Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for the 'human nature' Category

Stop The World I Wanna Get Off with You

When I tell people I was a silent kid, no one really believes me. They could never imagine  loquacious  me as anything but bubbly and well, loquacious.  Sullen and withdrawn I can be and most certainly was when younger. That’s how I how become a voyeur and a voracious reader. Two necessary ingredients to becoming a songwriter I think. But when I was younger, it was my anything but. I hid in books..

I was stuck in what I termed my ” metaphysical phase” for many years. I even became a psychic junkie for a while,  joined a Wiccan  coven  and refrained from eating meat for two or three years! It really was an eye-opening experience. Once I felt more assured of my place in this universe, I decided to become a musician. My every thought was bent towards it and the books  reflected that. It was a long and exhaustive process, finding balance.

First, I must make a small confession. This confession has a huge impact on how I view matters of the heart, in music and …other places. Dawson’s Creek. Dang! I loved that show and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) especially. The writers of that show should be persecuted for crimes against humanity! They convinced me that men were more than capable of expressing their heart’s desire.  I suffered for many years trying to prove them wrong! Tell me who wouldn’t want a boyfriends like Pacey? One who would say this..

“Actually, um, hold on. I’m not done yet. Because I also want for you to be happy. It’s really important for me that you be happy. So I want you to be with someone, whether it be Dawson or New York guy or some man that you haven’t even met yet. But I want you to be with someone who can be a part of the life that you want for yourself. I want you to be with someone who makes you feel like I feel when I’m with you. So, I guess the point to this long run-on sentence that’s been the last 10 years of our lives is just that the simple act of being in love with you is enough for me. 

Beautiful isn’t it? But  what man in this universe or the many parallel multiverses says crap like that? Let me not get started on the tv show Felicity and that aloof Ben! Me? I live with my heart on my sleeve but many, I realized do live by the same code.  Some have even forgotten they have a heart altogether! When I lose my way, I call my Mother, sometime rather teary-eyed too I might add.  She would always say  “Auriol, your heart is a bit too small. You need to believe in something, in someone. Don’t forget God has a plan for you. Have patience, write music.” But I can never wait for others to do and say things and I am dreadfully impatient..

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  said Edgar Degas. I just decided to take my Mother’s advice and believe in something greater than myself or my own experience ..to have patience and trust that it will all add up to something one day.  So I keep writing music. I try to refrain from watching soul destroying shows where words are crafted with great love. I try to stay jaded, to hope a little less… but never can manage it completely.

Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  Curiosity is my response Mr Pablo. I read to remain curious. I try to understand the workings of the mind and heart through books, music, art, crazy tv shows, the laughter of little kids…and finally when I am close to understanding something true  – I sing

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When The World Ends..

A few years ago I would wake up, startled, at 2 or 3 am, petrified and unable to sleep. “Where am I? How did I get here?”  Very often only the sound of the crashing waves would diminish the war raging in my head. So I would get into my car, listen to music and just stare at the waves… Right now it’s almost 4 am. I can hear my daughter snoring and see my cats sleeping blissfully, all huddled together. The thought that rumbles through my mind is a completely new one, “Man! I am glad I got here..”

Over the last three years I discovered that Love is so much more than a chain one links to a single person or experience. Love came to me in so many different forms and nudged me awake. Some times friends would drop in..or I would be gifted with music, a love letter from my four year old godson or an especially filthy joke from my daughter.  As I slowly awoke the music I wrote and sung changed. Songs written from a place of great loss were sung with greater compassion. Compassion I finally learnt to extend not only to others but myself.

Very often I am reminded of my Mother, the most generous soul I know. Every morning she would wake as the house slumbers, gather her holy books and pray.  It doesn’t matter that I disagree with her religious convictions. It matters more that she epitomizes faith in action. When the crashing waves couldn’t calm me and I found it impossible to speak, all it took was hearing my Mother say, “Auriol, my child, didn’t you miss me?” And suddenly the walls housing all my tears would collapse. Without her (and she is rather insane by the way) I would not have the unflinching faith I have in music or myself.

The point I am making is this. Everything passes and the ability to get through the good, bad and trying experiences is…whatever you need it to be. Did you expect me to say faith, love, patience? Just because that helped me does not mean it will be the same for another. We are never left alone. Never without guidance. Never without hope. Sometimes all it takes is the sound of waves at 3 am or the face of someone we trust. So go ahead. Take a closer look at your life. They are all there..the signs, markers, people, music…. guiding you back home and to yourself..

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Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex! Who wouldn’t want to be one? Unfortunately, I am referring to the tv show starring Michael Sheen but I will share my candid thoughts about sex, if you don’t mind. I do believe it was  Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor, who said  “The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer.” Think about that for one second. Great sex can make you forget yourself. It has the unique ability to transport you out of your very skin and bones.  Music and prayer are not far behind.  I can see my Mother rolling her eyes. I just hope she keeps on reading…

We all want to be well adjusted human beings, right? A recent visit to a sex shop made me question just how well adjusted I am. No, it wasn’t one of those swanky, oh so posh boutiques littered with fluffy pink and white furniture. It was cold and mechanical; the implements of pleasure paraded brazenly, taunting anyone who dare pass. “Here I am! See what I can do for you!”  As I perused the goods on display, I was assaulted by the sounds of a porno movie being played in one of those dark back rooms. Don’t pretend you don’t know what happens there people! I did make mention of this to the elderly assistant. “Ah, I am so use to it I no longer hear the sounds.” Eish lady, I thought, I do.  Maybe I was being naïve. I hoped that I could hear Marvin Gaye crooning “Let’s get it on…”  Yeah, I am a romantic but an idiot I am not. Just as there are many musical genres, there exists a cacophony of sexual expressions. Who am I to judge the man with the toe fetish hmm?  After the initial shock of the porn sounds, I adjusted and well…handled my business.

In my mind the impulse to merge with another and share freely in any and every gloriously delicious way possible (with consent of course) is freeing, above all.  I do feel the same way about music. All works of ineffable beauty and magnificence is fuelled by the same innate and primal impulse. Yet it isn’t all sunshine and  roses is it?  This reminds me of something my Father once said, “Auriol, one’s core values have to be the same.” This is something I am always conscientious of when dealing with musicians, men and every other little thing along the way. Can we agree on certain things? Is there chemistry? And when things change will you have the courage to share it with me?

Where does prayer fit into this equation you ask? Allow me to share. Mind you this only happens with great concentration and sincere intent. When I pray I do find peace…and complete acceptance.  All the worries and burdens I carry are put aside. I pray for every single person I care about – cats and Ben Harper included. I pray that I will find peace, clarity and inspiration. I don’t pray for an end to world hunger or war. Instead I pray that every person find what it is they need and work towards what they desire.  Also, I thank the Gods in advance for more work, great food and an passionate enduring love affair with….my life.

I don’t really want to be a master of sex. Instead I chose to be a master of my life. Yes, that would be nice. I would like every part of my life to be harmonious and balanced. And that means being unafraid and unapologetic. Having the balls to look life straight in the eye and say, ‘Hey you! Just take a look at what I can do!’ George Bernard Shaw once said ‘Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.’ Perhaps I should settle for being a master of sex instead! The master of my life bit will take lots and lots (and did I mention lots) of time…

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Feel Love

Rumi once said “Where there is ruin, there’s hope for treasure”. Try telling that to someone who has lost a child, a lover ; faced their worse fears and still has to wake up every single day. Those people, and I was one of them, secretly hoped that something or someone would change irrevocably the landscape of their lives. They hope for the day when world is as it should be, when smiling is second nature, when they no longer have to hide behind words or (in my case) music.

The problem with being a musician, or any artist for that matter, is that we are immersed and obsessed with Grand Love; Agape. So we become thrill seekers. We seek out the rush of oncoming lust and adventure. We long for those precious seconds when we are completely and thoroughly overwhelmed. The normal, mundane is never enough. Just like a horny man on the prowl – I cannot recall just how many people I have murdered in song. Ah yes.. favorite victim met his sticky end at the other at the hands of a Voodoo priestess…

For a while I was afraid to write music. I grew weary. “Auriol,” my friend Ayesha remarked, “You have to get back in there. You cannot just observe..” “Lady, ” I said while sipping my coke, ” I am just going to wait and watch for a while…” Truthfully I was a coward. Reflection was needed, I told her. Just this morning I had an epiphany.Change cannot come easily, not even while you hope, pray and beg for it. If that was the case this world would be a very different place. Yet as we take care of kids, bills, work we forget. All we know and see is our past; broken and imperfect. Instead of looking at those events objectively and saying, “Okay, this is what I learnt” we cling to the memories – even as we hurt and bleed.

“What has been lived can’t be changed. But we have lost…we can still reclaim” My Ben said that by the way. Just this morning I decided to stop apologizing.  Mistakes were made and lessons learnt. To honor my past I gifted myself with a tattoo. As I meditated a thought occurred to me. I did not have to mark myself to show that I have changed. It is evident in the way I live my life. The tattoo is on my right hand, the hand with which I hold my microphone .

The ability to love and free yourself of your past comes quietly, gently…It never howls and throws our world asunder. Change is never easy. It comes as the wind rustling the trees on a hot day. It is a whispering, remembrance that there is more…and in the midst of my past, my ruins, I discovered (much to my shock and horror) that I am the treasure I was seeking. Me. Not something or someone. Just little old me. That being said, I feel sorry for those people in my life. I will love them ardently, passionately, effusively and and they have no choice in the matter. I will gift them not with music or words but with every bit of myself for as long as they will have me…

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Try Jah Love

If I could intern at three places it would be: at an auto repair shop, a restaurant and as a Dominatrix. I would  be invincible! Think about it for a second; I could cook anything, my car would never break down and well…

First, I must put you at ease. This is not going to be a nasty blog post. This last year has been a deeply reflective one. So I pay greater attention to what is said around me and my own internal dialogue. This idea of Waiting intrigues me. “Auriol, I am waiting for that man to come along.” You know that guy…the one who has every desirable attribute under the sun. Any man who does not meet those unrealistic standards is immediately dismissed. And so the waiting starts once again…

Seriously! I don’t have that much time to waste just sitting around waiting. I have a life to get on with but even I get it wrong – as my daughter pointed out. “Mummy you over-think things. If you want to call a man – then call him! Don’t take advice from your sister or Mark. Just do it!” Getting that kind of talking- too from my daughter is bizarre. This is the same girl who walks around the house singing Like a Virgin! At every turn I tell her the same thing, “Girl, I am in no rush…” Her response (and this is why kids should be beaten) was blunt, “No, Mummy you are just scared…”

At times I wonder if I am either scared, boring or old fashioned. People are so fickle with their hearts it seems. Easy in and easy out. This is why being a dominatrix has its appeal. In my mind it requires that you own your power. So few women in general do. Everything is handed over or leased out. – to a boyfriend, the kids or the boss.

Someone once said that discomfort or pain is the price we pay for progress. After all creating change comes at a price. I am never going to achieve anything while sitting on my behind!  So I choose to not wait or make anyone responsible for my peace of mind. Right now I am at ease – one might even say happy. I listen to good music, hang with my family, get annoyed by my daughter and every now and then pop off to the beach at crazy hours. I also know my way around my car, the kitchen and well….other places. Who could ask for more?

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Singing In The Rain

I like older men. There! I said it. Older men know how to treat a lady. They are not as attached to their phones. Also the chances of a mature man sending you naked pictures of himself is not as likely.  Of course I could be wrong. There are, if my friends are correct, a lot of creepy old dudes about. Apparently I am not looking hard enough…

This post is not really about my fascination for mature men or dirty pictures. Instead it’s about how we choose to communicate with each other. I try my best to be perfectly clear and find it unbearable when I am unable to do just that. So I blog and write music – not necessarily hoping that anyone will read but the process of writing makes things a lot clearer. Music is pure and I am able to navigate my way easily but dealing with people on an every day basis baffles me.

Let me reassure you ; I am not socially inept. I can make myself and others comfortable in an instant. Talking and sharing with people I deeply care for is another kettle of fish. I chalk this down to feeling alone. Not lonely but alone. I am always surprised when people read my blog posts or listen to my music. “Your problem is that you think you do not matter” a friend once said. She had a point. Why would anyone care about what I think, say or sing? I am just a lady with a daughter, a few cats and a missing hamster.

I have been unable to shake that feeling and it does impact on how I deal with people. Sometimes I share too much or nothing at all. This is why I always speak to Mark, my unofficial PR man, first. He is level headed enough to say, “Auriol, that is a bit too much”, “Are you sure about this?” or lately “Calm Down please!” I had another epiphany; I share when I am able to because I have nothing to hide. So I post pictures of my killer cats and my crazy daughter. I share stories because at my core I am a story teller.

I find myself thinking about people, their stories and the best way to share it. And it drives me crazy! I need to get out of my head I discovered. In order to remedy this situation I have embraced traditions to ground me. I will share one of them with you. My daughter and I take out the nice plates, set the table as though we have guests and our phones are nowhere in sight. We do this even when we get take-out  Just today I caught her with the lovely red plates. “Hey! What are you doing?” I demanded. “Just making the peanut butter sandwich I am about to eat more pleasurable” she said. I gave her a smaller red plate and smiled…

And that is my point. There is great value in the old ways of doing and being. This does not mean we stop embracing new technologies or throw away our televisions. Finding balance is what is required. Write a letter or damn meaningful email, sing me a song but always treat me as though I matter. Honestly, I do not want my lover sending me naked pictures or dirty texts. I would prefer that in person, thank you very much!

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The 2nd Law – Explorer

I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago. We were talking about men (of course) and I causally remarked, while flipping through a magazine, “Now that is the kind of man I would like to be with!” An erudite, charming, well travelled man who also happens to be dashing as hell.  Yes, he oozed gravitas; someone to be admired and dare I say …feared.

In case you are wondering why all my blog posts lately are about men, allow me to explain. Writing music was always easier when in possession of a Muse. The word possession is deliberate and apt.  A Muse could fuel every kind of passion within me and that makes for great music. For the longest time I had a Muse yet now I feel no deep passion for anyone. Yes, the odd interesting thing has happened but nothing to spark Music in the true sense of the word.

My daughter gets annoyed with me. “Why don’t you write songs about me?” My response is always the same. “Girl, I doubt that anyone wants to hear me sing about the ways I would punish you for not cleaning your room!” This never goes down well. There are so many problems in this world. All I need do is open a newspaper or listen to my neighbours to draw inspiration. However, I find it hard to write music if I do not have an emotional investment and that means caring deeply for another…

Perhaps that is a good thing. After all the last three years have been so trying. Not only do I not feel any real love for another (and I exclude friends and family) but I no longer feel the pain and hurt as acutely. Every now and then a little ache comes along but it is always manageable. Now one could argue that the absence or lessening of pain is a good thing. Yet even that pain fuelled my music. This freedom is something new altogether…

So I read rapaciously, always in search of something that would spark music. Let me be clear I am not in dire need of a lover. Instead it is an idea; a path I can travel on to explore this new found freedom. A book was passed to me by a friend called With the Kiss of His Mouth by Monique Roffey. She lost her way just as I did and healed herself by going on a sexual odyssey. While I found the book enlightening and entertaining that kind of exploration (or the lengths she went to) is not one I would venture on.  My path will always be linked to music.

Right now I am at a crossroad.  I have faced my grief, my sadness, and my endings. Revelled in the joy and the pain and purged through music. Now what? Now where? Maybe I should write that song about beating my daughter after all. Maybe she might start cleaning her room…who knows?

 

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Hmmm…

It’s time for a confession (so brace yourself)…in an ideal world there is only one man who would father my future children and trust me they would be numerous! He also happens to checks all the boxes for an ideal partner. Yes, he is dashingly handsome. Yes, he is a man of considerable influence. Yes, with one note he can bring you to your knees.  Those are, however, none of the reasons that matter. Regardless of the life he has lived, the burdens he carries or the things he has experienced – Lionel Bastos can see people for not only who they are but who they can become. He is a man of grace and strength and that, in my mind, is very rare…

I get so annoyed with people who regard relationships (of all kinds) as transactional. “I should talk to this person because they can do this for me…” or they have the notion of “I can’t be seen to do this with that person in this place…” A few days ago I discussed my new cd with a friend. “So many people stepped in to make this cd possible,” I said. “And they have asked for nothing in return.” The response I got was cold and calculating. “Oh please Auriol; everyone wants something in the end…” I wish I had reminded him of the times he assisted me voluntarily and for no other reason other than he chose to be there – with me – at that time and place…

I am not easily flustered by people.  I will only pay attention to them or create a space in my life if I sense gentleness, courage and empathy. It’s something I have learnt from my father strangely enough. “When you meet someone you must have common values – those will get you over any and everything.” Yes, one day I might stop singing and drop out of the public eye. It will not, trust me; change who I am or how I view the world. I am still the same person I was when I had no music or fans…

Maybe it’s because I am a Scorpio or perhaps the way I was raised – but I regard all my friendships with a sense of reverence and awe. I have been known to mail people on Facebook if their status happens to be a bit alarming. That reminds me of something that occurred years ago. My mother picked me up at the train station late one evening. As I approached her car I walked past a man who lay drunk on the steps. “Boeta, waar bly jy?” Where do you live she asked. Once she got the address my mother hauled him into her car (to my great alarm and annoyance) and took him home. Afterwards I asked, “Mummy, why did you have to go and pick up some drunken man?” Her response was simple, “Auriol, that is someone’s child. If you ever found yourself in trouble I would want someone to help you.” Her words were prophetic. At every point in my life when I was in need of guidance someone stepped in. They gave of themselves freely and shared what mattered most to them. There was nothing transactional about them in that instant. Now who could possibly ask for more?

Back to Lionel and the box checking. He knows that if he asked I would stand on a corner and sing for coins with him. Aside from his good looks, deep love for his children and his wonderful song writing abilities – I admire his innate ability to love and give all of himself without fail. He is not someone to mess with, is honest to a fault and fiercely protective of those he loves. Honestly, who would not want to be loved by someone like that? More importantly – who would not want to be someone like that?

 

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Build Me A House..

I had a conversation with my ex husband a few days ago. Don’t worry I did not threaten to kill him. In fact it was very civil. ”It took an entire year of crying and loosing my mind before I could even look at a man,” I confessed. ” I realized that until I can accept what has happened and my role in in it – then and only then – could I move on.” Yes, a year of lying in an empty bed and sobbing, “He’s gone. My husband is gone. Gone.” And during that time I did not, could not, write a single song about him. Now I know that I never will again. I loved him for as long as I was ever going too. My  mourning period is over.

Very often I come across women who date men because they are… there and show interest. Would I fall into that trap I wondered? Would I ever become that desperate? I must make it clear that I run into many juicy men and rather often. Would you like to know what happens? I end up really listening and talking to them for hours. Most of the time they end up becoming my “boys”. Men I can call up at any hour if I ever need anything.  My sister had a different take, “Auriol you need someone who is as  big as you are. ” Thank goodness she was not referring to my weight! “Someone who is as unafraid as you are…”

I found it odd that she thought I was unafraid. I am scared of everything but will myself past it as best I can. And nothing scares me more than sex and relationships.  My daughter loves ripping me off. “Mummy stop writing about sex! Just get a man already.” “Girl, I will only ever be with a man and mention him if he worthy of being talked about.” So in the meantime I write dirty sex songs to occupy myself. I must confess it is a lot of fun but has left me with many questions. Sex has always been something I could ever enjoy if I was comfortable not only with the other person or myself.  I know that being intimate with anyone will be overwhelming. Am I that mad to think that I will magically fall in love again?  No, that would take time, work and a great amount of thought – loving someone and being loved in turn that is.

“Auriol, you do not run into those men because you have discernment. Come on now… you don’t let anyone just walk into your house! Why would it be any different with men?” Yes, he had a point there. I  laid down a rule with my friends. “Only bring people into my house if you care about them. Leave the skanks at home!” That rule applies to my career also.  I work with people I like and trust. The end result? My life is rich and I never feel lonely…but that was not always the case.

I spent a lifetime loving one man who did not really understand me. In all fairness we were too young and he did try.  Just like I tried to be that housewife, that mother…but how could it ever work if I did not know what I needed or how to articulate that need? Now I over think every action and scenario that presents itself. I also refuse to hold back my feelings, lie or settle. I gave a speech a few weeks back and said, “If you want to have that one night stand – then do it! But only if you know yourself and can live with the consequences.” That should apply to everything in our lives. Yes, know yourself and never lie about who you are or what you need. Life is just too bladdy short.

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Lover You Should’ve Come Over…

“Mummy why are singing the Shrek song?” my daughter asked early this morning. She was expecting the “Girl, get out of bed and get dressed now!” war cry that she was accustomed and inured too. However, her mother singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah from her bed was…new. Did she wake up and get dressed? No, instead she lay in bed while I sang and was 20 minutes late for school!

Music has the uncanny ability to make me feel good about myself regardless of where or with whom I am. In the past I had so many hang-ups. I didn’t look right enough, act right enough – even my voice betrayed me! I simply could not Whitney Houston the crap out of a song no matter how hard I tried. At times it felt as though I was hauling around a sign that said, “Look, these are all the reasons why you should love me; want to be with me…”

I spent a life time begging one man to love me with every song I wrote and sang. In the end it made for great music but a lonely life for both of us. It taught me a valuable lesson about self acceptance. Yes, my Ben said it best “Take me as I am or leave me where you found me.” Now I make sure that I am understood and aware of the consequences of every act.

It’s so easy to get carried away by the aura of one man. I realized that it’s a weakness of mine and one I transpose into music with ease. The only problem in that scenario is that I end up elevating and mythologising that one man. So in order to get around that little issue (because every musician needs a Muse) I deliberately do things to bring those traits that I admire in him into my own life. Is it working? Give me a few months and I will get back to you. After all I am not perfect you know…

This hard-line approach applies to my interaction with men also. A friend and I were having a conversation when I blurted out in panic “Listen, do you think this man will understand what I am saying?” I do worry that my less than subtle approach scare people. And he responded by saying, “Your honesty is one of your best qualities.”  Even though I decided to never tone down or cower the way I have in the past – I do still get itchy feet.  Regarding men – I make my intentions very clear.  If you want me come and get me – but only if I gave you the go ahead! If you don’t it’s no skin off my back. After all there that’s why there’s family, friends, music, books, tv shows, cats to love, causes to be involved in and top of the range vibrators…that will leave me singing  “Hallelujah!”

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