Saturday, July 28, 2012

Avril, Wonderland, Inspiration & Me

"You don't have to be a creative soul to want inspiration;
all souls should have it." 
Okay, so I'll admit to the fact that I think Avril Lavigne is a cutie, and her being Canadian and me a big supporter of Canadian talent, she had two things going for her right from the get go. But it was during the summer of 2004, listening to her second album "Under My Skin", that she really made her impact.
It was a gloomy day; mildly warm and drizzling on and off. I had decided to clean house, starting with the book self in our family room that held precious photo albums. I had loaded the CD player with discs, including Avril's that I had yet to listen to.
To make a long story short, I ended up sitting on the couch looking at pictures, taking a trip down memory lane. Certain photos lead me to other memorable objects that I dragged out into the family room, one of which was a scrap book of all the "Get Well" cards and other things that I had obtained when I had been hospitalized. Inside of that scrap book I also kept the diagnosis report that I had obtained just a few years earlier; a report regarding my brain injury. It still blows my mind a little that I never got "officially" diagnosed until my thirties from an illness and brain injury I sustained when I was six.
Anyway, reading all of these cards along with my somewhat dismal diagnosis, depression started to set in. But then it happened, a new CD clicked on and song track number one began. "Take Me Away" by Avril Lavigne.

I cannot find a way to describe it; It's there inside; all I do is hide; I wish that it would just go away; What would you do, you do, if you knew? What would you do?

Chorus: All the pain I thought I knew; All the thoughts lead back to you; Back to what was never said; Back and forth inside my head; I can't handle this confusion; I'm unable; come and take me away.

I feel like I am all alone; All by myself, I need to get around this; My words are cold, I don't want them to hurt you; If I show you, I don't think you'd understand; Cause no one understands

All the pain I thought I knew
........(Repeat Chorus)......... come and take me away.

I'm going nowhere (on and on and on); I'm getting nowhere (on and on and on); Take me away; I'm going nowhere (on and off and off and on); (and off and on)

All the pain I thought I knew........(Repeat Chorus)......... come and take me away.

Take me away; Break me away; Take me away 

I hit repeat a few times and I knew that this was my song. I am sure the song was probably written about some relationship break-up or something, but the lyrics were my feelings toward my illness and all the crappy things it brought into my life. So.... maybe not the most uplifting song, but for me it was.
The way she sings, the way I sing it with her, (sometimes at the top of my lungs) empowers me! It helps erase all of those things every time I feel them sneaking up on me. It helps kick my fear in the butt and takes it away.

My heartfelt thanks to Avril.

Years later I find Avril doing it again with another song, "Alice." A song to lift your head high and march forward to.
I've often felt lost in life, in a different world to others; in a wonderland. I'm sure that, for different reasons, or perhaps similar ones to mine, others have felt lost as well. My interpretation of this song: No matter how lost WE may feel, WE can always get back to life, to wherever we feel most comfortable

Trippin out, Spinning around. I'm underground, I fell down. Yeah I fell down

I'm freaking out, where am I now? Upside down and I can't stop it now. Can't stop me now, oh oh

Chorus: I, I'll get by. I, I'll survive. When the world's crashing down. When I fall and hit the ground. I will turn myself around. Don't you try to stop me. I, I won't cry

I found myself in Wonderland. Get back on my feet, on ground again. Is this real? Is this pretend? I'll take a stand until the end

I, I'll get by. ....... (Repeat Chorus) ............ I, I won't cry

I, I'll get by. ....... (Repeat Chorus) ............ I, I won't cry

Avril has also set up her own Foundation, The Avril Lavigne Foundation. R.O.C.K.S = Respect, Opportunity, Choices, Knowledge, Strength. It has been created in support of children and youth living with serious illnesses and disabilities.

So, if you're reading this, you may be wondering at this time, why is Mark sharing this inspirational crush? Well, it is because my life has been, and still is to this day, (though much improved) full of ups and downs. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, I have a handful of barriers and challenges to face. But there is one thing I have come to learn and I can see clearly. Having "Inspiration" in life is so important.
You don't have to try that hard to find it, just open your eyes and open your mind. In some cases, it will come to you. When it does, hold on to it. And if it feels right, don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
Even without the challenges of a disability, life can be difficult. There are so many awful things in this world; and there are, sadly, people who seem to live to bring others down. And bringing someone down is unfortunately so much easier than building them up; or even keeping them level sometimes.

The human spirit is strong and can accomplish great things. Things sometimes we don't even think to ourselves that we can accomplish. But a little Inspiration to help guide us and fill our souls, can make the accomplishment of life so much more rewarding.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

"I don't quite know; How to say, How I feel. Those three words; Are said too much; They're not enough."

These are lyrics from Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. This is a beautiful song, beautifully sung, with great lyrics. Everyone has their own interpretations of things and what they might mean. I like to think of it this way: the song is about romance and couples being together, and this line says that those words I Love You sometimes need to be expressed in other ways when in this situation. Because I Love You can, and maybe should, apply to any relationship that makes people feel good.

Love is a universal thing and should be shared and passed on.

Definition: Love is an emotion of a strong affection. Love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion and affection —"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". Love may describe actions towards others or oneself based on compassion or affection. 

Yet for some reason when strung together with the words I and You, it takes on different meanings. You hear I Love You and people tend to think perhaps "commitment" or "forever" or the idea that someone wants something. (For example: sex) It can also bring about feelings of obligation or fear. Someone may feel compelled to say I Love You in return of hearing it.

A few months ago now my friend Estrella referred me to a website called "The World Needs More Love Letters" and I just had to become involved with this organization and their movement. It is all about writing (which if you know me or have read some of my past posts, I have a hugely strong passion for) and more importantly, spreading and sharing the Love. This is a great thing!! More people should be doing it!! Once a month I send off a specific Love Letter to a recipient that the organization has found in need. But I also write and spread these Love Letters wherever I can get to. Because Love Letters don't have to be about romance, they are about human kindness, compassion and affection —"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another"

But even before getting involved with The World Needs More Love Letters I often questioned why Love is not often easily shared.  Why is it that we tend to have no problems exclaiming out Love for a meal, a movie or television show, an actor or author,(whom we've never met) but have difficulties expressing it to those closest? I'll admit that I don't often use the word Love when talking to people, but I have my challenges with verbal communication that go way deeper than the word Love. (again, if you know me or have read some of my past posts you know what I'm referring to)

I dated a girl who once told me that she Loved me and then a few days later I was dumped. I could have been pissed and confused, (I'll admit that I was, but it was more out of a sadness and disappointment) because those words are supposed to mean "commitment" or "forever", right? I knew that this wasn't the case. I have no regrets and hold no grudges. Coupled relationships don't work out for many reasons, the simplicity of Love isn't it; not really. Differences, goals, personalities, lies, abuse, misunderstandings; these are what break people up. Couples, friends, acquaintances. People don't like other people because of characteristics. Not because of Love; Love is really always there when you're dealing with human goodness; the heart and the soul. And Love can still be there after break ups or divorce.... we've all heard people who have split from one another say "I still Love him". Well, I have.

Romantic couples can whisper the phrase I Love You, (though it can get mixed in with other emotions) family members can exchange it, I've even heard girlfriends say it to one another. But beyond this, using the L-O-V-E word becomes a problem. It shouldn't. Because Love is the sweetest thing!