I think you can’t have a conversation about powerful artistry without including one about mental health. For me and Gypsy Temple, music is an outlet for our physical, spiritual, and most critically, mental health. — Cameron Lavi-Jones
Frontman, Cameron Lavi-Jones, reached out to me to participate in this project with an enthusiasm that inspired me.
I texted Cameron yesterday to ask if he could send me a quick line or two about mental health for this announcement.
Within minutes, he busted out a thoughtful, badass response that made my heart jiggle.
I’ll tease you with an excerpt.
You’re going to have to come back to read it all when I post our upcoming interview. 😉
“Our songs are based on negative emotions and experiences, but through the process of songwriting, performing, producing, and playing the music, those negative emotions become the guide for positivity. Those negative emotions become something we are proud of and something that makes us unique as artists.”
I have no doubt that this show is going to be fun as heck!
Come say hi, if ya like.
I don’t bite. usually.
Psssst! I’ll be streaming a bit of the show live on my Instagram @lady_archiva.
*The forthcoming post of my interview with Cameron Lavi-Jones will include more details about the other bands. This show is part of the Love vs. Logic West Coast Tour with AMOR.
When you check your #WordPress site stats, do you ever see images run through your head, of people all over the world who’ve read your blog? In my case, the scant peoples who have read your blog.
If you’re like me, you’ve barely kept your blog alive with the occasional, sporadic and random ‘CPR post.’ When I birthed this blog in 2008, I wanted a place to share my creations on the interwebs. I was writing poetry, composing and recording songs, and taking a LOT of photos with my phone and the D-SLR camera I purchased on a whim, circa 2009.
However, as you can see in the graph below, my writing has been erratic and declining over the years. Note: I started graduate school in 2013. Not that I’m looking for an excuse.
I’m in my last month of graduate school and, omg am I ready to exert my energies and brainpower toward what I want to do: Write.
Write and get paid for it. More specifically, I’ve been spending my days learning as much as I can about social media marketing and/or management. I want to utilize my writing chops as well as my systems-oriented skills.
I changed course and transferred to the Non-Clinical Psychology Program. In lieu of working with clients, I’m conducting research for my final project. Research geek alert!The current title is, Examining the Potential of Utilizing Social Media to Address Employee #Depression. (It’s my study, I get to put a hashtag in the title of a research paper if I want.)
All this to say, I am soaking up social media like a sponge on a hot summer’s day.
It occurred to me that I can share the little tips and tricks I’ve been learning with all of you wonderful readers, but not on silent retreat (this blog.)
I’ve decided to close this chapter of my #bloglife and start anew. This blog’s not going anywhere, though.
My new blog will be on odawni.com (don’t look yet – it’s not ready!), where I’ll share my social media ventures, pearls and perils. The huge roadblock of not having professional experience has earned me many kind “thanks but no thanks” responses. It’s frustrating!
On my new blog, I plan to write articles that I curate to learn and practice skills that’ll get me closer to my goal: To metamorphose in to a Social Media Maven.
What you can expect: infographics galore; practice creating products like landing pages and white papers (stuff I don’t know – yet); a series of logos I make for imaginary brands; my frustrations and insights; bad puns and poetry about social media. It’s gonna be geekalicious. (I’m joining the GeekGirlCon team this year as a volunteer copywriter, so the nerd factor is gonna be at an all-time high, folks.)
Looking for a job while experiencing depression illuminates how thick a slice of self-confidence gets hacked off. Just like that. I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill insecurity, the “normal” kind that reminds us we’re human. The kind that well-meaning friends, family, lovers point to in an effort to bring you some calm, to help you feel not so alone because, “Everyone feels insecure at some point. You’re not the only one who feels this way.” But you feel so desperately alone.
Items on bullet-pointed lists of job postings that interest you sum up requirements that seem improbable for you to fulfill.
Colleagues you imagine you would work with already dislike you and wonder why you were offered the position.
You’ve fallen behind on your task list for a project that you’ve not yet been hired to manage.
Your resume is a sheet of neatly organized words spelling out accomplishments and trainings you somehow completed.
Depression is a creative jerk. It creates colorful cognitive dioramas, falsely foreboding failures and fissures. It’s fucked up fantasy. Paralyzing bullshit serum. It’s a snake with three heads. A tiger with tentacled talons. A shade of black too dark for the human eye to see.
Besides feeling that way sometimes — fearful, hesitant, twittered, jittery — I also do the things I enjoy (like record silly raps for potential employers and Vanilla Ice covers) and have meaningful interactions with people. I’m not always depressed or anxious but sometimes I am. Sometimes my mind feels like a cognitive stew with a side salad. Sometimes my mood rides out pretty smooth an entire day; sometimes my body and mind course through multiple moods by noon.
Do you have days when you wake up feeling irritated? Does your mind go blank and your limbs buzz with adrenaline when you hear a loud noise? Do you remember how your stomach felt in the moments just before your first kiss when your lips met hers/theirs/his lips?
We all are affected by our environment. Some peoples’ responses are standard, expected, predictable. Behaviors are conditioned, but for people with mood disorders (e.g. Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder/rapid cycling, Schizophrenia), their internal and external experiences can be 10x as intense as yours (persons who don’t experience a mood disorder first-hand.) Can you imagine that? I know some people are more “sensitive” or empathic than I am, and their experiences can be 50x as intense. I can only imagine.
A recent discovery: Being the linguistic minority is a meditative experience. When I was visiting family with my mom (Ina) in the Philippines, I spent much of my time listening. I have acquired tidbits of my Ina’s dialect since childhood so I can pick up words every now and then, but for the most part, the consonant-heavy percussive conversation sails through one ear and out the other. When I was younger, this experience was annoying. Trying. Bordering on insufferable.
I don’t know what anyone is saying. I feel left out.
(Again), I would think.
But this recent visit was different. The experience. It was meditative. Calm. Rife with lessons to be learned – if I listened.
Engaging in contemplative thought in class and reading the Epstein book constructed a contemplative vessel for the journey. I engaged by listening. I responded to others with looks and smiles. Gestures. Or, sometimes I stepped away to take pictures of pots in kitchens; the ceaseless afternoon rain from the second-story balcony. Silence. Not speaking while in the presence of others engaged with one another in speech, or not speaking while in another room snapping shots – those silences felt similar. It was OK to disengage. It was OK not to know what conversation was unfolding. It was OK to not interject with a comment here-and-there. It was OK. To be where I was. in each and every moment.
While on the trip, I stole 15 min here, 30 min there. To sit – meditate. At some point I made the connection between the two (sitting meditation and meditation while listening to conversation in a foreign language). I watched and listened but allowed the amorphous words to float by as they came and went – as I aim to do with my thoughts when they swirl and bubble up during sittings. Or not during sittings; in the grocery store. While engaged in conversation with an acquaintance. Hearing a song for the first time – the way it digs its hooks into my heart and wins me over before it ends.
Once a thought clutches our brains, our hearts. Sometimes we feel we have to arm-wrestle them away. Sometimes our natural response is to attack. Push. Assume evil or malfeasance. Sometimes silence can elicit these responses. Because silence is foreign, strange, uncommon, boring, uncomfortable, vacuous. This is what we know. But it’s not true.
“We must learn how to be with our feelings of emptiness without rushing to change them.”
“The problem with the Western experience of emptiness [is] that it [is] mixed with so much fear.” (Epstein, 1999)