Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Amanda Palmer

I first encountered Amanda on TED talks with The Art of Asking. Since then I have followed her on twitter and Facebook. That sounds kind of Stalkery.

This is a kinda long post so I will throw some relevant pictures in here to break it up a bit :)

She has some new music out this week. You can listen to it here - Bigger on the inside

It has jumped and grabbed my heart making a rather big mess. The lyrics speak volumes. The cello, one of my favourite instruments which has always expressed emotion in a deep and soulful way, really holds me there and feeling all there is to feel and more. I have shared the link above for the song but I feel the need to post the lyrics as well so that I can explain the places that is gripped my heart and left me bare and raw.

BIGGER ON THE INSIDE

You’d think I’d shot their children
From the way that they are talking
And there’s no point in responding
Cause it will not make them stop

And I am tired of explaining
And of seeing so much hating
In the very same safe haven
Where I used to just see helping

I’ve been drunk and skipping dinner
Eating skin from off my fingers
And I tried to call my brother
But he no longer exists

I keep forgetting to remember
That he would have been much prouder
If he saw me shake these insults off
Instead of getting bitter....

I am bigger on the inside
But you have to come inside to see me
Otherwise you’re only hating
Other people’s low-res copies

You’d think I’d learn my lesson
From the way they keep on testing
My capacity for pain
And my resolve to not get violent

But though my skin is thickened
Certain spots can still be gotten
It is typically human of me
Thinking I am different

To friends hooked up to hospital machines
To fix their cancer
And there is no better place than from this
Waiting room to answer

The French kid who wrote an e-mail
To the website late last night
His father raped him and he’s scared
He asked me How do you keep fighting?

And the truth is I don’t know
I think it’s funny that he asked me
Cause I don’t feel like a fighter lately
I am too unhappy

You are bigger on the inside
But your father cannot see
You need to tell someone be strong
And somewhere some dumb rock star truly loves you

You’d think I’d get perspective
From my view here by the bedside
It is difficult to see the ones I love
So close to death

All their infections and proscriptions
And the will to live at all in question
Can I not accept that my own problems
Are so small

You took my hand when you woke up
I had been crying in the darkness
We all die alone but I am so, so glad
That you are here

You whispered:  "We are so much bigger on the inside,
You, me, everybody
Some day when you’re lying where I am
You’ll finally get it, beauty

We are so much bigger
Than another one can ever see
But Trying is the point of life

So don’t stop trying  Promise me."



And now to try and break it down without soaking my keyboard so much that is ceases to be.



You’d think I’d shot their children 
From the way that they are talking 
And there’s no point in responding 
Cause it will not make them stop  

And I am tired of explaining 
And of seeing so much hating 
In the very same safe haven 
Where I used to just see helping 

Many years ago, we were a part of a few wonderful groups of loving, giving and  supportive groups. At one point in one of the groups, we stood up for the group in a truly ugly situation and were then targeted by that group. There were emails, phone calls and drive by's (not the throwing things at your house kind). The other group turned nasty not long after I was diagnosed with my brain tumour. I have popped into a few of their events since to be told all about this evil woman (me) by people who have been there in a shorter time than I have been out. I continued to support and help the group until my mother had cancer and my own brain tumour would not allow me to continue. There was no support from this large group of people. There was either vile accusations or no contact at all.



I’ve been drunk and skipping dinner 
Eating skin from off my fingers 
And I tried to call my brother 
But he no longer exists  

I keep forgetting to remember 
That he would have been much prouder 
If he saw me shake these insults off 
Instead of getting bitter....  

I continued to sing in our band for at least a year after diagnosis and only quit when I was being taken away from gigs in an ambulance. Very rock-star, not very cool.

I have over the years lost many people I care deeply for including my parents. I do forget sometimes that they are no longer here and I cannot call them to tell them the latest news or ask advice. It hurts... a lot. There are so many things I could have been bitter about including my health but I have chosen to pick myself up, dust off and keep going.

I am bigger on the inside 
But you have to come inside to see me 
Otherwise you’re only hating 
Other people’s low-res copies  

You’d think I’d learn my lesson 
From the way they keep on testing 
My capacity for pain 
And my resolve to not get violent  

But though my skin is thickened 
Certain spots can still be gotten 
It is typically human of me 
Thinking I am different

There is so much more to me than the labels and boxes that we are put in. If you don't get to know me you won't have a clue. Pain doesn't stop. People can try and hurt you for the most insane reasons. Most of it bounces off but some of it can cut so very very deeply. I don't think of myself as different. I feel I am like everyone else who carries their own brand of hell nad deals with (Or doesn't) their own challenges.



To friends hooked up to hospital machines 
To fix their cancer 
And there is no better place than from this 
Waiting room to answer  

.....How do you keep fighting?  

And the truth is I don’t know 
I think it’s funny that he asked me 
Cause I don’t feel like a fighter lately 
I am too unhappy  

My parents both had cancer when I was a teen. Seeing my Dad hooked up to his chemo bag and watching him vomit leaves a bit of a mark. Watching the lady I called 'my spare mum' on her deathbed with cancer taking her life, makes a mark. Holding my Mum's hand (and my Dad's) as she slipped away having been fighting lung cancer, doesn't just leave a mark, it is burnt into my heart. Holding Dad's hand as he passed away did the same.

People tell me they don't know how I could have kept fighting for my life. My answer has always been "It is just what you do" like there is no other option. I don't feel much like a fighter at all over the last six months or so. I feel more like a fragile thing that cannot hold up it's own weight. I break. I break a lot.

You’d think I’d get perspective 
From my view here by the bedside 
It is difficult to see the ones I love 
So close to death  

All their infections and proscriptions 
And the will to live at all in question 
Can I not accept that my own problems 
Are so small  

You took my hand when you woke up 
I had been crying in the darkness 
We all die alone but I am so, so glad 
That you are here  

You whispered:  "We are so much bigger on the inside, 
You, me, everybody 
Some day when you’re lying where I am 
You’ll finally get it, beauty  

All of the above. Caring for my Dad, having to lift him into bed when he fell out. Checking through his prescriptions to see which ones were running out of repeats, hearing him struggle with chest infection after chest infection, buying him a wheel chair and getting him to let himself be wheeled around. He kept fighting. Right up until his last breath he fought. There was and still is to an extent a lot of crying in the darkness. Those were not the exact words that were whispered to me but largely the messages were the same. Apologising for not being the father he thought he should have been was a real kicker.



We are so much bigger 
Than another one can ever see  
But Trying is the point of life 

So don’t stop trying  Promise me."

I have found often since getting that hole drilled through my brain that I am less likely to just throw in the towel. Now I will try. It may take a whole lot more effort than before but I will give whatever it is a bloody good go. Trying is the point of life 

Largely I feel like Amanda has been in my heart and brain while writing this song. Please take a moment to step out and listen to something new. It is very much worth doing. Oh! And listen through your headphones, it is so much more immersive.

This is a link to her TED talk as well - The Art of Asking there is also a book by the same name.

Stay safe and well
J