An Intense Musical Experience

I’ve recently contemplated music and how it affects my life.  I know that everyone has their own musical preferences and their own artists that speak to them, so I’d like to think that it’s universal  in nature. It has the world as its audience and influences us all in different ways.

I just went to a concert last night with my brother.  Well, and his ex-wife was there as well …awkward. Anyway, the concert was Shinedown with Three Days Grace and P.O.D. as the opening performance and we were right up by the stage!  My brother and I always go to see Three Days Grace (and Breaking Benjamin until they disbanded.  Get it? Disbanded?) when they come to town.  It’s been a tradition of ours since I was a freshman in high school.  Unfortunately, this tradition will likely end since the lead singer, Adam Gontier, has left the band indefinitely.

Exactly!

I know!

During one of the TDG’s songs, I had this weird moment of clarity.  I felt separated from the concert.  I was an observer, watching the audience participate in the music.  It dawned on me that hundreds of people from all different backgrounds had come together for a mutual experience. We were all united from that moment.  All of us were here to listen to music we love by the bands that impact us so greatly.  It was such a surreal moment for me. As much as we like to isolate ourselves, we can be drawn together by the purest form of expression: music.  Going to a concert of an artist you love is such a phenomenally superior experience to listening to a record. I know you all have had an experience where you really connected with someone, no matter how brief the encounter.  Just imagine that, but radically magnified- shared with hundreds or thousands of other people.  That’s what one person or group can do. They can unite us in one single purpose – one connected experience.

Sadly, this experience was somewhat dulled by the broken TDG performance.  Don’t get me wrong, the replacement singer did a great job with what he was given.  It’s just that he had no connection with the audience.  He was there to perform, not express.  When Adam is on stage, he just loves it.  He bonds with the audience( at least the Nashville audiences) and puts himself into his songs. Simply awesome.

Left to right: Barry- lead guitar, Adam-vocals, Neil- drums, Brad- bass

Left to right: Barry- lead guitar, Adam-vocals, Neil- drums, Brad- bass

However, when Shinedown came on stage I was blown away.  I had never seen them on live and I was only vaguely familiar with some of their hits. But, by the heavens above, they were so static. Every band member was in their zone, they loved their music and their audience and we loved them right back.  Before they even played a song, Brent Smith (the vocalist) asked everyone in the audience to turn to their neighbors and shake hands, high-five, and form a connection.  Just that simple act of connection –which I am a total sucker for- heightened the experience. More than just loving what they were performing, they sounded amazing doing it.  Later in the performance Brent actually took a break and discussed this very concept- the unification of people through one single medium: music. Specifically, rock music, but this is applicable to any meaningful song. Anyway, Brent has fantastic voice and Zack and Eric were smashing on guitar and bass. Barry is a decent drummer, but he can’t hold a candle to TDG’s Neil Sanderson.  They really rocked it…geddit?

No?  Okay...

No? Okay…

Getting back on track, I was captivated.  The images playing in the background of their songs, the poems and stories they played between and within their songs, and their talent really cemented the experience for me.  I could feel the meaning in each of their songs.  I understood their lyrics and got something out of every song.  Their music is more positive than I expected.  It can be sad, even mournful, at times, but there is a kind of optimistic tilt  in their songs.  I’ve been so influenced by more positive, upbeat music lately.  I don’t necessarily mean poppy, fast music, but music that isn’t depressing or angry. This is why I think Shinedown is one of my new favorite bands.  Their music reflects the changes that have come over me much more accurately than my past favorites. Maybe this is just another sign of my increasing maturity and inner growth.

Or something like that...

Or something like that…

I’m going to try to include a few videos or at least links to videos of some of their songs that stood out to me the most, but I want people to check out all the songs possible.  Like I stated at the beginning, music is subjective and a song will affect you differently than it will me.   I went to Amazon and bought their first three albums and their live CD.   It’s been more than worth it, especially the live set.  I think they are classified as alternative rock, but many of their songs resemble ballads and have a lot more positive implications than other alternative artists.

Whomever reads this post please take a minute to think of your favorite artist. Genre is irrelevant. What matters is that you really think of the one that is the most influential and inspirational to you. Find one band or person that has been there for you in your life.  Whenever you were down, who did you listen to uplift yourself?  Whose lyrics have spoken to you? Inspired you to change how you view or express things?  Why are they so important to you?  Feel free to post in the comments if you wish.  I’m always open to any new musical suggestions and eager for new discoveries.  I love hearing about people’s passions and inspirations, and maybe you will get something out of it, too!

Left to right: Zack- lead guitar, Eric- Bass, Barry- drums, Brent- vocals.

Left to right: Zack- lead guitar, Eric- Bass, Barry- drums, Brent- vocals.

Simple Man- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbN99f9esS4

Save Me- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8dyxGiBx3g

If You Only Knew – Shinedown – One of their most well-known songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NCDqYynUQk

Diamond Eyes- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hez6tDpiWDA

Her Name is Alice -Shinedown – influenced by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHQQUH0DomI

Painting Power: Makeup as a Mating Call

Makeup is not a concept of vanity. Sure, vanity can be expressed by wearing makeup – by wanting to hide your perceived flaws. But makeup is purely a form of expression of your inner self. It’s a mating call- a way of displaying to the desired sex and others that you are sexually available. It’s just the way humans- females, specifically- portray part of your identity.

tumblr_m54bj8VLRX1rxevt4o1_250

Makeup is considered a form of mating call because it is meant to draw attention to yourself.  It accentuates the features that you want people to look at. Lipstick draws the eyes to the oh-so erogenous mouth, blush simulates sexual arousal, and eye liner and mascara focus on the eyes to draw in a connection with another person. We turn to makeup to highlight these regions when we are ready to have someone to notice them and understand the sexual connotations. When we are satisfied in our current relationship or are uninterested in pursuing a relationship, we keep these features minimalized.  Bright, gaudy colours and excessive use of makeup portrays desperation or easiness, bold, plain colours tend to draw intense passion or sexual prowess, and subtle, natural-looking makeup seeks more sensitive, long-term connections.

When done correctly, makeup can enhance your natural form and structure, while expressing your interest in others. This is why I love practicing with makeup.  I have so many different kinds because I’m looking for the perfect look- the perfect combination to draw in a man’s interest.  On another level, I’m just trying to get used to using it, so the times I actually wear the whole she-bang it looks effortless and attractive.

303478595_640

Am I doing it right?

There’s nothing more attractive than a powerful woman, and makeup can be a way of expressing that power.  If you wear something that you think looks good on you, then you feel good.  That’s quite a powerful force.  It’s flattering when a confident, radiant woman is interested in a man(or a woman).  No, really. It’s power because it we are exhibiting a form of control of our inner and outer selves . We are expressing a desire to be noticed, to be unique.  The more creative you are with your display, the more likely you are to feel power. After all, it is a skill just like anything else.  It’s almost like art form. Actually, it is an art form and it represents inner power.  I have this power and you do, too.

I just now realized-after delving into my makeup stash to begin my ritual- what I was subconsciously doing.  I’m ready to announce that I have become sexually interested again, even though I had had no idea.  It makes sense, though. Considering that my relationship is severely lacking in the sex department, I would logically try to find fulfillment somewhere else.  Expressing my concerns and desires does nothing. He just gets irritated or dismissive.  I subconsciously was trying to find that fulfillment in another person.  Not that I recognize this, I guess I’m pretty okay with it.  I’m not finding my needs satisfied where I am now and my mind is all “well, maybe you can find that somewhere else.”   I shouldn’t have to hide my needs and desires; I’ve had enough of that in my life.  I have cravings just like any other person and I shouldn’t have to ignore them for the sake of someone who refuses to satisfy them.  Whatever happens will happen, but I’m ready to make my move.

tumblr_lqxqpsdgeO1qmz7n7o1_500

Yeah!

The Monogamy Complex

I’d like to start things off with a little blunt honesty. I guess I can be more honest here since it feels like I’m essentially talking to myself. Although, some of the biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves so take that as you will. I’ve decided to share a little something else about me because, well, simply because I can.

Oh, really?

Oh, really?

Sometimes I smoke as a band-aid, often out of loneliness or despondency.  Sometimes I smoke when I have an idea that I can’t put into words or when I need to express myself in some fashion. Please refrain from judgement; all of the arguments that have been presented in opposition of it have all been considered. I know the stigma surrounding it, I know what the smoke may do to me, but it helps-really.  The past week and a half I’ve finally seen myself in a normal view for the first time.  I finally realized that I had finally become an adult (and a rather attractive one at that)   I finally started seeing the benefits of my life’s work: I was finally healthy- and not in regards to the size that I currently am- after it it spent years in the making.

I guess that kind of leads me into wanting to discuss relationships.  I mean, I just don’t really get them some days.  The more restrictions you put on someone, the less likely you are to adhere to them. For the second time in my life, I find myself somehow dissatisfied with my current relationship.

I don’t know why for the life of me.  He’s what I’ve always hoped to find; He’s very intelligent,  quite attractive, and –surprisingly- finds me attractive. I mean isn’t that the ideal? To be comfortable and safe designated only for each other? I don’t know, I guess I just don’t want to hear any more about what’s ‘typical’, I don’t have that narrow view of what is considered ‘acceptable love- as long as they are all consenting adults. I don’t want some sweeping romance; that’s just not my bag, man.

faux-fur-purse

Not my bag.

I don’t feel that I need a relationship; it doesn’t make me who I am.  I’m not afraid to be lonely; it can be a very wonderful thing to have the ability to be comfortable with yourself.   So if I do decide to connect with another human being it will have to be a very good reason.  I guess I was just so psyched at first that someone actually thought me attractive and enjoyed my company.

My previous relationship had finally ended its four-year reign. I had started it when I was 14/15 -ish, basically a child. I was not the same person at all after 4 years.  I wanted to progress, to grow and find a place for myself and to have a fulfilling career, but I was stuck with someone who didn’t share that desire.   I could go on about what all issues we had– family, open-mindedness, less of a desire to grow- but I don’t regret any of it.  How could I?  It made me who I am now- for better or for worse- and it will continue to have some role in how I have developed. I know myself better, and am more at ease for expressing myself and my wants.

I guess, that’s not the case now, though.  I’m not sure what I want to do, or what should do.  I do love him, and I want to continue to be connected with him. I just don’t think I can be with someone who doesn’t want for me the same that I want for myself.  Particularly someone so angry and cynical, which is usually the exact opposite of how I am. Someone who loves guns and being hateful to people just to get a reaction out of them. Despite the acceptance I receive from him, I can’t help but feel that something is off.  I care about other people, I don’t like to see anyone in pain- it feels like it’s tearing me apart as well. So, I want to do whatever is within my power to ease that burden.  I don’t know if this is something that I am ever successful at, but I want to try.  At any rate, I have previously had to make a decision that was entirely in my self-interest.

Yes!

Yes!

As difficult as that was, I finally put my own desires before my fear of hurting someone.   I want to be able to connect with more people.  I connect best with people I like, by getting close to them ( physically and mentally). Really, you may have that type of connection with several people in your lifetime. Are you going to ignore anyone else that you care about that much? No, not just simple attraction, but a desire to really know that person. True empathy with another  comes so rarely, that shouldn’t we savor it while it’s within our grasp?  It’s not one of those things that generally happens every day.  Again, -age, size, race, gender- it’s not like you do yourself a service when you repress how you feel towards another person.  It seems like that would be obvious, but so many people do it-myself included. This connection is like a soft breeze that ignites the sparks within us. When that breeze begins to stir, we should let it wash over us, not turn our backs to it.

Maybe I’m just crazy, though.   Maybe this doesn’t really make sense when I explain it.  Just try to make the most of the limited time you have in this universe. We should all be free to  connect to whomever we want to, in whatever manner we so desire.   Married or single, monogamous or not, we should just do what makes us happy. Yes, I am a believer in polyamory- the ability to have a deep, loving connection with more than one individual.  I don’t, however, feel that it should come at someone else’s expense. “Do what you will, but harm none” is, in nutshell, my philosophy.

Whew, that was long-winded, much more than what I expected. I’ve just been so overwhelmed lately, and I discovered that writing is such a release for my inner-self – some way that I can express it. I want to improve my ability to perceive to world around me and to elevate the level of eloquence in which I can describe it. However, I did detect a severe lack of Alan Rickman in this post. Too severe for my taste, so here you go!

I came.

I came.