Dress Code

Wearing Your Band Shirt

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If anyone sees me in the same t-shirt every time they run into me, you know, the one with the band logo on the front, don’t be concerned, I do keep up on the laundry and I can afford clothing. I promise you, it at least smells fresh every time I put it on. In all honesty, even though it looks like I am wearing the same damn shirt all the time, it’s just that I have an unlimited supply, I do have more than one of the same shirt. They just happen to be all from the same band. Conveniently, the band I am married to.

My last count was five: pink, white, and three blacks. I am literally a walking billboard. In my defense, they are so comfy, and I can get as many as I like (not really, like I said before, band wives still pay) but they are there, so I buy them, and wear them, everywhere.  As do the kids, and the husband. We might as well get our family pictures in them. Sometimes we will all walk out of our bedrooms and it’s a new episode of bitch stole my look.

The son and I matched at his junior high orientation. He loved that! He is always ready to support the band, not so much with matching his Mamma. I told him I wasn’t changing, though, I was too comfortable at that point and that would have taken too much energy. He wasn’t changing, either, because he wanted to wear it for his school picture, starting his junior high years off on the right foot. We walked into that high school slow-mo style, made sure we were known. Flying our colors high.

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The kid found his locker, I think surviving the high school will be a breeze for this little bad ass.

I was probably feeling a little cooler than he was, or cooler than he thought I was.

Sometimes I plan this look, if we are going somewhere new where I can spread the word, I don’t ever mind a shameless plug. Vacations are a great time to plan some band t-shirt wear, not only for the husband’s band but other locals I love. You’d be surprised at how many people have stopped me (or another fan) to comment on a band shirt. Then, once a person sees something they like, they usually will Google it. Spread their names far and wide, I say.

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Onward, children, we have a band to promote and mountains to do so!

Sometimes the band t shirt is because I am too lazy to put on anything nice, and like I said, these shirts are so comfy and I really like the fit. I make anything look good, so I can get away with wearing band shirts every day.

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They are great for just cleaning the house, having mental break downs, and self medicated-ice cream-life breaks.

I do have a rule to wearing my shirts to shows, though. I don’t wear the band shirt to local shows, unless it’s a competition type show. You see, a show is a night out for this girl, and this girl likes to look good occasionally. Cute top, cute jeans, cute boots. If the show is local enough where everyone already knows their name I don’t need to go full support. They got that covered.

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There is enough merch to promote themselves, they don’t need me to sport a shirt all the time, and seriously, a girl needs variety!

I will, however, wear the band shirt if the show is farther down the road. They are a little unheard of, or a competition type of show where your support is vital, where their name and logo are a force that needs to be reckoned with. That is when the shirt, the wrist bands, the whole uniform comes out. Because, we gotta represent.

Band shirts are not just a way to express yourself with the music you love, but also a way to support your favorites. Purchasing one also is helpful to the bands account (trust me, merch can be a bands life line sometimes). General rules of band shirts are: buy it because you love the band, wear it because you look good in it, and always express yourself with the music you love.

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It was a hot day on the deck with the fam (isn’t she a doll?), always express yourself, and keep cool!

 

And maybe pack a few the next time you go on a trip.

Living Fearlessly

When tragedy strikes

I got a glimpse of it on the news, when turning my laptop on and getting my hustle ready for work that morning. I only heard about it through talk throughout work that day, and I hadn’t realized the severity of it all until I got home that afternoon.  Then it hit me, watching the videos, the news reports, and the posts. The same feeling I got with the attacks of September 11th years back and columbine years before that, and so on and so forth.

Again, the world stopped and our hearts shattered, no one doesn’t feel it. The wave of odd emotion, humanistic urge to mourn for those we don’t even know. To feel fear, anger, sorrow, and confusion for a situation that isn’t anywhere near you.

I felt it all, relief, followed by guilt that we were the lucky ones who hadn’t felt worse. My family is still here, we are all safe.

And the questions flooded. How could this happen? How will these people ever go on with their lives? How do I explain this to my children? How do we step foot out our doors in the morning feeling security of the world around us?

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Time keeps moving but it seems to stop on days like these.

It is a terrifying world we live in and getting scarier by the day. Knowing that my husband gets on that stage, just like the ones at the harvest festival in Las Vegas or Arianna Grande in Manchester and many other concerts that have been targeted, is terrifying still. The only thing that can give me peace is the thought that he works on a much smaller scale, for now.

We shouldn’t have to fear a concert. A large group of people coming together for their shared love of music shouldn’t be an invitation for the insane, but a place of harmony. I shouldn’t fear for my husband, or worry if I should take my children to see him play in case someone picks that venue to take their anger and hate out on.

Music should always be a place of peace, a place in time where we can connect, let go of our frustrations, our fears, take a moment to step out of our heads and enjoy. It is devastating to think that we can no longer fully enjoy the heart and soul of what makes us all flow.

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Music should always bring us comfort, it should be home to where we can gather and enjoy. 

My heart goes out to all the families of the victims, and to the musicians, I am sure they carry their share of grief after such a horrific event. No one should fear sharing something they love, but we do, every day. Marathons, festivals, rallies, and so on. We, as humans gather to share, to comfort, to love, and to enjoy.

How do we keep going after so many hits we take as humans? Life is so fragile. Isn’t there a way we can wrap it up and put it up somewhere safe, so it doesn’t break anymore?

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There really isn’t. We can stay safely in our homes, keep hidden from all the scary pieces of the world out there, tucked away safely where no one will hurt us. But that is not life, there is no living in that.

After the many, many thoughts, prayers, tears, and hugs that day, I swore, as I have done many times before, that I will not let fear keep me from sharing what I love. As we have all done in the past, dust ourselves off and go back in.

We risk our lives every morning when we wake up and our feet touch the floor. We also prove to the world that we could survive another day when our feet hit that floor. We shout it from the rooftops every day our eyes open, we will not be afraid!

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This will not stop us from concerts, from running, from music. From love. From gathering, and sharing, spreading our love. Hold tight, my friends, the storm is not over, but we can weather it well, together.

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Battle of the Sexes

The complicated puzzle that is a relationship

What a shit storm this past week has been, the week before school starts for our fifth grader, last year for us in the elementary, sad. The sixth grader has his first year in the high school, so bittersweet.

I have been to open houses, and registration nights, and oh, dance class started also. There has been welcome back picnics, and hair appointments, and back to school shopping, which I like to wait until the day before to scrounge around in a panic to try and get everything ready. It keeps us all on our toes.

Of course, as with most big, strung out weeks, cram packed with all the crap I cannot avoid as a parent, The Husband’s was just as packed with band adventures (it’s like he plans it that way). The latest being a gargantuan of a mobile they planned on cruising around in that weekend, that had a list twice as long as mine to fix before they could get it on the road.

So, on my free nights (because I get a lot of those, right?) my only choice was to help out or be left behind and I didn’t want to spend another evening alone. Which meant, the only night or so I had available was with a paint brush and tape. Trying not to lose my damn mind with my two precious pre-teen and pre-angst angels that were trying their hardest to “help”.

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One part of my bickering angsty clan that was trying their best to drive me absolutely insane while the guys were practicing. I was putting myself in some compromising positions, there is a lot of nooks and cranny’s to a campers interior.

I was exhausted, frustrated, over worked, stressed out and wanted to blow up. I was tired of having to do it all alone, I was sick of being put second, and I wanted to send the worst shit text to The Husband, but I stopped and remembered that this was my choice.  I chose to be with a musician, and that comes with its share of carrying the load so he can travel, play, and record.

Is this fair? No, hell no, and you feel it. The pressure of knowing you’re doing it alone. It was a choice I made when we started dating, a choice consciously made when we got married, and a choice that I knew full well what I was getting into when we had children.

It was a choice we made together, and as much as I wanted to scream and yell, I knew it wouldn’t do any good, they already planned the weekend gig, they were already packing to go. It was pointless, so I took a deep breath and I texted him. I told him I loved him and missed him a lot.

And you know what? He missed me too, he was feeling it too. We live together and barley see each other during these times. It doesn’t just affect me, he is in this too, but this is his life. He could walk away, but neither of us want that for him. For us.

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Sometimes we do get to spend time together. I love watching him do his thing and that makes it all worth it.

The main thing that softened the blow and warmed my heart this past week also, was throughout the chaos of it all was that he was adamant about making sure he was there to take our son to pick out his first instrument for sixth grade band. He wanted to share that moment with him, and I understood that he can’t do all of it, but he tries his hardest to be there for the moments that most count.

In our many years of all our trials I have observed that most men want support, and most women want reassurance. And that there isn’t too much of a difference in these two marital securities. Men want to know that at the end of the day, they have someone cheering them on. When I first approached this theory, I thought it literally meant be his cheerleader.

Ok, I cheered in high school, I can do this. And I texted him throughout the day with “I am so proud of you” and “I appreciate everything you do” until he asked me to stop. That wasn’t what he wanted and let’s be honest it can make the best attention whore feel uncomfortable.

After stepping back and reevaluating I realized one thing in all the books I have read and seminars I have taking about the male/female brain (my work in early childhood education has given me a lot of time to study brain development, and I totally nerd out on it), is that men are doers, they don’t need to be showered with words and affection. They need a foot rub, or joining in on their most favorite activity. In our case, going to see them play, helping set up the merch table, understanding that what they do is hard on them also.

Women need words, we like to talk, talk about our day, talk about our feelings, talk about every aspect of our lives and how they work and who is where and why we are mad and so on and so on and so on…  we like to listen too, we want to understand and be understood. That is what makes a relationship tick for us.

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Let’s face it, males and females don’t necessarily fit, that is why it takes work, support, and dedication.

What we all want is companion, and what we get is confusion. You see, the battle of the sexes is real. Misunderstanding of what each other needs is the struggle, but if we remember to work together, our love becomes easier when we remember we are on the same team.

 

 

 

Wrangling the Beast

A band wife’s survival guide to the pocket.

I got the kids ready, made sure they were showered, teeth brushed, hair done. I made sure to pick out their outfits so they looked decent for the family function. Then I planned the appropriate time for me to get showered, shaved, powdered, lotioned, hair done, make up on, and the allotted time to frantically ravish my closet because I have nothing nice to wear, ever! The husband was done hours ago, and was patiently waiting for us to finish up. That’s when it happened. We were wrapped up, ready to go, and not a minute too early. I open the door to shoo the children to the car and turn to ask if the husband was ready. That is when I heard it, the strum of the acoustic. Oh no, I had him wait too long, he has slipped into…. THE POCKET!!!

Band wives around the world understand the pain. The pain of their significant others focus, their one-track mind. We will beg, plead and eye roll with every one of their requests to just play “one more song”. The Husband claims these will be his last, dying words, “Just one more song, Babe, and then we can go.” Poetic, really. I can brow beat him all I want, he isn’t going anywhere. Even our children understand this, my son will dramatically say, “uh-oh, mom, is Dad in… the pocket?!” (dun-dun-dun-dun). Yes, I have dealt with this for many, many years and there really is no solid how-to on pulling a loved one out of the pocket. urbandictionary.com defines being “in the pocket” as, “A complimentary reference describing a live musical performance, akin to an athlete being in “the zone””. Which is cool, let them detach themselves from the world and get lost, it’s what they do best. Though, when we are running late as it is, or trying to watch a movie, have a serious conversation, or we are trying, ourselves, to decompress from the loud, busy day, the strumming, singing, shredding can get a little overwhelming. To the point where you may fantasize about using that damned wooden box as batting practice to bust some knee caps and break some fingers. Hey, band wives are still only human. So, before you go all Godfather on that guitar, we need to avoid the pocket from ruining our day.

Prevention is key, my rookie mistake in the above scenario is that I let him get bored. He was waiting on the kids and me to get ready and that is when a musician becomes most vulnerable to the pocket. Keep them busy during this time, give them lists, chores, keep them occupied, they love this. If you nag long enough at them to do the dishes or vacuum while you are getting ready they will thank you in the long run, or have them go build you that book shelf you’ve always wanted. Idol hands, people, idol hands. This will keep them busy enough to avoid the pocket. If bossing him around doesn’t work, you could always invite them into the shower. This always seems to work for me, but you will have to adjust your schedule and give yourself a few more minutes because he might, well, err, become a distraction and get you off… track. It’s the sacrifice you will have to make to keep the pocket at bay.

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A rare photo of the beast when in pocket. Always approach with caution.

If you find your husband has fallen into the pocket you must approach with caution. Pulling him out with force could be catastrophic. I have heard of musicians that have fallen into comas after trauma shock of being forced out of the pocket. It could end up fatal. You need to approach slowly, I like to start with gentle eye contact. Once you have locked their eyes, keep your facial features pleasant, you don’t want the musician to feel threatened in any way, they could revolt in this case and it could have opposite effects. Once you have gained their trust in knowing you will not attack, wait until a quieter part in their song. Do not try to interrupt them during a solo! I repeat: if you try break a solo, you could be breaking your own knee caps, but they won’t use their precious acoustic for that. Your best opportunity to interrupt is always as the song ends, but there is a very small window because a new song is already being planned (or a repeat of the last, depends on how well they executed it). At this time, using a soft, non -threatening voice, you need to say what needs to be said. Make it important, make sure it’s going to peek his interest, and keep it short so he doesn’t get distracted. Now that you have his attention you need to slowly coax him out of the pocket very carefully, keep the gentle eye contact and your voice calm and pleasant. One wrong move could send him reeling back in to a face-melting, two-hour solo. Once you have his instrument down, make a bee line straight to the door, this last part is very important even one small detour, like going for your purse could pull his focus in the other direction and you will have lost him. Once you have him securely in the car you should be ready to go. I cannot promise he will be happy about this transition but he will be ready to go.

It is important and vital to allow your musician to go into the pocket, always encourage it at appropriate times and only use the tools given to pull one out in emergency situations. ONLY when it is vital and necessary. If you notice a loved one slipping into the pocket, and time allows it, just keep an eye on them, throw them a sandwich and some water (you don’t want them getting dehydrated), sit back, and enjoy the serenading. You can even allow yourself to be pulled in there with them and pretend they might be playing for you, because even if it doesn’t always seem like it, you are important to them.

Tarnished Silver

Breaking the Stereotype of the Band Wife Life

This past weekend I went on a weekend trip with the husband, or I should say, following the band around. It was a hot, exhausting, and very fun weekend full of great memories and friends. Yes, another weekend trip away, this time with The Husband. I left the kids at home and hit the big city. I am getting the hang of these rush out of work, get the kids set up, and hit the road trips, all the spontaneity has my head reeling. First, up north, now to the west side of the state, maybe one day I will make it out of the state. In all reality, though, the band trips are not always what they are cracked up to be, I finally got a taste of what the guys go through and it wasn’t a walk in the park. There are a lot of stereotypes out there and for all the musician typecasts there are ones for us band wives. It hit me as I was standing in a sweltering line outside of one of the venues, with my ticket in hand when I ran into a friend and they were astounded that I, the wife of the band, would have to stand in lines, let alone buy a ticket. Most people have a very misconstrued idea of what a band wife is. There are so many stereotypes of us, from Yoko to your average groupie. To be honest, they get a little annoying and leave me somewhat self-conscious of how everyone views me and these blogs. I hope to shine light on some of these.

“I’m with the band” is a joke. Sure, we get to go in the back during set up time, carry a guitar case or two, we might not even have to stand in a line, but it is a very rare occasion when they don’t charge the “support staff”.  I pay the ten to twenty dollars to get my wristband and get in the door at least every other weekend. We may get dibs on the first tickets but we are paying full price and the bar is no different. Nothing sets us apart from any other fan, and I am OK with that, because for every ticket sold is one step higher they go, for every ten dollars we pay, they get two back. We are not just there for emotional support, we help fund the broken-down RV they just bought and the CD’s that need to be printed. Paying for a ticket beats paying out of pocket for the band needs, because what is his is mine, and what is mine is his and what is ours goes to the band.

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I give you the band mobile, their touring chariot, the living quarters of not so rich and famous. 
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She’s a little stinky but it gets them safely from city to city.

“You get to go on tours, sight see, and spend all that travel time with your husband” How about not. Let me walk you through my romantic, touristy weekend with The Husband. First, I rushed to the Friday night show, where after packing up, heading to the store for hotel snacks and drinks, and getting home, our heads hit the pillow around two a.m., six hours of sleep later we were up and ready to hit the road. We arrived at the venue at eleven because that was when they said to be there, which these places are never on time. I don’t know who runs these joints but get it together already! We then were stuck in the parking lot of a strip mall (with, literally, a strip club) waiting, all day. We had an SUV attached to a huge trailer fully loaded with an immense amount of band gear, we were not driving it down town to sight see. They don’t put these rock places near any landmarks, nice parks, or museums, they are on the outskirts, the other side of the tracks, with the strip clubs and the dollar stores. Cities like to hide their riff raff. Thank God for the Five Guys or we would have starved. It was miserably hot all day, I felt sick from the lack of sleep and healthy food (OK, and maybe just a touch of hangover, but I blame all the hotel water I drank that morning). This is touring, it is not glitter and gold, it is hard and tiring. This was only a short trip in state. If anyone thinks I am going on a cross country trip, getting into that busted ass RV with five stinky, sweaty, over partied and under slept dudes for weeks on end you are sorely mistaken, Dear Sir’s. Touring is not a vacation. I really can’t complain (though I just did), I was with The Husband, and as you all know, I will always take what I can get. We were in great company and made some hilarious memories, so the weekend trips I will do again, but I will stay out of the guy’s hair during the long hauls.

On of the highlights of the “touring” experience: my traveling buddy. Most definitely not a Yoko!

 

The Yoko Effect. I can guarantee that ninety-nine percent of us are not trying to break the band up. I know we can seem a little too involved at times (probably an understatement for me, I tend to get real involved) or we can get a little bitchy from time to time, but it is hard when our only time with them is usually shared with band mates. I know what I am in for but it won’t stop me from whining occasionally about him not being around. We don’t always want to be there but we love them, and when you love someone you want to share all their passions, and when there is music involved their passion is most likely one tracked. It becomes a fight or join scenario. It is very challenging for us to be with someone who is always on the go, and if the only way to get quality time is to follow the band around, damnit all, I will! The person I love the most is in a band, and I want to see him successful, happy, and proud; I want to see the band flourish. I guess you can call me a groupie if you so wish (but only for my husband), but don’t ever call me a Yoko!

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The reason for the band wife life, this guy, which I sometimes have to watch perform from the merch table. It’s not all that perfect, and its not all that terrible. Its tarnished silver, but it’s all out of love. 

 

 

 

The Desultory Trip

A weekend away from the band wife life.

I am looking up at this mountain from the bottom. Sitting on the patio of our vacation rental, I see the now green ski slopes and wonder when they were built, how much man-made work they put into them and how much of it was nature itself. I am looking forward to the rain coming in, an excuse to sit here all day and admire my mitten in all its beauty nature has given it.  From somewhere inside the beginning of a vast forest, that edges on the left of our patio, I hear a musical of birds, and a morning dove echoing. I wondered how far away or near it is. In all the mountains spread, you start to lose depth and gain perspective, my favorite thing about woods and being consumed by nature itself.

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I traveled to the great north on an invitation, to be with family and friends this holiday but I had leave the husband at home. One thing you should have as a band wife is an acceptance of spontaneity, you have to roll with the punches, and go with the flow. Sometimes The Husband might have used up all his time off on a band trip and sadly, cannot take a long holiday weekend off as planned. So, I muster up enough courage to drive four hours up north at night to be with our family. I am not a driver, and the thought of driving all by myself with our babies in tow was terrifying. But I made promises and we deserved a relaxing weekend away.

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My babies walking down the mountain

 

He will not miss every vacation and trip, we spent a week in Florida and did the whole Disney trip just this past fall. Which really wasn’t our cup of tea, but for the kids, we made an exception. We packed up and took off for a week in Orlando. It was busy and hot and all I could think the whole time is how they literally did “pave paradise and put up a parking lot” just as Joni Mitchel sang. It’s the cacophony of tourists and noise, new buildings being constructed and old ones tore down. It broke my heart, and left me feeling exhausted.  We get so busy; our lives are filled with noises and activity. Everywhere I go is loud, my job comes with its fair share of noise, shows are busy and loud, even at home we are making noise between The Husbands acoustic, the kids activities and my big mouth. It’s nice to be able to just get out from under all of it and unplug for a few days. Here we are, in the big great north, without the husband, not exactly how I wanted the weekend to go but I have been able to get time to think, to relax, enough peace to gather my thoughts and fill my lungs with some fresh mountain air. With my flow of thoughts this weekend comes this random blog post about all of them. Much like this weekend I don’t know where it’s going, no beginning, middle, or end.

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My thoughts, like the vast scenery, rambled on all weekend.

 

We have hiked the mountain, swam many laps, played multiple card games and laughed until we were sore, yet in the back of my head I still wish the husband could be here. This is the band wife life and it is what I chose. I could have stayed home this weekend, I could have made it to his shows but the noise of our everyday life was getting to be too much, much like Florida, leaving me exhausted, confused, and homesick. I chose to disconnect. I made the choice to go to the mountains, to forget about work for a while, to get lost in the woods every day while I am here, to clear my mind and find my peace. As a band wife we need to remember to be patient, selfless, flexible, supportive, ready to go at any moment, but most importantly we need to remember to stop. Stop occasionally and breath or you will suffocate. I have repeated this before, and most of these thoughts of mine are selfishly about yourselves as women (or men, whichever) but this is so important if you are with someone who’s hobby or job or where ever this talent they have may take them because it may take you farther then you want or possibly leave you behind. As in any relationship, focus on yourself when focusing on them becomes too much.

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Like A Stone

My Song to Cornell and All The Tortured Souls Alike

The Husband headed out at three o’clock this morning for Nashville, the guys have been planning this trip for quite sometime with a lot of excitement at the potential it could bring. I also took today off of work to get some things done around the house, because the excitement was all too much. That, and I have been putting in crazy overtime lately, have been getting behind on all my chores and the thought of having the house to myself all day was way too appealing. This morning I thought I would wake up, roll out of bed, and cheerfully do some much needed house work. Instead, I rolled over to my phone, checked my Facebook like we used to check the newspaper, and was hit with some heavy news. Front man Chris Cornell had passed late last night, in Detroit, no less (Michigan girl here). So, once I got the kids off to school, I sat with my coffee processing it all, I shouted from my dining room table “Hey, Google, play me some Chris Cornell” She answered like the steadfast computer she is and played me an all-day playlist, from his multiple bands, live, recorded, unplugged all of it. While I cleaned, and brooded, I heard the hauntingly beautiful crooning that was born in the grunge era and pulled us through the past two decades. I don’t usually mourn celebrity deaths, and it might have been with all the excitement of the husband going on the road, or too much coffee and cleaning by myself this morning, but it hit me pretty hard. This man’s voice was incredible, and the worlds music will be a little less, now.

Later in the day, I read an article that they are speculating it was suicide and it reminded me of a conversation the husband and I had a while ago. We were talking about how it seems like all great musicians are depressed. This is the stereotype, right? So many musicians we have met along the way suffer, not all, but many. My personal knowledge of artists, most (remember, I use MOST very strongly, we are not all built the same) that I have met, they seem to think more deeply, or maybe it’s that they put all their deepness in public form, rather than keeping it inside. Who knows? I see these deep tortured souls and I wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it that, through these deep tortured souls, comes the beauty through their artform; or is it that the art challenges them to become deeper, to think deeper, to process more. Who knows?

I hear terribly unhappy childhood stories, drug use, abuse, how writers drink too much and painters are always depressed. I wonder if there is a majestic part of our brain that holds a creativity that surpasses us novices. Pandora’s box, if you will, that can only be opened when something so tragic happens it breaks open, overwhelming us with the raw emotion that can only be expressed with pictures and words, music, comedy, or theater. I have seen so many people take their pain and anguish and turn it into the most beautiful works of arts, paintings, or music. Being a word girl, I have heard and read sentences of words strung together that have bought me to my knees, and honestly made me envy the gift they have. Are all these people feeling alone, lost, or scared? Maybe not, but maybe so. That Pandora art box at one point in their past was forced open and possessed them to let it flow out of their hands, through their paint brush, or maybe out of their mouths, through the pen or on a set of strings. I understand that your own thoughts haunt you, that you can wish and wish them away but you are still a prisoner in your own head. It seems endless and inconsolable. It can be a blessing, though, your outlet is another’s strength. Your words, and music, and images can be someone else’s journey into something more, something better, something that can take us to places we could never see with our naked eyes. To all the artists with the tortured souls, please remember that on your darkest of days you are always making the world more beautiful and tolerable for us who cannot find expression. When you find yourselves in despair, sing, write, play, paint, draw, laugh, dance, and act. Let your noise be your medicine and our saving grace. From all of us and the world itself: Thank you for you. You are needed, you are wanted, you are requested to take our black and white worlds beyond the shades of grey and bring us color that our own imaginations cannot create.