One Year Later: The Making of a Concept

A little over a year ago, in Spring of 2018 I went out and bought my first guitar. Little did I know it would be spark a change in the rest of the year for the better - artistically, emotionally, personally, and even somewhat spiritually. It wasn't an easy year, and I had several moments of almost giving up completely. But that little voice in my head that said to be stubbornly ambitious just wouldn't shut up! By April of 2018 I had lost my mother, my aunt, became a single mother (again), had to get a new day job, move into a new place, and figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life.

Struggling in many ways just to be happy again was something I felt I had to do on my own. I felt a void in my heart that couldn't be filled with another person, a social life, or even the usual nerdy entertainment that I'd been grasping on to as a crutch for my self doubt and lack of happiness for most of my life. When I went to sleep I would have lucid, vivid dreams and I was visited by old friends. Friends I had created when I was a child and a young adult in my creative writing classes and in school. The kind of characters that you make up in stories and don't tell anyone else about in fear they'll send you to a shrink. Not to mention, the cause of the fictional metaphors was death so it wasn't easy for me to finally open up to anyone about what I was working on, but eventually I started to. What started out as a hobby turned into therapy. I couldn't stop writing and I couldn't put my guitar down. I took professional lessons, researched everything I could and every day forced myself to sit down and write for at least an hour. Be it music or literature, or both.

Still, I felt empty. Not depression or sadness or grief, but an empty that felt like I wasn't reaching my full potential. It felt like my heart, if it was a person - was living in a house without the lights on sitting in the dark. The person I once was I had lost and I desperately wanted to find her again. I used to paint, sketch, draw, sing, write, play.. I used to create. I stopped doing that for over a decade and there's no one can I blame other than myself. I used to say "life came first" but there's many out there living their lives outside of their craft and finding ways to make it work. I just had to shut out the opinions of those who didn't believe in me and let go of the dead weight of those who weren't in the same wave-lengths that wanted to bring me down and see me be miserable. I had to do a lot of cleansing of my personal space, inside and out as well as just finding ways to practice the art of caring for myself. That was one of the hardest parts. Getting calluses on your fingers and having to wake up in mid slumber because you hear a melody or a hook you can't let go of is difficult but man, self love is rough.

After writing about 12 songs and a synopsis of my concept album/story idea, I decided to kick it up a notch and invest in an electric guitar and some equipment to start recording. I was a bassist and played synth for many years in side-gig bands with friends in my hometown. I started writing and recording tracks here and there and noticed everything I had to write was about sinking, drowning, falling, being lost. That's where the concept started to form. I chalked up the way that I felt now losing three people close to me at the time to being lost in the middle of the ocean on a ship with a storm gathering and feeling like the world was coming to an end. The waves represented grief. The tides crashing and storms raging like a hurricane were the initial shock and relentless and merciless destruction that comes with cancer and illnesses that take the ones we love. Sinking/drowning was a metaphor for someone losing their ability to hold on and the act of watching them was exactly how I felt when I felt powerless to help. The voyage and the journey into the unknown was the feeling you get when you're forced into something unexpected and you're afraid you can't do it on your own, but in doing so it makes you stronger and it changes your life for the better. After I started to come to terms with the grief and own how I felt even in the face of pure vulnerability I found my strength. I felt as if there had been a light inside me the entire time I never knew about because I never believed it could even exist. Like the Rumi quote "Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself." I started meditating and practicing mindfulness as well as researching ancient spirits and cultures. I had to learn self discipline and how to channel out everything that wasn't productive. Even if this means only giving myself a couple of hours a week to do anything that's not productive towards this project, and when I'm writing and plugging away on my laptop or coming up with new music and lyrics I'm watching documentaries about nature and science and physics.

With time, my story started to change. I felt more inspired than I had ever been in my whole life to create something out of nothing. I started adding new characters, new plots, new worlds. I was creating for the first time my own universe and now it's about to be a series. I wanted to share it with everyone that I found the light at the end of the tunnel and hoped I could make something for others who have at any point felt swallowed by darkness.

Last wee for the first time since I can remember, I cried happy tears. It finally hit me that this is happening, this is real. When my mother was sick we discussed the future and now I can honestly say I've already done it, or I'm almost done with everything she ever wanted for me. As well as everything I've ever wanted for myself and more.

It's hard finding it on your own, but sometimes hope is all we really have. And that's what this project means, and this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. I never thought I'd come this far in just one year and I am so thrilled and excited to get to finally share this with everyone.

Now it's 2019 and two more people close to me have passed away but it's only going to fuel me to keep creating, and motivate me to move forward. I hope that one day this story and music can help anyone else who has ever felt Lost At Sea.


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