Two Bottles

It’s no secret I’ve been affected by depression and anxiety since I was small. I would get sick every single day on my way to school thanks to anxiety butterflies from kindergarten to my very last day of senior year. If it tells you anything about how this disease works, I absolutely loved school from day numero uno. It is not a cause and effect situation. That’s always been one of the hardest things for me to explain to anyone that doesn’t also suffer from A/D (anxiety and depression.) Your life can be a giant ball of sunshine, daisies, rainbows and unicorns and all of the sudden, lightening bolts, clouds and doom set in for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t make sense to the person it’s happening to, so you sure as hell can’t make sense of it to someone on the outside, I also know that to be fact.

I woke up today thinking about one particular quotient of this issue; How much worse it is when your life is happy and the breakdown hits. They always say the higher you climb the harder you fall (gravity is a bitch, fuck you science.) I have no better or more eloquent way to say this, but it fucking sucks. To feel like you finally sort of maybe have your shit together and then BOOM knocked on your ass out of nowhere (thanks brain chemistry, again, fuck science.) Most everyone I know that suffers from some form of A/D or another mental health hurdle has told me at some point in their life that they don’t ever think it will get better no matter where they’re at in there life. I know a comic book writer, high end business executives for world famous companies, lawyers, renowned chefs, you name it, no matter their level of career, relationship or emotional success, life will always be sad for them because of this nasty monster constantly attached to their back. Again, that just fucking sucks.

In an attempt to share what works for me and since this is a (mostly) music blog, after all, I want to share a song that has continuously and constantly grounded me for almost ten years now.

“I changed my color for you
I shed my coat with caution
I lack the beauty you display
See here there are the bruises
And some were self-inflicted
And some showed up along the way
So I nod my head
I’m ready for the world to see
The secret I kept here inside the man you thought id be
Slip into coma calm
The coma where I calm myself down
Here comes excuses why I let you down

Stand by for another breakdown
Sound off the alarm
Is this the chameleon boy I swore I wouldn’t become”

Justin Furstenfeld, the lead for Blue October, has also struggled with a life long battle against schizophrenia and addiction. He is one of the biggest inspirations for me on being so open about my mental health issues. If you ever have time look in to his story, please do. To make it short, he now has a wife and two small children, is sober and in recovery. Amazing.

Everyone patches their wounds back together differently before they turn in to scars. Some use drugs and booze as a band-aid, some use sex, others use relationships or solitude. My patch has always been art and music. I am very thankful that what works for me wasn’t illegal or immoral. I can fill my soul with live music and everything just seems to let go and float away in that moment when I hear something I truly, truly adore in person. It’s not always the same artists or the same songs. Sometimes a tune that I used to hate will hit me like a ton of bricks. One that always lands for me by, you guessed it, Sean McConnell, is below. This song is like a sweet, sweet release for my tortured soul. Happy or sad, no matter where I’m at in my battle with A/D when I hear good music I can simply just let go for that hour or two and I will forever be grateful for the artists and their songs that can do this for me.

This morning one of those songs was “Two Bottles” by Chris Watson (if you have not seen this man live GO SEE HIM NOW!) It was actually written by Josh Weathers (I shouldn’t have to tell you to listen to him, this you should already know) so I have posted both versions below. A particular lyric hit me hard while I was driving in to work after an extremely rough 24 hours in my life and inside my head.

“Your heart’s broke. Mine is healing. There’s got to be a better way of dealing with all this pain coming on. I just can’t take another night alone. And I got two bottles of really good wine, just a couple hours now to have a good time.”

It’s so simple, but no matter where you’re at on the Doppler with your A/D a bottle of really good wine (or two) can be the perfect ace bandage at least for a moment and I’m completely okay with that. Wherever you are at in your particular battle I wish you the best of luck and an open ear. I am a very dedicated believer in the power of defeating this together…hopefully over a couple bottle of really good wine.

 

Listening to:

  • “Chameleon Boy”-Blue October

  • “Saint’s Heart in a Sinner’s Skin”-Sean McConnell

  • “Two Bottles”-Chris Watson

  • “Late to the Party”-Kacey Musgraves

  • “Keep You Forever”-Erick Willis

 

Advertisements

Yeah, I guess that’s my church

Passion is a funny thing. As we’ve seen lately, with the tiny hands Cheeto man officially being sworn in, people are not afraid to fight for what they’re passionate about…even if it makes them look supremely insane. In my thinking about passion today it stuck out to me how hard it is to carry over that passion to your fellow man if they too are not passionate about the same ideas. That’s why these vagina hatted idiots marching on Capitol Hill look like, well, idiots, but to them women’s reproductive rights are worth the shame, I guess.

If you’ll follow me down this winding passion path I want to delve in to probably the world’s biggest topic of passion, religion. This particular passion has lead to literal life and death over hundreds of years. In our current era of neo-Christianity that is not always the case (discounting extremes) but it is obviously a topic many have tried to impart upon others that don’t or don’t want to understand that Jesus is the reason for the season. In fact, that is the basis of the entire religion, sharing the gospel. I’m here today to say I get it. While I definitely do not believe in an imaginary man in the sky, my faith in music is something I share with many.

This ^^^ is my gospel. I get goosebumps when this man’s songs enter my ear holes 100% of the time. Sean McConnell is the holy trinity for me. Father, singer and holy song swap host. My personal savior.

When I hear a song that hits my soul the first thing I want to do is share it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve desperately tried to get my mom or my peers to like something I like simply because I like it so much. I think try is actually kind of a futile word here. I have begged and pleaded and nearly jumped out of my skin trying to get people around me to feel the same way I feel about a song or an artist. Thus, I get it. Passion is an easy thing to express, but not an easy thing to usher someone else to embody.

This is most certainly not a new feeling for me. In my adult years people have always been shocked that Texas Country is not the only genre I’m insanely passionate about.

220px-maedestination

https://maeband.bandcamp.com/album/destination-beautiful

This ^^^ is my bible. This is my stranded on a desert island with only one record for the rest of forever and infinity choice. I can listen to every song on this album and recall exactly how I felt when I heard it in my teens, twenties and now my 30s. It has completely different implications for each decade of my life. Much like a specific bible verse you hang on to through life’s storms and celebrations, the lyrics on this album have been my anchor through days that are both full of hurricanes and sunny with a high of 75.

For many years during the early Sara era Deep Ellum was my church. Trees, Gypsy Tea Room (R.I.P.), The Door Dallas all held service for me and my friends to hear sermon from Andrew McMahon, Jesse Lacey, Mae, Straylight Run, The Ataris and every band that ever existed on the now defunct Drive Thru Records. I could go on and on listing the preachers I’ve heard in those hallowed, smoke stained, whiskey soaked halls, but I think you get the picture. Hell, my first concerts were Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day and Dave Matthews Band (separately, that would be a weird mashup). Travis Barker is the reason I love music and I am not ashamed of that fact. I still believe he is an insanely charismatic drummer. While he may not be the most technical or most talented it all circles back around to Travis (we’re on a first name basis) possessing an intense passion for the kit. In identifying and experiencing all of this, I have become a better person.

Isn’t that the goal in all of this? To create better people with our passions. Stacking those better people in to a better society and eventually a better world. If your intentions are pure, that is undoubtedly the pinnacle of sharing Christ with those around you. Samesies over here. If even one band, one song, one lyrics I share with you make you view the world a little more rose colored I have done my job as a disciple.

My roots grow in many different directions. If you know me in real life, you undoubtedly know this to be true. I comfortably rest my laurels on being a paradox. You need to know this to make the next sentence land effectively. When I talk about Taylor Swift, you will hear me say she is my “spirit animal” repetitively. I guess that makes her my Buddha and I have no problem with this. T. Swizzle brings out a child like passion in me that no other artist can. Speaking of failed relationships (too soon?) John Mayer as an apostle may sound like a cliche choice to many, but that man can play a damn geetar. His music also shaped me from an early age. Well, not only his music, but his persona, his songwriting, his charisma. These are two people that I have always been drawn to because of who they are as people in addition to their scripture. I will end this jaunt in to pop music with a quote from my favorite movie of all time (yes, it’s a movie about music);

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” (John Cusack as Rob in High Fidelity or if you want to get technical, Nick Hornby actually wrote the book.) In case you’d like some more totally bad ass quotes from the movie here ya go: High Fidelity is the fucking best (Plus I just really like the title of the article.)

I feel like we’re digging grooves in the tread of this trail, so I’m gonna come to the summit of talking about the passion and the Christ. Whether it’s your church or mine I hope somehow you’re using your powers for good. If nothing I said resonated with you in this post here’s my girl Maren to tell you exactly what I fucking meant.

“I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church”

Listening to:

  • “Things To Do” -Grady Spencer
  • “My Church” -Maren Morris
  • “Summertime” -Mae
  • “Sunny With a High of 75” -Reliant K

P.S. If you thought I was going to let you escape this without talking about Grady Spencer…SIKE! You were wrong. I have not had passion for an artist like I have Grady in quite some time. The warmth I feel on my face when I watch this video and listen to this Sandlot glasses wearing, mustachioed crooner no matter the weather is I believe what it feels like to have God’s love in your heart…but I would not know.

A blank page is both one of the most intimidating and exhilarating things to put in front of an artist.