Friday, January 15, 2016

The One About David Bowie

I have hesitated to post a blog about David Bowie for a number of reasons:

Reason #1- I was afraid of shorting out my keyboard with my blubbering.

Reason #2- I needed to process the reality of his loss.

Reason #3- I didn't want to post a hastily written "tribute" that said little of why I was and still am inspired by him.

Several days have passed now since he took his place among the stars and I feel I can at last write about him and his incredible influence on me.


I suppose I always knew who he was. At least, I could always identify him: weird, skinny guy, sometimes made-up, sometimes not, maybe bisexual, possibly an alien... David Bowie. He was just kind of there somewhere on the edges of my consciousness, inhabiting a space I didn't often visit. Then, for some reason, I began to see him everywhere. He was online, in odd references, on television, even on an episode of Spongebob Squarepants (It's Atlantis Squarepantis, btw.)

Lord Royal Highness has two different colored eyes.

I've come to recognize this phenomenon as an important clue to something significant. It often happens when I'm on the brink of some sort of personal discovery, breakthrough or transition.  I decided to give that sparkly, strange man a chance and see what he was all about. I found myself utterly intrigued, but it took a while longer to figure out why. Oh sure, he was pretty to look at and he was great to watch and listen to, but there was one thing that stood out above all that for me. He seemed absolutely fearless.

Maybe fearless was all part of the act, but from what I've read and seen and listened to, I get a sense that Bowie did what he did without explanation or apology. He never seemed too hung up on the critics. He wrote and sang and shocked and amazed in his strange clothes and wild antics, putting himself out there, not for anyone's approval, but because that was what he did. 

When I "discovered" David Bowie, I was in a period of upheaval and transition. For many years before that time I had held back from artistic expression out of fear: fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of rejection, etc. I had not put myself out there in order to spare myself the pain of disappointment. I saw in Bowie a personal bravery that I wanted to claim. I wasn't ready for balloon pants or sequined platform boots, but I was ready to let go of my fear and put my work, myself, my heart on the line. And best of all, I wanted to do it for ME. I heard a wonderful quote from him in an interview that perfectly summed up what I wanted to accomplish:

"...An audience's appreciation is only going to be periodic at the best of times; you fall in and out of favor continually. I don't think it should be something one should be looking for. I think you should turn 'round at the end of the day and say "I really liked that piece of work," or "That piece of work sucked." Not, "Was that popular or wasn't it popular?'"

~David Bowie~
1988 Interview with Joe Smith

I decided to stop worrying about what everyone else thought of me and my work and just do what I do and enjoy it. That time opened up into one of the most energetic and creatively productive times in my life so far. I wrote more than I had written in years. I sang, I sketched, I painted, I played. It was incredibly fulfilling and I felt a deep sense of gratitude toward David Bowie for sparking it.

Last Friday, Bowie's 69th birthday, my husband and I went out for dinner and rambling downtown. We found ourselves on a comfy leather couch in front of a big screen television and one of the music channels was playing the footage from the 1973 Odeon Concert (the Retirement Gig.) We sat and watched and marveled at the spectacle that was David Bowie. I'm so glad now that we shared that time; that we were able to appreciate him while he was alive. By Monday, he was gone.

I'm still coming to grips with the reality that he has departed forever, but I am so grateful to have access to the enormous body of work he left behind. He was a creative genius, a brilliant performer, and an innovative thinker who was way ahead of his time in many ways. He'll never be forgotten. 

"It's only forever..."

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Drum Roll Please...

Yesterday I was unsure of how I would view the year 2016. I didn't have a catchy title for it or any big flashy spin on it. It was just well, a new year.

Today inspiration struck (as it is wont to do) in my shower. I tend to spend a lot of time doing a wibbly-wobbly timey-whimey hula dance between What Could Have Been and What May Be. So this year, 2016, will be "The Year of Now."

The Year of Now, you ask? Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

N: Never Dwell On The Past-

I have a lot of problems with coulda, woulda, shouldas. I endlessly mull over what I should have said or could have done, etc. It serves no purpose other than to drive me nuts and worsen my TMJ. The past is over. Take a glance back now and then to remember the lessons, but don't focus on it.

And no capes!

O: Own Today-

Today is all I have and it deserves my full attention and energy. Today I will own my mistakes, my successes, my body, my style, and my opinions. I will weigh them out and make sure they are genuine and not based upon what I feel others want or need to perceive about me. I will ask myself, "Why are you doing this? Is this useful? Is it worthy of your precious time? Is this something you truly desire to do or is it fueled by a desire to be viewed a certain way?" If I can trim off the Life-fat of everyone else's expectations, I can get down to the business of using what I have been given to do what I need to do. 

Unfortunately, my Life-fat is not that cute.

W: Worry Less About Tomorrow-

This seems like a no-brainer, but for most human beings, it's incredibly hard to do. We seem to feel like if we think about the future hard enough and long enough, we can form some sort of fool-proof plan for any situation that comes along. We lie awake in bed at night, dreaming up millions of scenarios that could happen and what we will do in said scenarios. Truth is, we have very little, if any control over what happens in the next moment. 

I remember a song from elementary school that went something like:

Don't you worry 'bout tomorrow 'cause tomorrow doesn't come until tomorrow...

I'm a long way from elementary school, and now the days pass by in a blur. Why should I waste any moment of today preoccupied with what may or may not happen tomorrow? There is nothing I can do about tomorrow except chill and have faith that God's already there. I have a life today with family and friends and jobs and opportunities. Tomorrow they may be gone. Best savor them in the here and now. 
Out of the mouths of babes... and tigers.

So there's my big, sparkly, neon-flashing 2016 slogan. Ta-dah!  Maybe it's simplistic for some people, but for me it could possibly be life-changing. What will happen when I stop double-dutching between  the past and the future and just live moment by moment today? It's the slow path, according to The Doctor, but that's quite fine by me.
Or for people with one heart, no time machine, and no power to regenerate.

2016: The Year of Now. That has a nice ring to it. I'm up for its challenge.
 Live big, live brave.
Live now.

*I am awarding myself Nerdiest Blog Post Ever for this one. How many fandom references can you spot?

Friday, January 01, 2016

Not Another Auld Lang Syne

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions; I've had very little luck keeping them. However, I do look forward to the start of a new year as a clean slate and a chance to make myself and my life a little bit better. A few years ago, I instituted the "Year of No Fear" that ended up having some surprising results. I made a conscious effort to quash my fear of failure and embrace opportunities and wound up finding my dream job, getting into freelancing and publishing several pieces.

So, what will 2016 be for me? I'm not really sure yet. I want to be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthier, and I've made a good start. My husband and I got each other Fitbits for Christmas and they are really quite motivating. I'm very competitive with myself, so every day I try to beat what I did the day before. I also bought myself a soccer ball. I know I'm not going to be Alex Morgan or Abby Wambach, but I can kick it around the yard for a bit of exercise.
That's how I look when I do it too...NOT!

I want to get back to eating cleaner as well. It's really not difficult to do. I love fresh produce and meats and have lots of great recipes for clean meals.

I don't have any delusions about being a size 4. I've been super skinny and it was no fun. I want to be healthy and toned, and for me that involves having some curves. I'm okay with that. I have a 20th High School reunion coming up this summer and my goal is simply to shape up as much as possible. I want to look and feel amazing.
Because I have a lot to make up for. (That's one of my Senior portraits circa 1996.)

That's really all I have in the way of "resolutions" and I purposely leave that interpretation loose. It's not about making promises, it's about making positive changes and eliminating the things I know are not good for my physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Happy New Year, everyone. If you make resolutions, I hope you keep them. As for me, i'm just going to try to make 2016 the best year possible.