I sort of retreated into myself for the last few months. Whenever that happens, after a while I try to pull myself out by reading some of my old stuff. I found a poem I wrote in 2007:
It’s not an easy thing,
looking back on your own life.
Sometimes you see nothing but trouble and strife.
I’ve seen a little too much for my own mind.
I’ve hardly seen any in the mind of some younger.
So, I look back at my life and wonder;
What can I give?
How can I share with you the life I chose to live?
Was it circumstance or was it choice?
That causes me sometimes to raise my voice.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing.”
It’s a fine sentiment I do agree.
But what song would I teach to everyone,
so they could always dance with glee?
Should I show them what makes me laugh,
and hope that they laugh too?
Or should I show them what made me cry,
so they turn away from view?
This world is a hard place to live.
With many hard lessons to teach.
Sometimes we lose the lesson,
it’s just beyond our reach.
But here’s what I’d love to teach,
to each and everyone.
No matter what you face in this world,
it’s not stronger than you.
You stand up tall and face your foe,
even if it turns out just to be you.
Learn to laugh and smile and sing,
no matter what life brings.
Remember to extend your helping hand to others,
even when you have fallen short.
Always do this even though sometimes you don’t feel you ought.
For you help not them when you reach out your hand,
you help your own heart to cease to reprimand.
This is what causes me to laugh when I should cry.
This is what causes me to sing when I should wail.
This is what brings my smile to greet you when we meet.
For when you smile back, I feel the world is at my feet!
Saturday marked exactly a year since I moved to Berlin, so I figured I should write an update of some sort.
On the 1st of August 2014, I hopped on a one way flight out of Heathrow, and was met in Berlin by two friends of mine, Sandra and Christina. Scared out of my mind and thoroughly excited, we jumped in a taxi, which took me to my new home in Schoneberg. New sights and new experiences awaited.
Having left a job to begin life as a freelance musician, the adventure was twofold. New country, new career direction. A year later and I’m beginning to get a hang of things in this strange new world. The first few months were spent living off my savings. I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in the local park, reading and soaking up sun. I had no clue as to how to tap into the vast musicians’ network that Berlin is home to. Especially being as horrendous at networking as I am! I went to a few meetup events and attended a particular event at a karaoke place. There I met a young lady who told me of her uncle who is a drummer here, and she could put us together. I chatted with him and he gave me a plethora of names of people to get in contact with. I messaged them all via facebook and a few responded. Once that was done, I joined this vast world of musicians based here. I performed every week at a club that was based in Charlottenburg, Jagger. Said club has since closed down. (Nothing to do with me, I promise!)
As an unknown name, I obviously performed for free. I had to return to the UK in Sept to sell the last of my things. My keyboard being the most precious. I do miss it dearly. Though, I will eventually get myself a new one. I didn’t get my first paid gig till November. Since then, I have been working regularly with a group of people, performing at birthday parties, weddings etc, travelling around Germany. I have also twice performed in St Petersburg, Russia. And now that I seem to be settled with regards to events to pay the bills etc, I can start looking at forming my own band and writing my own material once again. I have thoroughly missed creating and I look forward to getting back to it.
I have since moved from Schoneberg, I now live in Friedrichshain. An area in the east of Berlin, where I find soooooo many internationals, it’s amazing.
I would love to tell you that it’s been all smooth sailing, but it hasn’t. It has been the most challenging time of my life to date. I was unaware of how safe my previous life was until I moved here. i.e knowing that every month I will have an income to pay bills etc. I have in essence, gone off in business by myself. My product, me. It’s a strange new world that I am yet to get a handle of. But if there is anything my life to date has taught me, it’s that I can do whatever it is I wish to do. No matter how strange or beyond me it may seem at first, the instant I decide I want to do it, it becomes possible.
One year done. Let’s see what the next year has in store. I remain scared and excited! 😉
A question I have asked myself a number of times over the last few years.
I’ve had cause to think on it even more of late. Some time in May I returned from a trip to St Petersburg, where I had a number of gigs. I fell ill while still in Russia, and on my return to Berlin was laid up in bed for the best part of the week. My mother, with whom I speak at least once a week, was rather worried. She was concerned by the fact that I currently reside in a strange country where I have no network of people to look in on me while unwell. She requested that I “try to find a girlfriend” to remedy this. I was highly amused by that statement!
Nevertheless, despite this amusement, it did give me cause to think on the whole “love” subject.
Much of my life experiences have meant that I’ve become a tad cynical in my not-so-old age. Somewhere deep inside I still want to believe in the old ‘code’ of love, honour and the like. My mother, who is a lot more perceptive than she admits, always tells me not to look at her marriage as an example, rather to look at the marriage of her parents and from that take solace in the fact that some couples do make it. My grandparents were together for as long as I can remember.
My grandmother passed way before my grandfather. After this, he was never the same. I still remember speaking to him once, some years ago. And he was nothing like I remembered of him. The last time I saw him was at some point in ’93, before I returned to the UK from Nigeria. He was in his 70s at the time. I still remember, he climbed a tree to get me some bananas. This tree had been there since I was young, so it wasn’t a short tree. He was a man full of vitality. So I was indeed shocked at the change in him, his voice was weak and he could hardly speak. My mother told me that after his wife passed away, a part of him was gone. Though, on the day he passed away himself (some 3 or so years after my grandmother), my mother tells me he was singing, dancing and telling all that he was going to see his wife. My forays into the relationship quagmire have been far from wondrous, as a result, I don’t believe much in love stories anymore. Despite that, this story always warms me.
I came across this particular story some years ago and thought it a good ending for this particular blog entry. This story reminds me that some of the old stories still work. And some people still do ‘make it’
I hope to be one of such people.
- Love your partner everyday, appreciate their never-ending commitment (focusstudiofitness.wordpress.com)
So, to combat the fact that I hadn’t written a poem in an age (last was in October), I went to a nearby park to sit, think and see if I can reconnect with myself. In the end, I was able to write:
Letter To A Friend
When I feel down,
As I have for the past few months.
I pick up the pad you gave me,
And I read the words you left me.
You have much faith in me,
These days I can’t see why.
I often feel like a failure to myself
As well as to my loved ones.
Especially around certain times of the year.
I often wish I could see,
What you see, when you look at me.
I would love to draw strength from that
And know that there is much,
Or at least a little to claim pride in.
I look ahead, to see.
To see what lies before me, and the path is not clear.
I feel tis a narrow road and I must clear a path for myself.
I look to my past. To previous thoughts and readings,
I am reminded that David often had cause to encourage himself.
I have trouble trying to draw parallels with him.
Even as I did when I was a man of faith.
I hear words from my favourite tv characters,
The Doctor, Merlin, Sherlock et al
Yet, I could not presume to place myself among such exalted company.
Though, if I would seek greatness, is it not their kin I must look to?
Can I not draw parallels here?
Is it too late to try?
Am I unworthy?
Who is worthy, if I cannot be?
All is in my hands.
But where do I turn?
I feel like a rudderless ship. Adrift in a storm.
With no idea which way is my North.
I look around to seek out answers.
In times gone past, I was told,
Look to the hills, as from there comes my help.
But I am no longer that man.
Those words no longer belong to me.
They belong to another.
I know not who.
Many moons ago, I was told of a destiny that was mine.
Is it no longer for me?
The underlying sadness I felt, even as a man of faith.
Remains, tears and claws at me.
The tenet I hold in hand.
Do what your hands find to do.
This I continue to do.
I am not comfortable.
And this is fine.
If I was, I wouldn’t fight, I wouldn’t try.
But I know not what I am supposed to do.
My strength has never been born of myself.
Ever was it born from others.
As much as I hated it,
It would appear I was never truly independent.
And much have I hated that.
You were the strength I never knew I needed.
In truth, I’m not even sure I wanted.
I fought you.
Because I fear that is all I know.
For good or ill, this has been my help.
Who do I fight?
Where is the iron to sharpen me?
And so I am lost.
I’m sure that in time, I will find my way.
It is me afterall.
In the meantime, I shall wait.
Try to find direction again.
I shall wait.
Unfortunately, it won’t be patiently.
At the end of every year I write a new poem to usher in the new year. Last year, for the first time in a number of years, I neglected to do so. I shan’t do the same this year.
2014 has been a year of change for me. In January, I graduated from my Masters degree in Music Performance, with a fairly clear plan for the year. I was going to travel to Italy, as I had done during the summer for a few years. I had planned to spend a few months there, then possibly head to Ankara, Turkey for another few months. Italy fell through, and I had to change my plans. Halfway through the year, I moved to Berlin. I write this on Christmas eve and I’m sitting on my bed (I’ll type it up later)
It’s my first Christmas away from the UK in over two decades. Though I’ve spent the season on my own in years gone by. It feels quite different to be in a new country that I am yet to be able to call home. And as I prepare to celebrate my first Christmas away from home, I gain new respect for the many international students I have known over the years. I don’t know how you did. Though, I’m glad you did, and I am richer for knowing you.
As I sit here, I think on the future. For the last decade, I had followed a plan. I’ve come to the end of that and I have no plan now. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that it’s a scary place for me.
A new year beckons.
A new day begins.
As this new sun rises,
A new season begins with it.
A season of hope.
A season of joy.
A season of fulfilled dreams.
A season of new drive.
A season of new challenges.
Just like any other.
But a season with new determination.
So you need not run for cover.
As we open ours eyes.
To face this new day.
We think new thoughts.
We dream new dreams.
We see new faces.
To guide us on our way.
We step into new phases.
And in joy, our heads we lay.
Purpose must drive you.
And circumstance, not beguile you.
You need to be clear,
on who it is you are.
Be that one,
who believes in dreams.
Be that one,
who knows dreams can come true.
Lean not on excuse.
Don’t let fear stop you.
Negativity, you must refuse.
Else your tears proceed to drown you.
And when dark days come.
As they tend to do.
Reach deep inside,
To the strength in you.
Forget not, who you are.
Neglect not, your distant star.
Rather, stand firm for what you believe.
Reach far and you may yet receive.
Be brave and you’ll achieve.
Be true to you and in yourself believe.
As the new day begins,
see in it, a new hope.
See in it, a new chance.
And don’t be afraid.
Look back, to see where you’ve come from.
Then look forward, see where you’re going.
With a smile on your face, and hope in your heart.
Know that the future is indeed bright!
Happy New Year everyone! Make 2015 amazing! 🙂
I crave insanity
Insanity born of purpose
I crave insanity
Insanity that promotes drive.
That insanity that ignites passions
And makes you relentless
That insanity that drives creativity
So you can never stop.
That insanity that is unreasonable
And won’t accept what is.
That insanity that is wonderful
And only sees the beauty in all.
That insanity that will look beyond
Beyond the veneer
And see the truth
See the beauty beneath.
Inject me with this insanity.
For the world is becoming far too sane.
We can no longer see things that really matter.
We live in the sanity of the material.
The sanity of what we can touch.
I’d rather have the insanity
of what I cannot see.
I cannot see the love,
that gently encapsulates my mind
I cannot see the inspiration
that causes me to write.
And yet I trust in both
Both push me to fight.
Our hearts no longer beat for each other.
Our hearts no longer beat for truth.
Our hearts just beat for ourselves.
We leave the rest to rust.
Please give me this insanity
That insane thirst for knowledge
I want the insanity of love
That stupid fleeting thing.
I want my insanity
That childhood glee
No thought of what should
And what should not be
Give me insanity
It is my fondest plea
Wrapped in a world
Ripe with possibility
The thing that causes
our hearts to flutter
Is insane it’s true.
But it draws me out of the gutter
So yes, give me insanity.
I need not your reasoning.
Give me insanity.
For it is the reason I’m still breathing.
- Insane Thoughts (bootyoungwriters.wordpress.com)
- Practice is not insanity… (tshombeisms.com)
- Insanity… Sheree Bethea – VSN Extreme (successwithsheree.wordpress.com)
- Insanity (balancingactbykayla.wordpress.com)
- Staying Sane in Insane Times (huffingtonpost.com)
- Week 2 – Heartfelt Desire in the face of Failure (masterkeykris.wordpress.com)
I’m coming out of what has been a very stressful time. I just handed in my Masters dissertation. This sees the end of a two year journey of stress and more stress.
So of course, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what comes next and write a blog!
At the start of February 2003 I began working for Vodafone UK Ltd. After 18months of being unemployed, I received a job offer from Vodafone for a customer services position.I had turned down a number of sales jobs, as I felt none of them offered what I was looking for in terms of progression, and the traits required for selling were not the ones I wanted to necessarily develop. I wanted to be a part of an organisation where I had the chance for upward movement. So VF was the perfect place for me at the time. I spent two years there and in that time I was stretched, pushed, squashed, twisted and challenged in so many different ways. I was made to grow in ways I never thought I could or would. And definitely in much more ways that I grew during 5 years of working at the Birmingham City Council. I grew exceptionally loyal to the place, as it taught me that my future was much brighter than I had previously hoped. So when I left there, it was truly with a heavy heart. But, not a single regret.
10 years ago I never though I’d have a single degree. Today I finish my second. Ecstatic doesn’t even cover it!
The future looms ahead of me. And at 35 I am so full of life and energy. I cannot wait to see what’s next.
There are tooooooo many people to thank for the last 7 or so years. Institutions and individuals. Cultures and countries. Colours and continents have been opened up for me thanks to all of you.
My achievements, my worth, my everything is dedicated to you wonderful people in my life. The encouragement and in some cases the discouragement have driven me to strive beyond what people or even I thought I could achieve.
Let’s see what comes next!
Still working in Italy. Meeting lots of new people. Handing out my business card left and right. You never know, maybe one day something will come out of this.
Anyway, earlier today I emailed my dissertation to my supervisor, which means I have some time on my hands with nothing to do till she replies telling me all I’ve done wrong and asking that I rewrite the whole thing.
I found this little unfinished poem. Generally when I come across unfinished pieces, I try to see if I can finish them. But not quite happening this time. In truth, I can’y quite connect with where I was when i wrote it, so I cannot possibly be true to it and as a result all that would happen would be that it becomes somewhat disjointed if I were to force the issue. Maybe when I come back to it next time, I’ll have a resolution for it.
So for now here it is:
I am to tell you of laughter.
I am to tell you of light.
I am to sing not of destitution
Nor of fright.
Levity is gone, I cannot find thee here.
Seek me out will you?
In this time,
“give me something to sing about”
This was the refrain, was it not?
I have much to sing on.
Though not of joyous rhyme.
I have much to speak on.
I daresay you will not speak in time.
In this season,
In this time.
This is my reason for this rhyme.
My heart remains heavy.
My mind remains weary
The artists demand.
A lot of this world.
A lot from friends.
A lot from acquaintance.
The artists demand.
You give us attention.
You give us your love.
With no apprehension.
We demand you your eyes.
We demand you your fears.
We demand you your mind.
We demand you your tears.
We demand nothing less,
Than all you have to give.
For in return, we’ll give you the world.
We’ll remind you of joy. In the midst of your tears.
We’ll inspire you to fight. In spite of your fears.
We’ll write words, to set afire your mind.
We’ll paint pictures, to beguile your eyes.
We’ll sing melodies that cause you to dance.
The dance of your life, so your worth you’ll enhance.
We’ll bring down the stars and help you to name them.
We’ll show you your birthrights, remind you to claim them.
We’ll show you your future, yet to be seen.
We’ll prod you and poke you, so your worth you may glean.
I ask you this, I must insist.
Are we not worth what we demand?
Tell me this and tell me true.
Are we not worth all this to you?
When we cry at un-met perfection.
And seek you out craving affection.
When we stand before you, heart torn asunder.
We ask that you bring us back from under.
We who paint skies for you.
Sometimes need to remember.
That darkness is not the only hue.
Sometimes there’s still gentle amber.
Sometimes our hearts are desperate things.
That forget how to beat.
Then our bodies are empty husks.
That neglect when to breathe.
As we come to you we seek,
Desperately like a child.
Approval, love and joy.
For like the lamb, we become mild.
Our passion gone.
Our joy lost.
Our reason for being, at large.
The emptiness we held at bay.
Returns when we recharge.
Will you protect us?
Will you enfold us?
As we hide out from the world?
Will you console us?
Will you extol us?
As we seem to come unfurled.
Yes we are artists and we demand,
A lot from this desperate world.
For we are artists and we bring you.
The beauty in this here world.
- The Dance of Fear (sexymamasisterhood.wordpress.com)
- Storyteller or Magic Pixie? (nlp13.com)
- What do I fear?… (nicolascanon.wordpress.com)
- Artist Injects Paint into Bubble Wrap to Create Pixelated Images (neatorama.com)
- Ballroom Dancer on DVD and VOD now (thebuzzdiaries.wordpress.com)
- Lost Artist – Paris Street Corner 1977 (presidentialnomination.wordpress.com)
- The Best Artist… (jeremymartinson.wordpress.com)
- Be. An. Artist. (suziblu.typepad.com)
- What’s Art For? (quinncreative.wordpress.com)