March rides in on winter's roar. Though the sun's light is mellow against the edges of the horizon, the wind has teeth, sharpened by the unseen snow in the air. I however, am snuggled warm on my couch, with the yellow glow of vintage lamps creating my own sanctuary. I mean to write, something...anything but all my words are churned conflicting in a tempest of thought, memory and emotion. I turn 40 in a month and a half, a number that means pretty much nothing to me. I don't feel 40, but then again, what does 40 feel like? Maybe it feels like this, a soft comfort that sits behind my eyes, a heart still messy with feelings, a strength of conviction that is only somewhat more malleable with the voices of other that become more salient as I pass through the years. This is my 40. I don't know what 40 is for others. I hear of women who lament each ticking year. I don't understand this rage against the machinations of time. We are all beholden, I would rather acquiesce to the passage of time, and fight rather for the quality of time. I don't plan to celebrate my birthday, any more than I usually do. Wine to good health, and cake with those that are as family.
Still, I pause and evaluate who I am in this moment, what passages I have made to get to now. As I sift through memory and feeling, nothing feels out of place, even the sorrows that are etched on the chambers of my heart. All feels as though it is supposed to be. This is sometimes a hard feeling to resolve myself to, a strange thought for sure. This is because I want for more out of this music that haunts my dreams. I want for more, but right now I feel as though I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Not necessarily where I want to be. When I allow myself to follow the rigid downward spirals of self deprecating talk, I compare myself to others and always feel as though I come up short. This is a deceptive manner of thinking, for it only encompasses narrow definitions of success, negating multitudes of other positive ways that my life has been crafted.
This all comes to me as I integrate my experiences at Folk Alliance International (a music conference I attended in February) into my repertoire. I must admit, the first two days there were the loneliest days I have had in a long time. I felt keenly out of place, especially as an artist that was not selected to showcase, my experiences not at all compatible with the people I met. More than once I went to the bathroom and cried. I phoned my sister friend on the second day, sobbing, and she asked me to come home, where I was loved and cherished. I couldn't afford to change my tickets, though I desperately wanted to follow her advice, and so resolved myself to making the best of it all. And in that resolution the pain of differentness eased a bit and I went on to experience two much more enriching days, meeting other interesting and unusual souls and coming to the conclusion that it was not my time to showcase and that in actuality, the universe was taking good care of me, as it always has. Had I been chosen to showcase, I would have felt obligated to sing through a very serious throat infection that has plagued me for 2 months. Most certainly I would not have been my best, through no fault of my own.
As I complete another decade of my life, I can see that I lead an unusual life. My experiences do not compare to others, they are unique. I have a life that is rich with beauty and love, and both have been my highest goals for as long as I can remember. Beauty. Love. I could never have foreseen as a child that I would be where I am today so, though I have not achieved all that i want with my music, I can still see that power of what I have already done; in emails that come from people around the world, asking to use my music for dance productions, asking for the use of my music in a school music performance. This is the wonder and intoxication of music; the ability for it to affect people long after its creation.
Surely as I navigate through the next 40 years of my life, I will have untold possibilities, at least as amazing and unforeseeable as those realized through the last 40 years.