why we hurt when artists die

The sudden and unexpected loss of Chris Cornell weighs heavily on my mind today. While I was always a fan (please see my worn CD of Superunknown and Temple of the Dog, permanently scratched on “Hunger Strike”) – it wasn’t until I met Music Man that my world was ripped open by the soul-exposing four-octave vocal prowess of one skinny ass man with gorgeous long locks. Lesser known albums and songs became our mainstream music night accompaniment, while “Like a Stone” was repeatedly sung at local karaoke bars we barely frequented. You could say that he was the soundtrack of our budding romance…the “mixtape” CD of “Cornell Volume 1” remains overplayed and scratched up in my car to this day. Sigh. It feels heavy today.

But why? I didn’t know the man. It just feels like a tragic loss. A lyrical and vocal legacy echoes today in the ears of the heartbroken. The misunderstood grunge kids who looked to his music as a way to describe their angst. A voice for the generation that needed an outlet to breathe their frustration out into the world. Another musical genius gone too soon, for reasons we’ll never know. #mentalhealthawarenessmonth

I read this on someone’s Instagram today, and it made sense to me, so thought I’d share:

For people who don’t understand why others mourn the death of artists, you need to understand that these people have been a shoulder to cry on. Our rock.
They’ve been family, friends, leaders, teachers and role models. Many have taught us what we need to know and what to do when times get rough.
They’ve helped us move on.
They’ve pushed us out of bed.
They’ve helped us live when nobody else had the time to.
Artists have inspired us in endless ways and have been with us through stages in our lives.
We’ve made memories with them.
So when they die, a part of us dies.

Just to remind you that life is fleeting. You only get one life and you don’t know for how long. Take the leap now. And you never know what anyone else is battling, so stop assuming you do. Be kind. To everyone.

The person who appears to have everything you’ve ever wanted turns out to have nothing at all.

Nothing Compare 2 U.  RIP Chris Cornell.

a run-on soliloquy about universe questioning and life pondering.

It feels weird not to know what you want to be when you grow up by the time you’re 36.

When I got out of my “extended” stay at college, I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do or more importantly, what I was GOING to do with my life. I fell into a deep dark depression of self-loathing, and pity parties became my norm. It wasn’t until I found a couple books called “The Quarterlife Crisis” and “Roadtrip Nation” that I was able to pull myself out of my self-induced mid-twenties funk and become a “normal” human of society. It felt good to know I wasn’t the only one who felt like this, and even though I knew deep down I wasn’t alone, being the only single girl in the suburbs living with her parents, bar-tending at the local pizza shop made me feel like I was the only person on the planet that felt lost, confused and already drowning in student loan payments. Woe was me and all that self-absorbed bs that comes from the post-collegiate letdown of the century.

But it was these books (and mainly these books alone) that “saved” me. I will never forget the power that those paperbacks had on me to this day. The power of the written word to make you feel less alone.

Fast-forward 10 years, four addresses and two “real” jobs later, and I once again find myself at that bitter crossroads of “what the hell am I doing with my life” – you know the one…the “ok Universe, I’m older and wiser, yet feel more lost than ever…” The life where “shoulds” rear their ugly head and while you try to keep them at bay, you are constantly asking – this can’t be all there is to life, right?

Have you met the “shoulds?” Let me introduce you to mine:
I should know what I want to be by now.
I should be married by now.
I should have 2.5 kids and a house by now.
I should be contributing to my 401k by now*
I should have…should be…should have…

Do you ever wonder where those shoulds come from? Is it societal or familiar pressure, or is that just something we do to deflect that blame that really, it’s us who are leading ourselves down this self-induced path of self-loathing reflection?

These are things I still desire in my life, but one thing I am finding out, is even if you have the career you’ve always desired, or the 2.5 kids or the house in the suburbs with the lake house for the weekend…you are still constantly questioning, “is this it”. At least that is where I am at the moment. I do want the house, but I moved 2,000 miles away from my family to live in a one-bedroom that is twice what my mortgage payment was. (I wish I were kidding). And while the sun does shine more days than not, I am usually seeing it through my (non) rose-colored glasses while keeping my road rage at bay in bumper to bumper traffic (La La Land’s opening scene was NOT exaggerated). It’s not only hard out here for a pimp; it’s hard out here for anyone making a decent living, just trying to survive! But I don’t regret a second of it – I’m just finding that sometimes, the path that I once saw for myself – the path that I am headed down now – I am still unsure if it’s the path I want to be on.

And that’s scary. The big “unknown”. I always say to people – if I was just 10 years younger… I could totally do this. But I’m not 10 years younger, and I’m not necessarily saying I can’t do this…just that my curiosity of the human condition has taken hold and I’m wondering what else is out there!

I know some people would balk at the fact that I have a “stable” job in Hollywood, one that people would, absolutely without a doubt, kill (or slightly injure) for…so quit your bitching. And yet here I write, wondering, curious about life beyond the bubble. How dare I, right?

Which brings me back to my first loves: reading and writing. I have found a couple of books lately that are making me feel quite less alone in this self-reflective journey of universe questioning and life pondering. One of these books is called “Roadmap” – and ironically it’s written by the same authors as “Roadtrip Nation”, that very book that helped me out of my mid-twenties slump. Funny how the universe works…

And without going too much into it (but highly recommended – click on the titles to learn more) – by reading these books, I feel less alone in my now mid-thirties struggle for identity. When most of your co-workers are just cracking the 30 year old mark, it’s inspiring to know that people question their lives and their paths constantly, and it’s totally, if not beneficially, ok. Being the over-thinker I am, I, of course, think I am over-thinking and tell my overactive brain to STFU and (usually) go to bed. But it is books like these that make me feel like – hey, you are completely normal in your plight, and yes, you should be questioning everything, because without curiosity, where would we be?

All this run-on soliloquy is saying is, I am just starting to accept the fact that I don’t have all the answers to my life path and goals, and while that sometimes makes me feel like I am floundering in this life of mine, it is pleasantly obvious that I am not the only one. And that makes me feel like maybe the universe has another adventure for me that I haven’t even pondered (or over-thought) yet, and that, to me, is exciting.


*don’t worry Dad, I am contributing something to the retirement plan…

Sunday Sprinkles – inspirational links for the week

Sunday Sprinkles – bringing you inspiring and/or thought-provoking snippets from my week…

Seth Godin is a marketing god…he also happens to write a blog post that elicits so many smirks and “mmm-hmmm” grunts of recognition that I just have to share one from this week – basically breaking down entitlement vs. gratitude in bite-sized pieces…

Living on “default” mode is something I have recently noticed and am actively trying to remedy. This Soul Anatomy blog popped up when I was having one of those “everything’s fine, but nothing feels fine” moments…and made me snap out of my head (for at least a couple hours anyway). Hope it does for you as well…

Speaking of trying something new and getting out of my “default” mode, I have just started to listen to podcasts on my commute…I am so late to the game…but am slowly starting to fall for Jess Lively, host of The Lively Show...the few podcasts I have listened to have helped reframe my head while I continue to fight off my inherent road rage…and anyone who can do that is an A+ in my book…Do you have any favorite podcasts? I’m all ears!

And finally – Music Man and I were talking about his ideal job, and I mentioned, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just make mix tapes for a living? (Music Man is one of the best mix tape creators around) Kinda like John Cusack ala High Fidelity, but with this day in age of streaming, how does one really become a mix tape / playlist curator? Spotify had the answer with this darling of a job opening – but in my opinion, they just want Obama...*

*thanks to my resident pop culture maven Carolyn for sharing this gem!

And that’s your Sunday Sprinkles! Hope it brings a smile to your otherwise Sunday Funday…feel free to send me blog links or something that inspired you this week, and I’ll be sure to include it in next week’s Sprinkles!


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