Embracing Change and The Oddity of Fandom Part 2

sum41-pledgeI debated staying up last night to write about what was bouncing around my head but I was too tired so opted for sleep instead. Now I am stuck composing this on my phone which I really didn’t want to have to do, but what are you going to do when the only computer is being occupied? There is nothing left to do but adapt and push forward. I need to get this out of me. It needs to be said. It doesn’t matter if anyone ever reads it. I will feel better for having said it.

A band I follow recently posted an announcement for a pre-order for the new album they are recording. It isn’t as if the new album was news to the people who are following them closely but everyone was excited for the opportunity to pre-order the long awaited new album. So many comments flooded in. There were lots of positive comments but then there are always those that like to tell the band what sound it should have and that it should sound like blah blah blah previous album. They don’t want any ballads. They don’t want another Screaming Bloody Murder album. They don’t want this and they don’t want that. They are pissed off because Dave and Stevo are no longer in the band. They want Deryck to stop wearing hats. They want Deryck to always wear his hair spiked the way he used to. They always want them to have campy silly photo shoots. Never let us see you have matured and grown. Better not age either because that might piss off some. People feel so entitled to say some of the most horrendous things to celebrities as if they aren’t human and have no feelings. I’m sure this isn’t an exclusive phenomenon experienced only by Sum 41. I’m pretty sure this fear of change is felt by every band who has any kind of following. I sat there reading the comments and I got really annoyed and was thinking “Fuck off!” I am still not sure why I got so annoyed and took the comments so personally. I am not a musician but I do consider myself an artist of sorts…a writer/poet. 

This isn’t a new topic. I have discussed it in comments on the Sum 41 Instagram page. More than once I have discussed how I feel about it all. From a spiritual stand point, I understand that the people who want the music and the band to stay exactly the same have a fear of change and this is being reflected in their desire to keep the things in their life exactly the same. Their desire to keep things exactly the same is so strong that they try to control those around them…including the bands they love. They threaten to not be a fan anymore or they say mean and hateful things. It would be very easy to get upset and lash out at some of these people but each person has a story. Each person has feelings and their reactions are based in a fear of change. I had to step away, pause and think about it instead of reacting out of anger.

Perhaps the best I can do is write this blog and try to show them that their desire to keep their favorite band exactly the same is based in a fear of change and reflects their own fear of moving forward and change in their own lives. The majority of the Sum 41 fans are angsty teens whose whole lives feel volatile and unstable because they are nearing that point where big changes are getting ready to take place be it leaving high school, starting college, etc. Kids are highly hormonal at that point as well therefore emotions are all over the place. They desire something constant and stable in their lives if they have a sense that their life is out of control…which is why they seek to try to control what matters to them most like a band whose music speaks to their angst.

My hope is that some of these people will recognize their fear of change and then choose to face it. I challenge them to embrace change. Embrace change in yourselves and in others…even if it means your paths part because of it.

Here is the thing, we all have free will to choose. If a band no longer makes music you dig, move on and discover something new that speaks to your soul. There are SO many bands out there to choose from. It is okay to hold a special place in your heart for the albums you loved that are basically like a soundtrack for a specific time period in your life, but don’t expect anyone to stay exactly the same because of your fear of change.

Below is an exchange that took place after the below photo was posted on Instagram:

sum41-2015oktobre17: sum41 Long live Sum 41!! May tomorrow always bring about changes for all of you that help you be the very best versions of yourselves. May “right now” always be the moment you cherish most and be filled with all the music of your soul.

sum41:Thank u. This is the sum 41. That is excited and wants to be here and play music for the world! oktobre17

oktobre17: sum41 I know this is the version that wants to be here and make music and you have my love and support. it frustrates me seeing how difficult it is for some to accept change in others be it your hair, the sound of the music, the shoes you wear. My marriage ended because my husband couldn’t accept the changes I had made with my beliefs. What I have come to accept and learn is that those who no longer serve our highest good naturally fall away from our lives the moment we let go and let the Universe work its magic. When that which doesn’t serve us anymore falls away, it makes room for that which IS for our highest good to reach us. I embrace change in myself and others. Staying stagnate and the same would mean you aren’t learning and growing. You, my friend, have done a beautiful job of changing. You are the Phoenix rising from the ashes and being reborn into something new and better than your last incarnation. I have mad respect for you, Deryck.

user1: Oh what happened to the days where you guys use to look happy

oktobre17: user1 is that what you see? Unhappy? I see three men who have matured and grown. I see warriors who have come back with new resolve and determination. I see a new dad who likely is thinking about what kind of world and legacy he wants to create for his child. I see a newly married man who is juggling being a member of two bands and his personal life. I see a man who has been to hell and back who hasn’t given up….a man whose big motivation is to create something new for all of you and be able to perform it for you later. Must they always stay the same and have the same goofy silly shots to be deemed happy? sum41

user1: Not saying that at all tho I do not follow there personal life’s to much.

oktobre17: If you look at the posts on this sum41 account, you are following their personal lives. Deryck has shared all of those tidbits along the way.

user1: oktobre17 or your just don’t understand the meaning of “to much”

oktobre17: Do you mean “too* much”? Sure I do…but I am on a roll today and I figure “what the fuck” and threw caution to the wind and spoke my mind and my heart regardless of it still being a Mercury retrograde. Hahaha oh well. I have always maintained that it would be far better to actually have real dialogue than one-liner quips.

user1: oktobre17 so what your say is you take pleasure in coming on here and trying to put people down good to know.

oktobre17: Are you saying that is how you feel? I have not intended to put you down. My intention is always to be a friend to sum41 and show him my support. I get frustrated when I see comment after comment about people whinging about his hair not being the same or wanting the music to be exactly the same, or want them to always maintain the same playful campiness in photos they are known for. There are shitloads of people who complain that Dave and Steve aren’t in the band as if Deryck has a hand in their no longer being in the band. Dave and Steve made free will choices to move on and do something else. This was not something Deryck wanted but he has no control over their choices. Deryck’s main focus right now is to move forward with his life and part of that is creating the best fucking Sum 41 album of his life…until the next one. My point is, I wish people would stop lamenting and pining away for what was and embrace and support what is now with the band. My apologies if you felt put down. It is not my intention, user1

user2: oktobre17 people have different tastes and opinions and miss things. It doesn’t mean they dislike a thing. I miss the old sum 41 because of the crazy photos and punk side to it and it’s good for a band to know what their fans like. They could try and satisfy most ppl with different styles.

oktobre17: user2 musicians are ARTISTS…not some factory churning shit out just to please the consumer. They take everything that is twisted inside of them and create something and simply hope that some people resonate with their creations. But they create primarily because it is a spark in their soul that drives them. Their creations are expressions of who they are in this now moment. If an artist tries to churn out shit to please others, then they are not being authentically themselves. Wouldn’t you rather they were true to themselves rather than caring so much what others want them to be? I am a writer and if someone tried to tell me what to write and how to write it, it wouldn’t be my creation. It wouldn’t have the same flavor of who I am because I would care too much about what others want and not what I feel compelled to say/write. We should all strive to authentically be ourselves and not bend to conformity of what others wish us to be. sum41

user2: oktobre17 im not saying they can’t change. Im open minded and appreciate all they do but as a fan I am allowed to say that I liked AKNF or Chuck UH whatever more and I wish they play around with different sounds more and take more photos without it looking all the same these days with just a different background.

user3: I don’t want a change I like how they are song like motivation, into deep , fat lip , walking disaster , and underclass hero songs like that please listen to the fans and stay that way

SMH

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Unschooling, Self-esteem, Healing Solar Plexus Issues

It is interesting how just the normal everyday things we participate in bring up opportunities for us to heal and clear blocks. Maybe it is our guides whispering in our ears and guiding us there. Maybe it is the Universe helping to create those perfect opportunities for us to see our issues and what we still need to work on and release. My way of working through my issues and blocks has been to come here and write it all out and tell all of you about it. It is cathartic.

Yesterday Deryck Whibley from Sum 41 posted this photo on Instagram. He has been helping produce a song for his friend Todd.

deryckproducing

As I viewed the photo, I was in awe how anyone could ever learn what all of the knobs and buttons do and I suddenly realized that Deryck learned how to do all of that in the studio simply by doing…by being interested and passionate about music…probably by observing someone else do it and likely asking a lot of questions. And then it dawned on me and I got excited when I thought, “Oh my god, he is a Life Learner! How wonderful!” Upon this realization, I felt compelled to make the below comment on his photo:

You know what I think is pretty fucking awesome,@sum41 ? You didn’t go to school and sit in some boring class to learn what you know. You did it through life learning (aka unschooling). The theory behind unschooling/life learning is that if you allow children/people to learn about what they have an interest in, they develop a love for learning. Some people go to school to learn what you are doing. You know how to do it because of your passion and love for music. You were motivated to learn. I dropped out of school when I was 16. I used to beat myself up about it and feel ashamed about it until I understood what unschooling was. I feel I am very intelligent and self-educated. I simply learned about the things I cared most about. Life is an excellent teacher and force feeding kids crap they don’t give a shit about and locking them away in school for most of their days and inundating them with homework is not helpful. Sorry…soapbox. Stepping down now. Just thank you for inadvertently being a life learner and being so impressive with what you have chosen to teach yourself. I have tons of respect for you.

I hesitated after posting and had the urge to delete it because, yet again, I felt like I had revealed too much. I revealed a secret that I rarely tell anyone…I dropped out of school. And there it was…my shit laying before me in black and white.
You may remember, if you have read my previous blog posts, me mentioning details of my volatile childhood. The pressures of home and the dysfunction there combined with the pressures of school was just too much. I wasn’t the expressive person I am today. I bottled everything up and kept it inside. I was like a bottle of kombucha left to ferment in a closed bottle. Eventually the pressure would build enough to make the bottle shatter. I was thinking about ways to kill myself on a daily basis. I wanted out. I wanted the pain, the pressure and the stress to stop. I knew running away from home wasn’t an option because I knew my father would hunt me down and drag me back kicking and screaming.

Also, since entering junior high school, I started to understand just how ridiculous it was that they were trying to force me to learn about things I didn’t care about nor did I believe I would ever have a use for it in my life. I struggled in school…not because I didn’t understand but because I had no interest and passion about what I was learning about. I felt forced to be somewhere that I didn’t really want to be. I felt forced to learn about things I had zero interest in.

In my 9th grade year I left half way through and took home courses and was allowed to go at my own pace. I was finished with that year early as a result. What I really wanted at that point was to be sent away to performing arts school but my family lived paycheck to paycheck, so that never happened. I re-entered institutionalized learning for my 10th grade year. I was different in the way I chose to look…wild hair, vintage clothes with a style all my own. I was an easy target because of it. Kids can be cruel and they were to me. I remember vividly some male student I didn’t even know came up to me and asked me how much I charged…basically insinuating that I looked like a prostitute. I was wearing fitted black ski pants, a vintage bright blue short waisted jacket, a sequined bright blue wide belt, matching blue high heeled shoes and a cute little blue vintage hat that had a veil that came down over the eyes. Yes, I looked different but I wasn’t dressed in revealing clothes. The funny thing about that mean comment is that a year or so later, black stirrup pants would become a thing and all the girls would eventually be wearing tight black pants similar to what I had worn. I was just ahead of the trend…a trail blazer.

One day I just snapped. I couldn’t do it anymore and I told my mom, “I want to drop out of school” and explained to her that if I wasn’t able to relieve one of the pressures in my life, I felt like I would eventually follow through with my suicidal thoughts. My mom wasn’t pleased about it but I think my choice also motivated her to look at her life and leave my father for a second and final time.

I lived in a college town where usually the first question when getting to know someone is “So, what is your major?” I did eventually get my GED but I heard over and over people making fun of those who had gotten GEDs rather than a proper high school diploma. They were looked down upon. I made a point to try not to mention anything about my education. It was a source of embarrassment for me. I had friends who seemed to enjoy insulting me in round-a-bout ways because *gasp* I didn’t go to college and they somehow thought they were more intelligent than me because of it.

I did eventually go to nanny school and you might think, “How hard could nanny school be?” It was a lot harder than you might think. It was two years worth of child development classes crammed into 9 months. It was a lot of pressure and I didn’t enjoy it. I get test anxiety and even if I know all the information, I blank when a test is before me. It was a reminder that I am not really cut out for institutionalized learning.

I took a job in Michigan and was with a family there for 8.5 years. I made the mistake, in a moment of confidence, of sharing with the oldest child (12 or 13 at the time) about feeling suicidal and dropping out of school at 16. In a moment of rage he used that information against me and said some of the most hurtful things to me about me not being educated. It cut me to the core and I swore I would never open up like that again and share that information for someone to use it as a weapon against me.

But really, the only way to prevent information about ourselves being a weapon for another is to heal and take away the negative charge we feel when it comes up. People can’t use something against you if you develop a different perspective about it and it doesn’t bother you anymore.

Fast forward to having my daughter. As a parent you have all of these big decisions to make for your child. I haven’t taken those choices lightly and have researched the things I feel are most important. We co-sleep, practiced full-term breastfeeding, attachment parented, started eating organic, etc. One of the things we researched was what we would do about education. One of my mommy friends talked about unschooling. This was a new phrase to me. “What is unschooling?” I asked. In a nutshell, unschooling is self-directed, life-based learning. Some people call it “life learning” and it can look very different for each family. When people ask us about Inara’s school, I find it a lot easier simply to say “We are home schooling,” rather than have to try to explain what unschooling is to some random stranger.

Basically those of us who practice unschooling believe that you can learn all that you need in life just by living and having an interest in what you want to learn about. The person who learns about something they actually care about becomes passionate and the knowledge gained isn’t just tossed away as “omg I am never gonna use this”. It is remembered and they go forward with a voracious appetite to learn more. We learn SO much better when we are learning about what we care about and when we are actually DOING rather than from a text book and home work. I truly hope that we see a resurgence of apprenticeships and people shadowing someone who is doing what they want to do as a profession.

When I learned about unschooling, it helped me realize I wasn’t “uneducated” as some people would like to say. I am LIFE EDUCATED. I am a Life Learner/Unschooler but simply didn’t know back then there had been studies and books written about it. I do wish I had known about it so much earlier because it really would have helped me with my self-esteem and insecurities. It was my midwife telling me she had 3 grown unschoolers that helped me decide that we would unschool our daughter. Here is a great video by a grown unschooler:

I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and, thanks to the internet, SO much knowledge is available to us at our finger tips. If we want to find where we can go to encourage one of our daughter’s interests, a quick internet search will turn up things for us to choose from. If we want to learn about something on the fly that she has a question about, we can easily look it up.

I didn’t finish high school. I didn’t go to college. I didn’t get a degree. My education has been life-based and self-directed. I am an intelligent person and my value is not less because I didn’t subject myself to forced education for as long as some people do.

So, yeah…when I recognize another as being a life learner, especially one in the public eye, I get excited…especially when they are an amazing example of all you can do and learn when passion for that knowledge is present.deryckproducing3 deryckproducing2

A Trip Down Memory Lane – House of Blues – Sunest Strip

I woke at 2:00 a.m. to pee. I shouldn’t have looked at my phone but I did. Ariana Cooper had posted a photo of a band from the House of Blues in Los Angeles. That was all it took. My head started taking a trip down memory lane and I couldn’t go back to sleep. Her fiance, Deryck Whibley, had posted a video the night before of the Smashing Pumpkins and, coincidentally, it took me back to this very same place in time in my history….Los Angeles 1994. The fact that twice in two days I was reminded of this time must mean something but I don’t know what yet. Let me take you back in time with me.

I was dating Sky Phoenix and he wanted to fly me to LA for my best friend’s birthday. I had just moved to Portland, Oregon that year so the flight wasn’t long or bad. My BFF was living in the Charlie Chaplin mansion at the time and I stayed with her there a couple nights. She had BEGGED me to go to Lollapalooza with her for her birthday. I really despise huge crowds and she really had to convince me but I finally agreed. Smashing Pumpkins were headlining that year. I really didn’t care about any of the bands playing. I had only gone for her. It was hot and all the sweaty bodies made it smelly. People were dancing practically on top of me. I was a smoker then and I used my cigarette as a means of keeping people at a distance and burning those who got too near. Hahahaha

On another night Sky took me and my BFF to the House of Blues and because of who he was connected to, we were admitted into the VIP section (I guess they call it the Foundation Room). It was such a surreal experience for me. There were attendants in the bathroom with hot towels, mouth wash, perfume, etc. On that night we met Sharon Stone’s brother (did anyone even know she had a brother? lol).

We also saw Danny Aiello walk in with his entourage. It was the person that we ended up spending much of the evening with that would make this night super memorable. We ended up sitting with Tony Curtis. He was so animated. Maybe it was the alcohol talking or maybe that was just his personality, I wasn’t sure. He talked and talked to us. He told us about the death of his son and cried in front of us. He showed us his scar from his recent heart surgery and he asked my BFF to marry him. Hahahaha Oh what a night!  He became our personal tour guide of the HOB. And while Sky had been there plenty, he wanted me to see all the nooks and crannies that were hiding and allowed Tony to be our HOB tour guide. Tony, god love him, paraded us through all of the secret rooms.

He took us through a private dining area too. Oh pardon us, we are crashing your dinner and spying on you. Hahaha I can’t even remember who was performing that night but Tony dragged us down stairs for a while and got us right in front. It was a night unlike any other.

As I lay awake remembering all of this, I remembered Sky taking a photo of something engraved somewhere and it was in honor of one of the financial contributors to the LA location who had died before he had a chance to see it opened.

From Wiki: “The first House of Blues opened on November 26, 1992, in the Harvard Square commercial district and retail area of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was originally financed by Dan Aykroyd, Aerosmith, Paul Shaffer, River Phoenix, James Belushi, and Harvard University, among others. This original location has since closed. However, the hands-in-concrete driveway where members of the Blues Brothers and others left their mark, still remains.”

River….my dearest River had a hand in the creation of this business. It wasn’t until two years ago that I discovered River is my spirit guide and because of this, this special night so long ago has even more meaning now. Maybe there is a message here from him that I am missing and maybe I just need to go to sleep so I can dream the answer.

Advice To Our Younger Selves, Falling In Love, and Gratitude

sum41response2So it all started with a comment on an Instagram picture Deryck Whibley (Sum 41) posted of his 17-year-old self.

Me: What advice would you give to your younger self knowing all that you know now?

Deryck: I would say keep doing what ur doing kid, ur gonna love every min of it.

Me: Seriously that is it? Omg I have so much I would tell my 17 year old self. The biggest changes I have made have been within the last 5 years. I wish I could have made some of those changes a lot younger. I marvel at some of the younger people today and how they just get some of the things that it took me 30+ years to figure out. I’m glad you have no regrets. When you have kids of your own, that perspective might alter a little.

It inspired me to post a photo of my younger me and say some of those things to her. I posted this photo:

youngNmakeup freeAnd this was what I said:

I asked @sum41 what advice he would give his younger self. He didn’t have much he would tell his younger self, but I have plenty I would say to my younger me knowing all that I know now.

Dear younger me, let go of the anger and stop building walls around your heart because they will be hard to tear down later. Love yourself wildly and passionately. There is nothing to fear. Let the fear go that was taught to you by religion. Enjoy the little things in life because those are what matter most. Don’t worry about what others think of you. The only opinion of you that matters about you is your own. If you see an opportunity in front of you, take it. It might never come again. That person you thought would always be there just might die tomorrow. Tell people how much you love them and tell them often. Don’t ever stop writing and trust your own intuition.

And then my West Coast BFF, Shannon, posted this photo of me in the comments on Facebook:

19oktobrewritingI had never seen this photo of me before and it struck me and made my grinchy heart grow a little. This photo is SO me in a nutshell….happiest with a pen in my hand and deep in thought. But look at her! Just look! She is BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING and CREATIVE and FEELING and yet she never thought she was pretty enough or smart enough or thin enough or talented enough. She never thought very much of herself at all. All of the negative self talk….all of the closing off and walls she put up because what she felt she didn’t think she could handle and she didn’t want to be weak and crumble. She didn’t want to be vulnerable. Her heart eventually became frozen in layers and layers of ice so that she could numb herself from being able to feel.

I sat there wishing I really could reach back and hug my younger self and give her the advice and wisdom I have today to share from my experience she didn’t have yet. I was talking to my East Coast BFF, Ziba, and telling her all of this. I have done so much inner work and gained so much momentum just from talking about everything rattling around my brain with Ziba. She and I have similar issues we need to face and “self love” is a topic that has come up a lot.

As I mentioned to her, everyone is talking about loving the self first. We hear it over and over and yet we just nod and say “okay” but none of us really understand what we need to do and how to achieve it. Self-love is almost as mystical and elusive as dragons, unicorns and the perfect romantic partner. But today, something clicked and I completely understand what I need to do. I can see it, feel it and taste it in a way I couldn’t before.

What I need to do is romance myself. I mean, I need to treat me the way I would a lover in the beginning stages of a relationship. I need to shower her/me with poems of love, tender words, kindness and consideration. I need to let her know that I love every aspect of her. I need to let her know that I love even the negatives and the dark side because even our shadow selves need to be loved.

I have an exercise in mind that I want to practice. I am going to visualize my now me with me at different ages and I want to love her. I want to tell her all the things she needed to hear back then but didn’t. I want her to feel SO much love that all of her walls crumble. I will love myself so much that the inner fire and light will burst outward and disintegrate the fortress that has kept my heart a prisoner and hidden away.

I think this is key for moving forward and achieving all that I wish to achieve in my life and I feel really optimistic about it. I can’t wait to start romancing myself.

I invite all who read this to post a photo of your younger you and give him/her advice from what you know now. I invite you to fall in love with yourselves and give yourself the love you desire so much. We often seek love from external sources when really the love we want most of all is our own.

I want to say thank you to Dercyk for being my muse and posting things that make me ponder and contemplate life. I want to thank my West Coast BFF, Shannon for always being there and just getting me and loving me in the way I need to love myself. Can you believe it has nearly been 30 years ago that we met?! I want to thank my East Coast BFF, Ziba, for being there everyday and talking through so much of this stuff with me. I can let my spirituality hang out all over the place with you and be my weird self with you. I appreciate the presence of all of you in my life no matter what form or capacity. Love and gratitude to you.