Musical Temperance: Guiding Light

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Oh, Seattle. People who barely know you always lament about the rain and gloomy weather, but last week you showed me nothing but sunshine.

I’ve just returned from the Emerald City from hanging out with family, attending Gender Odyssey’s Professional Conference (by the way, CR’s Traci was insightfully badass during the discussion portions of the panels we attended), adventuring in familiar and unfamiliar pockets of the city, and being reminded of the importance of slowing down and taking a breath.  

You see, I’m an accidental workaholic. Although I am admittedly lazy by nature (translation: I will have food delivered from this restaurant across the street from my apartment because I don’t want to put on pants and go outside), I have a hard time being still. I barrel through the days with little awareness of how I survived my work week and with nothing substantial to show for my efforts. I sometimes go through the month without knowing the actual date.  

Many of us were taught the value of being busy growing up. We were meant to feel accomplished when we were exhausted at the end of the day, but no one specified how we were meant to spend our time, and now we are busy just for the sake of it. Even during my time in Seattle, I stacked up my schedule so I worked in four hour chunks during random times of each day. As usual, I was glued to my phone, reading and responding to emails, text messages, and checking social media anytime I heard that familiar notification chirp. I was so wrapped up in the functional tasks of my day, I almost couldn’t get myself to slow down long enough to enjoy it.

Greenlake

I half-expected Seattle to have the same motivational current as Los Angeles, with everyone rushing to their next destination. Its dreamy stride was unsettling at first. I remember walking through Green Lake and being surprised by its wide open space and how familiar it felt despite the fact that I had never been to that park before. The sidewalks weren’t overcrowded with joggers. In fact, I was able to walk as slowly as I wanted. I was able to feel the dirt crunching under my shoes and breathe as deep as my chest could hold (which I rarely do in LA, because you know, dirty LA air).

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I was completely present in that moment, aware of how the afternoon sun hit the back of my neck and how my arms cut through the air with surprising ease with each step. I didn’t feel claustrophobic, as I often do in LA. If I wanted to change the direction of my path, all I had to do was point my foot where I wanted to go. We are often so swept up in the routines of our daily lives that we forget we have the ability to change the momentum of our lives. When we slow down, either purposefully or because cell reception is spotty and makes you want to throw your phone into a lake (not that that happened to me, of course), we have an opportunity for us to assess where we are, but more importantly, to use our desire and agency to either stay on path or change course.

MTLake

I sat at the water’s edge in Green Lake with my feet dangling above the dirt and rocks. The view was beautiful, spacious, and I knew exactly how I got there.

So this week, as I try to jump back into the chaos known as Los Angeles, I invite you all to take a breath wherever and however you need it. I had this playlist on repeat while I was exploring Seattle. It’s meant to be heard in a wide open space, a place where sound is able to travel effortlessly through the air.

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Kristel is a sometimes angsty writer from Hawaii who now lives in Los Angeles, CA. She claims she’s a Marketing Director at a web design agency, but she spends most of her day in front of the computer while wearing pajamas.

Musical Temperance is her small attempt at creating the perfect soundtrack to help her survive an extended quarter-life crisis. Additional musings and playlists can be found at kristelyoneda.com.

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Musical Temperance: Like a River Runs

BannerLike a River Runs

When I fall asleep I can see your face
What I lost in you I will not replace
And I could run away, I could let them down
And I know you’re gone but still I will remember your light

I will remember
And if you see me in the darkness
I hope you know I’m not alone
I carry you with every breath I take
 
I won’t let up, I won’t let up
Until the wind is gone

-Bleachers

Growing up, death was a rarely discussed topic in my family. I was five when both of my Grandpas passed away, a few months of each other, and the only lasting memories I have of that point in my life is the unfamiliar image of seeing my parents cry. Back then I was too young to understand death’s unparalleled force or the vast hole it leaves in each person’s life. For the longest time, I thought of it as some unknown entity scary enough to make adults cry like children.

Grandma Kaneshiro
Grandma Kaneshiro

In the last year, parts of my childhood have been falling away. I’ve said goodbye to both of my Grandmas (who were my only remaining grandparents), two of my best friends from high school each lost a parent, Tinkerbell and Kaile (family pets who represented two significant stages of growing up) passed away, and most recently I sold the Honda.

www.iammorley.com
http://www.iammorley.com

I know as an adult, death and loss will become more commonplace, but these are strange reminders of how removed I am from my youth. I sometimes don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I feel like I’m changing without my own consent, as if parts of me are unintentionally disappearing as I unravel.

A few weeks ago, I heard the Bleachers’ Like a River Runs EP on Spotify. The last track was titled “Dreams Aren’t Random,” which turned out to be an interview with singer Jack Antonoff and his therapist about the inspiration behind the album. He explained that the title track “Like a River Runs” refers to a recurring dream about his sister, who passed away when he was 18. He recounted how they’re not doing anything specific in it, but there’s a vague feeling everything is okay. “There’s this period of time […] where it’s probably, in reality, only five seconds, but it feels like a thousand years. Right as I’m leaving the dream and right as I’m fully becoming conscious that I’m in reality and in that five seconds […], I’m in reality, but she’s not dead. And it’s the most powerful experience ever.”

There are significant moments in our lives that define us. Whenever I do something, whether it’s playing the guitar or even drinking a glass of water, I do so as someone who has lost their Grandmas. This feature, Antonoff also explains, is as permanently defining as something like ethnicity. “And in those split five seconds in my dream, I’m not that,” he adds. “So it’s like I’m literally a completely different person.” His therapist explains that in these dreams, he’s transporting himself back into this moment where she’s still alive and he’s traveling back to who he was before her death defined him. As a kid, I also moved through the world with a lightness in my step. My sadness was often situational and short lasting, like the single colored disappointment of being called inside for dinner while I was mid-bike ride in the neighborhood.

www.iammorley.com
http://www.iammorley.com

In the weeks after Grandma Kaneshiro passed away, I used to see her in my dreams. A few months ago, she started visiting me again. I remember one dream where I was running through a big field in order to meet someone nearby. There was an adjacent building where people began filing out and walking through the field to get back to their cars. They traveled in pairs and groups, swept up in their conversations as if everyone had just come out from seeing the same movie. I zig zagged through the crowd and spotted my Grandma ahead walking with another woman. She must have said something funny because my Grandma was mid-laugh by the time I reached her. In this moment, my Grandma was still alive. I was bouncing around, excited for my plans, and leapt forward to surprise her when she spotted me. The interaction was quick, as if we had plans later. She told me, “Hi, Kristel!” in that same way she always does and I responded with “Hi, Grandma! I’ll see you later!” as I ran through.

I know my grief has changed me and that the people who meet me now will never know the person I was before my Grandmas passed away. Recently, I had a conversation with my mom about the strangeness of our lives now. She told me, “It’s like life appears the same on the outside, but the base fell out.”

The question I find myself asking these days is one I have no answer for yet: how do we re-define ourselves when we’ve experienced loss?

www.iammorley.com
http://www.iammorley.com

Some think grieving is a process that has a distinct beginning and end, as if our lives are suddenly resumed when we decide it’s time to move on. The experience, however, adheres to no neat timeline. Nothing quite prepares you for it and no one can really tell you how to move through it, and yet it’s a universal experience.

The other day I showed a friend of mine a picture of Grandma Yoneda from the 1940s and she said I had her smile. I suddenly remembered how people used to tell me we looked alike when I was growing up. There’s an old picture of us on my fridge and I never realized until now how the curve of my chubby cheeked half-smile reflects hers. Now when I look in the mirror, I see her too. When my Grandmas make appearances in my dreams now, I try to hold onto that distinct feeling of being with them.

Grief is a cavernous and transformative process, but it also illuminates, in time, the unexpected ways we remain tethered to those we’ve loved and lost. Our dreamspace allows us to process the parts we have difficulty accessing in our waking lives. It opens us up to the possibility of being connected in places we can and cannot see, with the hope we’ll one day recognize these unique and beautifully permanent imprints within ourselves.

Grandma Yoneda
Grandma Yoneda

This week’s playlist is about our journeys and those we carry with us through our lives. Grandma Kaneshiro and Yoneda, please visit again soon.
spotify:user:compassionaterevolt:playlist:4JRsk3KUigqsfLBNXStJL1
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Kristel is a sometimes angsty writer from Hawaii who now lives in Los Angeles, CA. She claims she’s a Marketing Director at web design agency, but she spends most of her day in front of the computer while wearing pajamas.

Musical Temperance is her small attempt at creating the perfect soundtrack to help her survive an extended quarter-life crisis. Additional musings and playlists can be found at kristelyoneda.com.

COM|PASSionate Events

Happy Friday COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES!

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1QQCJxu}
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1QQCJxu}

Mmm… us too! Way too many tabs!

Close some. Come play.

EVENTS

Get out, take care of yourself and heal in community!

{http://bit.ly/1MORU3P}
{http://bit.ly/1MORU3P}

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Don’t forget there’s lots of upcoming ways to get involved!

  • Gender Spectrum is coming up in July! “Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.” They run an annual conference in Berkeley, CA for youth, families and professionals! Go check them out! Registration is now open! They are also looking for volunteers!
  • You’ve done plenty of volunteering and advocacy this year! How about you do something for your queer kinky unicorn heart and run away to Amorous Revolt? Amorous Revolt is queer kinky camping, “To celebrate our bold love, our brilliant spirits, our playful (and sometimes serious) sex, our creative relationships, our radical interdependence, our perfect bodies, and our unstoppable power and agency.”
  • Hey younger COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES looking for something fun to do this summer?? How about Brave Trails— a leadership summer camp for LGBTQ Youth & Allies?! Folks that are our age or older– we know what you’re thinking– where was this camp when we were in high school?? Well, you can still go help out by being a camp counselor or leading a workshop! Go check them out!
  • All of these internet shenanigans too much? Need to digitally detox? How about checking out Camp Grounded: Summer Camp for Adults! CA camp is over but you can still take a road trip to hit the North Carolina camp in August!

RECOMMENDATIONS

Musical Temperance officially launched this week and it was SOOO good… a fridge full of ice cream good. If you can’t wait two weeks for more Musical Temperance you can find Kristel’s other words of wisdom here: kristelyoneda.com.

Listen to the playlist via Spotify or the blog above while you go about your weekends building community or pulling tarot– we’re listening too.

Other upcoming goodies and ways you can get involved in the conversation! 
MTTTCC

Have your own story about healing or thoughts on healing? Are you a queer vegan healer? Want to talk to your community about ways you’re living consciously and connected? Do you want your blog, org, or event to be featured on one of our running series or want to do an interview introducing yourself to the COM|PASSionate REVOLT Community? Are you a unicorn in a pony world disguising your magickal star dust sprinkling mane to live amongst the commoners?

Pitch us a blog series or interview idea!! Contact us at compassionaterevolt@gmail.com!

COM|PASSionately,

The COM|PASSionate REVOLT Community<3

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*Events are put on by the CR Community/CR Community members. Other events are by friends of the CR Community or of interest to the CR Community. Feeling a little nervous about getting out and involved? Email us and if we can we’ll make some introductions so you have a friendly face to say “Hi” to when you get there!

**Most of these events will be local to Southern CA (unless we notice an event that sets us off into road trip dreamland.) If you want to do a COM|PASSionate event round-up for your local area let us know!

***Are you an individual, meet-up or community group that has some COM|PASSionate events of your own? Email us for details on how to submit your event to our calendar!

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.