Auriol Hays

Awareness through music


Fact – everyone has issues. Fact two – everyone wants to move past them. Fact three (and this is the most vital bit) you can only move past them when you are ready to move past them. No amount of running will ever work. And people run in different ways. Some work their asses off, others drink…while the rest of us are completely functional. We get up, go to work, love who we love….and then one day….for no apparent reason we just can’t get out of bed.

When I look around all I see are people who are unable to move out of their “stuff. I revisit that place every now and then, trust me. It was only when I spoke to George, who works at the bank, that the light bulb went off. I asked him if he was happy. He looked at me and then said, very thoughtfully, “I am thankful for what I have.” Dammit-all, I thought, why didn’t someone tell me this years ago?

Man, I spent years, on and off, being miserable. I would wake up feeling antsy and anxious –convinced that I should be somewhere else. After years of reflection this is what I know with great certainty. No matter how smart you think you are…the universe will find a way for you to face your issues. You can only run for so long.

Yet why is it that people with issues ,and some of them very serious, seldom get help? Hell man, I think we owe it to ourselves to just admit that we have problems! Someone once said, “”We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders“. I think this is very true.

We are all looking for something or someone who will take us out of our misery and remind us that we matter…that we are remarkable. Looking outside of yourself for that wonder is always going to get you into trouble, I reckon…

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Everyday Hurts a Little More

I often tell my daughter that this world is filled with strange and mysterious things. Once I told her that there are people who think the Little Gray Men are the mercenaries of the galaxy (they harvest genetic material for other alien races). I got a very skewered are-you-out-of-your-mind- kinda look! I don’t expect her to believe it but I want her to know that there are strange and seemingly mysterious things out there;things that fall outside the limits of our understanding.

While I love my esoteric and extraterrestrial, I know that we all will all face greater puzzling dilemmas right here on planet earth. They come in the shape of people who challenge the way we live – just by being who they are. See, this is the bit I am trying to not only understand myself but teach my daughter. Like I said it’s easy being morally righteous. The government advocates it. Religion is based on it…in fact the very structures that keep things ticking on and over depends on it. Yet the reality of who we are as people is anything but.

Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher, once said that “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take on them.” It’s all about the stories and details we add. The stories we tell ourselves help put the people and events into context. The problem is that after a while you start believing those stories. Often the only way you can put a stop to them is by running into other people who make you stop and ask yourself, “What the hell is going on here?” or “Who have I been for the last few years of my life?”

And those questions are the ones that keep me awake at night. Most people are neophobic – they just don’t like new things. Some don’t even want to make new friends. So imagine asking someone to expand their moral horizons? To make place for the seemingly “incomprehensible” events or situations that life will present them with….

I have always tried to find meaning for those mind shattering personal events in my life. So when I loose my shit and scream and shout bloodly murder at 9 on a Saturday morning, the only person I have to answer to is myself. And all it takes is a little bit of nerve – to be honest enough and move a step beyond the lies and stories I have told myself for so long….

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These are my Twisted Words

My sister loves her cell phone. All her friends hang out and connect virtually  and my mother can’t stand it! In fact she tried hiding the phone and every tactic in the book so that my sister would just stop texting. “Why can’t she just talk to real people more?” my mother pleaded. Being the diplomat and UN in my family I tried explaining it all. My sister, like so many others out there, is socially challenged. Yes, she is hot and very smart but in a room with real people she tends to freak out and says even less! So she retracts into the digital world instead where she can say what she wants to say and be understood.

I have heard this complaint a lot. “People are spending too much time on social networking sites instead of…well, socialising!” My mother socialises all the time – at work and at church. She is old school that way. This is one lady who struggles to stay at home! One would think that she would be more lenient after teaching overseas for a while. She forgets how we skyped each other for hours and then would move the conversation to Facebook. And honestly I loved the access I had to her back then. I think I need to remind her….

I could go on and on about the evils of social networking and the potential for dangers. Still, people are weirdos whether in the virtual or real world. I most certainly am. And we are all bound to run into a few of then at some time. The one lessons that we all have to get is Discretion.

My sister found her first few boyfriends through her cell phone and they were all assholes. And let’s just be straight here…for some the real world is just too much to deal with. I often feel like that every now and then. On Facebook it’s as simple as  blocking a person or deleting them on your cell phone. Idiot – dealt with! If only real life were that easy.

Now she is fusing the virtual and the real, like most of us are these days. And I have to say that it is working out well for her. If only my mother could see it that way…

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Unnatural Selection

We all like different things for different reasons. Today I have some thoughts on music that need sorting through. Some people like music because it makes everything a bit more bearable. That annoying boss and pissy co workers don’t seem as bad if you tone their voices down and lace a funky beat over them in your mind. I have done that many times myself! Music allows you to just escape and switch off. I get that. I mention this because a few minutes ago I took a look at MTV to see what’s out there.  So often people say, “You gotta know what’s going on. The last thing you want to be is out of date.” Sure there is merit to that argument but I seriously question that kind of thinking when I take a look at just what is out there.

I have had many people tell me that they like my voice but not the pop tunes that they hear on the radio. While I find that amusing I never take it personally. Just like any job music does not define who I am – neither is it the only source of my happiness. It took me years and serious drama to discover that fact. So another music video is due to hit the TV screens and again it is not a song that I have any real connection with. It is just pop, sugary fluff.  Am I concerned that people will not take me seriously as a musician? No really. I guess this comes down to the fact that I have learnt a great deal about my own nature (the good and bad) and know that compromises are needed.

Knowing that has made a great deal more tolerant of all musicians. So the girl is shaking her ass and acting like a tart on the music video. Who really cares?  There are things worth taking seriously in this world and a music video doesn’t do it for me. In the new music video I have a bit of a dominatrix edge and I will confess that I like it. Dammit-all what girl would not want to order men around with a cane? A whip would have been a bit much! What I dig about music is that it gives me the chance to become other people.  In fact I am busy working on a sci fi themed song and it is a really interesting experience because of where I allow myself to go mentally.

Music is about experimenting and finding your own voice and style. While I can say that I am very proud of this debut album, it is not reflective of who I am as a musician. Did I compromise – sure.  Did I sell my soul –no. I merely haven’t found my thing yet. No matter what I do or the myriad of mistakes I might make what matters most is that I evolve as a person. If that filters in through my music – great. If people get that while they listen – even better.

I once asked a boss about someone who I had doubts working with. This was her response, “Auriol, you can’t always wear a coat when it’s hot outside can you? Neither can you wear a short little dress in this windy weather. You should think of people the same way…”

In the end it’s not what’s “out there” that is important but discerning what will serve you best.

posted by auriol in My music and have No Comments

Great Balls of Fire

My day started with a bang. No, I didn’t put the music on full blast or wake to the sound of gunshots ringing. My day started with a good old fashioned argument. Not a silly argument about dirty dishes or pets not being fed on time, but an argument where things are said that annoyed, angered and hurt. We all have that moment and sometimes it takes hearing things like, “You can be such a bitch!” or “I really don’t like the way you are behaving” to wake us up.  Still coming face to face with those dirty truths can be painful.

We’ve all asked ourselves, “Why is this so damn hard?” somewhere along the way. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about your career or things with a more personal bent to it. After my fantastic all-out argument this morning I realised that it’s supposed to be that hard. When you are dealing with things that really matter the road is never paved with gold or good intentions.

I come across musicians who expect everything to be handed to them.  I hear them say, “All I see are idiots who know nothing about music getting recognised. I work hard and I am ready.” In fact I have thought that many times myself! I know now that it alluded to my insecurities and ego more than anything else. I was nowhere near ready. If I was I would not be bitching about it. I had to hear things I didn’t like and rely on other people’s judgement. “If you want your music played on the radio create a sound that will work on the radio” they said. I didn’t fool myself into thinking that eventually the masses would come round. They might but I could be dead by then.

Still why is it that we never take those closest to us seriously?  No wonder they have to shout and scream to get their points across. Sometimes you have to shut up and listen because (dammit-all) they do have a point. Dammit-all they do matter that much and hells bells you were in the wrong.  Sure, being righteous is easier. Not wanting to move past your anger even more so.  Owning up to your bullshit takes balls and not many of us (myself included) always have a pair hanging around.

I once asked a friend who was going through a tough time how he would get through it. “What other choice do I have but to get through this?” he replied.  Yes, now’s the time to grow some balls and dangle them about. What other choice do we  have?

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Somewhere over the rainbow

We’ve all done really stupid things. Things that would shock; things that seem out of character. While it’s happening everything seems just fine. You wake up with a smile on your face, greet your neighbors, call friends and then when you think you have a few minutes to spare you make more questionable choices…

I always wondered about those moments or events that seem to turn your world upside down. Sometimes they seem too fantastical to be real or to have happened to you. So you wonder, “Am I just stupid or is something else going on here?” Any other person would stop and say, “No, something is off. I should not do anything.” But you react because you cannot help but to …because those moments are entangled with your deepest desires and fears. So you do the instinctive; you react…and in hindsight those things seem almost fated to happen.

I hate it when people say things like, “Those moments of undoing come at a great cost and with great lessons.” I hate it because I know those esoteric mofo’s are right.  I should not focus on the who’s and how’s. Instead I should focus on what I am being asked to uncover about myself.

Sometimes I think we all have a bit of a Pinocchio thing going on. We are all just trying to find some way of making our deepest wishes come true….trying to find peace…. or any kind of joy.  For some it’s as simple as being understood, being cared for, finding a place to belong or someone to belong to. All those questionable choices  are a part of the search for that everlasting moment… when you will finally look, feel and be  – real.

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Street Spirit

We are all bound to fail at something somewhere along the line. Still what is it about failing your drivers’ test that is so damn upsetting? The first time I failed my test I cried for a few hours. “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get this one thing right?” I would ask myself over and over again. It was only when one of my closest friend said “This is only a test. It is not an indication of anything else,” that I could laugh at just how silly and over dramatic I was being.

Andrew wrote his test before I did and when I saw that the examiner driving the car back into the traffic department instead of him – I knew he did not make it. He could barely look me in the eye. I knew that if he were alone he would break down and cry. This was his fifth attempt.

It would be awesome if we could do everything right at the first go. This is why so many of us spend hours reading self help books, push ourselves mercilessly  and go to endless workshops. We want more than anything to succeed and just move on to the next phase of our lives. Who knows why things happen? Maybe we are not ready to move on yet. Maybe there are things that we need to learn by failing…or maybe it is as simply as learning to be patient – with grace.

So I failed the test. Strangely enough I did not feel bad. I spoke to the examiner and she gave me pointers. We even shared a few laughs. She knew I was nervous as all hell. I then made another booking immediately went home.  The one thing I learnt today is that I am able to have a balanced attitude – in the midst of failure. Because failing at any one thing is never an indication of who we are and what we are capable of doing…

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You’ve been voted off the island

“You are all just characters in my head. None of you are really here!”  This is one of the many quirky things my husband says – while sober! Sure he can be down right weird on most days but he might just  have a point. Sometimes I get the feeling that our lives are just one big reality show and we are all being messed with. Crazy ex boyfriends, terrible in laws, shady people do make for great viewing when it’s someone else’s life and not your own going to hell. Dammit where is that bladdy tribal council when I need it? Some people need to get kicked off my show!  Right now I am still deciding what kind of show my life is. For a while it was a soap opera and I was the shady character getting up to all kinds of mischief!

There are so many things that I will never get to really understand. I have made peace with that. Anyhoo it would be terribly boring knowing everything. I rather like the mystery and intrigue. The fact that I am a musician means that I get to use it all to my advantage. Once while trying to explain a concept to a friend he got very angry and said, “Well, I just don’t understand that. It makes no sense! How can that be?” This was his way of saying that I was talking bullshit.  He expected me to argue with him and start some crazy shit. Honestly, I only do that with my immediate family or close friends  and always in jest.

I decided a long time ago that I was not going to convince anyone of anything.  It really is just a waste of my time. There are things, I have decided, that are worth fighting for but arguing for the sake of arguing and to be proved “right” is just insane! But waking up each day and enjoying what life throws at you – now that appeals to me.

I like the idea that there are aliens out there, all kinds of crazy supernatural stuff, secret organisations plotting and scheming. Every time I catch a glimpse of the seemingly fantastical and intriguing it always leaves me wanting more.  This is what makes life so exciting.

The esoteric folk out there say that we scripted our lives before we incarnated….made agreements with people to play out certain scenarios so that we can learn…that we can opt out and hit reset whenever we need to. In short this life is all just an intricate reality show starring me…scripted by me… directed by me for….my enjoyment!

So when the mister goes off on a crazy rant I always listen (even though it might appear that I am falling asleep) because every now and then he says the most profound things…

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Climbing up the walls

We all have days when we want to crawl into a hole and cry. I don’t think I ever felt as alone as I did when all the things that made my life work fell away. I couldn’t write, had no desire to sing and being quiet enough to meditate wasn’t remotely possible. I didn’t know how to be… I wanted to cry, forget and disappear completely.

Sometimes I wonder about this being alive and human business. Honestly there are so many things wrong with it all. Sure in the larger metaphysical sense everything is perfect and as it should be… but when you are falling apart it feels like nothing will ever be “fine” again. My best friend once said that what hurt him the most was the thought that he did not matter enough to someone he loved. Some thoughts are just too overwhelming to deal with…

Sure we all know that when those feeling come we should call someone – but who really ever does? I am selfish that way…my pain is my own and dammit I won’t share it with anyone. I share once I understand but during…it’s me, my cats and Radiohead…

And always it’s the small things that bring me back. Eavesdropping on a taxi driver’s dirty jokes …sitting alone in the Gardens eating an apple….watching a crazy kid chase pigeons…. gazing at the colours of a tree as the sun sets. All I try to find is that one moment that will lead to another and another…

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High and Dry

There is nothing worse than living in the past. To always be looking at faded images of yourself and wishing that you could go back. To a body that was as fantastic…an outlook on life that was less cynical …a time that was simpler and made more sense. The irony is that when you were in that time you really didn’t think it was that fantastic. It just was what it was. Maybe that’s something we all have to learn – to create perspective so that we can view the events of our lives objectively. In short – living in the now without regret. I love how things sound so easy on paper…

When I first became a mother all I could do was live in the past. As far as I was concerned there was nothing good about where I was currently. My friends were completing their degrees, traveling and out there having a good time while life, it seems, stopped for me. I was 21 then and had no life experience to speak of. Sure I got over it and in time learned to appreciate the value of where I was but that took time. Music and the space given to me by my husband to figure it all out helped. I once wrote a song called Manic Depressive Wife where I stated all the ways I would kill myself! LOL! Music was an outlet and very cathartic because even though I talked a lot I seldom shared …

Maybe it’s just age…I am more relaxed about my flaws and shortcoming. Finally I can say, “Dammit- all…sometimes I am just an idiot who does stupid things!” This makes everything so much easier. I am no longer trying to be right …invested in appearing to be “good” ( because lord knows I am far from it)…and all this makes appreciating where I am so much easier. Now it’s easier to let go of those faded images….of mistakes I made… of people and things that left me high an dry.

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