My Word

I put complete faith in it my entire life. I grew up believing that it carried some sort of virtue; a personal regality and honor meant for nobility. Blindly I trusted it as I let it lead me from each phase of life as if I were just a naive flock of sheep. Yet if I take the time to acknowledge it, there hasn’t been any aspect of my inner workings that has been the breeding ground of more betrayal than my own word.

How many times I tell myself that I’d never do this or never do that– I’ll always do this or do that, and with a will cast in brawn and smoldering iron I possess unrelenting faith in these things I tell myself. Yet, as I continue to take new forms, shapes and molds, I turn my back on these concrete words I’ve placed within myself and never look back when I betray it. Not even for a single lost strand of time in the universe, not even in the moment it takes an electron to compete a single orbit around its nucleus do I even acknowledge this continual and villainous betrayal of myself. Well this is that acknowledgment.

Even without that acknowledgment, I still justify to myself, “well this is just me growing.” Our whole lives we are led to think that the personal growth of a human is akin to a tree, sprawling outward and upward. Linearly tracing this path of thinking I could tell myself today that when I was 15 I couldn’t see as far out on the landscape of the world, but if we do, as individuals and minds, grow like trees, then odds are we are stunted, deformed, mutated, miserable weeds that are merely disguised as trees. So maybe at 24 I have a greater, broader perspective than I did a year ago, five years ago, or as a teenager, but for all I know, maybe I ended up burying my head in the sand on other things. What I believe to be improved vision could just be the darkness of the earth. I’m not here to argue or dispute any of those possibilities, my point is that I will stand firm in my word today, as I was yesterday. Tomorrow, I may have no memory of that. It’s an odd little thing. I know that my word and myself betray each other often, I admit to that right now. I am still telling myself, right now in this moment, that I’m a rock. So I look in the mirror and expect to see a rock. Maybe last week I was also telling myself that I am a silent shadow, and this week I’m a firework, but still, if I believe I’m a rock right now, then even with that questionable track record– even knowing that eventually something I assured myself was true about myself will become a total falsehood, I still, in the most absolute of faith will believe that I’m a rock for as long as I can tell.

Maybe my word will betray me on that. But that doesn’t stop us from trying. It’s an odd little thing.

So are the thoughts that replace sleeping.

not hollow, empty

I’ve had terrible success trying to shake my recent habit of late evening naps. I think tonight might have provided the leverage to overcome some of my weakness. It is one thing to wake up from a night’s sleep feeling all tricked out of your mind and paranoid from a bloated dream that touches on all the wrong nerves, because you have an entire day to shake out of it. The sun is there, which brings out the rest of life and you know that you’re living in a breathing world. When it happens at 10 pm, for all you know you’re still dreaming. There is very little sound outside beyond distant, anonymous barking, the ambient hums of mechanical monsters haunting the paved pathways, marking their territory with exhaust fumes and leaking fluids, and sometimes, like tonight, the wind and the trees whispering messages to each other.

I woke up feeling empty, nature is giving me nothing but support for that feeling. Everyone else is sleeping the night away, or winding down what was likely another typical, long day. My brain will be wired by the time the clock meets midnight. I’m realizing that it wasn’t just an off putting dream that has me feeling this way, though. I am starting to feel that I spent the past week in the company of ghosts. Consider this: lifelong friend comes into town and stay with me for a few days. This is the first time I have seen him in 3 years. This is also the first time he has been in the state in 10 years. Just like that, he is gone, and it could be anywhere from a couple months to a couple years between the next sighting. Next, we have my right hand man for the past 6 or so years of my life. I see him less infrequently, but that also means it is much more sporadic and random. Pepper in a stretch of days that were just like old times, then cap it off with being suddenly stirred out of sleep for 30 seconds to pick up a knife and say, “turns out my flight was today, see ya,” with the fact that it will be over a year before the next time I see this man in person and you will be certain it was all an apparition. Finally, one of the last pieces to this puzzle, and when combined, the longest standing and most consistent from childhood through adulthood. I just saw him get married, that is what brought all of the specters together. He is going to enrich the Earth across the globe for another year also– this is what this guy does. Before I even get to know him again, he is gone, and next time I see him, he will be even more foreign than the previous times. All of them will be. I will be, too– whether it is because I am the same person, or because I grew in awkward places, we’ll see.

Now depleted I stand, empty I feel. I am pretty sure I had the epiphany that I had a large portion of my soul sucked out over the period of 6 days, that’s the fourth person I have to mark off this year, and another one that I never got to meet. Naturally, I am expecting the physical universe to literally start rocking and crumbling before my eyes. The only option I’ll have left at this point is to listen to fitting music and learn how to gracefully fly away.

You were looking for some sort of change, weren’t you James? You never said you weren’t looking for it to smack you in the face, Right now, I’d prefer to still be in that dream, trying to speak Spanish with a family who had purchased our house which was never for sale than to be sitting here feeling emptied out right now. I’m telling myself right now that this feeling is nothing more than a bull’s gift to the ground, but it’s ineffective.

I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will be, though. I don’t have a choice.

Anxiet Ease Gold

Last week I had a day where I almost wrote about 4-6 entries and was just going to have them post on a schedule. Almost, as it turns out, is equal to nothing. Despite my shortcomings, I’ve come back and am at least writing one. I’ve wanted to and probably needed to write on this for a long time, so it only makes sense that I am writing it at a moment that is most applicable.

Today I feel like I might just start uncontrollably vomiting, until all my insides start spewing out in front of my eyes. Of course, it doesn’t stop there, it is such an unease that after I’ve nothing left, lost treasures of the ancients start erupting from my mouth, the forgotten City of Atlantis, Planet X, and Jimmy Hoffa, who would know look like a huge overgrown fetus– all of that feels like it could be thrown up right now. Just some run-of-the-mill unease.

Anxiety is a very weird, overbearing thing. Gosh, what is it I am trying to remember, it is a book or movie or something where somebody talks about battling drug addiction only takes a few seconds of weakness to destroy days, months, years of strength. No clue what I am trying to allude to or what the quote is, but that is the gist of it. Anxiety can be kind of similar. More on that in a minute, I need to dig for some more context first.

I don’t know how I’d describe myself, I wouldn’t say I suffer from social anxiety or it is anything remotely near any sort of clinical thing, it is just something that started off as a small battle my entire life. By the time I had started to get into my upper teens it was a battle I had pretty much won and didn’t really worry about it more than what I’d say the average person does. It only takes a couple weird years to loosen all sorts of screws and discombobulate a person in that cliched image of some sort of device with gears flying out everywhere and stray springs popping out. I had those couple years, and so when I got out of that I pretty much had my sequel: The Anxiety Empire Strikes back, or however you want to refer to it. I felt crippled for a while. That’s what it does though.

I’m no expert, but the basics of it all is that your brain gets conditioned to respond to certain things with fear. So your input response is a physical discomfort and displeasure. The thing that is stupid about the whole thing is how broad the scope of what ‘social’ anxiety is. Because unless you’re living in the wilderness, that is pretty much the entire make-up of one’s life. So now, if things are conditioned that deeply, all it takes is a stray thought and your body places a survival instinct stressor on itself. Fun.

As an aside, I almost feel like curiosity must be a sister or brother to most forms of anxiety (assuming it is an irrational fear being experienced), just because socially, the average level of anxiety experienced tends to deal with the unknown. When we don’t know the outcome, or further, the realistic outcomes are so limited that we know the few they will be, but not which one it will be, it tends to be inescapable. I bet I’m mostly wrong, it just doesn’t seem too different from curiosity, except for whatever reason our natural reaction is to probe and prod into the situation, instead of recoil.

So here is where I find myself today: most of the time I have no problems at all, that feeling that my insides have been slowly boiling and are about to ooze out is entirely absent, but then there are just those moments where it just comes on. It is more specific than that, though. There is a loose pattern that usually involves 3-5 days at a time with no hints of such a feeling, then the day comes.

From the very moment I wake up, I’m covered in it. It’s like Nickelodeon as a kid, when everyone and anyone just got slimed for no reason. You’d be watching a show that had nothing to do with slime and then out of no where some unwitting kid looked like the evolution of Slimer from Ghostbusters into a biped. Just slimin dudes because they over-budgeted it and needed to be cost-efficient some how. And that’s what it is like. I was asleep, old school Nickelodeon recorded a show at my house and they thought it’d be cool to slime me– cause that’s what they do. So now I wake up and I’m like, “What the?– Oh come on man!”  As soon as I make my first conscious movement, I feel the dreck and sludge of this filthy feeling, and then from that point it is your classic video game level design with the clock counting down and having to escape before it hits 0. I have to shake off this feeling as soon as I can so I can function normally, optimally and how I want to. Heck, if it is that bad, it sometimes is just so I can function comma, period.

And that goes back to my point about how it only takes that one impulse to hit you for a microscopic fraction of time. Instead of falling back into addiction though, I just need to be jabbed by an impulse once or twice and I might become useless for an entire day. Until either my subconscious starts to make sense again, or until my body gets worn out from being so stressed (which in cases of extreme anxiety is usually what it takes– it rarely takes being fatigued out for me, though it helps that it wears on you a bit so my rationality can take over quicker).

And that is the brief summary of one of life’s many inconveniences. It is just obnoxious having to deal with it, especially for the 2nd time. Because when I’m feeling normal and good, I think to how maybe the day or two before I was having to feel broken down and like my nervous system swapped all my controls, so if I wanted to use my right arm I needed to wiggle my toes, and if I wanted to take a deep breath I needed to wink and so on, yet on this, the average day, I feel so good. I am entirely sure of myself, maybe even almost to a fault– but I’d rather take that on as a liability than the anxiety.

Today was one of those days where I woke up covered in it. I still hear the distant echoes of it reverberating around my thoughts and feel it softly rumbling around within my chest and stomach, pounding on the lining of the walls, “Let me out!”  It’s not getting out today, though. I’m pretty much good now. Last time anxiety and I had one of our little tussles was about 5 days ago, before that was probably 4 days previous to that. If I omit the one 5 days ago (it was an unusually overpowering case), and keep an inventory on all the cases of it, there is a clear linear trend of how long it lasts and how strong it hits me.

I think I’ll end this by paraphrasing something a best friend said this weekend. We were talking about confidence in oneself and in others (loved ones), as well as within a relationship. We had basically all concluded that we felt so much more confident when we could take our pitiful bit of confidence (if I imagine confidence in a physical manner, I see it as something akin to silly putty) I possess and stick it in the pocket of someone we have absolute trust in. Which is why he, currently dating someone, says he feels more confident in himself than he’s ever been, and why I, being out of a long relationship, had been feeling the lowest I had my entire life during the past half year. We all had laid out everything perfectly. But we, of course, weren’t putting absolute faith and confidence in the right person. If I put it in myself, I have too many ways to spoil it, have too much dirt on myself to keep it pristine and something to be proud of, and if I put it in anyone else, a girlfriend, wife, parent, Lady Frickin’ GaGa, or anyone, they are just another person, so either they will end up failing as I would, or I would have to, at some point, take that confidence back from their pocket and take it for myself– which likely will leave me with none when that time comes (as it did). As a Christian, it only makes sense for me to take that confidence I am supposed to have in myself and let God handle it.  Absolute faith, remember?

I always say epiphanies are annoying because they are so obvious/common knowledge. That one was annoying.

But good.

Anyway, anxiety sucks. I suffer from it in small, weekly spurts. And that’s that. I just like writing about my flaws.

I feel much better now than before I wrote this.

 

Later fellas!

– Jack Wizzy

Rapumentary Vol 4. – One Year Later

First thing: I’m feeling lazy but oddly productive, meaning I’m not going to format this like I usually do until later (so I can use this productive burst on something else). If you read this and don’t see this, then you got in after I formatted this. SUCKER!

 

It’s been a while since I chronicled my work on my current pet project. A few months.. crazy— it’s June already? Wow. Anyway, a lot of the going has still been kind of slow. but lately my personal productivity has sped up. I spent the last few months learning and practicing as much as I can when it comes to mixing. I am just now feeling comfortable enough with it to finish up some songs and take the pseudo fictitious hip hop duo part of the documentary live. The real good news out of all this is that I can focus more on songwriting, making music and ultimately circle back some to the film aspect, which is no longer a cub, but a ruthless, starving bear. A picnic basket isn’t going to be enough to satisfy Yogi.

This is a pretty important update because we have officially reached the 1 year mark on this project. The earliest rough draft of any tracks I have on this project dates back to May 27th, 2010, a really rough mp3 of Lactose Intolerant with my scratch vocals, as well as all of Ryan’s verses. The creative process is such an arduous pain. It is probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever subjected to myself through, but the more ambitious and broad your scope, the longer it takes to chip away at turning out something finished– and as anyone who creates knows, these things are never finished, you just force yourself to stop working on them and share it with as much as the world that cares to pay attention.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I am actually surprised that we have actual video footage filmed and collecting dust particles of bits and bytes on a hard drive somewhere, yet the actual project hasn’t really started in my opinion. One of my closest friends in college and I had a ritual of nicknaming everyone in any class we had together. If I explained the nuances and intricacies of properly and effectively doing this, it’d take pages, so I’m going to shorten it and say that these nicknames were essentially random. One of the better ones was ‘Hat Wizard’. In my mind, this phrase has almost no meaning, although I do know that when I coined it I was thinking of Merlin or some form of a wizard who wears a wizard hat. Now I know it was all foreshadowing. I’ve made huge strides on being a hat wizard, trying to effectively wear every hat I can, not only in hopes of using it to market my talents and dedication, but really because I have no choice but to.

This has been a year long musical odyssey and I have nothing to show for it– yet. This is a new horizon I’m arriving at. I spent this year drifting at sea, every morning seeing the same painting of yellows, reds, oranges and gold bouncing off an endless navy blue surface, each night watching it turn into an endless void of black sometimes hidden by the silver glow of the sky’s lunar guardian. Soon, I will wake up and find myself wandering an entire new space, new obstacles, asteroid fields and the irresistible pull of gravity from all directions until I reach that new horizon, that new planet of which, in the third phase, I will crash land on. But for now, I am still a sailor.

So, as I said a second ago, I still have nothing to show on this project. The reality of it is that I have nothing I am willing to show yet. In February I played a few rough mixes of a couple tracks for my dad. Up until then, nobody outside of two or three others had heard nary a thing I had produced. This was actually a pretty nerve wracking thing for me. For one, I don’t always like to show things to my family first, because the good and bad thing about that is that they will always be positive about it– especially a loving parent. I don’t always need that positivity, so I usually let myself wrestle with it on my own and get beat up for a while, then when I need that boost, I go to what I can count on. Secondly, as I covered in my first entry, my dad is a musician and I have never not known him to be anything else or less (those two words can spell each other), and as far as musicianship goes, I don’t feel like I hold a candle in any regard (though I also hold the opinion that I am better than him in every way when we interact with each other). As we all know, I’m newer to this in comparison to my other creative pursuits, but I guess I am not ‘green’ new thanks to my upbringing and guitar playing. Then there are a few other miscellaneous aspects, for instance, I have to do a lot of singing on this project. I don’t nor ever have considered myself a good singer. My dad and sister sing, and kind of as a result, I never have. I wouldn’t say I’m bad, but it isn’t one of those natural things for me (I’ve been working a lot on it in the past half year), so it is something I am not always comfortable with, merely because most people don’t know that I ever do. Funny, because every time I let someone new hear a track they never realize it is me singing. Basically, there were a lot more reasons why this was kind of nerve wracking, but it was done and he liked it.

Beyond that, he didn’t really hear anything more than that one time, so the other day I actually let him and my mom (who hadn’t been exposed at all) at some stuff– a mix of old and more recent stuff. The reception and what not is irrelevant, the point is that if I am feeling comfortable enough to do this, then I am almost comfortable enough to offer a true look at this project, and not just words. So here is my guarantee:

My next entry on this project will feature at least a few snippets of some of the tracks for my pseudo fictitious hip hop duo– of course, I may even put some stuff up on their soundcloud before then… so…. We will just see how it goes. I have to just finish tying a few knots on a lot of things, arrangements, mixing, some writing, recording here and there (this excludes the songs I’ve recently started on, but there are also good odds I finish a lot of those first because my process is better and my abilities are more refined).

 

There you have it. I’m pretty much going to leave it at this for now. Not much insight, or expounding on anything, just more of thing where I place a milestone in the ground for my own purposes.

Final thing I will say is that it is a total bitch (honestly the only substitute I can think of to replace this word is about 2 paragraphs long– I’m lazy) to come up with all this stage and group name nonsense. You’d think for a fake persona and group it’d be easy because it shouldn’t much matter, but there are so many external forces that it has to align with.

Be proud of me, I kept this under 1500 words.

Until next time folks,

Jack Wizzy