Talent is Immeasurable.

As a musician, I often find myself feeling music a little bit deeper than the average person. I just have a passion for well written music, and I appreciate it when I hear it. Whether that be fantastic instrument playing, or the poetic lyrics. However, I have never quite connected to a song or artist the way that I have connected to Alt-J.

Who is Alt-J? A band who isn’t “well-known” or plastered all over the media. However, they are a rising artist, and it makes my heart swell with happiness to know that people are beginning to recognize true artistry when it presents itself.

The first time I heard of them, I was at a friend’s house. Occasionally one of the more popular songs would play in the coffee shop that I worked at, but other than that, I had never really sat down to listen to them until just recently. There is a song on their most recent album called “Hunger of the Pine” that really stood out to me. I wasn’t even sure why. I couldn’t really understand word for word what the vocalist was saying, but all I knew was that the song was gripping onto my heart and not letting go. It just made me feel broken, hurt, but it a way that made me realize that everything was going to be okay – almost hopeful. So, I decided to watch the music video. Maybe that would help me with my interpretation, right?
The video consisted of one man, running through the woods, and getting shot over and over with arrows. No matter how many times this man gets shot, he perseveres. Over and over… a shot to the leg, multiple shots to the chest, yet nothing is stopping him.
Honestly, this just confused me even more, considering making out the lyrics was still difficult for me. So finally, I looked them up.

Sleeplessly embracing
Butterflies and needles
Line my seamed-up join
Encased in case I need it
In my stomach, for my heart
Chain mail
Hunger of the pine
Sleeplessly embracing
Yawn yearns into me
Plenty more tears in the sea
And so you finally use it
Bedding with me you see at night
Your heart wears knight armour
Hunger of the pine
Sleeplessly
Embracing
You
Realisation grew on me
As quickly as it takes your hand
To warm the cool side of the pillow
I’m there for you, be there for me
I’ll hum the song the soldiers sing
As they march outside our window
Hunger of the pine
Sleeplessly
Embracing
You
Une immense espérance a traversée la terre
Une immense espérance a traversée ma peur

Throughout the contents of this song, he also throws in a little clip that says “I’m a female rebel” repeatedly when the beat of the song swells up.
After reading the lyrics to the song, I completely understood why it was gripping my heart the way that it was. I’m sure that I don’t have to explain to you all what the song means. He’s clearly yearning, aching, pining for someone that he loves very, very dearly. He talks about the amount of pain that he feels from his heartbreak, and then once you put the music video into play, it really shows just how he’s feeling. Heartbreak is a real pain. It’s a loss. It’s a suffering. It really does feel like your being stabbed in the chest multiple times throughout the day. The second that the person crosses your mind – BAM – instant heartache. If you meet someone with the same name – there it is again. When your phone vibrates, and though you know that it’s not them, you look thinking for just a split second that it’s a possibility that they could be talking to you, then you realize that you were right, they aren’t talking to you, and there it comes again. The sadness. Taking over your body and making you think that you’re dying.
I’ve never had music sit this way on my heart before, and honestly, it isn’t just this one song. Alt-J has several songs throughout both of his two albums that have latched on to my soul. Before I even knew the meanings of the songs, I felt the emotions that they poured into writing them, and that’s so rare in today’s society.

Everyone should really go listen to Alt-J if they haven’t already. They are growing more and more popular as the days go by. They actually just performed on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night, and it was amazing. Give them a chance to sing beautiful music into your heart, because it’s rare that talent like this presents itself to the media. Take advantage! For your own sake.

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Better to Love & Lost than Never Love at all.

Recently my life has taken a tragic turn. As I have written about previously, I was engaged for about two years to a man that I very much adored. I wrote about my day-to-day struggle of my emotions flip-flopping more than the average persons. One day I would be head over heals in love with this man, and the next, I would be leaving him because I wasn’t happy. About a month ago was our last and final breakup.

During this breakup, I decided that it was time for me to reach out for help. Michael had told me time and time again that I needed to go to the doctor because he felt like I had bipolar disorder. During my negative episodes, though, I didn’t want to believe him. I honestly thought that he was just trying to make me feel absolutely crazy. I thought that Michael was the bad person in the relationship and that he couldn’t take the responsibility that needed to be taken in order to fix things between us, and that he was just trying to pawn it off onto me. This was the only explanation. I had lived my entire life up until that point with no problem, right? So why in the hell would bipolar disorder be showing up now?

After my appointment with my psychiatrist I learned that I actually did not have bipolar disorder. She explained to me that when someone is bipolar, their episodes don’t just effect the people that they care the most about, but even random strangers. Because my episodes where strictly to Michael and my mother, she explained to me that I have a major anxiety disorder. Basically, because I feel like those people were going to be there for me for the rest of my life, I felt like it was okay to make them feel not important and not really even realize when I was doing it.

Realizing that I’ve lived my life with this problem going untreated has really been difficult for me. It’s raised so many questions. What would have happened if I would have reached out for help before now? Would Michael and I still be together? But then I take a step back and realize something more… I do love Michael. More than words can describe. Seeing him move on with his life, finding another girlfriend not even two months after our breakup, it’s been difficult. Letting go has been nearly impossible for me, however, I have to realize that for the past two years, I’ve made him unhappy. Now, that he’s moved on, he’s found true happiness. No, it’s not with me, and yes that hurts tremendously, but all I can do is smile knowing that he’s happy.

Sometimes life throws curve balls at you. It’s unfair, and they hurt. But laying down and letting them get the best of you while you mope around in your own self pity does absolutely nothing except make the situation worse. All I can do at this point in time is move forward with my therapy and medications that the doctor has given me, and pray that God gives me the strength to move forward. I’ve already came so far in my thinking, so there’s nowhere else to go but up from here.

Music is Art, and should not be Prideful.

After this past year’s Grammy award show, I have had such a bad taste in my mouth about today’s hit music and top artists. I did not realize how difficult it is for most people to recognize and appreciate true talent. As I am sure most of you heard, Kanye West decided to pull another stunt where he took it upon himself to walk on the stage in order to express how he felt about an artist winning a big award. This time, instead of Taylor Swift, West “pretended” to interrupt Beck’s acceptance speech for album of the year, stating that Beyonce was more deserving of the award.

I remember when Beyonce released her most recent album, because she kept it a secret from everyone (including many people that work for her label), and did not tell a soul until the album was released on iTunes. This was the first time that that has ever been attempted in music history, and the album sold millions of copies. She also restricted single track sales for a week or two so people were forced to buy the album in it’s entirety, claiming that people needed to listen from start to finish so that they could fully understand the story of the album.
Looking back, I can fully appreciate what Beyonce did and how risky it was not advertising the fact that she was releasing an album, because marketing is extremely important in today’s industry.

Now let’s take a look at Beck. A man who plays 17 musical instruments, and who has written every song he has put out himself. Beck has been around for over a decade now, and he’s clearly not slowing down. Beck has toured the world with many headlining tours, and once even toured with Johnny Cash. Beck wrote, produced, arranged, and recorded his entire album all inside his own home.

The Grammy’s are the biggest night of music every year. The Grammy’s are filled with class and high end people who gather together to celebrate one of the greatest gifts that we have in human life. Music brings people together in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine. Looking back into history we see that slaves used to use songs to communicate with each other. Music holds a special place in all of our hearts, and it’s something that deserves to be celebrated. When someone as talented as Beck comes along, he deserves to be appreciated for he is a true artist. Beyonce, on the other hand, has many other people write her songs for her, she doesn’t produce her albums herself, etc. Now I’m not saying that Beyonce isn’t talented by any means. If anyone loves Queen B, it would be this girl, but I also know when to recognize someone as a true artist when they deserve to be recognized.

It makes me so sad to see today’s society ripping true musicians apart, and giving glory to those like Kanye West, who literally view themselves as Gods. Someone who so clearly thinks he and his friends (Jay-Z, Beyonce, etc.) should be held higher than the others around them because they are so popular, but popularity does not define true artistry. We see that when we look at some of the people in Hollywood today like Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, the Kardasian sisters, etc.

This is just something that has truly been weighing on my heart, and I needed to express it.

…and we pretend that racism doesn’t exist.

Living in West Virginia seems to have both it’s advantages and disadvantages, as would most places. It’s absolutely beautiful here, and there’s a sense of community unlike anywhere I’ve ever traveled. However, sometimes there are people who ruin that by sticking their noses where they don’t belong.

Racism in West Virginia has recently been proven to be a real problem. I’ve just recently learned that in the county bordering where I live, a interracial couple have been experiencing some issues with someone that lives in their neighborhood. The couple owns a small business, and when they went to talk into work one morning, they noticed that someone had spray painted “NIGGER LOVER” across the building. To me, this is childish and completely unnecessary, as it would be to most people. What troubles me, though, is that there are a select group of people that not only feel this is justified, but also find it comical.

I have a very close friend named McKenzie, and she is in a situation like this, and so I see every day what it does to a person to receive negative comments every day about being in a interracial relationship. McKenzie has a boyfriend named Brandon, and well, the two fit together like pb&j. Brandon is African American, he’s a rather large guy considering he was part of West Virginia University’s defensive line up until this past football season. Their personalities fit together almost seamlessly, and honestly, I have never seen her so happy with anyone in her life. I’m so proud of her and all that she has accomplished. She has been through so much within the past few years, and now she has finally gotten a good job, became truly happy with herself, and found a man to share that happiness with. You would think that everyone who knows and loves her would be supportive of this, yet her entire family except a very select few, make snide comments and tell her what a terrible person she is for dating a black guy every single day.

It truly makes no sense to me. Why on earth would someone’s family not be able to see true happiness solely because of the color of someone’s skin? I can only imagine what it would be like to have that argument every day of my life. It would be enough to make a person crazy.

What is even more insane to me, is that when you bring up the fact that McKenzie’s family is racist directly to their face, they will look you in the eye and say that they aren’t racist and that they have no issues with black people. So explain to me what racism is then, if it’s not automatically hating your daughter’s boyfriend who treats her like the princess she is, solely because of the color of his skin.

I guess what I am getting at here is that I would like to say that I admire people who have the courage to be together regardless of race in this single-minded, ignorant world we live in. It really does take courage, and I think that it’s amazing. I would also like to say that I am in love with mixed babies. They are the most gorgeous children, and 99% of people would agree with me, even though they are close-minded to the couple that made the beautiful child. So guys, keep doing what you’re doing. The race of the person should never matter when it comes to true love, and if it does, then you should probably just choose to keep your mouth shut about the subject, because nothing that you say can counteract the love that people share. Get your head out of your ass, America!

Mia Wallace meets the Mad Hatter

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pleased to Meet You.”

“”Mia had had a wonderful time with Vincent the night that it happened. Emotions were flying, and she realized that she may have been a little to friendly with him, however she knew that he would never say anything to Marsellus. Vincent was terrified of him, even though he worked for him. But who wouldn’t be? Even Mia was to a degree, and that was her husband.

Vincent came inside after taking Mia to a 50s style restaurant, and asked if he could use the restroom, Mia pointed him in the direction of the room and told him that she would make them drinks while she waited. Instead of going through with that though, she found a little bit of heroin in Vincent’s jacket pocket. Now Mia was a beautiful and classy woman, but she had a hard time resisting that beautiful white powder. Little did Mia know, this was unlike any substance she had used before. It was stronger, therefore she was vulnerable in deciding just how much she should take.

Vincent came out of the bathroom to find Mia near death on the living room floor, completely unresponsive. Yet, he didn’t realize that she was literally in a completely different world, maybe even a whole new dimension. Mia was in Wonderland.

Mia woke up with a headache in a strange room. At first, it didn’t seem to have a door. Just a room, with oddly shaped furniture and the brightest colors she had ever seen. As she started to panic, she searched for a door and finally found the smallest door she had ever seen. She was so confused. “How on earth did I get here?” she wondered. She looked around for a hidden passageway or some other way to get out of this mess she had found herself in when she found a bottle with a little tag wrapped around it that said “Drink me.” Mia was obviously no stranger to ingesting foreign substances into her body, so she drank a small sip. Suddenly Mia was in an excruciating amount of pain. She could feel her body rapidly shrinking, and it was unlike anything she had ever felt before, yet over within the blink of an eye. She was so confused and had no idea what had happened, but all that mattered was the simple fact that she could walk through that tiny little door.

Once she opened the door she found herself in the most peculiar looking forest she had ever seen. The trees were oddly shaped and the sounds that filled the air were terrifying. She began to walk when she saw the most perplexing thing- a giant, floating smile. All she could see were the most gorgeous teeth smiling wider than anything she had ever seen, as bright as the moon, when suddenly a purple cat appeared behind the smile. “Hello…” Mia smiled in fascination. She could not believe what she was seeing.
“Hello there, Mr. Cat. How are you?” The cat did not respond to her question, but merely asked who she was.
“My name is Mia,” she said. “What is this place?”
He smiled once more and said, “Welcome to Wonderland, my lady.”
Mia couldn’t believe it. Wonderland? She had watched the movies and almost read the books, but never even imagined that this world, this place could ever be real…
The Cheshire Cat must have read the look on her face, as he directed her to follow a very specific path.

Mia was baffled, she couldn’t help but think she was losing her mind. She began to panic once more. “This is just a dream. This is just a dream.” Suddenly she smelled something in the air, and she automatically knew who she was about to meet. She walked in the direction of the aroma filling the air, when suddenly there he was. “Absolem.” said Mia.
Absolem looked frightened. “Who… are… you…?” he spoke.
“My name is Mia.”
He didn’t understand at first, but through brief conversation, he became more comfortable with her. He asked what she was doing and if she knew where she was, but Mia still in a state of shock, just walked away from him when she heard yelling in the distance.

Mia could not believe her eyes. There he was. The Mad Hatter. He was right in front of her and he was speaking but she couldn’t hear anything coming from his mouth. “Hmm?” he said.
“Did you say something?” she asked. “I’m Mia.”
He stared at her, completely baffled and said, “Mia, do you know why the raven is like a writing desk?”
Mia could feel her heart start racing, when all of a sudden everything went black. She had no idea what was happening to her, just that her heart felt like it was about to explode.

“Mia?” she could hear Vincent yelling. “MIA?!” and then suddenly, she was back on Earth. She had no idea what had happened, but whatever it was or where ever it was, she knew that she would never be the same.””

Yeah, this was fun. :p

Drugs are more powerful than human emotion.

Working in mental health has both it’s advantages and also, as I’m sure most of you can imagine, it’s disadvantages. Let me give you just a quick run down on my job and what it is that I do.
I work at a mental health facility in Lewisburg, West Virginia. This particular facility is a drug detox and crisis center. So basically, we see people who are going through heavy withdraw symptoms, and also people who are extremely depressed and/or suicidal.

My job title here is a Behavioral Health Technician. My responsibilities include (but are not limited to) cleaning, doing hourly checks on our clients, picking up/dropping off clients at the hospital, running to receive medications from the pharmacy, and cooking their meals. I, however, work graveyard shifts, so my interactions with the clientele is minimal. I thank my lucky stars for that every day, because honestly, I don’t know if I could handle my job on a daily basis otherwise.

There have been many times in the few short months that I have had this job that I have questioned whether or not I should be here every day, working with people who are unstable, when I myself, feel insanely unstable more often than not. Seeing so many people that I have grown up with walk in and out of the doors at my facility literally crushes me. I take it personally, when in reality, the only thing to it is that you cannot help someone get off of drugs and clean their life up unless they truly are committed to doing so themselves.

I live in a very small town. The population of Lewisburg is a little under 4,000 people. This is a town where everyone knows everyone; sometimes it’s a blessing and at others it’s most certainly not. Living in a small town is very hard on some people, especially the younger generation, considering that fact that there is “nothing to do.” Sure, we have plenty of places to see and things to do, but I suppose it can get old and mundane after a while for most. In most cases that I have seen, once someone starts feeling this way about the area, they automatically think that they are “trapped.” This causes a lot of depression and anxiety, which eventually, in most cases, people turn to drugs.

I was in high school when Opanas finally hit the town. This pill quickly swept up most of my friends and began to suck their lives into an endless hole. Some of them have recovered, found love, had children and are doing well, while others are still struggling to get clean, while scouring through their loved ones belongings and mistaking their grandmother’s Cubic Zirconium for diamonds and trying to pawn them off on whoever will pay at least $5. Watching this downfall of my generation has taken it’s toll on me, and honestly, I will never view some of the people I grew up with the same. That may sound harsh, but let me tell you why.

In working with drug addicts every day of my life, I have began to realize just how pathetic the disease truly is. We get new people just about every day. As soon as a new client walks through the door, you can tell just by the way that they speak whether or not they are wanting to change their life, or they are just wanting to go somewhere for a few days to wait it out while their drug dealer runs to Detroit to pick up more goods, and they really cannot withstand the withdraw symptoms. You see the look on their faces, the emptiness in their eyes, and you can just tell that something is missing. Something is simply not right. Then you get the people who really want to change their lives, and it makes all of those failed attempts completely worth it. You get someone who comes in with desperation in their eyes. Tears forming as they tell you why they are admitting themselves into our care because the shame is just too much to bear. As terrible as that sounds, that’s when you know it’s real.

Learning to keep work within the walls at work has been very hard on me. Someone will come in that I know personally and then leave without finishing the program because it’s “too difficult” or also just because they want a cigarette. I put more faith in them than they can live up to, and it has just disappointed me time and time again. This is why I have had to harden my heart a little bit. It might sound cold, and it may be wrong to an extent, but I am just doing what needs to be done in order to get my job done every day. When you look up the turnover rates with employees in mental health, the rates are sky high. Mental health is a very difficult field to work in, so you can imagine what it does to an unstable psycho like me. I just can’t handle it when I am so vulnerable, and let me tell you one thing right now, our clients can smell vulnerability. They eat it up. Some of them will even try to manipulate you into breaking rules, sneaking them a smoke, etc., and honestly, most of the time they are pretty damn smooth.

This job has taught me a lot about myself and others. Even though I might not enjoy it the way that I thought I would, I’m still learning so much about people, and I think that that is a good thing. I’ve become more realistic when it comes to helping people. I hope that this hasn’t made anyone feel uncomfortable or think any negative thoughts about me, but this is just how I feel.

Searching for the Answer.

Finding meaning in life is truly difficult. Especially when you have absolutely no idea where to begin. That’s the problem that I am currently facing. There are many life decisions that are just too difficult to make. Deciding whether or not to go to college, and then if you decide to do it then comes the decision as to what classes you are going to take. If you decide not to go to college, you have to find a job that you don’t utterly despise. Finding meaning in your life once you decide not to go to college however, is definitely where I am stuck.

I went to school for a while in Kansas City when I first graduated. I loved it for a while, and then I realized that I needed a change as I began to fall into a pretty deep depression. My homesickness started to grow pretty big, and I finally decided that I couldn’t handle to be 13.5 hours away from my friends and family. I packed up all my stuff into the car, came home, quickly found a job that I hated and started to look for another one. Finally, I found a job at a local coffee house that I loved. I worked there for a little over a year before being terminated for insanely unfair reasons. I have never felt so wronged in my life. My breaks went to the floor one day on my way to work, and I couldn’t make it. I called to let them know, and before I even hung up the phone they told me that I would no longer be on the schedule.
Losing that job was a slap in the face. It truly was. I couldn’t even begin to look for something new, because I was so depressed about losing the one job that I liked and made some pretty good money. It was hard to believe that working at a family owned restaurant I made $9.50 an hour plus tips. I enjoyed working there, minus the little petty drama, but I feel like you find that in every work place.

After I picked myself up again, I found a job at a detox and crisis center as a behavioral health technician. I’m currently still working here, and make $9.93 an hour, but that is still less than I made at the coffee shop once you factor in tips. This winter has hit me hard financially, and the job itself is beginning to take it’s toll on me. The position I have is a night shift, and honestly, I didn’t think that it would be this difficult. The main problem is simply that I find it hard to have any social interaction at all. When I am awake, everyone else is a sleep and vice versa. It’s began to take it’s toll on my relationship. Michael and I find it difficult to even spend time together. Occasionally I will go and wake him up in the morning, but then I have to get home shortly after that to go take care of my dogs after they have been home alone for over 13 hours. All I do on my days off is sleep, and I have the worst eating schedule on the planet.

Needless to say, this new job isn’t particularly the best thing for me. I don’t know how to juggle a life and work. Work basically defines me, and I absolutely hate that. I’m too young to be in a situation like this, but there really isn’t anything that I can do about it. So for now, I tough it out and work through the desire to quit, collect my paycheck, pay my bills, and barely have enough money left to have the little bit of a social life that I do have.

Basically, I truly believe that it’s time for a change, but I have no idea what that change looks like. I was hoping to be planning a wedding by now, but Michael and I aren’t really ready for all that yet. We are supposed to be building our house, too, but some things have gotten in the way of that as well. It’s coming, just very slowly. Then I think that maybe I should take some online classes. I could bring my computer to work with me and do my homework and such in my downtime there. But that raises the question on what I want to do. I’ve really put some thought into interior design. Once I would be married that would be the perfect job for me. I could work out of the house, so when I had kids I could be there for them all the time, which is really what I want in the long run anyway. However, the town we live in is so small, I really don’t know if my own interior design business would even be remotely successful.

All of these things are slowly piling up at my door, and I just don’t know if I have the strength to carry them in anymore. I’m growing weaker by the day, and that’s not what is supposed to happen. You’re supposed to grow as a person the older you get, not the opposite. But can you imagine when all of these things finally get sorted out? I’ll be unstoppable. I just pray that it will happen sooner rather than later, because this really isn’t much of a life. This is a stress-filled burden that is literally turning my hair grey at the age of 21. I guess it’s time to put on my big girl pants and push through until I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The only problem is that I’ve been walking for miles and I still don’t see it.