So much gratitude to all of you for listening, reading, and supporting this year. There are no words to adequately express my appreciation. It means everything to me.
Even for a GHOSTE, this has been a metaphysical and an existential year of self-affirmation, coming to terms with mortality, letting go and stepping up. For over a decade I have been a caregiver to my father as he became physically and mentally crippled by Parkinson's. It seemed he would survive anything. He held on for so long with so little. However, on the morning of November 22 he stopped breathing.
It has been a time to pack up, give away and say goodbye. And because my father rented his apartment, quickly.
It's heart-wrenching. But it's also an opportunity.
We take nothing with us. Any of us. So, HOHOHO and Marie Kondo all the way. If it doesn't bring you joy, out it goes. And when you live in an NYC apartment, that selection process is draconian. I've been so busy, I've hardly grieved, and I'm afraid that when it's all done I may fall to pieces.
Music is on hold. That hurts too.
But I want to take a moment to say that I love you. And I wish you all the LOVE and LIGHT your heart can hold in whatever form of celebration that takes. Life is beautiful and brief. Look up. Look at the person next to you. Pay attention. There is beauty everywhere. Reach out. Be kind. It matters. You matter.
Looking forward to 2020. May there be music! There will be.
Happy New Year!!!!!!
JB the GHOSTE
Photos of lovely strangers helping to clear out Dad's stuff
A few days before I’m a full deck of cards. Aside from wondering how this could possibly be, each year around my birthday I take inventory of my life. My days are full, challenging, and I'm always learning. Check. But the ledger has ample entries in both columns. The lines on my forehead and between my brows tell the story of the debit column. It’s been a stressful year.
Beyond the love of family and friends, what keeps me afloat is music.
I struggle, however, with tree-in-the-forest syndrome. Why do I create music? Does anybody hear me? Am I terrible? Why on earth do I care? Couldn’t I just continue with the rest of my very full, busy life and leave music well enough to the millions of other musical souls out there?
Nope. Can’t do it.
For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of me. Giving it up would feel like voluntarily surrendering a limb. It’s hard-wired. Music is my chlorophyll. It draws in sunlight, nourishes and energizes me.
I have a new music project called Ghoste. I realize it’s raised some eyebrows amongst my more Cartesian friends who think I’ve gone off the crystal, Ouija Board, deep-end. No more so than usual, kids. It’s still just me.
Instead of sulking, feeling invisible and voiceless, I found a new fun place to play. Where I can create outside of the constraints of “Jenny Bruce” singer-songwriter. Proud of the work I’ve done as such but needed a change.
Look… it was that or a nose ring and tattoo. Not ruling those out just yet.
Bring on the light. My aging leaves are evergreen.
Who hasn’t felt invisible at some point? Even though you know you have so much to offer, you feel unseen? Unheard? Like you're behind a veil.
I remember my mother telling me that when she turned 50, she became invisible.
My mother moved to New York City from Denver, drawn to the big city's glamour and lights, dreaming of becoming a model. As a young woman, she certainly was an alluring beauty, always done-up and elegantly dressed. My dashing father, eleven years her senior, swept her off her feet. She married at 21 and became a mother (to me) at 22, abandoning her dream of modeling, although she never stopped dressing the part. Frequently praised for her good looks well into her forties, her appearance was an integral and important part of her identity.
My mother was only echoing something I had heard time and again, that middle-aged women just fade into the background. That is presupposing that all women have to offer is their appearance! For that matter, I can think of some pretty gorgeous women over 50! Sadly, Mom only lived to see 60, but I believe if she were still here today, I could convince her that she didn’t have to feel invisible. Of course she aged, but she was still so beautiful. Her smile lit up a room and people were drawn to her wherever she went.
Of course, I like to feel beautiful. I'd be lying to say that aging is easy. For now, I try to not spend too much time looking in the mirror. There are far more interesting things to look at.
Certainly, I will not be picking up my knitting needles and shuffling into a rocking chair (not that both of those things don't sound cosy and lovely!). If that's what you want to do, enjoy. I've got other plans.
At this point in my life, I have my voice. I speak up. The layers of youthful inhibition that dogged me are slipping away. And while the past decade has been exceedingly challenging, I have discovered that I am stronger than I ever could have imagined.
I am not invisible.
The first definition of "Ghost" in the Miriam Webster dictionary is:
Definition of ghost
1: the seat of life or intelligence : soul
The seat of life or intelligence. The soul. Isn't that what this is all about? This life thing?
So hear me. Read me. See me.
I am GHOSTE.
You decide what the E is for. I'll never tell.