I have a tattoo.

Actually, I have several. I’m getting another one. I collect them, like stones or glass on a beach. To commemorate occasions in my life. Usually things that I need to remember.

My tats are often of birds. That’s what they usually are of. Only one is not. It’s a treble clef that has gotten so smudgy that it’s hard to see. But tattoos are also like scars, and my first one reminds me that no matter where and who and what I fly through, it’s all about the music for me.

The tattoo I’m thinking about now is NOT the tattoo I got previously, or the tat I’m going to get, both of which are supposed to indicate how I relate to my environment. It is the one on my wrist.

It’s a flower, made out of five cranes. I wanted something that called to me. I had no idea what to get. My friend Jay suggested the flower from the cover of the Hagakure (The Book of the Samurai). It is made of five cranes.

Mine is black, not filled in with the red. I have very white skin. It is to remind me that although I can think of eight, sometimes thirteen things at once – and that I have only a very few times in life managed to distill my mind down to one thought – I should keep focus on five things.

Lists are good too. I have a habit of making long, unobtainable project lists, and this has been killing me. I leave them to the side. I focus on my obsessions. I am easily distracted.

It is not easy to distract me, when I am in mode. Two Christmases ago, I was in mode. The very last Song Fu that was had, I was in “mode.” I didn’t make it into the final, but I got far farther than I – as a musician that would genre herself as “weird,” should.

Mode means focused on a task. Mode means practicing 3 hours a day. Mode means lists going check, check, check.
There’s lots of things that knock you off mode. For me, questioning myself will knock me off mode. And I questioned myself a LOT in the last half of the year. I began the year in isolation, and it’s been getting worse. Questioning myself. Not Having Faith. Not Believing.

*It helps to have good friends to talk to.
*It’s vitally important to have a partner who knows who you ARE.
*It’s CRUCIAL to make your choices wisely.
*It’s MORE crucial to be flexible and bouncy, and to know yourself; because you could find yourself bruised or broken sometimes. It’s always fixable, in someway. Maybe not the way YOU choose, but someway.
*It is absolutely vital to follow your own compass; your gut. It IS who you ARE.

I have learned so much last year. It is not yet the first month of this year. I have so many huge plans. But they are not so big. They are tiny seeds. Last year all my seeds were surrounded by skill and a lack of strong intent – a kind of power that had an accidental drive in back of it.

This year I need to have power and intent and also openness and love. It’s important to know that there IS nothing to protect. That what gets ruined can be rebuilt. Remembered, reborn, maybe even can flourish. I don’t have to give up on anything I’m not ready to; and I don’t have to be Ms. Worse Case Scenario. And I never need to be embarrassed for the spaces I choose to take up. I can do whatever I want. Voices of self-doubt can be argued with with voices of love.

I’m going to be just fine.

And so are you (plural-ish). Thanks.


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