I went searching today. I was remembering an old writer’s saying: write what you know. So much of what I’ve been writing has been nothing at all that I know anything remotely about, and while I don’t consider myself a writer, and was mostly fine with not taking myself too seriously, I also don’t like sucking. If I can do better, even if what I’m writing isn’t real, just stuff spewed out for someone else who wants some particular and meaningless thing, that I could still do a better job, and thought perhaps the place to start would be to only write about what I know when I’m not writing for someone else…so I went exploring. I found my way to the pages here with connections to music and I read and listened, and remembered.
Some time ago I took myself out of all of it… I stopped performing, I stopped practicing, I stopped singing…I stopped listening. I sidelined myself, for many well-remembered reasons, and for a long time that was ok. I was happy out of the interaction, out of the engagement, out of the connection, the constant necessity for connection. I needed to be silent. I wanted to be still and separate, and out from under all the pressure, constantly, pressuring, and mostly self-imposed. I needed to lick my wounds awhile and figure out who I was if I wasn’t the girl with the beautiful voice. Who I was beyond that, who I was… who was I?
And so I sat back and I watched, and rarely commented, and the world passed and I still sat by, just watching.
Then last spring something started changing, a slight shift, somewhere, and sudden, there I was engaging, slightly. I started these fledgling attempts to write things, probably mostly because I needed, or wanted to be heard by someone, somewhere again, even if it was from behind the safety of my little laptop in my tiny room and despite the fact that I may not have anything important or even interesting to say…but these last few have been silent months, too. Vocal in words, and I think for a while that was also enough. Then today I went searching and as I read the posts about music and listened to the music that inspired the beautiful poems and stories, two things hit me and cut me quick, and I’m still reeling. These two simultaneous thoughts that buckled my knees and devastated me to the floor, and this unabated unending stream of tears poured out and shook me of my energy, like a ragdoll splayed out on the sidewalk, half stuck where she’s landed from someone’s careless toss. These two things, I thought:
I Am the Witness. I am the silent witness of my own life. When I removed myself from the world, I also removed myself from me…which is the 2nd part of what hit me:
This notion I’ve had that I could somehow divorce myself from music, that it was a foreign thing, and maybe only something I borrowed and not a part of who I was, was utter nonsense. There isn’t a separation between the artist and the art. I am not me without the part of me that is fully a part of music. My soul sings constantly, silently, inwardly. I am always moved from the center, and the deep and when I connect and when I allow myself those moments I am home, and bereft, and filled with such longing and love and pain like I’ve abandoned my child, because what I did abandon was myself. I can’t be separate from the part of myself that is the core of me. That’s like cutting myself in half and pretending I’m still walking around a whole person and not this missing person. Not even half a person, but a nonperson. I may not want to be this person sometimes, or work hard to convince myself I don’t, but if that were really true why when I stumble back upon myself do I miss me so much?
I don’t want to be the witness anymore. I don’t want to be the silent nonperson whose been abandoned by herself. I want my voice back. I want to connect, to feel and hear, to know…and be a part of, at least the music itself and not necessarily even for anyone else, except that abandoned part of me, maybe… but maybe not. Maybe it’s time to stop being afraid of myself, of how other people might make me feel, and realize there are worse things. Walking around without my own self for 3 years is worse. So much worse, and I’m more resilient than I sometimes remember. So, I’m letting it all back in. I’m letting the music in, I’m letting me back in and I will stop trying to redefine myself as something other than who I am which is me, Tisha, the musician, the artist, the singer, the mother, the activist, the alcoholic, the manic depressive, the daughter, the friend.
That’s all me, I can’t wish any one part away without losing my entire self. So, no more witnessing life, no more abandoning, leaving my soul silent and bereft in some exile self-imposed and pointless, gut wrenching and alone and just oh so lonely and disappointing, where there’s nothing but the abyss and the cliff, that tempts and pulls and coaxes and convinces it doesn’t matter anyway because everything is meaningless and always pointless, the voice that replaced my beautiful musical soul, the soul that loves and is passionate and feels and cares and tries, and fails and gets up and tries again. The one that devastates and hurts and lets everyone down and then picks us up again with the sheer forcefulness of her will, my will, and the insistence of my heart. A mixed bag of jumbled flaws and sharp edges, strangely odd disconnects, and a wildness that scares even me.