Let Me Go 

There's always a gap before entering a new chapter.

Turn the page.

Re center your eyesight on the message.

Recently I traveled to Austin to finish a full length Alt/Country record I started in early 2022.  I played a songwriter festival, and a few other shows around town.  My network has dwindled.  My performances were not great. On my two day drive home I felt exhausted, moody, scared, let down.  

I have a habit of holding things up high and developing more meaning around them than what's actually sustainable.  

I'm sitting with the songs, and, again, I'm letting go.

I'm letting go of the ideas I have held about them over the past year and a half.  A realization I keep having is, no matter what I do, or how far it seems I've come, I'm always just right here.  

It's just me.  

I'm the same as I've ever been, albeit with deepening understanding and experience, but I'm the same.  How, I wonder, is that going to carry where I believe in my heart that it will?

The answer I'm hearing from my guidance within?  

By letting it.

I would say my greatest obstacle to following my true path is my own opinion about myself.

Who is that in there?  The one demanding perfect pitch, the “right” songs?  All the best angles?  Well, who or whatever the fuck it is, it makes me feel bad about where I am in this moment.  BUT IT'S WHERE I AM.  Why should I feel bad about that.  It's a liar.  I've tested it.

I do know that when I look at that part of myself from a compassionate perspective, I can see what it's trying to do.  It's trying to save me.  In that way its job is to poke holes in what I'm doing before anyone else does.  

But the truth?  

Nobody else is even interested in poking holes.  They just want to see the creation.  They want to hear the song, see the picture, watch the video.  And if they are interested in poking holes, it's probably because they're listening to their own shitty version of the thing inside that's trying to poke holes before someone else does.  

So what happened this week?

I played an open mic with one of my very dear songwriter friends who I haven't seen play music in a long time.  I made some new connections, too.

Brandon Greathouse - GR8 - is a rapper and producer living here, in Truckee, came to the open mic and performed his original music, and it was elevated, joyful, inspiring, and it totally landed with me.

We exchanged info and got together last week and made a song.  In an hour.

The process invited me to stop overthinking.  I didn't have time to second guess.  He was so encouraging, and he just kept helping to propel me toward the next line.  Now the chorus.  Now the finished track.

When I came home, I thought of it as a rough draft.  

I showed it to my partner, who told me immediately to post it.  Release it.  Give it up.

I didn't believe him.

Then my longtime songwriter friend said the same.

Then I started to hear it from that perspective.  What if it is kinda good?  Not because it's perfectly crafted, but because it's not.  

What if I embellished that?  What if the version of this song is so special because it just hasn't been handled too much?  What if it's perfect in its imperfection?

I made a video 👈 

Same thought process.  It's not enough.  It's too small.  It's imperfect.

Let me go.  Those are the words of the song.  

I don't think too hard, I don't wanna fall apart, and almost as an afterthought, reminding myself again, I don't think too hard.

Welcome back.  Every step is new, and you're doing what you want, how you want to do it.  You're inviting back all the aspects of yourself who love you as you are, and truly want you to be yourself.  

Raw. 

Unedited.

Simple.

Imperfect.

Beautiful AS IS.

Okay.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Sincerely, 2023 

Finally.  Here is a moment of relief.  

It's been a difficult year.  

I've let go of so much.  The challenge seemed almost impossible at first, but I'm really beginning to understand how reality likes to work. 

You don't keep anything in the end, so what is the point of holding on to everything until then?  Especially when the things you're holding onto aren't even real, or essential to experiencing joy, love, peace, or the fulfillment inherent in truly living life.

PART I

In November 2022 my partner and I moved from Truckee, CA back to Austin, TX, and upon moving back into our house, we realized: 

⚡It was infested with cockroaches.  
⚡The sewage wasn't draining properly.  
⚡The water heater broke. 
⚡A tree fell on the roof.  
⚡In January, we adopted a kitten, and he had ringworm.  He gave it to everybody. 

Things were not going well. 

I woke up in the middle of the night to a cockroach bolting across my face.  Like, DID IT HAVE TO CHOOSE THAT ROUTE.

Not too long after that I was brushing my teeth before bed, and I unhinged the lid of my retainer box.  There were two cockroaches inside. 

ON. MY RETAINERS. 

Okay, it was personal.

I'm not gonna lie, I gained a lot of respect for cockroaches during that time, but we cannot live in the same house.  I'm lucky that my partner is a master at reality, and he was so determined to evict the colony that it only took about about two months to exile them completely.  

⫸ By the way, Jesse started the entire process by putting on YouTube videos of cockroaches - cockroach farms, cockroach facts, people who eat cockroaches, and I think it kinda helped.  They're actually really social and sweet creatures ⫷

But that's beside the point!  I still have PTSD when I see a dark spot on a wall.

•          •          •

We had just come from Truckee, where the land is public and almost infinite in its sprawl, there's clean water everywhere, and our pitbull, Ellie, was 

👑 THE QUEEN OF FREEDOM 👑  

When we got back to Austin, she was hot, restricted, lonely, and bored so we got her a kitten to help ease her back into her life in the big city.

Enter Lincoln, so cute and tiny and sweet, and we all fell madly in love with him 😻

As nearly all of the kittens adopted out from Austin Animal Center do, he came with ringworm.  I had had one prior experience with the fungus from another adoption of a shelter animal 10 years prior, and thought it would be a small issue.  

It was not.  

The ringworm was all over all of us (and our house), and we were on the internet several times a day trying to find ANY new information on how to eradicate it, but all the same sites had all the same noncommittal information, and we were relegated to following steps in a nightmarish sequence, where each thing only minimally helped, but all were essential to the process of eradication.  

⚡We separated them 
⚡We covered all our furnishings with sheets and changed them twice daily 
⚡We did 🤔 ….a thousand loads of laundry every day?
⚡We scrubbed walls and mopped floors twice daily
⚡We bathed both animals daily 
⚡We invested in a Woods Lamp (which showed us where the ringworm was growing in the hair follicles) 
⚡We applied Lotramin to ourselves and the ringworm sores on the animals every few hours. 
⚡Ellie and Linkie were given an oral medication daily, which, the vet explained, would take 3 WEEKS to kick in.  

One day, since we knew that ringworm effects the hair follicle, we lit up our trusty Woods Lamp in the darkened bathroom, and found all the spots on Ellie where the ringworm was beginning to grow into the hair, and we shaved those sections before they could into sores and spread even more over the furnishings and us.  

HA!  Got out in front of it.  

We put her out in the back yard.  She got a sunburn.  Her skin was sore to the touch.  We began apologizing and applying coconut oil to her ringworm spots and sunburn several times a day. 

WHEN WAS THIS GONNA END???  

The ringworm tried to rear its ugly head a second time after 12 weeks, but we went to some backwoods vet in Garfield, Texas who prescribed us THE REALLY STRONG STUFF, and we finally got rid of it.

•          •          •

Around the same time, early in February I got a message saying that my Meta accounts were suspended, and if you want to know more about that, you can read my first blog post titled, “Quantum Disentanglement”, but eventually both profiles were permanently disabled.  

•          •          •

In late February, I got the news that my longtime sister friend, Liz, who lives in Truckee, had been in a terrible car accident, and that she was unconscious, and had suffered a diffuse axonal injury (DAI), a type of Traumatic Brain Injury. 

PART II

Jesse and I moved back to Truckee.  

For the prior two summers I had worked with Liz at her wedding venue, Dancing Pines.  Two other gals had been her core staff since the beginning, so it was determined that we three, along with Liz's husband, would run the venue for the summer of 2023.  There were 18 events on the books, along with a slew of tours for 2024 bookings, venue clean up and general operations.  Their beautiful site is located in the Tahoe National Forest, and operates off the grid, which is challenging in a normal year.

Consolidated and planned seamlessly by our fearless 2023 leader, and Liz's second coordinator in command, the season actually happened with very little upset.  No brides cried, at least not by our doing.  

I cried a lot.

Lizzy came home from rehab in July, and so fortunately I was invited to be one of her primary caregivers.  This was all thanks to the generosity of her family to make it possible for me to be there.

She came out of rehab labeled a high fall risk, and she could not hit her head at this stage of her recovery.  It had been very clear - she cannot have another injury to her brain.  She will not recover from it.  

⚡⚡As she climbed into bed for a nap on that first day I was with her, I was trying to help her get her body into the bed.  We were both laughing as she finally got her knee onto the side, and then flung herself into it, her head just barely missing the wall.  
“Oh, my god,” she chortled.  I was shocked at how that could have gone. 
“Elizabeth!  You have to be so careful, dude.”  
“I know," in her hoarse voice as she laughed, "can you imagine?”  
In our disbelief of her situation we laughed until it hurt.⚡⚡

I began to recognize little ways she was lacking in self-awareness.  I could see how much she was becoming herself, but this also kind of clouded my ability in the beginning to see her deficits for what they were.  She really didn't have the cognitive ability to understand the gravity of her situation because of her brain injury.  

She needed constant help and eyes on her at all times.

Eventually she was able to start taking walks around Dancing Pines, and inevitably, because she's a boss - like, the kind you want to be - she would see things that were out of place, messy, or just felt wrong, and we would work to move things, clean up, and figure out organizational solutions.  

She has always been super organized, so I took this as a very good signal that she was coming back to those skills.  

We would spend several hours every day between Liz's therapies going through things at the venue, but the caveat was that she didn't have much memory from the prior year, and she was not retaining much in the way of new memories.  She would move or throw things away that she didn't recognize as essential, and I would hear later that the item was needed by someone else on site.   

Sometimes we would do something at the venue, and she would forget that we had done it, or why we had done it, and the next time she might make a request for a different solution.  

I realized in the moment one day that we don't just have patience.  We practice it.  

Liz is a leader.  I would have unquestioningly followed her into a fire before her accident, and I wanted so much for her to be able to gain back her ability to lead as soon as it was possible, so I had to be really careful not to get frustrated with her in these moments.  

It was kinda hard.  

One day she didn't remember how I had previously moved 80 reception chairs from one area to another, and when she thought about having me move them back.. I cried.  

Luckily, she did have an understanding of what was happening, even if she couldn't remember everything, and we learned to laugh about those things, too.

Every time Liz sails a new hurdle, I beam at her in admiration, inspired by witnessing someone I admire so much shine a light in her moment of darkness, and I'll say, “She's back!” 
“She's back,” she'll reply, her smile shaded with introspection.

PART III

Lizzy is cognizant now of what a long recovery she is undertaking, and no part of it is easy.  There's always some reminder she isn't who she was, but then again… are any of us?  

What is the point of holding onto our prior selves?  Our achievements, our goals?  When they don't apply to our current situation, don't they just hold us back from accomplishing what is in front of us?  

I believe that all of the situations over the past year have been literal riddances of parts of myself that were not real.  They were made up. 

The cockroaches, while admittedly very fucking real in the moment, were also illustrating something overgrown in myself - something unhealthy.  Because a few cockroaches here and there are not all that bad, but an infestation of creatures feeding on decay within the walls of your home is an indicator of something much deeper.

The ringworm, same.

The sewage drain, same, same.

The tree falling on the roof?  Maybe it was to knock me over the head and get my attention. 
“Hey!” It might have shouted,  “What's going on in there?”

Same with the cold water.  WAKE UP.

The expulsion of me from the social media platforms I had been relying on for over a decade to source my sense of identity was a real blow.  I knew it was an identity crisis by this point, but I had no idea what that even meant.  Who am I now if I'm not even allowed to participate in this?  

What really riled me up about it was that I was expelled with no explanation, apology, or indication of my wrongdoings.  It felt like I had just been erased with no explanation, and it felt like a different kind of death.  

It felt like murder.  

Ego Murder.

Yeah, I'm guilty of finding fault in myself based on some concept I have about my identity that I'm failing to live up to.  That's so pre Two Thousand Twenty Three.  

Ego Identity.  

I'm sure I'll go back there some more, but I'm understanding the message now.

Sincerely, 2023

Out of the most challenging situations, we can either learn to rise from the ashes, or be blown to the wind.  

I don't believe either is inherently good or bad, so long as we are choosing what it is that we want.  At some point, we may eventually succumb to the wind, but so often I've allowed myself to be blown this way and that, with the thought that I'm just dust, not the wind itself.  

I am ready for a new paradigm.  Limitless belief in what I can accomplish from my true identity.  Unlimited frames for viewing who I am by what I am interested in learning and creating, and by how I process the reality around me.  

Sure I'm a songwriter, and for a long time I've looked at myself through that very limited frame.  But that means I'm a writer, too.  I'm a generator of ideas.  I'm able to relate what I've learned to others, which means I'm also an educator.  But these labels don't do much more than to enable me broader frames with which to view myself in the world.  

I AM A CREATOR.

I know how to take what I've experienced and synthesize it into something meaningful, and I can grow out of the stage of dust I've been in, so that I may feel the wind of my own current brush past the pedals of my flowery face.  

I AM IT ALL. 

For the first time in a long time, I have a clear path forward, and I am applying all the skills I have acquired to who I am, and expressing it. 

And I trust that this process is showing me to my true identity.  The identity of my soul.  Something that can never be evicted, exiled, eradicated, disabled, expelled, murdered.  I AM something to be shared lovingly with the world. 

Head Trauma 

On February 22, 2023, my longtime sister/friend - a woman I've shared endless support and humor with over the past 18 years - wrecked her car into the back of a box truck driving home to Truckee on Highway 80.  Nobody seemed to know if she would live or die, and if she lived, how she would come back from it - a traumatic brain injury holds so many unknowns.  It was a fragile first week, I checked in with her husband as often as I could to try to fill in the picture with any new information.  Nothing.  Nothing.  News:

The swelling in her brain had necessitated the draining of her cerebral spinal fluid, and at some point after the first week, they thought the swelling had gone down enough to allow the fluid, a huge healing property, to be re-circulated within her skull.  

I flew out to Reno be with them, and when I walked into the ICU room, she was lying in a complex looking hospital bed among tubes and wires and pillows and bags.  She was dressed in a gown, and had a boot on one foot, her limbs frail and her body moist with sweat.  The room was cool.  

I was shocked into recognition of the facts:  My best friend was in the worst condition of her life, and I couldn't even tell if she was inside her own body.  Within the few days I was there, we saw improvements.  She was experiencing neurostorming, which is the body responding to the trauma in the brain, firing nerves and muscles in an attempt to stimulate the body into action.  

At times, her husband would take her hand and ask her to point her finger, and seemingly on queue she would move the muscles in that hand.  Sometimes it seemed very deliberate.  Her eyes were closed, and she had a tracheotomy, the worst of the worst necessity, which had to be suctioned a handful of times each day, and it was painful to watch, and must be an excruciating experience.  Luckily, they told us, she wouldn't remember any of this.

I flew home, and she was moved to the top neuro-rehab facility in the country to begin her rehabilitation.  Every day there were small improvements, and when I flew to Denver in March to visit, I saw glimmers of her there.  Her eyes were open, and she could track objects, and when they said my name as I walked in the room for the first time, she watched me walk over to her.  I helped with her tubes as she was lifted to standing, assisted, but just three weeks after her accident.  

Within those few days I visited her in Colorado, there were more monumental improvements.  After the first day I spent with her, the nurse assistant dressed her, set her in her wheelchair, and walked me down to the hospital entrance to say goodbye for the night.  I knelt down before her, told her how much I love her, how happy I was to be there, and that I would see her first thing in the morning.  She looked me in the eye, and smiled her big toothy smile, the one she is famous for - I couldn't believe it!  I asked the nurse assistant, “Did you see that??  She just smiled at me!”, and I threw my hands into a rock and roll sign, and she smiled even bigger and tried to imitate my hand gesture!  I was ecstatic!  Elated - there was my girl, strong and determined, and I couldn't stop smiling.  I'm still so proud of how much she had to put together to share those huge gestures with me that night.

The rest of the weekend followed in a less profound way - as many of the days of her recovery have done.  Some forward leaps, and much treading water to stay afloat.  She was less lucid most of the weekend, and experienced more agitation with all the stimulation she was experiencing.

I had to return to Austin, but my darling life partner and I planned to move back to Truckee in May to be there for Liz's return.  I wanted to be there to help her.  She was going to be putting everything back together in a foreign mental landscape.  This is a woman whose determination and will characterize her - she will do whatever it takes to accomplish what she wants, and she doesn't give up on herself, or anyone else, for that matter.  In fact, she had been the first one to encourage me to move to Austin to pursue my dream of creating a life focused on music.  Her words in a note were, “Go to Austin and kick ass.”  

For now she is regaining herself - she returns home at the end of June, and she is looking forward to being done with rehab and getting home to her family and her life, although the return will bring a lot of new hurdles for her.  She continues to improve every day, her sense of humor is beautifully in tact, and she is regaining a lot of emotional fluency and memory.  

This is the most difficult thing I've ever witnessed someone undertaking, and, as ever, my friend is one of the biggest inspirations to me.  She is such a crucial part of myself, and as she recovers, so does my heart.  As she fortifies, so do I.  I am in awe of the journey she is undertaking, and I am seeing how she will come through this journey in full strength and grace.  Come home and kick ass, Lizzy.  I know you will 🤘

A Candle in the Wind 

 

Tell me, does anything ever truly stand still?  I have felt at times as though the world is falling - so fast - and I'm hanging in midair, the parts and pieces of everything slicing through the space close to me, my hair suspended, my limbs floating.

Even then, when I am most still, I am moved by my breath.  And by the subtle lap of my own emotions playing quietly upon the shore.  I am moved by the rich landscapes of my imagination, which imitates my wishes, and brings them to life.

Always in nature, a stillness precedes expansion.  This does not mean there is no movement, but nothing to excess, and all movement is within arms' reach.

It's not easy in this climate and culture to accept the value of inertia, and even parts of my own psyche gather in droves to condemn it as laziness, apathy, or resistance. But there is a little flame inside which knows its own fragility within the movement of things, and at times it's best not to disturb it with too much airflow.

 

 

 


 

The Cycle  

 

We rode our bikes around the east side when the sun finally showed.  A sweet scent of magnolia blooms and roses and wet ground - all the moisture, summoned upward by the light, was carrying their essence.  Isn't it alarming how quickly things dry out in this heat?  And the clouds hang overhead in vast heaps, reminding you of what you've just been through.  A promise of the cycle.  

…..

I'm always delighted when I see a church steeple.  Its simple beauty is cliché, but it works.  Its purpose - to direct attention to the sky, where the end doesn't exist, and the vastness goes on forever.  Where the point is, there is not an ending, as it might seem, but a continuum, and one thing just leads right into the next with hardly a gap in between. 

….. 

Perhaps all the beauty there is in the world exists simply in the pointed attention we joyfully dole out as we roll by.

 

 

Quantum Disentanglement 

I don't want to assume that you've come here looking for me after finding my Meta pages dead. You’re probably my mom, or a distant friend I haven't seen in 10 years - hi :) - but if you have been searching, here am I.  A part of me, anyway.  My presence on social media has been truncated.  In its place a sign from the universe - perhaps my time is better spent living life in real form.  I've suspected it, but somehow the shocking prod of modern pressures and the pursuit of myself as some distant version of me out there on the horizon have driven me - an innocent cow - through the chutes of a present day (meta) reality to be branded and vaccinated, cleansed of my essential nature, and commoditized for your consumption and someone else's profit.  Well, fuck that. 

In February I got a message through Instagram that I had violated community guidelines with three of my posts. I wasn't informed what posts had been flagged, and I think that my Facebook account must have been hacked, but none of this was told to me, I had to piece it together on my own.  I uploaded my ID to prove my identity as required by the site.  After checking back occasionally over the next 8 weeks, I pulled up the page one day and was blandly informed that my account has been permanently disabled.  I experienced a moment of grief, silently flooding with tears.  I got angry.  Mostly because it seemed very unfair that all the work and care that went into building something on that platform could be switched off with such sterility.  For over 10 years these profiles were how I stayed connected to a community of other musicians, artists, friends and family.  

My partner thought that I could get my profiles back if I wanted to badly enough.  There are avenues I could have taken to get in contact with someone at Facebook to prove that I am who I say I am, but the biggest part of me - a part that will never need to be proven to anyone - told me to let it go.  Let it fall off and see what happens.  What about the argument that I need those profiles if I want to play music and book gigs, to be legitimate in this endeavor?  The deepest part of me feels like something bigger is happening.  

What do I need?  What do I deeply desire, miss, long for?  The real thing, baby.  I care about the things that connect me to this earth.  Things that connect me to others and bring out the humanity in me. I don't need something that quantifies me into groups of data, as though all the information that could be collected on me could make up the whole of who I AM.  No.  Those systems are tools that humanity has created, they are not That what creates us.  I am willing to let go of the parts of my identity that don't give me what I need to live a strong, healthy, balanced life.  And I'm curious what I'll create from there.  I'm happy to share what I'm doing on this platform, and I am committing to showing up for my crafts - singing, writing songs, music, prose and poetry, taking photographs, painting, working with animals, and moving my beautiful physical vessel for the good of my soul.  

As my good friend Brent Guilbauldt says, “Thanks for lookin and listenin!”  Thank you for your support, I hope you feel free to comment and let me know how you're doing and what you're up to.  I miss you.  See you in the real world real soon 😘 

Love ,

Megan