Live Pics from West Pride

After the tragic events of Orlando, there needs to be more show of support to the LGTB-community than ever. I can give you a small dose. My gig at West Pride thursday June 9th, West Pride is the Gothenburg Pride Festival and I make sure I play every year with new material. Due to too much work I couldn’t rehearse with my band, but it turns out, me and miss Piano do well by our selvessome if we have to! 🙂

The best thing was getting to hang with my prrrdy friends though, long time no see biiiig hugs!


Random acts of kindness

I’m not my usual nag-a-bloggin’ self as I’ve battled with flu and double sided ear infection, rendering me half-deaf for a while (hence not so much music).

And I know, the title is very “Oprah” and even the concept is, I remember her talking a lot about this but in this instance I do agree. She talks about random acts of kindness everyday, and how she always gave away a lot of things on her show when she had chosen audience members she knew struggled a bit. She said: “I’m not changing their life. But a little thing like this can make them happy and give them hope for the moment, and help them build more hope all by themselves.”

I walked past the beggar woman in front of Willy’s for the umpteenth time. And she always flashes me a smile and calls me “principessa” and almost ALWAYS puts me in a great mood. I’ve grown quite fond of her. Not “hope she keeps begging” fond (which some Swedes for some reason think your kindness means), just “she’s a great person who puts me in a good mood”

And today I really felt the sting. She’s been gone for a while. Now she’s back. And now the weather is bad. And this is a thin frail woman. So all of a sudden I wanted to do more. I always walk past the blanket sales (I have tonnes of them at home, thank you very much). But she doesn’t, and even if she does, they get dirty, wet, cold, how is she gonna wash them all and dry them in time without getting sick? Key in quantity. So I baught her a blanket, kept the change (which is quite a lot, they are very cheap) and went back. She wasn’t there, but her stuff was. So I left the blanket in a plastic bag next to her jacket and the change in her cup. She won’t know it was me. But she’ll know someone thought she deserved kindness. And let me tell you, being Romani, she most likely doesn’t have that impression in spades. I got strange looks from the people opposing  beggars and wishing to “send the scrounging pack home”. I don’t care.

A random act of kindness is key, everyday. It doesn’t have to cost you. It can be a compliment to someone who looks a bit down. Flashing a smile, telling a joke (I am guilty if a lot of those bad jokes to try and brighten a day 😉 ). The Romani woman always throws me air kisses and I always throw one back. I just wanted to do a little bit more today. It really does send some hope out there.

If you need more incentive, I talked to a co-worker about the concept today, and he told me tonight that I inspired him to pay a fare home for three school girls who couldn’t afford it. So it spreads! And that ain’t a bad thing 🙂


Everybody hurts

Right now that’s the very definition of truth. A friend of mine died last thursday, a teacher, someone I owe a lot. Watching the fireworks in Skara new years 2011/2012, me and artist friend K met him and his then wife enjoying the spectacle as well. We were invited up to their place for a little wine and snacks and New Year’s talk. I was frustrated at the time as I was between drummers, and couldn’t find a steady one, hardly a temporary one. I’d been looking for a long time and I was like: “I’m too different. I’ve worked my way up to my level without, you know, the ‘status’ and ‘hits’ that make people wanna work with you.” to which he replied: “Ah, come on, Maria, you can’t do anything different than what comes out of you, and the world needs more different music, doesn’t it? Better you love what you do and make something unusual, gives you a hell of a lot more of a chance.” “Yeah, I guess”. “And I’ve got a number here for a kid who loves music and is a wicked drummer”. I took the number, waited for a day or two after new years and after a few deep breaths I gave the drummer a ring. And I play with him to this day, calling him my own personal metronome. He and the bass player are seriously my little music family, occasionally visited by a distant cousin putting guitar or violin or choir in the mix 😉

Most recently he put me in contact with my excellent boxing girls in the Ponies video. And come thursday, there was just this big picture of him in my newsfeed with a R.I.P under it. I just froze. And right after that I had singing lessons. I had to push it out of my mind. It had to wait. I couldn’t have a trembling voice or let the sadness take over, students (of any age) are insecure enough and beeing met by a sad face not knowing why is very demotivating. I kept the lessons before breaks going longer than usual. I couldn’t be left alone too long with my own thoughts.

On the way home I screamed in the car (the only place you can scream really when you live in an apartment) but I had buried the tears a little too deep. So I put on Big Fish and… release…

What I saw when I met this person was someone who inspired a lot of students, who surrounded himself with creativity and creative people, someone who was supposed to be around for a long time. It felt very unreal. Still does. If I knew this was going to happen, I would’ve thanked him properly for helping me out as much as he did. But you never know, do you? I guess we should get better at telling people these things. You never know when it’s too late.

Public vs private persona- the importance of seperating yourself from projection

I’ve touched this subject lightly in other posts but it is worth it’s own. With today’s social media invading our lives in big strides it’s important not to get lost in the projection of yourself. It used to be all about the mask, the shell we build on the outside to protect ourselves when we don’t know someone. That mask has now rather become our downfall as it’s so easy to disappear into it and forget what we are actually protecting.

I’ve talked about art, and where I go when I make it, what world I am in. It’s very important for me to say I travel there. Because I may feel safe there, but it is not all of me. It is part of me. I am not Mary, Sofia, Florence or Sarah. They are merely the girlfriends I hang with when I’m there. I can’t be there all the time. I’d lose myself. There was a time when I thought completely escaping into that world was the answer to my well-being. I’ve slowly realized over the years that if I forgot all the other parts and dimensions of myself, it’d just be another projection and I could probably never be completely happy. Especially considering the ladies in that world are ladies of extreme emotions, and while they can be considered both positive and negative, they wouldn’t quite give me the balance I find by embracing all of myself.

Me on facebook is deffo a projection. While the woman you meet there is very much me, it’s a part of me. I can’t be completely her. I don’t open my eyes in the morning with witty remarks about the start of the day, or feminist angles to making the bed, or gyrating and hairflipping when I’m making my breakfast. What makes me smile when getting up is my guinea pig making: “Heeey, we’re hungry over here”-noises, while standing in his toilet. “Efficiant multi-tasking, eh, little man?”

As a woman, and because of how I’ve been raised, I basically started of my life trying to live up to projections. I think it’s easy as a female to do that, we certainly have been more pushed to do it. When I fell in love, what made me happy was making the other person happy. Sussing out what they liked, looking into it, learning to like it myself. That’s fine in part, in part it’s called compromising. But I must admit, I’ve never grown as much as a person, getting to know myself and what I like, as when I’ve given up love or love has ended. I really go: “Screw it, I’m gonna do this, I REALLY wanna do this and I don’t care what anyone else thinks!” I’ve had the luck of friendships and relationships where the person is drawn to some projection of me ending, often not by my own doing, I try to project ’til the last moment and hey, you know, it turns out you can never project what THEY think they see, nor what they want, so better just to be yourself, innit? Sometimes a painful lesson to learn. One person really couldn’t seperate my business talk, my 2008 self and my social media/blog projected self from me, and talked to me accordingly, often mixing them all together to the most distorted image ever in this person’s idea world. I mean, talk about looking at yourself in a laughing house mirror! And since I was trying to make it all work, I took it all in. Wow. Yes, good lord, one needing to get away to say the least!

Years and year ago, you’d meet me for the first time and I’d be very quiet, then because I didn’t dare to talk and was painfully shy. Today it’s a different story. I’m still pretty quiet. And I wouldn’t say it’s because I’m reserved, but I am careful of projecting, just letting the conversation and relationship grow without having to put that shell on the outside. Taking it slow, to put it in layman’s terms. Often with musicians and people doing music, it doesn’t take long to start talking. We share a common interest and often a common spirit. Sometimes it takes two or three times, and then I let it if I find the person genuinly interesting. No rush, you can’t rush these things. Sometimes it takes a little longer and it’s allowed to. Not having hours of conversation the first time you meet doesn’t mean you’re never gonna have a connection.

When I notice someone falling for my projection, I back off. You can tell a lot of the times. When they start presenting yourself to you in a way you don’t recognize. I’ve learned to not play along, it only hurts me, upsets the other person, and sooner or later something will go sour. How some approach you in social media is an example. How someone talks to you like your still in that chat room when you meet them in real life. I could really feel the contrast when out having a coffee with a friend that my private person has become quite comfortable with, and an aquaintance of the two of us approached me and immediately uttered one or two sentences that were clearly directed to my facebook self (which as I said earlier is part of me but certainly not all of me). I backed off, really leaned more into the person I was comfortable with, and didn’t say much. We, me the real person and him the real person, are not meant to talk yet. Not ’til the approach is different.

Today, when it comes to love, I’m lazy I think. Anything ideal I seek in a partner I have in my wifes, so I don’t need to look for it. There is love, no need to dumb down/smart up/change and a genuine dedication to eachother and our interests. We are partners through good times and bad, there is no projection, no masks and complete trust. I’m not saying nothing ever happens in the department d’amour, I’m saying I don’t care if it does, and in some ways that takes away that lesson, learning how to balance your care and interest for the other. And since I am lazy, and the approaches I get are often from the men or women who go ga-dunk dunk for my projection, well… you know… that doesn’t work. Morrisey’s celibacy makes sense 😉 I do have faith in the great mother, as I am in some ways still learning the balance, when it’s time to go ape-shit-dumb while still maintaining me, the universe will give me a big smack in the head. As a gal’ on this earth (and as a guy ofc, but honestly the women still need to hear it more), it’s smarter to really get your head and heart into your core, not just for your own happiness but it’s about letting someone love the real you, too. It’s unselfish, is what I’m saying. And it’s probably never gonna be easy. It may take time (it doesn’t always), but mylord is it gonna be a good life! Happiness garantueed, refunds allowed but never claimed.

In conclusion, I am not knocking the many masks we wear. They are as important to us as breathing to manage most aspects of life, even love. I am only pointing out the importance of never walking in to any one seperate of them. They are only you when combined and in their own place. That’s when they are genuine parts of you. Finding this balance is about as hard as if you’d be wearing actual spandex walking on a line, but remember, there’s a safety net below and even as it gets harder, or sometimes easier, you will always learn and always become better, as long as you are awake and aware. The bruises and scars are your reminders;

Don’t compromize yourself. You’re all you’ve got //Janice Joplin