Thursday, April 26, 2012

1, 2, 3, 4, 5...6 Senses?

Recently my friend Julie and I had a conversation that may seem odd to others, but felt perfectly normal for us considering we talk about things that make most people feel uncomfortable.  I don't remember how the subject came up, but we found ourselves in a lengthy conversation about people's scents and how distinctly different they are from one another.  Of course we can't smell our own scent, that is unless we're in dire need of a shower, but the scents of those people we love are so strong and linger in our sense memory.  We are, after all, the human animal.  Now, I'm not talking about perfumes, lotions, colognes.  I'm talking about the way the person smells.   I tried describing Julie's scent to her - earthy, musky, comforting.  And when I go for long periods of time without seeing her, I recall her first through my sense of smell, even if she's left nothing behind.  I asked her what I smelled like and she said "Just sniff your pillow".  Oh!  Okay, ya that makes sense. So, I did just that.  What I discovered is....Mom and Dad.  I felt immediately close to them - one part Dad, another Mom. I kept my nose buried in my pillow sniffing and found myself feeling safe.  Feeling perfectly okay with the way I may smell to others.  It smelled like what I was looking for after waking up in the middle of a nightmare.  I was pleased with the discovery of Carrie's scent. And, if I have to admit, a little disappointed that I didn't smell of exotic spices and oils.  No, my scent was that of home.  And does it smell the same to others?  Of course not!  They don't have the same base memories as I do.  So, I simply smell like me.

I think because it's spring time I've become more aware of my senses.  I've taken longer to listen to layers in music, I've kept my eyes open a little wider should I miss something, and I've touched things with a linger.  I have to admit, I'm a toucher.  I'm very tactile and will reach my hand out and touch just about anything to feel it.  That's the kid in me and why I got into so much trouble when I was young.  I was always touching.  And I find that throughout the day I seem to constantly to be holding something between my fingers, subconsciously feeling it.  But all this to say I've been very aware lately.  It feels necessary.  As if I need to experience things through my senses to make stronger memories of them.  And all of this seems to be speaking to me through my "six sense".  There's a nagging gut feeling saying "remember this, don't ever forget it". And it's all coursing through my human nature in touch, taste, smell, sound and sight. 

I would venture to say that we're all pretty comfortable with taste and sight.  However, scent and touch seem to be a bit taboo on some levels.  They seem to be the more personal or private senses.  However, I've been letting down those guards, taking in the texture and scent of everything, everyone I love.  I need those memories to linger.  I need keep things with me on another level.  One that speaks to my nature, to my core.

My sister told me once that when she thinks of me, she can recall what I smelled like when I was a baby.  And when I think of her, I can almost feel the texture of her hair in my fingers.  The soft, almost like a spider web silkiness of her fine hair is a strong memory and I love it.  I just love it.  And those moments when you're taken back to a certain time and place through the senses is like reliving a moment and you're emotions can swell, overwhelming the urge to fight back the tears.  Last summer I decided to make a huge pot of beans.  I soaked them for 24 hours, then put them in a slow cooker over night.  In the morning I woke up and started my coffee and popped in the shower.  As I was toweling off, I was hit by loads of precious memories.  The mixture of cooking beans and brewing coffee smelled exactly like my Grandparent's house.  They've both passed away within the last few years, but as soon as I caught the aroma in the air, I felt as if I would walk into their kitchen and see Grandma sitting at the table and Grandpa washing dishes or making Sticky Icing Cake.  I felt in that very moment they were both with me.  I felt them and knew they had to be there.  My soul felt gooey and warm I wanted so badly to touch my grandmother's hands.  But, somehow I felt like I did. 

Right now I am relying heavily on my senses...all six of them.  Because it's absolutely necessary.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oh! What a Night

It's funny how things can move and change, shifting from a thought into a dream.  A goal.

Recently I started a little project that turned into a live gig. In late January I became better acquainted with someone who how now become a musical partner.  I had this thought.  I wanted to perform again and didn't know anyone who'd be interested in accompanying and brainstorming with me.  Well, Andrew was suggested to be by a few friends.  We work in the same building together and I had no idea he was a talented guitarist.  One day by the coffee pot I said "Hey, Andrew.  I hear you play.  Want to get together and fiddle around".  Without a breath he answered back "Yes. I'm in."  From that conversation, a partnership was born and we played our first gig together last Saturday night.

Our set was 22 songs, all covers expect one song we wrote.  And of course the plan is to work on more original piece as soon as possible.  However, we took our nervous selves to a small venue called 209 Arts Bar and did what we both love doing.

Before I go any further, I have to take a moment to brag about my partner.  Andrew is at least 10 years younger than me, but he carries more patience than men twice his age.  I chose some pretty big songs and during rehearsals, he'd see me become frustrated with myself and start to crawl back inside that shell.  One night, he just looked at me and said "You've got this girl.  Don't be scared".  And from then on the fear of butchering a song was over.  Andrew did a lot more than just play the guitar for me.  He helped unleash something I had hidden away since 2007.  Something that I loved doing.  Something that I am ready to pursue with more vigor, more gravity, and with way more guts.

The closer it got to our big date, the louder my nerves became.  My parents and sister drove in from Houston and my best friend since I was 4 years old also flew in from Houston.  The morning of the performance, I found myself in my apartment with Andrew, my family, and some really wonderful friends.  We worked on some trouble songs and even Skyped in the Italian family so they could catch a piece of what we were going to be performing.  It just felt really damn good.  Everyone enjoyed each other and my nerves started to wither.  I mean - why would I feel so nervous?  These people want to see us succeed.  That's called love.

Finally, it was time to perform.  It was about 6 bars into the first song, a mellowed down version of I'm Every Woman, that I started to feel like I was having fun.  That this was going to be an amazing night.  And I was right.  So many of my friends and co-workers came out in support and I was truly amazed.  At one point I looked out at everyone singing along, laughing, enjoying one another and realized that this is what I love the most.  Bringing people together and having a great time.And it especially felt great to be seen as an artist to so many people I care for.  Finally, they saw my heart.

What a fun night.  I will keep it with me.