First time here? See the original post for the run down.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

day 66: cheating, anger and justin bieber

I used to think I had to rage against those who directly opposed my value system to maintain that system. As though that was my way of proving I wasn't like those people. It's been on my mind a lot lately and I've come to realize that there are some definite issues with the way I've approached this. The first problem is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy from myself and little to none from those I oppose. 

   As an example, take someone who cheats. I don't mean necessarily, "has cheated". I'm not here to judge the complications that arise in relationships. While I still hold to my belief that it's wrong, I've lost my certainty that I can so easily judge the validity of a relationship from the outside. It may not make it "right" for me but it does mean that there may come a time in my life where I understand how a good person could be driven to certain extremes and then take that last step against their better judgment. Humans in all their complexity were never meant to be perfect and I'm allowing that even of myself lately. 

   In this case though, I mean a person who cheats unabashedly and frequently; where the real issue isn't a latent need being unfulfilled in the relationship but a person who doesn't see (or chooses not to see) how their actions can truly harm the people in their wake. These are some of the people I've poured so much energy into hating. They aren't who I am. They aren't what I choose to be and it's my responsibility to hate and revile them, to not be duplicitous, to be unwavering in making my feelings known. Using this example I can certainly say I've given out way more energy than I had ever realized to uphold that standard. My ire means little to them, and that's if they notice it at all. So why am I spending that energy so freely? 

   In a way I believe it's to prove to myself (and to others) that I'm in no way like them, taking the polarizing stance to put myself in clear opposition. As though I'm afraid of what it would mean to be anything like them*. But I don't need that. My life IS an opposition to them. The way I choose to lead it, the way I treat people and the care I take in relationships. That is my way of "lashing out" against these people. Directing my anger towards them might feel somewhat gratifying but in a way it also hands them a victory. My energy spent at no cost to them. And it's not necessary.

   The second reason this has become important to me is because in my life I've not just seen the wake of people like this, but been a part of it. I've been part of the hurt that gets left behind and I've been part of the clean-up that ensues and it's mostly just a blur of pain with little relief. If I meet someone who foots the bill I get a chance to pour all of that hurt, that injustice never reconciled into a rage directed at them. The problem is, it's misplaced. That deep felt anger is something I need to deal with, not direct at anyone who's ever hurt someone (including myself, and that's a post for another day). Even if I feel the person deserves it, it still doesn't belong to them. It belongs to me and it's for me to deal with. The anger, not the blame. The blame belongs to those people from my past I will never get to face. Such is life.

   The last reason is, it's morally "right" to me. To be in this opposition is something I "believe" in. To harbour this anger and place myself on the other side of the table is what I've always felt was my responsibility. But you can't live a life in conflict, and the truth is, if you choose to actively oppose everything that's wrong in this world you will spend a lifetime in battle. There's just too much to do, too much wrong to right. The first step for a universal betterment isn't then to engage wherever you see injustice, it's to choose where you spend your energy wisely and more importantly, to engage yourself to be the change you want to see (as Ghandi so aptly put it). Not that the former isn't noble and necessary, but if you make it your life's work it will consume you. I've known those who live their lives in service to the cause and it really does offer profound meaning, but it can also limit being a whole person in many ways (a discussion for another day). All I mean to say is, I've decided my conflict doesn't reside in every man who has wronged a woman (although if you mess with my friends…), or every politician who has lied, every person who has held a weapon with the intent to hurt. There's a different and more personal conflict I need to resolve first and it's within. It's the conflict you've caught glimpses of over the last 60 days.

   I'm starting to understand that I can even carry this over to small things. How many people do you know adamantly and publicly dislike Justin Bieber? As a musician I can say, A LOT. But to what end? To prove to everyone you have good taste in music? To show that you're in conflict against the over-produced product placement that has become the Pop Music industry? How about this. Why not ignore him? Why not write your own music, focus on your own craft, and lace everything you do with as much integrity as you can muster? I can personally say as an artist that having people simply not care that I exist is much harder to reconcile than having people vehemently opposed to what I do. To know that I could evoke ANY kind of emotion is a win for me, so why are we giving Justin Bieber a win?? More importantly, why are we angry at a kid for having success of any kind? We don't have to like his music. We don't even have to acknowledge it if it doesn't suit us.**

   As far as I'm concerned, good for him. Will I see his movie? No. Will I buy his music? Probably not (although he works with some top-knotch writers so if I can swallow my pride I'm sure I could find something I like about it). But I don't think I need to express to people how much I dislike him to validate my musical tastes. People will know what I value in music when they hear the music I write, or when we talk about artists we love or hum a tune that's stuck in our heads. That's good enough for me. For now.

   I'm still to understand this concept fully, but I think I'm getting there. Choose my battles and start with the man in the mirror (R.I.P. MJ, we miss your music and your voice). This also raises questions in me about how opposing something brings people together and when it's a positive mobilizing influence, but this is just the start. For now I'd rather focus on taking out the unnecessary negativity. I can't think of a post that's fit more in the theme in recent weeks. Looks like I'm still exploring. Day 66? Sure. Day 66, in the bag.

*Or more to the point, afraid of the fact that we all have a bit of that in us; the capacity to do harm, to be selfish, and that it is alive in us regardless of our "moral" choices.
**Clearly this whole paragraph I'm speaking to myself.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

day ??: where love is, where solace is, and where the wild things are

There's a tiny voice inside me that tries to curb excitement. It's the voice that has logged and catalogued every moment the rug was ever pulled out from under me. Every time my trust was betrayed by those I thought I could offer a piece of myself. Sometimes I worry the world was truly built without rules and without a ruler. That there is no law, no great protector and no opportunity to really rage outside the lines because no one has the ability to hold that. To hold everything you might contain. These needs are all basically one and the same. To be safe to be. Ironically, observing this need I think we all share for a guardian I've only grown further from the concept of a "father" in the sky. The likely-hood it was created out of need and loneliness is so evident in it's trappings, in it's wish fulfillment and it's need for unquestioning obeisance, I just can't see myself ever reattaching myself to it.

   I suppose I was reminded with clarity of this collective fear while watching "Where the Wild Things Are" a few days ago (interpreted by Spike Jonze). It was a beautifully built analogy wrapped in the familiar tone of a childhood favourite. It had all the melancholic detachment of the picture book but took the metaphor well beyond what could be done in 30 pages, staging each "wild thing" as an aspect of Max, the young protagonist's psyche. Each moment in the movie after he disembarks into his fairy tale shows Max confronting and coming to understand different aspects of himself that were setup during the beginning scenes with his sister and more importantly, his mother. Each scene a window into his own unrealized desires and fears, uncovering a lot of anger, both from a lack of control and a shattered faith in those in control. I could honestly go on about this movie for some time as so many of the scene's were so memorable. The point I'm trying to make is that this fear - that another person couldn't possibly contain and hold all of the things you are, that there is no authoritative figure in whom to place all your trust (or no "King" as they referred to it in the movie) - has had cause to rear it's head in the last few weeks. And by 'cause' I mean, it's had a chance to reinforce itself as a universal truth in the back of my mind. We are well and truly devoid of anyone or anything that has all the answers or whose responsibility it is to protect us. To make it safe to be. Yet I'm sitting here tonight with a grin on my face.

   I'm not entirely sure why I'm grinning. Maybe because today I spent time with some superbly wonderful friends. Maybe because today, someone said they understood. Not that they could change it, but that they understood. Maybe because today I sat down with a student of 6 and got excited about a song he was writing that was just him hitting the strings randomly and looking at me like he intended every note. And because I got to tell him, in all honesty, that it was the best song I had heard in quite some time.

   We're all children in the face of what life offers us. We all want to be told it will be okay and that someone has a plan. But that can't be our solace anymore. Our solace is our experiences and our relationships, our talent and our resourcefulness. Our courage. I've always loved the shows I've seen where the characters on stage are clearly off script. There's that brief moment of panic as they all wait for someone to fix it and when no one immediately steps forward you start to see what people are really made of. Everything is teetering and suddenly the audience feels completely connected to those people. In the right moment that energy can build and build into something completely amazing and unexpected that everyone gets to celebrate at the finish line. Life has been like that for me. I feel like someone burnt my script two months ago and since then I've just been pulling out every stop I have. Yet in a way the people who mean most to me have been next to me with every step, not waiting to see me fall but trying to ride the rails with me. So I'm fatherless in every sense of the word, nothing will change that. I'm still not alone. There are others here doing it with me and that's as it should be. If my next big investment of excitement fails there'll be someone there to say they understand, like I was there for them. It won't fix it, but it will keep me moving forward and that's enough. That and love. So much love. It doesn't work without that.

Day whatever, in the bag.

Friday, March 11, 2011

day 61-64: supplemental, more to come...

This week has been a bit insane. Thursday was the only day (other than today) I managed to work in any kind of social time and that day consisted of a chiro appointment, getting passport photos done, picking up eye-glasses, doing a medical exam and immunizations (that took 4 hours, 4 needles and had me running between buildings along St. Clair Ave), then grabbing groceries, all in different parts of the city, all in time for dinner. The next week promises to lumber on in a similar manner and it may spell more drought for the blog. My apologies for those reading. There's even lot's to talk about, I just can't find the hours in the day to do it. Rest assured that once on the sea I will have not much else to do but contemplate, evaluate and share (I'll even have a reason to post photos and such!).

   Until then, and the few moments I will try and squeeze in over the next couple of weeks (including explanations to some of the more cryptic material from the last few weeks), day 61-64, sort of in the bag (but not really).

Monday, March 7, 2011

day 60: good night moon

Today challenged me with the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I have no words for it right now. I don't want to put words to it right now. Good night friends.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

day 59: the system, fighting the fight and finding resolve in injustice

Yesterday was definitely a day for admitting a bit of defeat. I got to learn how broken 'the system' really was and spent a day licking my wounds so to speak. Upon reflection I realized the only time the system had ever actually worked in my favour was when I was able to exploit it. For instance, even though I've always felt the traffic tickets I got were under unfair circumstances, they were rarely unjust. If they clocked me doing a certain speed or caught me turning against a traffic sign, it doesn't matter how silly it may have seemed, I broke the law. Regardless, I'll fight the ticket and in many cases gain substantial pardons for often obvious flouting of the law (driving with a suspended/expired license, JUST as an example). There's the system for you. The only time it has worked for me is when I was abusing it to avoid discipline.

   But so many times it's been the inverse. I try to seek justice in a situation that seems to have an ethical and moral precedent and find that the system has been built to protect and facilitate abuse by those with power and control. The system was meant to protect the little people, the ones without power. Regrettably, it just doesn't seem to work that way.

   In 2006 when Humber College had a 3 week strike right before the end of the year I learned that the college was positioning itself to save money because in strike time they don't pay anyone. In a way a strike was as desirable for them as a settlement because they could save hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars depending on how long the strike went. Instead of recouping the time when our 3 weeks of striking were over they instead crammed our last 5 weeks of school into 2, effectually ruining our chance of getting anything valuable from the end of the semester. We had paid for 13 weeks of school though and I was furious. I started a campaign to recoup the cost to students who had paid their tuition in full. I had a lot of the student body and teaching staff behind me. The campaign took as long as getting a lawyer coming in to say there was nothing I could do. A class action suit would cost more than I could ever hope to win back and there was little to no chance I could ever win the case because of what the law allows in terms of an institution during a strike. I argued that a factory on strike doesn't gain anything because production stops and interrupts their cash flow while workers are off the line, but an educational institution is paid in full up front for services to be rendered and they don't lose any money by not rendering those services (in fact, they gain a substabtial amount of money). It didn't matter. I didn't have the power to change what was so clearly unfair and unethical.

   In the summer of 2007 I was on my 4th contract with Canada's Wonderland as a performer. In this contract I was a guitar player in a show called "Swinging to the 60's". This company treated musicians like cattle. They constantly used tiny loopholes in our contract to force us into labour that had nothing to do with our contract or our show; perform in parades in nickelodeon costumes, having us go out between shows to hand out pamphlets and advertise the show (which they tried to pass off as "rehearsals"). They may not seem like big asks, but it was rather the culmination of them constantly trying to abuse our contracts to mistreat us in so many small ways that made it a constant battle. 

   At the beginning of the contract we had pictures taken of us so we could sign a separate contract saying this was our set "look" for the summer and it couldn't be changed. The contract was meant to keep us from changing our appearance but didn't actually bind a specific party. Both the staff AND the park signed on the dotted line. Halfway through that fourth contract the general manager decided he didn't want the band to have facial hair. Despite my having had it for all four contracts without complaint and despite the fact I was only working there two days a week I was told it had to go. I refused. As far as I was concerned I had signed a contract saying that what I looked like was meant to stick. It wasn't even really about the beard. I felt I had finally found something I could use to stop being pushed around. I let it go as far as them telling me to go home. Then, that if I didn't shave they would fire me. I wanted them to do it. It wasn't fair and if my getting fired would be the catalyst for some sort of change in how they treated people then it would be worth it. When they finally brought down the axe I called the ministry of labour and I called lawyers for advice. I learned they could basically do whatever they wanted to change the terms of my contract. It was a 50/50 chance if I could get the whole staff mobilized against them that I could make a case in small claims court but I had already been trying to get support from the staff. They loved to complain but not to put their jobs on the line for it. I made my sacrifice for nothing. I'm certain to this day that Wonderland treats their staff just the same, as though James Everett never existed.

   I recently had something even more flagrantly abusive happen to me and found out that yet again, the system would protect those above me from any kind of retribution*. I'm powerless. Yesterday I lamented another small bit of naivete - about there being something out there bigger than me that could protect me - drift away into the abyss of lost childhood hopes. I used my time to feel sorry for myself and all the times I wanted something to be better than it was and found I could do nothing at all. I thought of all the best intentions and how meaningless they can be in the face of law and rote, bills and acts.

   Depressing, no? I thought so. Until I had time to grieve and move on. Today I wake up with feet at the end of my legs, hands at the end of my arms and most importantly, a mind to top it all off. I have power. I have resolve. I have strength learned from years of losses and wins. If the system can't protect me then I'll need to go on protecting myself. The most important parts of me. The ones that don't even make a blip on their radar. Understand that, even though it will be without violence, I consider myself responsible for my own retribution from here on out and everyone should be wary of that. I will defend myself with teeth and tongue and a mind that is more imaginative than the limited scope of the law**. Today I savour right now. I have what it takes. Day 59, in the bag…

*There will be a time and place I can explain this more fully. The time is not now and this may not ever be the place.

**When I was quitting Blockbuster back in college I was quitting because I had had the worst boss of my life (even to this day). He was just horrible to everyone all the time and he constantly lied to customers to sell our Rewards program. When I quit I didn't steal. I didn't find some elaborate way to make a dramatic exit or destroy some part of the institution I had begun to resent. I knew that those outbursts were so easy to forget and attribute to anger or spite. Instead, I spent my last weekend selling more Rewards packages than anyone had in a weekend at that store in years (like, the years when people still rented movies). I did it without lying and with almost every customer leaving with a smile on their face, all the while my boss was next to me at the next till trying to peddle his bullshit to no avail. At the end of the weekend he begged me to stay. He asked what he could do to get me to stay. I told him there was nothing he could ever do but be a different person than who he was. It may seem small, but I bet he will never forget the day he begged an employee to stay. To this day my employee account has a "Do Not Rehire" on it, which I wear proudly.

Friday, March 4, 2011

day 58: starting to get this whole positive outlook thang

Since mentioning the idea of the ship to friends and other musicians I've had a pretty overwhelmingly positive response with just a sprinkle of self-indulgent pessimism. Those are the few people who, as soon as you mention you're going to do something special, choose to immediately levy the worst case scenario on you. "Ooo, that'll get tiresome real quick" or "Ugh, get ready for tiny rooms and sea-sickness. Also birds will try and take your sun-lotion". I made up the last bit, but the point remains. The irony is that these comments usually come from the people who have never been on a ship and just want to seem like they have some valuable advice or anecdote for what I'm about to experience. It doesn't bother me particularly, I'm sure I've done it myself, but in retrospect it's kind of a selfish thing to do.

   I will grant that this behaviour can often be a product of genuine concern, like when a friend who has been on a ship says, "awesome man, you'll have a tonne of fun. Maybe try to pack light, the quarters will probably be a bit tight". Usually when someone without the experience tries to chime in with advice it just comes off as them trying to make themselves important to the situation. It's kind of like when you're experiencing (or 'supposed' to be experiencing) any kind of grief and someone swoons in with these big prophetic declarations of their condolences and how you MUST be feeling. It's about their production, not your pain. If it was about your pain the conversation probably would have started with a question. I find those conversations a little weary, but in this case it actually made me realize something kind of uplifting.

   I started to dwell on all of the things that could go wrong on this trip. Not as an exercise in futility but as a way to measure my resolve. The smallest quarters, the most adverse reaction to the sea, my luggage getting lost, total boredom at sea, playing terrible music every night, rude crew, thieving birds and any assortment of terrible possibilities. What I realized was that nothing could even make me blink. I'm so sure I want this, that this is right for me right now, that there literally isn't a criticism about my current course that could make me turn back. More importantly I know that any of these things could happen and it wouldn't phase me. This blog has been my training ground to move beyond the inclination to dwell on what's missing and in a way to manage how it is that I approach experiences. I'm open to this experience. I'm ready for it to be whatever it turns out to be and am excited at the prospect of the unexpected. I know that whatever happens, for better or worse, I will have what I need to keep going. I also know I will, in the moment, be able to discern and value the parts of my trip that enrich it (and I know there will be no shortage of those). I also know I will be able to see the things that could be better and yet not let them dominate my experience. This excludes physically being on fire or being eaten by a shark. In these instances I will abandon the need to find the positive and simply whimper and/or fight back using Steven Seagal style handjitsu, which is a word I just made up (especially effective against fire).

   So bring it on elements. And stay out of the few fantasies I'm allowing myself. The ones where I'm sipping mohitos on a deck chair, lounging with my new iPad and reading an eBook version of the "sword of truth" series while I think about nothing important and have no pressing concerns. *Sigh*. That's the good stuff…  Day 58, in the bag.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

day 57: musicianship, connectedness and making the rump jump

Today I had a rehearsal with metheus Bound (for late comers, that's my personal project wherein I write/sing/play guitar), which is always a soothing experience. It's the one environment where I never really feel out of place. I know what I want, I usually know how to articulate it and making the music take shape is one of my great loves. Today we spent about thirty minutes just picking apart one verse, trying to figure out how to make the voice sit in the mix of what was happening. Sometimes in these situations you instantly know what needs to happen - a guitar dropping out, a bass line simplifying, a snare hit changed to a cross-stick - but in this case, as in many, the problem I was hearing was elusive. We were sharing the experience, as in, others agreed there was something not sitting right, but the problem I heard persisted even when the others felt we had reached resolution. 

   Even though these moments represent little bubbles of tension in the rehearsal, these are the moments I rehearse for. The moment where you can reach into that musical intuition and dredge up the elegant solution to a problem only you hear. It's incredibly satisfying when you finally find that one part that needed to alter, the change that leaps you toward an almost perfect accord. Today it was a matter of linking the drum part more finitely to the vocal rhythms and when you find solutions like this, you feel the whole band breathe that collective sigh of relief that tells you you've hit the root of the problem. That's the meat and potatoes to me.

   I also got to hear moments today that also bring a lot of excitement to the rehearsal process. Moments where you feel the band start to actually sound and play like a band. One of the reasons I'm not a fan of 'pickup' gigs (gigs where there is no regular band and you rarely get a chance to rehearse) is that whole uncertainty of the chemistry between you and the other players. Even amongst the most skilled, rehearsal is required to learn the personality of the people you're sharing the stage with. You may successfully pull off the show and the audience may seem none the wiser (although I think musicians in this scene underestimate their audiences in this respect) but you will almost always lack that focussed energy that can only come from knowing your fellow musicians and having absolute faith in where they'll be when beat one rears it's head.

   Our rehearsal previous to this one included a guitarist who had never played with us and new songs that we had never played as a group. This left us sounding dry and a little disjointed, even when we played the songs correctly. This week, as I said, I got to witness that dramatic change that happens when that trust starts to build. I got to hear the songs played as though the drummer had written them. I got to hear the guitarist relax into his role and actually play on his strengths. My bass player of course, Ben, sounds like he always sounds; like he's been playing with me for almost a decade and he knows what I'm going to do and what I want to hear. Heh, well, he sounded like a sleep-deprived version of that. Poor guy.

   I guess I wanted to get into this because sometimes people treat music like an unknowable frontier and yet seem to have a yearning to understand what it is musicians get to experience as part of their craft. This is a glimpse at that. It's about being connected. It's also about knowing the material so well that everything you do comes with fluidity and ease, and yet even that simply facilitates your overarching goal: to connect. 

   The reason I think 'pickup' players underestimate their audiences in this is because they think if they manage to play the song 'correctly' that the audience will be satisfied. In 'Top 40' and weddings bands this has a very predictable outcome. When the audience doesn't dance they blame it on the audience, "oh man, what's with these guys, we're playing all the danciest songs we know!". I've heard this phrase a lot before. What they miss, and what the audience doesn't, is that musicians who aren't connected, who are just playing their parts, will never produce that tightness of groove or that focus of intent that literally picks people up out of their seats and makes them move. Sometimes people will dance just for a song they know, but if you want to see if you really have that infectious feel, play a song that NO one knows and see if they dance. If you can do that then you've reached that point. You've reached the place where your communion with the other musicians is so profound that people not on stage can't help but submit to their toes a-tappin and their rumps a-jumpin. It didn't take me long on the dance circuit to tell the difference, so it's odd to hear so many bands still making excuses.

   Don't get me wrong, there will be times where you lay down the grooviest shit this side of James Brown's coffin and the audience is still glued to their seats. The point is, if you find that happens a lot, it might be time to start shouldering a bit of the responsibility and thinking about how you approach your sets. On that note (segue!), metheus Bound has two killing sets in the works for a March 24th show at Clinton's Tavern. If you're in the Toronto area you should probably be there. This will be their first and last show for quite a while due to my cruise ship departure. Get 'em while they're hot! Day 57, in the bag.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

day 55, 56: ships, bass playing and a reason to practice my 'pirate'

So when I said the coming weeks would offer more time to write and get caught up on some prose I obviously didn't count on what's happened in the last couple of days. Around the time of my gig at the Old Nick I was asked by a close friend if I wanted a spot on a cruise ship playing bass. It basically was summed in a text that said, "top 40 band, bass player, april 9th - july 31st, interested?".  After getting some clarification it turns out the band wanted a bass player who might be able to sing lead and now they're getting a lead singer who might be able to play bass. And by 'might' I mean WILL DESTROY ALL LESSER BASSES WITH HIS TASTY LICKS AND SUB-PHONIC FREQUENCIEEEEEEEEES!!!!!

   Sorry, got carried away. My mom has always said I have a horseshoe up my ass, and though I've never really felt it's steely presence I'm rather inclined to agree. Or rather, I'd like to divide credit amongst the universe and myself because that just seems fair. In this case I had had a job where I could never get ahead financially but let me play with lots of people, cultivate relationships and be here in the city. When the job kicks me to the curb, I have this opportunity to pay off my debt in one fell swoop while spending 4 months aboard a cruise going to the mayan riviera and alaska, hanging with arguably one of the coolest guys I know, eating prepared food and playing music every day while lounging/writing/swimming/lounging/exercising/charting/skyping/lounging and generally causing a ruckus the other 20 hours. All aboard a floating palace. Yes please. Table for one. Or rather, bunk-beds for two.

   There are, of course, challenges and hoops to jump. I have to get a physical and might have to get some cavities filled. I have to learn 150 tunes on bass and somehow sing my fair share of them simultaneously (arguable the hardest two instruments to coordinate). But at this point I'm letting myself get excited. Like, maybe too excited. Like, maybe wait til your feet are on the starboard bow (avast, ye land lubbers!) excited.

   I don't care. I've spent a lifetime dulling excitement and fostering caution. When you grow up having a rug pulled out from under you every twenty minutes you learn to guard that kind of expectation. I'm trying my best to unlearn this behaviour. To be fearless and more; to let myself feel to the extent that I can. How can I expect to love with real abandon if I can't abandon the fear that it could end. How can I expect to experience real, exuberant and genuine happiness if I can't throw caution to the wind and just take that leap? There will always be something that can bring you down, there is no perfectly protected Utopia. Everything can change in an instant. I want… No, I need to live without tip-toeing through experiences. It's my constant struggle with control that's in play here (surprise, surprise). My attempt to control the possible disappointment by not letting myself become invested. Always one foot out the door and one hand on the handle. It was a behaviour I had to learn at one point to survive, but now I want freedom. Freedom and the space in me for real excitement.

   That dictator of hope, that's not me anymore. It might still be an inclination but today I'm choosing to move beyond it. Move beyond the doubts, the doubts that I might not be up to it, the doubts that I might not be worthy and told to turn back, the doubts that something will go wrong because it's a perfect opportunity and all good things must come with a price in my world. And the price is usually the wrench in the spokes. I don't accept that. All I have to do is look at all the wonderful experiences I HAVE managed to have, the people who HAVE stuck around to remind myself that good things do happen for me and I have a right to them.

   I have a right to this and I'm going to fight to keep it. You might not see a lot of me in the coming weeks. Practice, practice, practice. Once I'm hands on deck though, I'll have nothing but time. Let's see how this month progresses. Day 55 and 56, in the bag. Oh shit, I need luggage...