Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for the 'desire' Category

She’s Thunderstorms

 “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”

I love good old George Bernard Shaw. He always hits the spot. This blog post deals with music, imagination and desire.  These three things are intimately related, in my thinking, and is premised on one simple idea. Everything really does all starts in one’s head.  Whenever I write a new song, the ideas  have been fermenting  for a while. Lyrics, images and melodies all lie dormant, ripe and ready for the picking. Similarly, great sex (I heard, I am a saint after all) is  fueled by longing, mystery and the various shades of one’s  bedraggled imagination.  Human beings, as we know, are the only species who engage in sex for pleasurable. I would take it a step further and state  that it’s the primary reason why I am a  musician.  Music brings me gluttonous, voracious pleasure.

Desire and imagination are my inconsistent , yet and terribly evocative bedfellows. I think that applies to all artists.  I have had numerous scandalous love affairs, plotted, killed, conspired and mourned so many  - in my mind! All it takes is a dash of the imagination to enliven me.  Finding the music comes easily once I am emotionally primed. In that instant  everything I feel, want and need is within my reach and inhibitions a thing of the past!  Once the song is written and my desire  sated, I can clean the kitchen in peace.

However, every so often my  desire for music and everything else wanes and I am left alone  thinking, “I will never be able to write another good song or sing that way again!” That’s when you will find me at the beach with Ben Harper urging me to “Find a Better Way” or the Arctic Monkeys prompting me to “Snap Out of It”. Sometimes it takes a day or two, sometimes an hour.  I have come to appreciate the cyclical nature of my life.  A dear friend once remarked, “Auriol, you tend to run away or close yourself off from people when you are scared. It’s your self defense mechanism, I get that, but don’t you think it’s time to try something new?” That bladdy bastard, I thought. He has a point. Now, I face my doubts with greater confidence, well I try … and the music, after such a bout, is surprisingly optimistic. Therefore, it’s never a crisis of desire, I realized but a crisis of my imagination – as Ester Perel  phrased it. Once I could not imagine, let alone desire, dealing with my doubts or fears in any other way..yet..

Distance from music or those we love, creates anticipation (sometimes fear) but ultimately fuels the creative process. At this very second, I have not sung a single note to anyone (aside from my cats who do not appreciate it) in three months. I am itching, chomping at the bit to  get out there with my band. I can’t wait to feel those butterflies pounding wildly in my belly. It’s such a rush!  Everything I go through, the people I meet,  all serve one function; they create breathing space. This absence or distance is often  viewed negatively.  My friend and fellow artist Toni Scott  reassured me, when I aired my frustration, “Auriol, view it as a I time for gathering research. ” That one sentence helped me in so many ways. It lessened my frustration and made cleaning the kitchen seem less of a chore. Research indeed!

Back to the cyclical nature of my life. I am a Scorpio after all, and we are known for our legendary mood swings. “Mummy, one minute you are so happy and then you turn into a crazy person!” My response? “Sweety, I am your mother. Very Colored, partially French and absolutely insane. Deal with it!”  A friend of mine once said his love for French women stemmed from their unpredictability . I liked that idea so much I decided to incorporate it and now am unpredictably French by association! However, when I deal with people I love and care for – I am as predictable as clockwork. I will pick up the phone  at 3 am,  answer a mail immediately and do small things to assure them that they matter. But Music, oh it allows me to be as French as I can imagine! It’s a phenomenal way of maintaining one’s balance!

Karen Maire Moning once said “Desire makes life happen. Makes it matter. Makes everything worth it. Desire is life. Hunger to see the next sunrise or sunset, to touch the one you love, to try again. Hell would be waking up and wanting nothing.”  Whether it’s the sincere desire to live a better life, be a better mother, musician or live in a sustainable environment (I do belong to Greenpeace by the way)…we must have something  passionate to revel in, something that brings balance to a world filled with injustices and bad reality tv. We need to be reminded of not only who we are but what we are capable of.

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” Oscar Wilde said that. Regardless of what I do or where I go, Desire is my first name, Imagination my last and music will  run rampant in my veins…but  can call me Auriol.

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“Auriol, you over-think everything. One day you’ll be on your way to an asylum to visit a friend – or so you think!  Only on your deathbed will you come to know the sad, ugly truth.  We were visiting you all along!”   I won’t lie.  I paused to consider this possibility!  Why do you ask?  I over-think everything my friend. Just like Vincent said in Quentin Tarinto’s Pulp Fiction, “A foot massage is never just a foot massage “  Yet all it took was one glance from my daughter for the epiphany to hit me.
Whenever I page through my song books I can pin point with crystal precision where I was, what I felt and even the clothes I wore!  This is a feat of astronomical proportions especially if you consider that I can barely recall what I cooked the night before.  As I listen to those songs, I am transported to a time when I was tormented, bemused, bedeviled, intoxicated and positively possessed with lust, rage, love…  You must understand – I write music and sing as an act of complete remembrance.
There’s something deeply macabre about the workings of the human heart.  We hold on to memories that flagellate, torment and threaten to tear us asunder.  As I stared at my daughter, who was obliviously texting and humming along to The Arctic Monkeys, another realization hit me.  There’s something bitter sweet about being in the midst of profound happiness – knowing it is ephemeral and savoring it nevertheless.  I knew that I would never be able to capture the rebellious splendor of who my daughter was in that split second ever again…
“Every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh, and that the wanderers will find a way home, and the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stroke our hair with dreaming, habitual fondness, not having meant to keep us waiting long.”  - Marilynne Robinson
Living in the present… I haven’t mastered that art just yet but music helps transform good memories into great ones and allows me to leave the past behind.  Or I hope that’s what it does or pretty soon I will be visiting some friends at an asylum…
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Tango Till They’re Sore

It’s hard to see people for who they are on even the best of days. Generally we tend to gravitate towards an extreme. They are either mangy tongue twisting bitches or angelic being who perch on God’s shoulder for fun. This kind of attitude always lands us in trouble. Inevitably people can only be this: flawed, imperfect and very human.

Why is it so hard to look at someone’s actions and say, “This is who I am dealing with now and there is very little I can do to change that?” Yet even in that moment of utter disappointment we take on a burden that is not ours to carry. They aren’t the ones who are wrong. We are. There has to be something wrong with us.  I have girlfriends who stay with abusive men for years. They can’t look at their men or themselves in the mirror for too long….

There’s just so much to consider when you interact with people. There’s conditioning, projections and unfulfilled expectations from both sides. At times who the person is gets lost in between all that crap. At other times we prefer to only see the best in people – even when they act like assholes. “I know they’re better than this,” we say to ourselves. And usually we are right – just not at that particular moment.

The ability to see someone for who they are takes time and often comes with a great turmoil. You can’t really know someone when life is sweet and things are good. Most of us don’t want to think about  the bad times or people’s deeper issues. We are too concerned with ourselves and getting what we need from them. That doesn’t make us bad either – just very human…

There are a few things I know with 100% certainly. People will surprise you. Life will surprise you. Having family and friends that really see you and love you in spite of it all – can and will get you through nearly anything..

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I watched the movie Tangled with my daughter and loved it! In fact the only reason why we considered watching it was because Zachery Levi was the lead and we are big Chuck fans. Still we we were very surprised at just how much fun the movie was! Anyway, I always reckoned that the best part about having kids is that you get to watch movies, read books and act like a lunatic around them. When my daughter was younger the “acting like a lunatic” bit usually happened on Friday nights at around 8pm. Then I would haul out all her imaginary friend and got to be a complete schizophrenic!

As you can guess I would never suggest anyone go without TV for any reason. There are good shows out there to watch if you dig a bit. When I was a kid The Little Mermaid was my movie.That was the first moment when the idea of being a singer really occurred to me. When she sang about wanting to be “part of their world” I nearly fell off my chair. Dammit-all, I thought, I feel the exactly same way! Even then I knew that there was something, some bit of myself that I was missing out on…that I was waiting to discover…

This is also why I get so damn angry when my daughter switches on Disney channel or Nickelodeon. All the shows have an entertainment angle and let’s be honest here. Not every one on this planet is meant to be a singer or dancer. These kids are being brain washed dammit! I give my daughter endless grief about this. Surely what makes this world work is that we have a diversity of talents?  We are all good at different things.

As the world becomes flatter people are loosing what makes them unique. Our music, TV, and even dreams are standardised and pre-packed. My daughter loves threatening me by saying, “I want to be a singer” and I always respond by saying, “Since when?” or when she is being very pesky “I love you my dear but you can’t sing!” Of course she can sing but I would never want her to want what I want. That’s just way too easy..

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A life filled with music

I often wonder where my life is going. Maybe I do this because I have way too much time on my hands or perhaps it’s just genetics (a critical character flaw on my part). Anyway after many years of thinking I have narrowed down my desire to one single thing. Above all else I want a life filled with music. Maybe I feel that way because I was a silent kid who hardly spoke and later still someone with so many piled up thoughts that left little time for music or anything else.

So when I picture my ideal life I see it littered with musicians and all kinds of creative people. I see myself being so happy…in that wonderful garden…. drums, guitars and voices filling the air…. boisterous family members arguing …friend’s kids playing in the pool …people huddled together smoking and laughing… and great food being eaten.

Life, I think, cannot be filled with great moments. You need nuances…crazy variations…heightened emotions…days filled with uncertainty and doubt.  At best I have experienced snippets of something wonderful. A perfect day at the zoo…a great night out with friends … hiking on the mountain with family …being shit scared during a horror movie… watching a storm while sipping on Sherry….and hearing a song sung with ease and unexpected beauty.

People can still surprise you too, I discovered. I use to think that humans are not that complex…that if you looked carefully enough you could determine their motivations and predict their next move. Such arrogance on my part! Iknow my life is makes more sense if I am able to appreciate those small exquisite moments that often pass unnoticed. Sure, if I am lucky enough those big moments will come and I will be elated!

But a life filled with music means being awake and aware of everything.  Maybe I can’t always be the one singing the song but I want, always, to be capable if hearing it.

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Jumping over walls

Last night I decided to go back into my own personal history …. I decided to go through some old pictures. I found some pictures and compared them to the recent ones and was shocked at what I saw. Now I am not talking about weight gain here only. I recognized that I am not a very happy person….and that the light literally left my eyes. I could track my internal journey by just looking at my eyes. I had become one serious person. And I mean serious about everything in my life. It all stems back to that one moment when everything changed (birth of my daughter). I know that …that moment allowed me to grow so much, I know this….but I have not yet forgiven myself for it. I was a very different person before….carefree, the life and soul of the party. But after the birth of my daughter….that was gone….not a trace of it was left. I would think…and think… and greatly consider every action I was about to take. Now this is not awareness….but was all laced with fear. Fear of loosing control….fear of loving someone so recklessly – and then I just shut down altogether. The only times when I allow myself a bit of fun is when I am on stage (or singing) and when I play with my daughter. I realized that I need to break down all the walls I have constructed around me. I also got that I rarely share my feelings with anyone. If you really want to know how I feel, then look at the songs I have written. Still, even then you would have to look very carefully….I sprinkle bits of my own life in my songs very sparingly.

I need to stop thinking and just get on with the doing part of my life. It’s interesting you know, I have this fallacy I love. Well, it is my own little fallacy and I must love it because I keep thinking about it. This is how it goes… “If I can just make a success out of my music, I will be okay….everything else will fall into place.” Now this is a big emotional block….and it is has its roots in my childhood. I realized that as a child I was already living in my head. So much so that I only really opened up to people and started talking when I was in grade 7. My life before that was a strangely silent one. And I had to admit that it had everything to do with who my parents were. I don’t know how it all started…..but I decided at a young age that if I was silent enough they would stop arguing and life would be okay. And so I hid all my feeling and thoughts behind that wall of silence…and after a while I became it. Now in my family I am the mediator…..ever since I was small I played this role. I needed the people around me to be okay and so I would try my best to ensure that they were.

So after many years I finally discovered the one thing that brought me joy – singing. And admitting that to myself was very hard because it mean sharing my feelings. I remember sitting in the bath with the water running full blast (a few years ago) and singing….so that no one would hear me. Yes, singing allowed me to access my own feelings and share them with others. So every now and then I would climb over my wall and sing in front of it. Then I would let myself back in and hide. I realize that in my own head I am still that silent child hiding behind the curtain.

Now my daughter is fully expressed. Just as I taught her to air her feelings, she allowed me to do the same. I only started singing after she was born. That girl dances, sings, writes her own stories (with the terrible spelling…lol!) and is the funniest person I know. I love to sit and watch cartoons with her….or kiddies movies. And I know why I enjoy it…when I do these kinds of things…that scared child leaves the curtains behind and laughs.

And I don’t share these things with my husband…or anyone that close to me. I use to have a friend in Cape Town who knew me inside and out. And so we built a little fortress that we would hide behind whenever we were together. This is why my husband hates his guts…lol! So now I write music instead of confiding in anyone. I call up my family at least once a week just to know if everything is okay. My sister looks the way I feel….I have just become very good at hiding it. So when people meet me they will notice that I am reserved and cautious but overall (I think) a friendly person who is sincere. And why not… is easier to be sincere about other people’s feelings than my own….I have been doing this all my life….Now you know why I write so many songs….all the time…

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Why Santa…why…

If someone had to ask me just what I wish for…..the list would not be endless. Actually, the things I desire are rather few. Sure I could go on and on about all the cool things I’d like to own but I would get bored of it after a while. Wishing is such a waste of time in any case …let’s blame all the fairy god mothers and the reality shows out there.
The thing that really gets me though is my own expectations….they are rather high. In my mind it doesn’t matter if I am doing something for the first time, I want to be brilliant at it. And when I am not….I feel really kak (shit)…and I start having all these doubts about who I am and what I can achieve. When in fact there is nothing wrong with me….my expectations are just unrealistic.

The spiritual people out there say that people should not be attached to the outcome of any situation. Well, that is kinda hard. But I think that what they are talking about is……wait for it….faith. See, there is nothing wrong with wanting or needing something. The problem is that in our minds we have a certain idea of what that thing should look like and sound like… when it comes in another form or shape we often don’t even know it’s in front of us. If we had more faith in our abilities….and are more aware of what’s going on around us….we would recognize IT when we see it.
It really is about living in the moment….if you are then you won’t really be concerned with what happened yesterday or tomorrow. All you see and appreciate is now. And it’s in that moment when you get to create what you desire…..and if you have the faith….you might just live to see it materialize. Instead of wishing for it….and secretly hoping that a camera crew is going to pitch up outside your house.

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Beam me up Scotty!

This business of creating the life you really want is hard.
At first it is rather exciting….just the thought of being able to be and have anything you want is very seductive – but after a while…you (and by that I mean me) can loose the plot. The fact is that in order to keeps the momentum going you have to find new ways of expressing what it is you want in your life. When I was in high school one of our English tests revolved around an article about the ill effects of smoking. Let me tell you something….every smoker was gathered during break discussing just how much that article made them want to smoke. Now isn’t that ironic? Our teacher was hoping to get us to change our evil ways and it has the opposite effect. This is what happens when you keep seeing the same message over and over again… forget it’s real importance and you become numb. This is why people can sit and watch the most violent movies…it has become so routine. So how does this tie in with keeping the energy going in the direction of your desires? In a way, I think, you have to find different ways of re-phrasing or repackaging what it is you desire. That way it stays fresh in your mind. This helps a lot because you will manifest what you want so much easier if you feel better about what’s going on in your life. Like I said…it is hard to do that. It is so easy to just let things go on the way they have been….you go on autopilot and life just…happens to you. I can’t live that anymore….

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Being present

Lots of new age talk center around the idea of being present. When I think of being present I realize just how hard it really is. Most of the time the past, with all its regrets and failures, is very alive to me. My sister recently had a baby…and when I see her and the way she interacts with him I realize that I was never really present in my dealings with my daughter. At 21 I had dropped out of university was married with a kid on the way. Truthfully I felt ashamed of myself and the mess I was in. Aside from that I felt isolated and alone. This did not make me a very good mother, I think. In fact it did not make me a good anything. So for most of the last 10 years I have been everywhere else but present. I always thought I had to be somewhere else. That’s the thing I struggle with most. I cannot enjoy the moment I am in because in my mind I am not where I need to be. In one of my quieter moments I tried to think of the successes I had in the last year. I could not easily find anything because I had not achieved my goals as yet. Now you could say that I am being too hard on myself and perhaps there is some truth to that…but if I cannot achieve my goals then what is the point of it all? Now I am not being suicidal here….but in my darker moments I wonder if my life (as it is now) means anything to anyone…if it really means anything to me. Honestly the only thing that stopped me from committing suicide is my daughter. I would not want to dump that emotional mess on her. So I think of other things instead. I wonder about my life and whether I am really present to the good stuff. It is rather pointless thinking about death…after all it is inevitable. What I think of a lot is how I will live my life and the quality of that life. I think of how to forgive myself for having a child so young….I wonder how I will allow myself to trust others and to receive love from them. All this would require me letting go of my past and creating the space for something new to enter. This is very hard at times…..

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Selling my soul…

When I small I really wanted this toy. Now I don’t even remember what kind of toy it was…all that I do remember is that aching, knowing feeling inside. I kept thinking that if I didn’t get this toy I was just gonna die! Now I thought that I was a grown ass adult. I thought that I had outgrown all my childish impulses….until a few days ago… when I came face to face with something I craved. And it was insane…I could literally think of nothing else beside this thing I wanted. I did nothing but sit and obsess for a few days

Naturally I did not get the thing I thought I wanted more than anything in the entire world….and seeing that I didn’t die… I did the next best thing…I cried for a while….

A few days have passed and I now have to ask myself just what the hell was going through my mind. Why was I so determined to get it? Why was I so obsessed that at times I literally felt sick? It actually only comes down to one thing…expectation. In the past I was so scared to ever really want anything (because honestly I never got it) that I stopped wanting anything that badly. I stopped begging my parents for things….Right now I won’t ask my husband for anything…even if I really need it….even if we have the money. I won’t ask. And when do I feel cheap….like I just sold my soul to Satan. I know what the “spiritual” people out there say… you should not expect… you should know. Knowing means having absolute faith that what you need will come to you. Expectation is another thing altogether….I would equate it to a wishing game. So, I didn’t get what I really wanted. I must believe that I didn’t get it for a reason. You know what they say about one door opening and another closing. This is what I hate about myself. I over think everything. A piece of chocolate is never just a piece of chocolate to me. And honestly that ruins everything….

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