A extremely depressing story

It’s been rainy for the last several days here. Since I’m used to the fabled 300 days of sunshine, the clouds tend to throw me toward the bluesy side of the mood spectrum. I don’t mind in the least.

Rather, I find a sort of poetic beauty in the blues. Rain inspires me to write (songs, blogs, stories,) draw (usually with blues and grays,) and make music (often with a lot of minor chords.)

However, in my state of poetic depression I tend to write sad and depressing things. The sadder I write, the more I worry that people won’t take me seriously. So today I decided (while journaling) to write the saddest, most depressing things I could think of, and then everything else I write will seem relatively bright and cheery.

(It gets awful from here on out — you’ve been warned.)

Scene one: Annie is a reasonably pretty, reasonably intelligent 20-something female. Her cat (fluffy, cute, stupid) just died, which, coupled with unemployment and singlehood has thrown her into a deep depression. As she walks home from work, all her cares flood over her and she begins to cry. She fights the tears, but they overpower her. People on the sidewalk walk faster after seeing her, looking away uncomfortably.

Scene two:  After arriving home, Annie weeps copiously whilst searching the house for her journal and a pen. She finds a suitable notebook, and eagerly looks about for a writing instrument so she can pour out her cares to the impartial pages. She can’t find a pen.

Scene three: Annie dials up her best friend. As she vents on the phone, her friend says “Oh, boyfriend just walked in, bye!” and hangs up.

Scene four: Feeling the need to clear her head, Annie leaves the apartment to go for a walk, but it starts to rain so she heads back to get an umbrella. She’s locked out of the apartment.

 

All right, I’d best stop there, before this turns into verbal suicide.

Poor Annie. I almost feel bad for giving her such an awful life.

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A really long story about my musical journey

I have a lot of dreams. There are straight up too many things I want to be really good at, so I’m mediocre at most of them.

Cases in point– writing, music, art, acting, dance.

But mostly music.

Music has always come easily to me. I’ve been told I have a good ear a couple of times. However, I guess this is both a blessing and a curse, because I used being able to play by ear as an excuse to not learn how to read music. Years and years I did this, plunking out bits of tunes and chords on piano, until lo and behold I picked up a flute. Well, one can’t really play a wind instrument only by ear unless one wants to be totally handicapped. So thus my proper musical journey began.

Flute was never my home, so after a couple years of self-teaching I picked up clarinet. I thought that this one was my instrument of choice for another year or so. I never could get good though, and as soon as I got braces wind instruments were basically not an option. One cannot maintain proper embouchure when the shape of one’s teeth are constantly changing.

Thus began the years of musical drought in the life of Bethany.

I unfortunately from the ages of about 14-16 didn’t think I was any good at music and didn’t believe I needed music in my life.

What a foolish, foolish age that was.

At 15 I got my bass, an MTD. I still love this instrument so much. I still remember the first day I got it– my brother picked it out for me in a music store in Portland. He emailed me a picture (same model, different color) and made sure the price was okay with me. Brother is a pretty awesome musician, and I was dreaming of stardom, so I of course was good with his choice. This baby is awesome, and I don’t know if I’ll ever outgrow her. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s prettymuch the most beautiful bass out there.) But my brother brought it with him when he visited, and I was at work when he arrived. The memory is oddly vivid– I walked into the house, and a shiny new hardshell case. I squealed in delight, and immediately dropped my stuff to kneel before the case, tenderly lifting the instrument into my arms for the first time. My brother taught me Smoke on the Water and a jazz riff. I still love the way the E string makes the whole body vibrate against me.

ANYWAY.

I still was mediocre at best. I would play (I say “play” meaning “look at while failing to follow”) with my guitar-playing friends occasionally, and I expanded my repertoire by learning some Pat Benatar. I even took a few bass lessons, but I couldn’t seem to kick myself into gear to play for reals.

However, about a year and a half ago I started playing bass on worship team at my church. It’s all pretty simple stuff, and I got bored of it after about 6 months. That’s when I picked up ukulele. I admit I tried guitar in the interim between getting a bass and actually starting to play it, but I never could get the hang of it. There were too many strings, it hurt, and I didn’t understand the principals. I blame ukulele though for getting me interested in multi-stringed instruments in which you play more than one at once.

About six months ago I started taking guitar lessons, learning classically, and refreshing my knowledge of how to read music– and just like that, so many doors were opened to me that were closed before.

Music can take one on so many pathways, and I’m so excited for the journey to come.

Where has music taken you?

We are the Borg… Almost.

I’ve been mulling over something for a while now, and badly feel like I need to get it off my chest, so here goes.

Technology has royally screwed my generation and the next.

Before you decide I’m a loony and move on, allow me to explain myself.

My peers and anyone younger than us have (in the most literal way) grown up on technology. Before we could write cursive we (and they) are proficient typists. I’ve seen advertisements for “baby computers” that will teach your tot basic computing skills before they can even talk. A little girl in the coffee shop the other day was reading texts aloud to her older sister, wielding her smartphone like I would have a Barbie.

In the personal scope, I can only barely remember before we got our first computer– a Macintosh Performa. While its primary function was for my mom’s work, we also had a number of educational games that we would while hours away playing. My second big computer-related memory is when my mom got my dad an original iMac for his birthday, in a snazzy lime shade. (Yes, kids, there was a time when Mac’s big selling point was its pretty colors, not its artistic-pretentious minimalism.) My little sister cannot remember a time without computers, and was typing before her handwriting was legible.

Now, there are four functioning computers in my house and several that are obsolete. I got my first PC when I was 16, and my second (a definite upgrade) at 18. Now my first laptop has been inherited by my little sister at the tender age of 14, and despite my smartphone and thousand-dollar desktop I’ve been entertaining thoughts of purchasing a wee netbook for myself.

So much has happened in the last fifty years technology-wise. The ultimate question then, do the benefits outweigh the toll it wreaks?

I think no.

So much of our so-called social interaction occurs through the use of electronic intermediaries anymore that we straight up do not have the means to interact in face-to-face, one-on-one situations.

For example, I was once in Townshend’s tea house in downtown Bend with my friend Hilary observing how people use their cell phones in the public sphere. It was pretty unremarkable, until a mob of high schoolers invaded (probably freshmen and sophmores, but I am bad at estimating age.)

We were then treated to the sight of annoying public displays of affection (kissing, snuggling in a mob on the couch, etc,) but with a rather disturbing twist. These kids were at the beck and call of their cell phones– I witnessed at least one person disengage themselves from a kiss to answer a text, and several people shut down conversations in favor of their cell phones.

I was (and still am) completely flabbergasted.

Since when did people who aren’t present become more important than the people you’re with?

(I’m finally at the point!)

People use these electronic intermediaries as a way to keep people distant. It may be subconscious — it’s not for me. The reason technology has screwed us over, though, my fellow under-20-ers, is because we have no recollection of a time without electronic intermediaries, and therefore our social skills are systematically breaking down.

You know how annoying it is when you’re in a group and there’s one person who is constantly texting someone who isn’t there? Have you ever been in a group where the majority engaged in this lack of etiquette? How long until trying to engage with the group is considered bad etiquette?

Why do you think suicide rates are so disturbingly high? No one has a voice. No one makes deep connections. We have no real community– it’s all imagined. We may as well be the Borg, plugged into a network but blind to what’s right in front of us.

Music & Soul

Tonight during a really good discussion about beliefs my friend Garrett brought up an excellent question about Christianity. Why do we sing worship songs?

I don’t know about you lot.

I engage in worshipful music for several reasons, which follow in order from least to most important. Firstly, I straight up love music. I’ve always had a knack for it, and I find no activity to be as soothing while still being a challenge. Secondly, I find deep satisfaction in the creation of beautiful sounds, particularly when it’s a team effort.

Finally, though, I engage in musical worship of my Cosmic Creator because music is a gateway between the natural and the supernatural, the physical and the metaphysical, the body and soul.

This is true no matter what belief system you follow, I think.

For example, I don’t listen to heavy metal because it gives me a creepy feeling in my stomach. I feel like I’m touching a side of the metaphysical that I’m not used to, and am not sure is good for me. On the contrary, when I engage in worshipful music I am not only singing praises to my Savior, I am reaching for a connection with the Creator God. Oftentimes it’s just reaching, but sometimes I do reach far enough to make the connection. My heart almost can’t stand it, every time. It feels like an overflow of love that  I surely don’t deserve.

This supernatural gateway is why music is such an integral part of every culture. Joyous music is joyous music.

“Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!”

Raindrops

Summer thunderstorms are definitely one of the best things about life. The relief from the weight of the air. The majesty of the huge lightning flashes. The vibrations of the grumbling thunder in your chest.

Thunderstorms are a place where heaven and earth lean in for a kiss, and then the earth just can’t contain itself and its heart explodes into lightning and thunder. My favorite part about summer thunderstorms, though, is the rain.

Each raindrop is like a little kiss from heaven, touching you for just long enough that you know you’re loved. And not just loved, but loved by the Cosmic Power that gave us thunderstorms– a time where heaven and earth really do seem to touch, even if just for a moment.

 

A new Chapter

So, a new blog for me. A couple of years ago now I started a blog, but I fell away from keeping it updated. I got out of the habit of blogging when I realized I had nothing interesting to say. (You can check it out here.)

Okay yeah, so my last post there wasn’t really that long ago, but I feel like that blog is a relic of a past life. It’s not that my circumstances have changed much, or even that I personally have had a drastic change. Rather, when I started THAT blog, I was blogging for totally different reasons than why I started this new blog today.

That Bethany was still at community college, and she loved it. This Bethany… Not so much. She thought she was funny and clever and had grand adventures. I try to be all of the above, but only just realized that I’m not extraordinary in any of those areas. She was floating around her faith, not so sure. I feel cemented in Jesus (although chronically getting distracted… sigh.) She knew exactly what she wanted out of life. I, again… Not so much.

Also, that was on Blogspot, and WordPress is just far superior.

And also this Bethany is soon moving on to a pretty seriously different phase in my life. That’s right, boys and girls. I’m leaving home — both my parents’ house and my hometown. I’ve been feeling very antsy here lately. My hometown is kind of giving me the same feeling as an old sweatshirt. I love it, it’s familiar, I’m used to it, and I’ll always return to it as an old favorite, but I just really need a new one right now.

So coming soon — Feelings of fright and insecurity coupled with excitement and joy!

Anyway, I decided to start this blog tonight and not last week because today finished out my time working with the Children’s Theatre Company based here in Redmond. I assistant directed the last play (The Princess and the Pea) and I stage managed this most recent one (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.) I’m having pretty severe post-performance letdown right now, because not only has this production concluded, but I realize I won’t see most of these kids for a very long time, and I probably won’t get to work with any of them ever again. I’m going to be gone for the next production, and I’m surprised at how sad I am that I won’t be able to be right at the center of it. Not only do I love theatre, but I really do love the people I’ve gotten to work with and get to know during these plays. They’re all amazing.

I’m one of those people who needs to have at least one thing to obsess over, and now that the play is over, I decided to obsess over making a decent blog. Yay me.

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