Friday, February 26, 2010

"When you are young, you think it will be solved by love. But it never is."

"Everything snapped into focus. It's one of those unforgettable moments that happen as a child, when you discover that all along the world has been betraying you."
-Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

This isn't the best or even my favorite quote from that book, which I reread this week and which is one of my favorites, but it's how I feel these days. As if the world has betrayed me. "Be kind to people" it said. So I was kind. "Give" it said. So I gave. "Trust" it said. So I trusted. And now, "We've so easily fooled you. How could you have listened to us?" And with a broken heart, I'm forced to see the error of my ways. To wonder, also, how I ever could have listened to such an unreliable source.

I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what I want or need. And that's scary. I don't know how to recover from the blows I've received. I don't know how to deal the blows that are necessary to fight back. As always, I want to run away, but that has never worked, why should I think it would work now? So what is my solution? I don't know. Or maybe I don't want to know. Probably the latter.

I'm balancing too many stones. Half have fallen already. I suspect the rest are whispering conspiratorially, waiting for the moment when I least expect them to bolt. But deep down I also suspect it's my hands that will revolt in the end.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Music Happened to Me

I didn't exactly grow up on "good" music. More like top 40 and disco. Coming into my own - musically - wasn't easy. I had nothing to go off of. No wiser older siblings or free spirited parents to guide me. At 3 my favorite artist was MJ. The Way You Make Me Feel was my first favorite song; the first video I recorded and watched over and over and over. So what happened? How did I veer so far left? How did I swim up river and escape into increasingly distant tributaries?

Before I begin, it's important to point out that from 3 years old on up, I FELT music. It was a physical experience. When a song connected, it was akin to a full body high. I don't know how else to explain it. From my earliest memories, it's been an obsession. When all I had at my disposal was the radio, I'd wait on pins and needles for that one song to play that made everything else disappear for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. That one melody that made each day worth living just to experience one more time. I'd become euphoric. I needed everything and everyone to stop so I could enjoy those few moments of pure elation. It was physical, spiritual, emotional. Anything but rational.

Now, the album I see as being the keystone in my revelation and movement from popular to anything-but is Bringing Down the Horse. It's the first CD I remember buying on my own with whatever birthday or Christmas money I had. I was only 10 or 11 at the time, and no one else I knew liked them. I know for certain no one convinced me to do it. It had nothing to do with needing acceptance from other people. It was one of the first purely independent choices I remember making. I mean, they were on the radio, but everyone else I knew was more interested in whatever Kube 93 (Seattle's token rap/hip hop station) was playing.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was deeply intrigued by rap and hip hop both, but having parents who were religiously conservative, I wasn't exactly allowed to listen to any of it, let alone buy it, thus limiting any possible venturings into the genre. So the Wallflowers were my first dip into untested waters. And I must say, it went quite well.

From there I moved on to The Goo Goo Dolls, then Cake. Cake was my first concert. Well, the first one I count anyway. The first one I had tickets to. I was 14. Awkward. Unsure about life. And not really finding any satisfaction in the top 40. I still spent a lot of time listening to the radio. Every evening from 3:45 to 10:30 was spent in my room with the radio blaring. But it just became less and less "spiritual," if you will. Few things on the radio felt like what I was finding elsewhere.

So with my musical passion craving new avenues, at 15 I found myself trying out "fringe" musicians sneakily (alt rock mostly). I had no idea at the time what Napster was, but an uncle of mine did. So I'd put together a list of songs I wanted to try out, (think Foo Fighters and Ash) and he'd burn a CD for me. None of my friends knew. I was too unsure of myself to risk being labeled "uncool." And in my school, the only people who were "cool" were people who had all the words to the latest single memorized.

From a secret love of alt rock, I eventually moved into what I discovered was labeled "Indie Music." It took me a long time to find a term that fit my evolving tastes. The enlightenment fell into my lap unexpectedly. I'd turned the TV on to some shitty version of MTV called FUSE. They were playing music videos (something the real MTV stopped doing somewhere in the late 90's when it discovered reality TV), and without meaning to, I'd somehow stumbled upon a collection of videos that magically all fit my taste perfectly. I sat, enthralled, memorizing each band name as it came up in the bottom corner. The Strokes, Campfire Girls, Queens of the Stone Age, The White Stripes, etc., etc.

To my consternation, the collection suddenly ended. But thankfully, there, on the screen, was the title for the group of videos they'd been showing. "INDIE." I stared. I connected. And without knowing the implications, right then and there, I labeled myself an Indie Girl. From that moment on, a voracious search for more of what I liked ensued.

The next year a good friend burned a copy of The Photo Album by Death Cab for Cutie for me.

My life as it is now, unbeknownst to me, took it's first huge shift onto it's current path one year later when a good friend burned a copy of Death Cab for Cutie's The Photo Album for me. I took that album to England and listened to it one night in a hotel room in Leeds. After that first listen, I listened to it every morning and every night I was in England. And then every day thereafter. It changed how I felt about the world. Later that year Transatlanticism came out. The same friend played it in my car. I rather rudely asked if I could borrow his brand new CD to burn a copy (because I didn't know at the time where to buy it. Tt wasn't at the corporate music stores yet). He reluctantly agreed, and I had one of the most beautiful afternoons and evenings of my life.

Somehow finding Death Cab is what finally convinced me to let go of the radio. I stopped caring about anything mainstream. I immersed myself in an entirely new culture. Indie became my religion. Death Cab, my bible. The fans were my people. I joined the message boards and found a group of outsiders just like myself. People who got it. Who understood the music. Who felt a physical connection to it. I hadn't known anyone else like that before. And I hadn't listened to anything that described my life so fully before. It fit like a soundtrack.

As each of the bands I loved became mainstream, I moved on to more and more obscure artists. And these days, the music I love most is weird and unlike anything that can be heard on a radio station. I'm an "Indie Elite." A snob. I despise hipsters and the vapidity that has taken over my generation. I grope for music that still tries for meaning both in melody and lyric.

And yet, I find that euphoric connection to albums, artists and songs less and less as time goes by. The things I feel love for are few and far between. I don't get excited like I used to. And it's made me feel a little empty. I don't spend hours lying in bed or on the floor or between headphones listening to the one or two bands of the moment that make me feel alive and so excited I can barely breathe. I haven't decided if this is due to a lack of time, a lack of depression or a lack of being alone. But whatever it is, I miss those full body highs. I miss music happening to me the way it used to. Who am I if I'm not obsessing over the new and the next meaningful musical experience of my life? I sure as hell don't know. Because from 3 to 20, it's all I had.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things that make me sad

Well, sad/frustrated.

The scratches in my new wood floors that took Adam 4 days to install.

The ink splotches, scratches and stains on my darling dining room table and chairs that took me forever to pick out and that I lovingly put together. They were probably my favorite pieces of furniture and now they're all scuffed and damaged and covered in food particles to boot because let's face it: people don't take care of things that aren't theirs.

Not actually having any time to be home and enjoy the house I've put so much work and love into.

Not having enough money to eat healthily. I've been living off of whatever Adam has around and Cup Noodles.

Not having time to watch much by way of movies. I've been in the mood for either Miyazaki or Fellini. Rather peculiar cravings, admittedly, but it is what it is.

So that's my little whine fest for the moment. Sorry. Annoying, I'm sure. Just having a bit of a hard time lately.

On the bright side, I'm really enjoying work. I've put a lot into getting dispense organized and recognizing and pointing out some of the places we're leaking money, so to speak. I really care about this school and I want it to succeed because I want to succeed.

I'm also doing well in school. I'm on my April grid despite it being only February. And I'm learning more and more about color every day. Which I love!

I'm also going to try to start an exercise program next month with some girls from school. This technically means less sleep and less time at home, but I feel like it'll give me some much needed energy. And hopefully it'll help me stop feeling so grumpy and mad at people.

I've lost about 25 lbs since starting school and I'm hoping more exercise will help me drop some more. Goal? To need an entirely new wardrobe by the time I'm finished with school because nothing fits. I'm getting close now, really. But I'm going to have to keep wearing what I have until I have some money for things like that again.

Anyway, if you're still reading, thanks for caring. I just needed a little vent session. These are definitely (annoyingly I'm sure) getting more frequent as I get more overwhelmed. But with a little exercise and some more time settling into my crazy schedule, I'm hoping my mood will improve.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Los Angeles

ISSE. Great fun! I learned a lot. Best lessons: how to cut long layers dry, and how to make color look good without taking 2 hours for foil placements and processing time. Both from Karg and Blackwell's class.

I did my makeup every day this weekend, including at 4 this morning before catching the bus to the airport at 5. I haven't worn makeup in almost a month. I'd forgotten how much I love it.

Disneyland is great, but never go on Splash Mountain after the sun goes down. It's really uncomfortable to walk around with soaking wet pants for three hours.

I've been thinking about what I want to do after school. I have some options. And I hope to have them figured out by the time I graduate. I'd love to take some Vidal Sassoon finishing classes to help me with cutting and foil placement. But I'm sure I won't have the money for those right away. In the meantime I'm going to have to stick to videos I think. Anyway, I really want to work at a high end salon. Maybe that's snobby of me, but I just agree with the way they run things.

For instance: I want a color line that has separate tones, not premixed ones. I'm excellent at color formulation. I'd like to put that to good use. I also want a salon that has a chair in the color dispensary, because I don't want my clients to see how they look in a cape with foils all over the place. No one looks good like that! I want them to see the finished product, not the in between.

I want to sell high end, organic and probably vegan lines. I thoroughly believe that what you put on your skin is nearly equivalent to what you put in your body. I don't want harsh chemicals in my body, and I certainly don't want my skin soaking those chemicals in through cosmetics.

I want to be a dry cutting stylist. I think it's soooo much better if you can learn how to do it well. Buuut, I also want to do free form. So I'm going to have to learn how to combine the two.

Anyway, just a few of the things on my mind lately. My goal for the next few months: to bring in some new clients at school and work on my retail and client retention skills. Those are the most important if I want to land a job at a good salon when I'm done with school. I also really really really want to take Nicholas French's class in March. I've been waiting for this class to come so I hope I can save up the money to go. I think it would help me infinitely in photoshoots.

I'm back to cold Utah weather now, but LA and ISSE will not be forgotten! And I'm excited to get back into the swing of things.