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Social Identity (Coat Of Many Colours.) *Long naval-gazing self discovery post…

Before I realised that the identity and entire personality is a (completely necessary) construct, I believed in myself.

That is to say, I believed in what I perceived as myself, but in fact I believed in my personality.
I had no self-belief though, which I would categorise as something utterly different these days. I still don’t know about self belief actually. Maybe it’s something to brainwash myself with in meditation, or maybe it will never happen. Maybe, to believe in the ego self, the personality construct, is to believe inherently in separation from source, the whole: to believe in “otherness” as opposed to duality. Maybe though, self belief comes when one lets go of the idea of otherness entirely, something I’m trying to do but still finding difficult because I’ve only got other people’s word for it, essentially. Maybe I need to take some drugs and sort that shit out. First hand, as they say. Or maybe I could meditate and somehow get there without any assistance. I don’t really like the drug plan though, in honesty. It feels like I need to get there first on my own, and then the rest is playtime, drugs or not. I’m not big on narcotics apart from chocolate.
Somehow, somewhere along the road, I decided to ditch an idea that I’d had floating around in my subconscious mind that I was responsible for the contact in all of my friendships, and that if I wasn’t the one to make contact, I would lose these people entirely. In essence, a neediness in regards to social identity. Unfortunately perhaps, in letting go of that layer of my internal-personality-onion, it meant I had to also shrug off the idea of being nice by default and the idea of being liked. This has meant that, for the last year or so whilst this has been playing out in my varying degrees of consciousness or lack thereof, I have been utterly without the protection and safety of what I would call “a social identity.” Basically the social side of my personality just up and left me, (or maybe I left it?) and the rest wasn’t enough to keep me afloat in potentially awkward situations.
Now, for those of you who have known me over the last 12 years or so, you might find that quite difficult to believe… I used to give the impression I was somewhat unflappable and I used to pride myself on being able to defuse awkward/potentially awkward situations with ease, so much so that I would play with it and seem shameless. It was genuinely funny and was always done with a loving attitude, but nevertheless it was a compensation for the neediness aspect that I kept hidden as best I could.
Now though – NO idea how to do that. No idea how to behave unless I put a social mask on. Occasionally the mask will either slip (oh god oh god I’ve got to say something here what is expected of me right this moment what would be polite oh my god what would a normal person say what would I used to have said what would someone funny have said I once said something similar here shall I say it again would that be appropriate in this situation oh god the moment has passed and now there’s a weird halting gap in the conversation and the timing is off have they noticed maybe not probably they have oh god) OR the old mask will very briefly take over, let me say something WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE and then FUCK THE FUCK OFF, leaving my paddle-less self half way up shit-creek.
Thanks brain.
So that explains why I’ve been freaking out so badly before and after gigs. (Dread, tears, but weirdly not nerves. It’s actually fine when I get on stage because I have confidence as a musician.) It explains why I’ll fully intend to go out and see people and then bottle out just before I leave. It explains why basically I haven’t left my house unless I really had to.
The fact I left my social identity also explains why, on a few occasions I have met up with people… It’s like I’ve forgotten how to speak… I’m just listening, enjoying their company in the moment, vibing with them, but not having any output myself other than on an energetic level unless I make myself say things, and even then, those things are different to what past versions of myself would have said.
So. I’ve been hiding. Snake without skin. Observer.
The realisation came in piece by piece that my personality was not the enemy. The part of my personality that is nice by default is a really useful piece of me. I just don’t need the part that needs to be liked all the time! Nice by default is good, actually, but I don’t Have To Be Nice if it’s not sitting right with me in those circumstances.
But now, my friends have contacted me… as I feared they would not. I have shed the part of me that fears their loss. It’s more like I know they will come and go now, and that’s good. I know their lives will change and move and so will mine, and that is as it should be.
Gradually, not all at once or steadily, the personality self is coming back to me. Patchwork now. I can choose the design this time. Each piece a choice. Washed clean by attention.

But bear with me, all my loves, because it is a patchwork in progress and some of the pieces are in shadow.

Dolly Parton. Coat of many colors. Title song for the Coat of many colors album. Shown on the programme Country at the BBC, but originally from BBC Parkinson…
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Remembrance – History Repeating

Caution: Extensive political mumblings, anti media, scientific and societal adjust-mental gibberings.
I still don’t know how to feel about the whole remembrance poppy thing. I know it’s personal choice and completely subjective, and I understand that a lot of people choose to wear them for a great deal of very valid reasons, but when I see the politicians wearing them… The very politicians who send young men and women out still, to kill and be killed, I can never respect those politicians. I can never think that they wear those red poppies with compassion and true remembrance, if they still grease the wheels of the systematic destruction of human life as profit. That ugly tank is still trundling blithely on. Except now it’s not on our doorstep so we can forget it. Except that it fucking IS on our doorstep, in less obvious guises, (in our skies, in our food and water, and under our feet… Oh and in our toothpaste!) – but we’re too worried about Bake-Off and Strictly-Go-Fuck-Yourself to really pay any attention. Bread and circuses – Nothing changed with the political M.O. since Roman times. Is it an accident? I don’t think so. Read up on it for days like me, if you disagree, and then let me know.
 
Having said this, I do believe there is a great deal of hope for humanity. The humanity in the people I know, the real people, people not taught abject parental rejection (and therefore learning that empathy and emotion is weakness) in public boarding schools, the ones perhaps not then being bribed and bought by leviathan corporations (directly) into making incredibly unethical decisions in the name of Good Business. Mind you, I can’t fucking talk. I have a car, I eat meat (although I’m trying not to) I have gadgets I use and I’m not a campaigning activist. In fact the only thing I really do for the planet, for our species, is rant, on the internet. Oh and occasionally do benefit gigs, I suppose. I have also been subverting youths for a decade… Where I found out for sure that there is a zeitgeist of disempowerment running through the veins of my generation and younger, once we look out and see the world. And I just don’t know what to do about it!
 
– But I know what NOT to do. I know not to poison myself with mainstream media, specifically the news. It is a neurotoxin. If you don’t believe me, try not engaging with it for a fortnight and tell me your life didn’t dramatically improve. If it made no difference to you, good for you, I guess, you must have a very thick skin. You must be the new breed of human, fantastically adapted to living in a world where your senses and emotions are attacked by everything terrible that ever happens in the world – before breakfast and before bed – and you don’t blink an eyelid or worry about anything at all because you’re absolutely excellent at dealing with stuff. No alarm bells are going off in your head that something is terribly, awfully broken with the human world. No sense you urgently need to act, somehow. There must be people to deal with this sort of thing but it doesn’t affect you because you’re alright. Nice one. You must be very clever and well adjusted. Because knowing all these things actually Doesn’t Affect You. You’re not going to do anything about the shit going on elsewhere, are you? No? There’s too much. People can’t care about everyone, right? Well then it doesn’t fucking matter if you hear about it or not on the news. The only thing that really matters is your family and your mental health, and if that’s constantly being battered by news of horror and disempowerment, your fear brain is totally active.
Science alert: You go into a state of fear, and your amygdala becomes active and takes all the blood out of the frontal cortex, getting your whole system ready for fight or flight. (Frontal Cortex is where your higher thought is formed, so no more social function, social memory, problem solving, judgement, initiation or impulse control. History is forgotten in an instant.) The hippocampus also shuts off, which stops thoughts linked with love and compassion. (Hippocampus is thought to be the emotional processor in the brain.) The amygdala literally hijacks your brain into a state of fear (because the blood can’t go anywhere else) and you can’t do anything about it unless you stop being so fearful. How do you do that? Stop the input. You’ve already stopped consciously responding to the input, if you can still watch the news. (You will have forced your reactions into your subconscious, btw.) Try quitting the news, and then watch it again after a week or two and notice how your body responds. You might be surprised. I did it and my body got really tense really quick.
 
The thing we can do, then, is choose not to be afraid on the media’s terms.
 
The average human can only really be properly socially involved with about 120 other people at a time. Any more than that and we start forgetting names and losing closeness. This is changing because of the internet. The contact is more brief, the chats are not often face to face. Community is not happening in the same way, however, feelings still run every bit as deeply. So… How do we become unafraid, and regain a proper sense of closeness in the real, new, no-longer-nationally inhibited world? Our real concerns are within the reach of our hands. It has always been this way. The difference now, is that we have the rest of the world to hope for too. The reach of our fingertips is instantaneous, beyond seas, bouncing from satellites. How do we adjust to this new, strangely isolating, yet paradoxically all-inclusive social paradigm that has become our virtu-real lives on the internet? We are now, for the first time in history, collectively realising that we are one species, one family of humanity, on one very beautiful, freakishly hospitable, very ancient and very dirtied planet. Poor old love, sitting in her own excrement. We are conscious dust hurtling through space, following one of billions of stars in a spiral wake, in one of billions of spiralling eddies of possibility. If we get this humanity thing wrong, it is just that we get it wrong. It doesn’t actually make any difference to anything. Maybe history will learn from us, as we have been so unable to learn from history. Maybe we will create A.I. that sorts everything out. Maybe aliens with better ideas will tell us we are wasting our time and get rid of us for the planet. But until then, I guess we can wear our poppies with pride. Or not. Or judge people terribly and get our collective knickers in a twist either way. (Collective knickers?! Eeew. Sounds a bit too communal to me.)
I can hear my cat snoring, which has helped me a lot with everything. Life really can be a wonderfully adorable place…

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Ryn’s Musicians’ Support Group ~#10 ~ Performing

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To celebrate my first double figured blog post, here are my thoughts about how to perform like you have just become a marvellous and transcendent unicorn.

I’m writing this as if I’m writing it to myself ten years ago, so I apologise if some of this is basic…

Firstly ~ and blindingly obviously ~ you practise like a fiend. You practise like an absolute fucker. If you don’t practise enough, you will have not given yourself enough of an opportunity to be as awesome as the transcendent unicorn you know in your heart you are capable of becoming. This could ultimately affect you psychologically, probably more so than the lack of actual practise.

You practise until your facial and vocal muscles know the songs better than your actual memory. Then you practise more than that.

You make sure you have newish strings on your guitar or you will keep going out of tune on stage, and that is always a bugger. Remember to stretch your strings a few times and then tune back up until they stay tuned. Always have a spare tuner on stage. That goes for capos and plectrums and strings.

You make sure that you have sung for at least 45 minutes the day before, and for at least 45 minutes earlier in the day before the gig. Then somehow magically your voice is still a bit warm from the day before, and it is much easier to control. If it is a big gig, practise more. Don’t strain your voice though. Try not to smoke, you penis-breath!

Remember that when you are on stage you will never be faultless. You are human and that is great. Your songs are also relatively unknown, so if you fuck them up, generally only you will have a clue, which leads me to my next point.

I’m so glad I got good at looking like nothing has gone wrong when everything has gone wrong!

If I’m playing solo, and I cock up a chord sequence, I can just do that shit again and people will hopefully think I’ve done a segue into some avant-garde, hyper-intellectual jazz… Unless they know me, of course, or have read this ~ in which case they know I’ll be playing it twice because I’ve bolloxed it up.

I’m so glad that if it’s obvious to everyone that I’ve totally screwed up on stage, I can do a little cheeky smile, carry on, and people will remember how hard it is to be a live performer and hopefully not think that I’m massively shite generally as a person. If I personally start to think I’m massively shite generally as a person, it means I haven’t meditated enough and I’ve forgotten how to feel fantastic. I can say things like this with some authority as I have been slacking lately and it’s really obvious to me because of how shitty I feel.

Meditate. Come ON.

Chakras open before you get on stage.

Know yourself.

The on stage banter is planned, to some extent. You will work out anecdotes for your songs and deliver them fluently as if off-the-cuff. Quite a big difference between professionals and hobby performers is their comfortability talking to an audience.

Take no shit.

Remember to acknowledge people properly when they pay you a compliment. Their comment is more for them than for you. It is best that you nod and thank them gracefully, even if you felt awful about your standard of performance. The urge, I know, is to reflexively elbow them in the throat and screech: “Did you not even HEEEEAR me?! I was performing at the musical standard of an arid and dried up mud-flat in sub-Saharan wilderness! That wall over there is far more entertaining than me! I have had POCKET LINT with more stage presence!!” But it really is rather better for everyone if you refrain from active self-sabotage, look them in the eyes and thank them. Eventually this becomes genuine.

In order to really become the magical space-chicken you truly are, practise making the atmosphere. It may sound strange, but as the focus of the attention of the audience, you can be responsible for holding the space for them. You can focus on unfolding big angel wings and encompassing the space, or you can build the love and energy in the room by imagining that this shape (toroid)

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is circulating the mood you want to create out of your heart. I’m sure that some people do this naturally. When I discovered this circulation system that the planet uses with the energy of its magnetic poles, it seemed logical at the time that people could also use this shape to circulate their own energy. This is also the shape of the magnetic field of your heart. I tried out imagining the shape when I was writing the song Strong, particularly the chorus, and it seems to help me perform it… When I remember to think of it!

Applause is best acknowledged for a few seconds as well. You can tell the difference in experience between a performer who ends their song abruptly without acknowledging applause, and someone who lets the audience show appreciation, and appreciates the audience back.

Remember, you are love.

Xx Ryn

 

 

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Ryn’s Songwriting Suggestions ~ #9 ~ Q&A Session

Source: Ryn’s Songwriting Suggestions ~ #9 ~ Q&A Session

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Give me a Ryn Galingaling – Bookings etc.

I am looking for as much work as possible, in terms of live performances.

I do pubs, weddings, festivals and living room gigs! I’m looking for work all over the UK, and even though I’m from Exeter I’m more than willing to travel!

Prices are negotiable and reasonable as a professional musician. My details are on this site if you want to have a chat and sort out a gig. Look forward to hearing from you!

Ryn

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