First Gig

That potential gig I mentioned is actually happening. Performing next week at a bar in Itaewon called Link. Super stoked!

I have a whole 15-20 minute set to myself. I have 5 songs picked out to play, all but one of which I’ve written in Korea. So it will be a good send off for myself. And it will be good to burn some karma, and leave it here before I go.

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The Countdown Begins

Ack! I’m leaving Korea this month.

It’s officially July, and I feel like there’s so many things to do before I leave. Sell stuff, give away stuff, pack, mail stuff to Ohio, meet up with friends to say goodbye.

I had a serious flu for most of June, so that and my depression kinda set me back on leaving prep. But now my flu is mostly gone and I’m ready to start the packing frenzy.

I bought my first box from the post office last week, and went back the next day to buy two more. And I posted a couple things on craigslist to sell. Baby steps.

Selling stuff is always the most annoying thing, because people always want free or cheap things, so I never get to sell things for as high as I’d like. But hopefully I’ll be able to pawn off most of the big items for a decent price.

Excited to be leaving Korea and returning to the states. It’s been a long 4 years, and I’m ready to move on.

The Next Level

I’ve finally reached the next level as a musician. I’ve been invited to perform a gig.

It’s now been about 5 years since I started writing music and performing open mics. Over the course of the last 5 years, I’ve performed at open mics in about 8 different cities, 1 national park,  and 1 foreign country. Seoul is the biggest city I’ve performed in, and while I’ve been here I’ve played at 3 different venues.

Last weekend, I performed at a monthly open mic in Itaewon. Afterwards one of the other performers came up and complimented my first song. He said the chorus really touched him. I appreciated the affirmation, because it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve written so far. Have a listen here.

He recently opened up a bar in Itaewon and said he’s planning to have some music nights, and invited me to perform. I told him thanks, but I’m leaving next month. He said, he’s planning to have one in July and to email him to get in touch. As I left the bar, the bartender also complimented me and invited me to come back and book a show sometime.  2 invitations to have a gig in one night!

I’ve never had  a gig before, and partly it was because I never felt ready to. Writing music has always been a hobby and a therapeutic outlet for my emotions, so I’ve never felt the need to put myself out there beyond open mics. However, I feel like I’ve reached the point where I feel proud of enough of my songs that I would feel confident to play a whole set. So we’ll see. Maybe I’ll have my first gig before I leave this country.

Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s nice to know that I’ve reached the next level and I  actually feel confident enough about my own talent to feel like I deserve to be here.

Quitting the Year of Quitting

Well it’s been a good run. I’ve learned a lot. But now it’s time to end the Year Of Quitting and Unplanning Project. I might write more about what I’ve learned later. But right now I don’t feel like it.

Part of the point was to get rid of some of the things that don’t serve me to make space for the things that do and discern which things I really want to keep in my life. I’ve minimized my activities to the point where it’s time to start adding things back in. So that’s what I’m focusing on for now and for the rest of the year as I transition to a new phase of my life.

Quitting YouTube

This month’s YOQ task is quitting YouTube.

I’d been doing a lot of youtube binging the last few months which was interrupting my sleep routine. So this month I blocked it on all my browsers. So far it seems to be helping  me to get back on track. Although, to be honest,  I think the trip to the tea festival made the biggest dent in whipping me into some sort of routine.

The nice thing is I have more time freed up for blogging which I’ve been doing more of this month. I am starting to collect blogs like I collect notebooks.

I have this tendency to compartmentalize. I like to have separate notebooks for separate things. One notebook is just for my dreams, another is for my morning pages, another is for my therapy sessions, etc.

Now I have a handful of blogs on various platforms. I’ve got my photo blog, and my poetry blog, and this one where I blog about the year of quitting and the unplanning project, and a handful of others.

I guess May will just be the month of blogging.

#WhatYouDontSee

It’s Depression Awareness Week and there’s an awesome hashtag trending on twitter to shed light on the conversation surrounding depression.

So here’s my too long for twitter #WhatYouDontSee inspired slam poem

#WhatYouDontSee

The floodgates
holding back the reservoir of tears
in the corners of my eyes.

Flimsy levies
which burst open
when I walk down the stairs
to take out the trash,
when I hit the bike trail
to finally do that exercise
they tell me will release endorphins,
when I leave our lunch
after shaking your hand good bye,
when I sit there on my yoga mat
with my mind screaming,
“I DIDN’T CHOSE THIS,”
as I listen to my teacher
drone on and on
about how depressed people can
just choose
how they feel.

The dirty dishes
that pile up in my sink
and on my countertops,
sitting there for days,
which mound up like Mount Everest,
standing between me and my dinner.
I can’t cook
until my dishes are clean
and I can’t clean
until I stop staring at the youtube videos
floating across my screen.

The crumpled wads
of foil kimbab wrappers
from every time I never managed to scale Mount Everest,
and every time I finally managed
to climb half way up,
only to run out of time
to prepare a decent meal,
and was forced to retreat
to the kimbap heaven
around the corner.

The guilt
from knowing I pushed away
the people I love most
and that I wasn’t there
when they needed me.

The time I spend lying on my floor
in a puddle of tears-
minutes
turn into hours
turn into days
turn into weeks.

The countless number of times
I gave myself permission
to be sad and unproductive
this week-
until this week turned into 2 weeks,
turned into 2 months,
turned into today,
over and over again,
like I’m the main character
in the movie “Groundhog Day.”

What you don’t see
are the lies in my head
that tell me
this
will
never
end.

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Don’t Let The Rain Stop You

One day last summer it rained.  On that particular day, I didn’t have an umbrella, so I walked home without one. That may have been the first time I didn’t even mind getting wet. As the rain drops kept falling on my head, I kept picturing that meme that had been circulating the internet: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” I raised up my hands to the sky and smiled.

I once spent a summer in Kodiak, Alaska. Kodiak is a small island where is rains almost everyday. The first weekend I was there, my friend S and I were planning climb one of the taller mountains on the island. While sitting in the car eating a jalapeño cheese bagel topped with avocado and veggie cream cheese, I asked S whether we should skip the hike due to the rain.

He told me, “You can’t let the rain stop you. It’s always raining in Kodiak. So if you want to do anything, you have to learn to do things in the rain.”

We finished our breakfast bagels and then we climbed a mountain. It was difficult, I was the slowest one, and the clouds at the top blocked the view.  But I will always remember eating the most amazing bagel of my life at the summit. The bagels I had eaten at the bottom of the mountain and at the top of the mountain were exactly the same, except for one thing. The one at the top had one extra ingredient: overcoming fear.

Mount Pyramid was the first of many hikes that summer. It was also the best one, simply because I didn’t let the rain stop me.

Note to self: You can’t let the rain stop you. Go out and dance in it.