Fearless

This is a song the TCWC is singing this weekend.  It’s one that I find myself listening to a lot these days, actually.

I don’t typically consider myself to be held back by fear.  It isn’t that I don’t HAVE fear; I have PLENTY of fear.  But I just…well, if I let being scared keep me back, I wouldn’t live where I do, I wouldn’t have married my wife, I wouldn’t go climbing three times a week, I wouldn’t do or have done any of the things that make me who I am.  Everything I cherish has only come to me after fear.  And it has always been worth it.

Even when, as Kat Perkins says, “There’s no love without heartbreak.”

I think this song has such a beautiful mix of pride and defiance and awareness of the things that do hold us back.  It reminds me that it’s okay that having courage is hard sometimes, that taking the step past the fear isn’t always going to be easy.  That it’s okay to struggle and be scared.

And that the ability to live in spite of fear, the ability to love in spite of fear, is a choice.  It isn’t often an easy one, and it isn’t often a painless one.

To live fearless is a decision a person has to make a million times a day, and it might not ever get any easier to do.  And it’s okay that it’s hard, it’s okay when it isn’t hard, and it’s okay to be proud of the times it works out right along with the times it doesn’t.

What would I do if I weren’t afraid?  Probably about what I’m doing right now.

And I’d still have bled for it, cried for it, ached and anguished for it.  And never regretted a minute of it.

Tonight, and every moment there’s a spark living in me, I’ll be fearless, too.

Thanks, Kat Perkins.

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Clouds of Words and Music

Sometimes I think I learn more about music, or writing, or any other kind of art only by putting it in the context or terms of another.  When poetry is reinterpreted in a song, when a painting inspires a novel, or any other way of transforming art, you really get to see it differently.

(Fanfiction is exactly this, in fact.  Taking an original work and spinning it around, building from it, expanding it, it changes the boundaries from where the source began and reveals all its hidden glory.)

Anyway.

I’ve been fascinated by word-clouds since I came across the concept years ago.  Take a bunch of text and plop it into a nifty generator and you get a visual representation of what words are repeated most often.  Sometimes it reveals trends, like the ones that people make using famous speeches to find themes or political buzzwords.  But it always reveals the heart of what is behind the art.  There are some beautiful word-clouds out there for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, or a very neat one in an appropriate shape for “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.

When you glance at these, you can see the words that carry the most weight, the words that are repeated, emphasized, and without which the piece loses all meaning.

It’s also something of a gut-check, I think.  If you write a poem you intend to be about love and find out that you use the word “salad” the most often, unless a salad is your central metaphor, it’s possible you missed your subject matter.

Sometimes I grab the song lyrics of an album I’ve been keeping on repeat and feed them into an online word-cloud just to see what comes out.  Do I notice that I’ve been feeling down lately and the core words which are most prominent are less than hopeful?  Have I totally missed that half the songs on this one CD are actually about otters?

It’s a neat way to see what you might have missed.

So I decided to do one for Candles Enough.  I pulled 13 of our songs and stuffed them into a free, online word-cloud courtesy of https://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/.

The word-cloud contains the lyrics from the following songs currently on YouTube:  Fairytale, Jagged, The Nerd Song (You Could Also Call Me An Enthusiast), Trial By Fire, What I Lost in Spring

And the following songs not on YouTube (and, in some cases, not even completely set to music yet!):  Beggar, Binary/Shenandoah, Bring Me Home, Crow Song, Love Shall Not Fail, Steady And Free, Tomorrow, Humanist Hymn of the Supernal (Spiritual, Not Religious)

Here is the result:

How you interpret it is up to you, I guess.  As for me?  I see a lot of love, a lot of welcome, a lot of joy and hope.  Which means I guess we’re doing something right with our songwriting!

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Mashups!

Well, I was going to write something more substantive this week, but I’ve been battling the cold from hell for days and my creativity is dwelling somewhere between ‘nonexistent’ and ‘oh fuck no.’

So instead, I invite you to check out DJ Earworm!

Basically, this awesome and very talented person puts together incredibly intricate mashups of popular songs.  The United State of Pop has been an annual remix collection of the top 25 songs of the year going back to 2007.  Every one of them is worth watching.  Then there are the specials, the summer editions, and the thematic mashups.

Have you ever wanted to hear the Beatles, Diana Ross, U2, and Mariah Carey together?  Here you go!

What about a tribute to Annie Lennox?  Got it!

I pretty much listen to all of them as often as humanly possible until I can sing along.

There’s something for everyone and these tunes WILL get in your head.  He’s not called DJ Earworm for nothing!

Enjoy!

(And hopefully next week I’ll have something more to say.  And less of a fever when I say it…)

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Closing of the Year

I don’t actually know if there will be another blog from me until after the end of December between multiple holiday functions with family and friends, some travel, and a great deal of catching up on other projects on my days off work.  So, just in case I don’t pop back up until 2017, let me take this chance to wish the universe, the void of the silent internet, a peaceful end to a tumultuous year.  May you, whoever you are and wherever you are, find some joy in these last days, and may peace and happiness light your way in the coming year.
Here is my wish for this year and all years to come:

See you in January!

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Silence

I haven’t felt much like writing lately, to be honest.  I finished my Yuletide assignment (more on that…sometime) and a few oneshots and I’ve pretty much just stalled out since then.  It isn’t only because Thanksgiving is busy and as the year draws to a close I find I have more things to do than days in which to do them.  And it isn’t the fading of daylight that saps my energy just as the gift of it in summer restores it.

It’s been a long few weeks in the world.  For everyone, I think.

I’ll try to put something coherent and blog-worthy together next week.  I will.  Until then, I’m going back to what holds me up no matter how long and cold and dark and miserable the days — music.

This is a masterful cover of an already-amazing song, and I think it is a different kind of brilliant from the original.  It’s getting a lot of airplay on our local radio, which I appreciate.  We need these words, this reminder, this anthem.  We all do.

We can’t be silent.  And we can’t let silence stifle us.

And we cannot turn away from starkness.

Find your voice.  Find your song.  Find your scream, if that’s what you discover inside yourself.  Find it and hold onto it.  Breathe life into it.  Breathe passion into it.

Fight the urge to stop listening and give in to silence.  Fight it to the death.

Fill the silence with art.

Art is need and joy and fear given form.  Art in any practice, be it music or painting or stapling together a gif, is the bridge between what we hold inside us and what we offer to the world.  I believe that every time you allow a single burning star to emerge from the galaxy of your soul, you nudge the world forward.  Maybe a little or maybe with the force of a hurricane, but it doesn’t matter how much.  Even if no one sees it or understands it or likes it.  You have CREATED.  The act of creation is miraculous.  Every time.

My art may never really reflect my spirit; my skill is definitely lacking when compared to my vision.  But having created something, there will always be an ember of it, a spark, a flame somewhere in the world that lasts long past when I ‘finish’ it.  If someday silence comes, if fear stifles me, all the art that I have already given life will speak for me.  My voice and my soul will still lend their strength to the motion of the world long after my own courage has faded.

Join me.  Sing, write, draw, make.  Live in the deepest expression, however it comes.  Even once.  Fearlessly, recklessly, unapologetically.

Scream into the coldness of the world.  Dare it to scream back.

Add to the fire even just one spark.

Winter’s gonna be brutal.  Help us all keep the world warm.

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Current Anthem: Courage, by Justin Hines

I am a music junkie and I ALWAYS have music near me, from CDs in my car to my ever-present iPod.  Every year of my life, every step I’ve ever taken in any direction, they all link back to one song or another.

This song is my current anthem, my favorite which will be on constant repeat until circumstances move me to another place like a hotspot whose volcano shifts above it.  This song and this artist sum up everything good in my world right now.

Justin Hines is a miracle of a human being.  Seriously.

Here’s all the proof you need:

I can’t recommend his work or his advocacy enough.

So if you need a moment of inspiration, if you need to fight your way to finding the silver lining in your own dark sky, I hope you can follow Justin’s own courage into your own.

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Sorry about last week!

Since I forgot to put up a post last week and I haven’t had time to think of anything particularly clever this week, have a few pictures of our cat, Kiba:

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Kiba is about 4 and a half years old and he was a shelter cat we added to our house in the winter of 2015.  He’s big into sleeping on my stomach, sleeping on my lap, sleeping against my leg, and otherwise sleeping somewhere he can lean on me.  He’s also our resident hunter who happily kills and eats any bug he can reach and — rather memorably — any mice he finds in the basement.

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He would also like you to know that he does not appreciate being woken up from a nap in the sun on top of Sarah’s flannel shirt just for a picture, no matter how cute he is.

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Kiba spends a lot of time on this window-seat chittering and meowing at the world and everything in it.  And when there are birds or squirrels or butterflies or rabbits or bees or basically anything that moves that he might be able to eat, he will tell you, quite loudly, that he is entirely prepared to eat them…if only the stupid humans would open the window to let him get at them!

And a bonus picture of our older cat, Maia:

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Maia has been with us since the summer of 2005 when she was a year and a half old, making her our darling old lady kitty.  She is…not what I would call “fond” of Kiba in any traditional sense, but she absolutely LIVES to chase him around and pretend to bop him with her little paws.  Kiba outweighs her by something like 3.5 pounds, but she is definitely the boss around the house.

For extra special bonus, here is a song I wrote about cats in general.  Not Kiba or Maia or even Thunder who we lost in 2015.  Just cats in general.  But it is starring Mister Kiba himself, though not altogether willingly.

Of note?  It is NOT easy to not only try to keep Kiba in frame, but keep Maia OUT of frame and NOT starting one of her little dominance standoffs with him!  That relief at the end?  That was absolutely genuine.  And I’m never trying to record a song with a cat EVER AGAIN.

Though the bloopers were hilarious.  One day I’ll make a supercut of them.  You know.  Someday.  Eventually.  Sooner or later.  I hope.

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Spotlight: Twin Cities Women’s Choir

This week saw the return of one of the major events that dominates my non-writing life, which is singing with the Twin Cities Women’s Choir (aka the TCWC). The choir’s season starts at the beginning of September and runs through about mid-May with multiple concerts per year, weekly rehearsals, and lots of side activities, fundraisers, and get-togethers.

The mission statement of the choir reads thusly:

The Twin Cities Women’s Choir is a diverse community that sings, performs, and affirms the voices of women.

Vision: We strengthen and inspire individuals and communities through song.

I have been a member of the TCWC since the September of 2006 and I can personally attest that this choir is everything it says it is and so much more. This choir is not just about a bunch of people getting together to learn and perform music, though it is that, obviously.

This choir is a true community, an extended family, a united group who strive for openness, collaboration, joy, fulfillment and peace. Also excellence in music, yes, of course.

I have been singing in one group or another since I was approximately 8 years old. I have participated in small groups, huge mass choirs, a rock band, and everything in between even before you start counting Candles Enough. I have sung in a dozen languages, performed sacred music from around the world, and the best (and worst) of pop and Broadway and Hollywood. Not a day of my life goes by without my singing to something somewhere, be it in my car, with my wife and partner in our band, at choir, or just to myself while washing dishes. I work with tunes playing on my iPod and my novels have all been written with their own soundtracks on repeat to keep me focused. One of the things I have learned about myself is that it is virtually impossible for me to do much of anything without music. Music is my heart and soul.

These things have been nourished, supported, and fostered in the TCWC until they shine more brightly than ever before in my life.

The Twin Cities Women’s Choir is an amazing place to make music with extraordinary women, but it is not only a place for me to make music. It has also become a surrogate family, a support network, a new home in which I have developed roots in a new place. This is a community of passionate, caring, dedicated women (and men too!) who would come running if a member or friend needed them. This is a choir that has stood with its members through the brightest joys and deepest pains of life, a choir that has sung for weddings and funerals and birthdays and anniversaries and parties. When I walk into the TCWC for rehearsal, I know that it doesn’t matter if I’ve had a terrible day or a great one — I will be welcomed and I will be cradled. I could cry on a shoulder or giggle with a neighbor and it will all be okay.

This is a choir that really, truly believes in the power of community, the power of women’s voices, women’s gifts, women’s hands and women’s hearts. I have learned more about music and more about myself as I see my spirit reflected in women of every age, every background, around me.

I have been honored to debut pieces for emerging composers that brought me to tears; I have sung songs of courage and fire and defiance and never doubted that our voices make a difference. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (Attributed to Margaret Mead) If any such group exists for women in the Twin Cities, it is this choir.

The Twin Cities Women’s Choir has given me a home for my voice, a home for my heart, and a home for my passion. I am honored to be counted as a sister in song with every one of the women who have given of themselves to our organization.

This year is the TCWC’s 20th anniversary. It is MIND-BOGGLING to realize that I have been a part of this choir for half its life. And yet, I cannot imagine a world where I did not belong to the TCWC, where I did not spend Wednesday nights in a church basement laughing and singing.

I’m an author, yes, but even I’m not that good, you guys.

As the choir begins to rehearse for its 20th season, as we look back on beloved songs and look forward to new ones, I know it’s going to be an emotional ride. Some songs like “Music in My Mother’s House” and “Sister My Sister” can’t be sung without wringing tears from most of the women in the choir, myself emphatically included. Some songs stir memories of bad days or brilliant ones. Some songs are the WORST POSSIBLE earworms and I’m going to have them in my dreams for the next six months.

I’m looking at YOU, “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

I don’t even sing WORDS for the first half of the song! I just sing the windy part in a different key from the melody (honestly, yes, it is) with its own special, irregular meter! But NO, I’m gonna have that haunting tune Jan put together for us in my head NONSTOP. Thanks, TCWC.

On the other hand — thanks, TCWC.

No, seriously. Thank you.

Because when I was in a bad downswing and could barely breathe, you found a song I wanted to sing and I remembered how to live.

Because when the world crashed down and the people in power were frightening, you stood up, one hundred women strong, and refused to be cowed or silenced.

Because when there was joy and celebration and the happiest of times, you lifted your voices to share the jubilation across the sky.

Or, I should say…we did.

There’s a line in the song Sarah and I perform called “Binary” that we wrote for our wedding that goes, “So stand here with me as you’ve stood all along; your hand was in mine before my first song and my arms will hold you tonight.”

I’ve been singing since birth. I’ve lifted my voice in happiness and pain, on sunny days and through winter storms.

But I’m pretty sure I was always singing with the TCWC, even before it was born. There is always music in the world, always — we just have to find it.

The TCWC found that music like catching a star and hauling it down from the sky, and we hold it together, nurturing it and breathing it brighter and sharing it far and wide. I think maybe my song was always a part of that star and it was just incumbent upon me to go find it.

Some people find a church home, or a team, or a company, or some other organization.

I found my choir home.

And as the Twin Cities Women’s Choir celebrates 20 years of making music, enriching the lives of its members and audience, contributing to the world of music for and by women, and standing as one more light to shine through any darkness, I can only look forward to another 20 years.

And I’ll be there all the way.

If you’re curious, the website is here.

And here’s something from YouTube in case you need a song of your own today:

Thank you, TCWC, for carrying me home.

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In My Skin

(AKA: Why I avoid makeup like it was chasing me with a knife made of hepatitis and hand-grenades)

This weekend I will be performing in a vocal recital along with several of my favorite people in the world.  It’s not my recital but I’ve got several pieces to contribute and I’ve been looking forward to it all summer.

And you know what makes me the most nervous?  It isn’t the singing, even though I’ll be singing some very exposed parts in front of some people whose opinion I probably value too much.

It’s how I look.

How I look in the dress and how I look in my own skin.  And since I don’t feel like tackling issues about women and body-image in the sense of physical shape, I’m going to focus on the latter.

I don’t wear makeup.  EVER.

I can count on both hands and a few toes the number of times I have worn any form of makeup in my life.  One dance recital, age 4.  One day at summer camp, age 12.  Four drama performances, two at age 14, two at 17.  Two gigs in a band competition, age 24.  Two job interviews and one first day, age 24.  One wedding, age 24.  Two choir concerts, age 24.

That is literally it.

Now, when I say “makeup” I mean EVERYTHING.  Lipstick, eyeliner, blush, foundation, anything and everything one might paint upon oneself for the purpose of changing one’s appearance.

Of course, the question is — why?

If you’ve ever seen a picture of me, or if you watch our videos, you’ll note that I do not have perfect skin.  I don’t even have nice skin.  I have the skin of a 14-year-old whose hormones have been turned up to 100 and have been this way since puberty began.  I have blemishes you couldn’t cover with a hubcap and scarring besides.

But then, wouldn’t that be the perfect reason for makeup?  To cover that stuff?

I’m so glad you asked.

Yes.  But no.

One of those makeup-wearing days up there was the one from summer camp.  It’s a good story and it informs most of what came after.

I attended a week or two at the same summer camp for 9 years of my childhood, and it was one of the best and most formative things I ever did in the summer.  In a cabin of 12 girls, though, you start to see the years take effect as little girls begin the steps to adulthood.  Girls I had known for years started showing up with bikinis and put on makeup to go to the beach.

I was never into that stuff.  I never wanted to be.  But one of the girls who had always been kind and friendly offered to do a bunch of makeup for me so I wouldn’t feel left out and soon the whole cabin was in on it, on giving me a makeover.  I sat and let them do as they wished and they put on my makeup and braided my hair and lent me a dress (because who brings a dress to summer camp when you’re playing sports and climbing in trees and swimming all day long? Not me, apparently.).

When they were finished, they called over our cabin’s head counselor and asked what she thought.

And her answer stayed with me forever.  “You look very nice, but you don’t look like yourself.”

I remember that the horn blew for afternoon ballfield right then and we all headed out to go play, but I went to the bathroom first.  I remember looking at myself in the mirror.  I looked…polished.  Feminine.

I smiled at myself.

And it tore a hole in me.  Because that was NOT me.  Not really.

At age 12, almost 13, I realized that that stuff on my face wasn’t for me.  It was for other people that it made feel good and happy.  For me, it was me bowing to expectations and becoming the girl that girls were supposed to be since it certainly didn’t apply to boys.  It was me looking like a “better” version of myself.

And I decided then and there that I would rather be the true version of myself no matter what.  That the only “better” me would be the me who lived fearlessly and shamelessly.  Also — I decided that ANY standard applied to boys or men could just as well apply to me too and who cared that I was a girl?  I’m a person first.  And I’m a person who didn’t care about being the right-looking girl.

So I washed it off, ran and changed, and got out to ballfield in my shorts and sneakers and threw balls around with everyone.  And I never tried it voluntarily again.

Now, if you look at my history, you can forgive me wearing it a few times when I was in a play — theater people will tell you that you need makeup to look normal under the lights.  I kinda disagree, but when you’re in school, eh.  I always looked orange, but we were all orange and it was only slimy for a few hours.

But at age 24, well, I had a crisis of faith.  Faith in myself.

Sarah and I were performing as a different band then, and we were in a competition — and the judges didn’t like us without makeup because we were girls.  (It took us a while to figure out that the whole competition was rigged against us anyway because even though we weren’t “out” to them, we were clearly out to one another.)

At the same time, I had to change jobs and I was incredibly nervous.  I wanted to be paid more and I thought I needed to dress and look more like the women who were paid more in order to get through the interview process and actually land a job.

Also a friend asked me to wear makeup at her wedding “so the pictures would look nice.”  I guess I should have figured then that maybe a friend who thought I needed to look different to look nice wasn’t quite as kind of a friend as I wanted for myself.

And the choir we sang in wanted people to wear something on stage, too, for the lights.

They all conspired against me, but really, it was me that fell down on the job.  Because I thought, “eh, I don’t like it, and it makes me uncomfortable physically and emotionally, but the reason to wear it makes sense and I can deal with it for a little while, right?”

But you’ll note that there’s nothing at age 25.  Or ever since.

I broke under convention for a little while, but it never manages to hold me for long.

Because what was true at 12 is still true.  I like who I am.  I like who I am and I don’t want to look different from myself.  Even when that means major skin issues or unfashionably mascara-less eyes.  And while it becomes more acceptable for men to wear makeup if they choose — which is great for them — they still don’t have to.  And I still don’t have to.  I am a person long, LONG before I am a woman.

And, actually, it makes for a really good test of people.

Because someone who won’t give a woman respect because she’s not wearing makeup probably won’t give her respect anyway.  Someone who decides based on a woman’s looks whether or not she is smart enough for a job is probably not going to pay her fairly or recognize her full contributions.  Someone who looks at a woman without makeup and a man with makeup and thinks they’re WRONG is not someone I need in my life.  Ever.

This is who I am.  I am me.  I am that person over there with that face and that skin and that smile.  And no, I won’t ever look like a gorgeous model or Hollywood star.

But I could.

The thing about a life without makeup is you figure out that EVERYONE could be beautiful with enough paint and work.  Look at the pictures of celebrities without their hours of makeup and hair-dressing.  They look like regular people — perhaps lovely regular people, but no more and no less.  If everyone could be heart-stoppingly beautiful after some hours in a makeup chair, then we are all just fine right now, today, without an instant of effort.

(Also — there’s a whole argument to be made about this weird preconception that women are supposed to be beautiful, and the reason for that is that they are supposed to be beautiful FOR MEN.  That women are SUPPOSED to be attractive and…well, it comes down to gender politics and sexual dynamics — and me?  I am NOT INTERESTED.  And not just because I married a woman.  I am not interested in being ANY man’s object of…whatever.  My worth is inherent to me, and I’m not going to play by archaic rules of society that reinforce an inherent inequality between men and women.  NO WAY.)

So, getting back to this upcoming weekend.

The friend holding the recital  will be wearing makeup which she’s having professionally done.  But she is fine if nobody else bothers.  She would be fine with us all up there in jeans and sneakers performing with her because she is awesome like that and just doesn’t care how we look — she loves us, no matter what.

But I do care.  I hate that I care.

I hate that I’m going to be wearing one of the few dresses I love and I’m going to wonder if people are looking at the inevitable blemishes that are scattered across my skin like raging birdshot.  I hate that I have to remind myself that my outside has nothing on my inside and that I could look like a sack of hockey equipment but the point is that I’m there to sing beautifully alongside people I really love.

The thing is that a person can decide that on the course they’re going to follow and still wonder about it, still doubt, still have insecurities.  And that’s me and makeup.  I know, in my soul, that I would rather go without and hold up my ideals than wear it and reinforce my insecurities while hiding my skin’s flaws.  Because for me, to bend to the insecurity and the pressure would be a greater betrayal than to perform as I am, splotches and all.

However.

Even if it hurts, even if it leaves me shaking apart inside OR outside, I don’t bend on my ideals.  No matter what.

Would it be easier to cover the marks of life and bad skin?  Would I be more confident in my dress and in my smile?

No.  It wouldn’t be easier and I wouldn’t be more confident.

Because it would mean I had put the bad opinions ahead of the good ones.  The bad opinions of those who would judge my skin ahead of the good opinions of the people who love me and don’t see it at all.  The bad opinions that rattle around my brain telling me that beauty is about flawlessness and I need to aspire to it ahead of the good opinions that tell me beauty is what I do and how I live and even perfect skin couldn’t make me beautiful.

Just because I’ve decided to face the world with bare, awful skin doesn’t mean I don’t feel the judgment and the ill opinions.  They’re there.  They sink into me and they add to the shouting that makes it hard to breathe some days.

But I’ll bear their shouting with my skin showing anyway.

Because I had it right at age 12.

Fears or no fears, insecurities or no insecurities, acne or no acne, this is who I am.  This is the life I live.  And for me to live it wholly, without shame, with integrity, I have to live it exactly as I am.  Frizzy hair and imperfect skin and awkwardness and brash courage.

The better me, the BEST me, is the me who lives in my skin.  Just the way it is.  And faces the world without flinching away.  The me who lives with the integrity of knowing that I am not afraid to be myself and I am not afraid of my flaws and scars.  That I am defined not by how I look or how I am seen, but by the choices I make and the ideals I hold.

And even if it makes me nervous or uncomfortable, even if I can’t help but wonder if people are staring, I won’t back down.  I won’t compromise.  A person should never compromise that in which they truly believe.

No matter how hard it is, I choose to believe in myself.  Now and forever.
See you at the recital.

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A Friday smile

Since I’m trying to get in the habit of posting weekly around the same time I upload chapters online, I thought this was the right week to leave this here.  We’ve been watching (and yelling at) a lot of Olympics in my house.

By the way — the BEST way to watch the NBC nightly Olympics is by pre-recording it and fast-forwarding.  800m races go a lot faster at double-time.  And also?  The backstroke and the breast-stroke look hilarious at high speed.  And you get to skip the gratuitous commercials and the filler!

Anyway.  In the spirit of the world coming together, I’m going to post this video.  It’s one of my favorites.  Matt Harding started just doing his goofy dances for his friends and wound up on a world-tour connecting people by the thousands.  I’ve even danced with him in one of his videos, though you can’t exactly see me in the crowd.

There are so many things that divide us as people.  But sometimes something very, very simple can unite us.

(You should check out all the videos and see how they developed over the years.  But this is the one that means the most to me.)

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