I hope, I dream, I think. I hope, I dream, I think. At times I feel shame for who I am, but now in those times instead of fleeing or feeling guilty, I invite the shame into my chest. Into my heart. It is but an emotion. One that I don’t label as good or bad, it is just a part of someone who isn’t used to who they are becoming, who hasn’t yet realised their true self, their identity. And yes, I will admit that sometimes I feel bitter towards others who seem to fit the mould of what society wants in a man. Yet from now on I will embrace my sensitivity and my femininity. I have been truly blessed with these gifts that allow me to sympathise, to relate, to ultimately just feel. I would rather feel a kaleidoscope of emotions then be someone that I am not truly meant to be. Yes, this is my youth. And looking back, I probably haven’t seized the opportunities as best as I could have. I write well. That is it. Yet I want to be able to write better than simply well, and I will. Yet my ego isn’t driven by such things as fortune or fame, I just want to realise myself, to come to a point in life, when I am standing of the precipice of existence itself and be able to say that I am finally me. I will smile when this day comes, I will be at peace. Now I have long way to go, my heroes journey is just beginning. However, this is probably the best stage of a newfound journey. I will experience a magnitude of things as I move ever forward to my destination. I chase that feeling that I have felt during the embrace of the unknown; excitement, fear and just the feeling and very essence of being alive and living. I want to live my life to the fullest. One step at a time, each day I will realise my gift until I can eventually give it away. Words I write that aren’t mine to keep, I will strew them out across a global landscape and then hopefully someone who is in the same position as I am now, will reach out and take hold of them. They are yours my friend. I just borrowed them for the time being. Words are infinite, so shall be my life. My memories will carry on and a piece of me will be embedded into the souls and minds of people across generations. This is just a mere dream for now, but I guarantee it will become a reality. It will be interesting to see how my dreams and reality will eventually match up, I doubt they will. Yet it will be nonetheless magical, nonetheless a miracle, and nonetheless special.
Laura Ingram is a Jazz singer/ vocal teacher and sound therapist – she is also my piano teacher.
I started having piano lessons with Laura about a year ago. I was never very musically inclined, but like everyone, I always wanted to be able to create some sort of sound that was uniquely my own. To be heard. It is often hard to find the words to describe moments of significance, how can you summarise things that have such impact in black and white? From an outsider’s perspective, learning the piano for me, probably looked like a traumatic experience. In the beginning, I was overly apologetic for any mistakes I would make, riddled with nervous tension, incredibly self-critical and I swore way too much, probably more then all of Laura’s students combined. However, even though it was challenging – I loved it. Learning the piano was like being on a rollercoaster, jerked around from side-to-side, with no clear destination in sight. It felt like freedom itself. Piano has helped me to better understand who I am as a person and to ultimately just keep playing the music! My own soundtrack to life.
You don’t meet too many people like Laura. And in a world, that is changing too fast, it is good to know that there are people like her out there. She is real. Mozart once said that we should go on a journey, where that journey may take us, who can tell. This is a look inside Laura’s journey.
Where did your love of music come from?
I didn’t really grow up in a musical family. My mum is an accountant and my dad is a rugby coach. They are a very nuclear family that had a lot of 80’s records. I guess common musical tastes of parents from the 70’s and 80’s. So, I guess in that way I grew up loving bands, rather than listening to heaps of electronic music. I got into more traditional music like Fleetwood Mac, folk singers like Joni Mitchell and Carol King. I kind of looked at how they got to be as good as they are and where their music came from, which was the blues and the blues is a derivative of jazz. Then I decided I was going to be a jazz singer and I started listening to Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, just to name a few. I really wanted to hear the great singers of the 20th Century and try to have a high-quality sound. Because, a lot of the singers that I liked, I did not feel like they were using their voice as much as it could be used in the 90’s when I was growing up. I did love my pop though as well.
When you discovered that you wanted to be a Jazz singer did you feel like that this what I have been put on this earth to do?
Why do you sing?
I started when I was quite young so I wasn’t thinking like that. I just did it because it felt good. I just did it because I liked doing it when I was a kid. I think it wasn’t until I became an adult that I started considering the existential reasons of singing. How it impacts people. Putting on performances and making some of my 16-year-old classmates cry, I thought “Oh maybe I’m good at this?” I was just enjoying it.
When you sing is it to reach people? For yourself?
Both, definitely both. If I’m not enjoying it then that is going to come through in the sound. I think to be able to reach people you must be connected to yourself and connected to the music that you are singing. They feed into one another.
There isn’t a true definition of love, but do you feel that you are in love music?
I think it is just a part of my life now. And I don’t sing or create everyday but it is something that I cannot now be without. It is not infatuation, where it is like “I really want to be blah” or “I really want to be famous” or whatever. All that is crap, it happens if you work hard. For me I just want to enjoy the process and just keep it as part of my life. Because, I stopped doing it for a while because a few people didn’t have any faith in me. Like I said, I didn’t grow up in a musical family so no one was really like “So are you going to go and study music now?” “Because you are really good.” I didn’t have the confidence to really decide for myself that I was going to do it. So, I did stop for a while and I really felt that my soul dried out. Now it is just a matter of how can I keep music in my life and not let myself sabotage my own creativity.
So, do you think that this is what led to you teaching music and becoming a sound therapist?
Definitely. I had experienced some sound healing performances by other artists, I put on a chanting session in the sky space at NGA. I would recommend checking it out it is a cool dome like space where there is a lot of natural reverb, so when you chant everyone’s voices kind of mix. And it seemed to be quite a healing experience for a lot of people there. Then I just kept doing my research and found a few modalities like Biofield Tuning and The Tomatis Method therapy that could really help with a lot of emotional and learning disorders, for want of a better term. I had also suffered from dyslexia as well, all through school and all through University and no one ever told me (laughs). I think doing music really helped me to improve that and that I studied better when I was listening to music. Like ambient kind of stuff and I really wanted to tackle my dyslexia, that’s part of the reason why I got into it. As well as being in awe of this spiritual experience that we are all having.
From my perspective, I think it is a pretty brave and courageous doing something like this amidst all the… don’t want to get too political… the medication peddlers, psychologists, psychiatrists who sort of flood the market. Going out against it, do you feel that there is a need for this?
Definitely. There is a trend towards more alternative and natural therapies that have worked for centuries. But, unfortunately a lot of that wisdom has been lost and I guess I want to be a part of revitalising the human’s ability to naturally heal themselves. Rather than needing specific medication that kind of acts as a band-aid solution for the issue without dealing with what is at the core of what is going on.
Do you feel like you radiate more to the teaching or therapy?
They feed into one another. If I wasn’t working on myself and my personal development, not even my musical development, I don’t think that I would be a very good teacher or a very good performer. You must be very present, very aware and very organised to do those kinds of things. I could not have the spirituality, so practising on myself and others helps for me improve and to see that improvement in others. The music teaching has made me such a better musician because I had to explain how to do what I do. And performing has so much more depth because I feel like I’m connected to this shared existence that we are all having. I’m not doing it for my ego – all the time – as I say that I realise that that is an ego statement (laughs). I try to do it to learn and be curious and to go deeper rather than for the glory. So, teaching and therapy are all connected, they all feed into one another.
What do you want your students to take away from your lessons?
I hope that they can find the confidence within themselves to continue learning about music and to feel that they can use their voice in life. I think singing has this amazing ability to open people up if they have issues going on. Ed Sheeran, for example, had a stutter most of his childhood and by teaching himself how to rap he cured himself of his stutter just from rapping. There are so many cases of anxious or emotional people who become artists not for the glory but who need their art to help them survive pretty much or to get them through whatever they are going through. So I hope that I can give my students enough tools to make their own art. To keep teaching themselves how to play and how to sing and to know that they are good enough to perform. A lot of my students don’t think they are good enough to sing and it is just a story they tell themselves.
If you would like to learn to sing? Find your voice? Or play piano even? You can contact Laura through her Facebook Page
Or send her an email to the following address: email@example.com
Now you are probably wondering whatever happened to that nervous young man who swore too much? Well I can happily tell you that he doesn’t swear as much anymore, that he is a lot kinder to himself and that he played his first piano performance a month ago and you couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.
I lose myself everyday. The man I believe I am meant to be when I fall asleep at night, does not seem to be the man I am meant to be in the morning. Before sleep: Energy, motivation, ambition. After sleep: Dazed, confused, directionless, tired. I have slept but I am not rested. I need to remember what I need to be, what I am meant to be. Yet even if I do remember, why is it that I can’t fulfil my destiny? My mind is foggy, I have sabotaged myself and it takes days to bounce back. I need to start doing things that feed my soul no matter the condition I am in mentally, physically, emotionally. Just do it Tom. No matter what just do it, you are meant to shine. I feel like I’ve said this countless times, and I have probably let a lot of people down in the process. I can’t seem to do anything but fail. Revert back to mediocrity, lost in a continuous maze of stunted growth, wandering aimlessly in the dark, hoping, praying, that someone will reach out and take my hand and lead me toward the light. Towards a life I was meant to lead. I can’t continue to wait for that though, this isn’t a fairy tale, if life was easy then I probably would be doing it wrong. Miracles don’t happen to those who wait. You have to go out and explore, my journey is just beginning, I can turn it turn it around, no longer do I have to lose myself everyday. And although I keep trying to change, failing. Stating I will change, failing. Trying to do things differently, failing. One-day it will all click and I will forget all about these lost years and that will be that. I will walk off into the sunset and the Tom that was here in this moment will never be heard from again. I will triumph, mistakes are mine to do whatever the fuck I want with them.
It’s so dark at the bottom, I can’t hear anything, do thoughts have sounds?
I simply wish to understand, I don’t care about being understood. I want to know someone inside out, to believe where they came from. Yet, everyone is so guarded that all I can do is let my mind fill in the blanks. Like, how can anyone ever truly no someone?WE are all acting, trying to put our best image forward of ourselves. Essentially trying to be someone we are not. Such a tired and worn out cliché. Seriously, you would think we would have learnt by now that it is best to be ourselves. I don’t know. It all seems a mystery to me. Sometimes I feel like screaming WHO ARE YOU? Cut the bullshit, I don’t care what your insecurities are, or what you deem your weaknesses to be. That is you. That is what makes you unique. Fuck be vulnerable in front of someone you care about. Don’t act, don’t pretend, don’t adjust. Communicate everything about yourselves. If you want to be truly be loved just be you. Please just be you. I know it sounds like a “Dear diary” entry, but I just want genuine. I want real. I am riddled with insecurities, I act, I perceive and I assume. Dear god, why though? We are such a small part of life. JUST BE REAL. Fuck, Tom just be real. I’m rambling now, but it feels good. It is finally something honest. I’m not dressing it up. I am a fucking mess, like all people are. I don’t care – I’ll reach my destination. One word two word three words. One thousand fucking words. I have to say it, we all imagine, dream and for what? Bliss? I just don’t get the point anymore of acting to how society expects us to be. Let the world see you as someone who is human. We all carry things that embarrass us, even undermine us. So? Just be genuine. And I just don’t know how to tell what is genuine and what isn’t anymore. Am I genuine? Am I honest? I don’t know. It is such a painful debilitation, like what am I meant to do? How do I proceed? Who am I? That’s it though, we will truly never know who we are and what we are meant to be. It’s all good though as long as you are genuine you are doing alright.
C’est la vie.
People with talent always have the wrong impression that things will go as they think. I have nothing. My carefree non-committal attitude has rightly assured me of that reality. It is fair. For sometime I have failed to apply myself, I let the chips fall as they may and therefore I was always destined for disappointment. Life has cut me down. It had to, it had to level me, in-order for me to spring back up. I believe I am enormously talented, but in this moment in time I am a novice, I have not learnt how to be worthy of that talent. In the past I refused to meet any challenge, unless it was on my own terms. How was I ever suppose to grow with this approach to life? On the surface the whole thing of discipline seemed arbitrary to me, but deep-down I now know that life isn’t about grades and whatnot. it is about rising to the occasion, tasting the rapture, triumph and disgrace of failure. They go hand-in-hand, one is meaningless without the other. To win one has to lose! The difference between the novice and the master is that the master has failed more times then the novice has tried.
As I’ve made my way through life, I have felt the might of the current of society in my way and there were certainly times when things didn’t go as I had hoped. When this happens, no longer will I look to society for a cause. I do not renounce society. Frankly, I would probably be wasting my time. Instead I now just say, “That’s life!” And move on, in an a somewhat awkward but destined manner through the spectre that is life
I lay on my bed. My eyes closed. I try to steady my breathing. I’m not sure why I am like this, I find it hard to calm myself. Shallow breathing, I try and swallow my tears. Yet they fall. they always do. And deep down I know why they do, but I cannot say it aloud. I long to speak the words that outline my grief, painful as they may be I think they would sound soft against my ears. Would I feel relieved? I’m not actually sure what I would feel. Uncertainty perhaps? My arms ache, my body is tired and I am exhausted. I hope I can find sleep. I wish I could be me. I’m not sure if I will find an answer as I lay here, sheep I will not count. The room is dark – and I am here. I like the smell of the night air. For a moment I feel at peace, maybe my tears have stopped? I feel a dry residue upon my face… I breathe out a sigh. My tears no longer fall, and I drift off to sleep.
(Dressed as a dragon – Spyro I believe – symbolic of taking flight… I’ll let myself out)
I am there. I am at that place in life where I want to turn things around, realise who I am meant to be. I am under no disillusions that this will be a very hard endeavour. I have thought about doing it for years and never have actually done it. The odds don’t look good. But when you want to do something great, when do they ever look good. October will be my month. A stepping stone that will lead to opportunity’s unknown and ones I truly want to realise. I need to become who I am meant to be. Fuck this pedestrian life that I have been leading. I’m no more than a shadow of who I could be. Though I have achieved many things as a person I feel like I have regressed in so many ways. I’ve become comfortable, lazy, disenfranchised, whatever you want to call it. No more. I don’t want to live with the pain of unfilled dreams. No pain could be more great. I want to be someone that inspires, that walks tall and paves the way. I’m done being comfortable, with not having the strength of character to endure life’s hardships. And I know what I want to achieve out of life wont come about within the span of the month. But fuck me I WILL CHANGE – I WILL LIVE MY LIFE FINALLY. I am not sure about what the future holds or where I will end up, but I’m going to take my chance. We all have our chance to take. I will give it my absolute all to get into Grad School in New York. I will read and read and keep on reading. I will eat clean and fuel myself off what is healthy, actually give my body what it deserves. I will lose 12kg this month, I will do this in the safest and healthiest way possible and I wouldn’t set such a big target if I didn’t think it was achievable. I will regulate my sleeping schedule. Plan my days in order to spend my time well. Basically, just do things that are standard, that may be small but will be of a huge influence to my mental and physical health. I will let the world see me for who I am truly meant to be. I have talent that needs to be fulfilled, to be pushed to the limits. I want to stand up to the world and just see what I am made of. And this will all start now. From humble beginnings. I will do what is necessary to become who I am meant to be. I have to turn it around, I have start living or I will waste a life that was destined for so much more, I can’t let that happen. I will stumble, fall, swear, cry, laugh do basically everything that encompasses the human condition. BUT I WILL REALISE MY TRUE SELF. I am meant to be someone who is a teller of stories, not somebody else. And I can’t do things anymore to make others happy. The people who matter, who I truly care about will be happy with the person I am. I am enough, I have always been enough. I guess I’ve been scared for a while, always putting things off, always thinking time was an unlimited resource. It’s not. It keeps ticking away, no matter what kind of state we’re in. I wont waste it anymore. I will open myself up to the advice of others, listen and learn. I will no longer bullshit myself or people, let them see me for who I really am. I’ve hidden behind bravado, humour and everything in between. I don’t want to hide anymore, it is too much effort.
From this day forth I promise myself that I will walk a different path, one I was always destined to walk. At times it will be alone and at times it will be in the sanctuary of others. But I will walk forward. I am a writer, a creator of dreams. Let’s see what I’m all about.
Thomas Hobson 1/10/2017
Why do we sabotage ourselves? I look towards the night sky as if pleading with it to lift my infliction. I torture myself with thoughts of her and why? Let time move, I tell myself as the night air brushes my cheek. Let time pass. Heal the aches that encompass my heart, bring me back to the now. My eyes see what is not there. Plagued by stories that are all but fantasy, yet they appear before me if they were real. “Don’t believe them!” I tell myself, do not torture yourself with made up tales of misery. Lift yourself up. I begin to walk along the path, the dirt feels reassuring beneath my feet. I breath in. I live. You see as I begin to walk I begin to let go. My destiny needs to be reached, I’m not going to close the door on it. No. I will walk forward. Live. Live. LIVE, I scream into the echelons of time. Find sanctuary in life. Let her live hers, I bid her no ill will. Now you live yours. My journey has just begun. I start running now, as tears begin to stain my cheeks. A smile breaks across my face. I am free. Let the stories unfold within my mind. Let them stream countless visions of endless tales. But let me live my story. I WILL LIVE MY STORY. I will set myself free. My arms outstretched I cry great sobs of salvation. It hurts. Life. God how it hurts. But isn’t it simply the most beautiful thing? The experiences we share, the people we meet, good, bad whatever – they do not decide who I am. I am Tom. There is no one but me in this moment, and that is okay, I am enough. I will be enough. The stars begin to fade now, one by one, like distinguished flames from candles burned to the wick. Sounds of the night vibrate through me. I am so tired yet I can’t stop smiling. One day I will find who I am meant to find, who I am meant to love. Maybe some will call it a fairy-tale. Maybe some will call it fate. I’m not sure what I’ll call it yet . I will know when I meet her though and she’ll know too. Words need not be spoken. We will smile at one another and know. I can’t wait. Will I feel relieved? Happy? Euphoric even? Honestly though, I think I will feel loved. I breath in. I breath out. Let tomorrow come, though pain I may carry I have to rise, I have to move forward. I have to one day meet her!
Some days are brighter than others. You’re probably thinking, “yeah no shit it is called weather.” Fair point, but even on the brightest days the shadows of life can obstruct ones vision. What I am saying is that this is a tale of how, for a brief moment, my life felt bright on both the inside and out. I don’t need you to believe what I have to say, for I can hardly believe in it myself. This is my story, we all have one that defines us, that makes us who we are.
The darkness rivals that of the light – eternally at wars within ourselves like a tempest storm. Painting a picture of our life within its rage. I am struggling yet I am living. I keep falling, yet one day I will rise and tell the greatest story that will herald in a new beginning. A change that will be born from teardrops themselves.
They intertwine with my soul, with my very being. Let them come to me and tell tales on the darkest day through to the brightest nights. Voices of stories from years go carry me forward as if directing me to my purpose. Some day’s are indeed brighter than others. But the dark days are where I am made. No remorse I shall feel for hardships endured. Make me struggle, make me fight I will march forwards and write. My words will fall into people’s minds, their hearts. They will dance within their dreams.
There they will remain. This a story that is true. It is mine, humble in origin, far-reaching and everlasting. And as I write and the pages fill with words, below the small glow of my desk light, I hope I can relieve myself of the weight this story has placed upon me. I don’t regret living it, why should I? It is mine. I am the teller you are the reader. However, say them I must because I believe a number of people share my pain/euphoria. And they usually remain quiet or unforeseen. This is our time to be heard, please never feel ashamed for what you are. You are you. I am me. And as I write these words, our words, please just remain true to yourself. I love you.
I will continue story everyday until the end of the year. Let’s see where it will take us.
Let me start off by saying that I have no idea what I’m doing. For those who know me this is probably all but apparent. Don’t worry, I get it. Yet this isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, I have no rules to which I need to abide by. In contradiction to this though I have somewhat of an inclination of what I’d like to do. Therefore, I’m just going to go and do that. Which is to be a writer. To tell stories and make things up. To lie for a living. But before you go all Pinocchio’s dad on me, whose name is Geppeto in case you were wondering, these aren’t bad lies I am talking about. They are my truths. What I believe to be true. Beliefs that I hold close to my heart and if it weren’t for writing I may never get to express. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth. There is someone out there who needs my story. Who, without it, may grow up to be a different person, and who with it may find inspiration, or wisdom, or hope or kindness within my pages. That’s why I want to write, and that’s why I owe it to readers to write well. My biggest fear is that I’ll publish a story that is dull and may turn someone off reading and that is a scary thought. However, I’m willing to face that fear because I know that my words will reach someone, I have to believe they will.
I’m going to break off into a bit of a tangent here and make a declaration.
Reading is cool.
Writing is cool.
Cool is a four-letter word with two vowels and two consonants. And I know this because of reading and writing. That was a full circle moment which is cool.
I digress, what I ultimately want to do is to inspire kids to read. Albert Einstein once said that “if you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales.” “If you want them to be more intelligent read them more fairy tales.”
Now I’m not saying I’m the authority on what fosters intelligence just because I have read a lot, far from it. I mean, I once tried to wash nail polish off with water, common sense isn’t exactly my strong point… Another example is when I was tired in class. My friend asked:
“Why are you tired mate?”
My response was: “I was up late watching Tangled last night.” Great movie by the way.
Not sure if the second example was really necessary, but you get what I’m saying. But I do understand the value of reading and imagining. I want to be able to help provide a world where future generations read and are read to, imagine and understand. Where people are not afraid to put on character voices when they read aloud to their kids. It may be true that individuals may just be a grain of sand in the context of society. Yet it is individuals who endeavour to change the world and imagine a different future. Don’t think you can’t change the world, you can. I want to change the world by telling lies to children in the form of stories and do it all for profit – I’m joking – sort of… In all seriousness though, everything was once imagined by someone after all. Just pause for a moment and look around your room, everything you see came from someone’s imagination.
Yet just doing something is so much harder than it sounds, but it also can be the easiest thing imaginable. And I concede that there are a lot of things I need to do to grant me the freedom of getting to where I want to be.
I want to be the creator of worlds, an intrepid explorer of far off places that no one has ever dreamed of. To bring forth characters that will break your heart or become your best-friend. I want to write books, movies, and perhaps even comics – so one of my first step towards this was studying Journalism. Because journalists are allowed to ask questions, to venture out into the world and discover how things work. Journalism teaches you how to write concisely, to a time frame and ultimately to write well under pressure. Journalism is a key for me in creating good art.
I’ve often thought that the great writers were all in a position, not unlike a position you probably have found yourself in countless times, sitting at a desk, putting words to paper. The very words that I have encountered in countless books. And they do so in a way full of such wonder and beauty. And then I start to think, dammit why don’t my words read like that? Then I start questioning my faith even though I’m not a man of faith. I say some unsavoury things to myself, my computer, even my lamp. But I don’t mean it because I love lamp. But that’s life, I’m humbled to be able to read the works of true literary giants, to immerse myself in their worlds in the form of escapism, and when I emerge it almost feels like I’m gasping for air. There’s nothing quite like the drive that fiction can ignite within you. That need to turn the page to uncover what happens next. And by doing so you are forced to learn new words, to dream new ideas, to see things from a perspective once unseen. Reading is key. Words have so much power. They have forged empires and shaped nations. And that is why I want to tell lies for a living. Words are eternal and will outlast us all in the end. I want my words, my truths to last longer than my lifetime, to live on in the hearts and minds of others. To leave my mark on this world for the better. To give people that warm feeling you get when you finish a book that you wish you could forget so you can enjoy the experience of reading it again for the first time.