Written late Sunday evening, on the train back home
I am on a high. Don’t worry – an all-natural, music-induced high. Not having written in about a month, the threshold to start again kept growing and growing, but tonight I had such a great night that I couldn’t not write. Tonight was one of those nights that I was suddenly reminded again of all the things that are good in life. Exam periods always tend to leave their marks on me, the stress increasing so much that I don’t really know what to do with myself anymore. In those periods I also tend to forget who I am, resulting in me doing things that are so not me and that I regret later on. Today was the last day of such a stressful period, having handed in my last assignment this morning. And then tonight – I felt as if I was suddenly rewarded for all the effort I put into studying this last month and finally there was a balance again. A balance between the things that I have to do – and may not always like – in life, and the things that I love beyond words and leave me lost for words.
I don’t think I have to repeat again how much I love music, having written about it a few times already. Music has the power to completely transform my mind, my feelings and especially my mood. As I am sitting here, on the train, I am looking back on a night of amazing, indescribably good music – music that left me overwhelmed and in complete awe. The structure of the night was a new concept to me. The evening was hosted by one of my favourite singers (whose concert I went to last December), Dotan. He had invited some of his favourite singer-songwriters to perform. Appropriately, the night was called the ‘7 Layers Sessions’, after the name of Dotan’s album, where the 7 layers represent the layers of human skin that have to be peeled off to get to the heart of yourself. It represents authenticity and the way to finding your true self.
I was a stranger in my own skin
seven layers I’ve been hiding in
~Dotan, 7 Layers
Dotan explained that there are very few opportunities for people to get to know new music, for people to go somewhere, not knowing what awaits them and what they’re going to listen to. Therefore, he took the initiative to organise such a night. And what a success it was. In tonight’s 7 Layers Session, St. Grandson, Joseph & Maia, and Kelvin Jones had been invited to come and play for us. Dotan introduced all the acts, and the only request he had was whether we could all remain quiet during the performances. Everyone took this advice to heart, and it was so, so special. You could hear a needle drop. The room was small – one of those shabby, café-like, shadowy rooms – but packed with people, and the atmosphere was just magical – you could feel that everyone was there for the same thing. To get to know new music, to listen intently, to appreciate the vulnerability with which the artists performed on stage. There was such a – I don’t even know another word to describe it – level of respect in there that I was hit by an overwhelming feeling of bliss. Everyone was there with the same goal, and it felt so good to be amongst a crowd of people that, first of all, have the same interest as I do, but also respect and appreciate the music as much as I do.
I felt as if everyone was a bit lost for words, because it was so special (I know – I’m getting repetitive, but it was just So. Good.). When I see these words on the paper I am desperately looking for the right ones to convey the atmosphere, the people, the musicians – the love that hung as a cloud over us in that room. It wasn’t only the audience that was mesmerized by the performers, but they in turn were also so appreciative of the audience. It was like we had all gathered in one large living room to enjoy an evening of honest, raw music together – which is of course exactly what it was (minus the actual living room). I stood there, sometimes with my eyes closed to take it all in, most of the time with goose bumps all over my skin, and all of the time with this intense feeling of gratitude. Gratitude to be amongst like-minded people, grateful that there is still such honest music out there, and that the people performing were so authentic, humble and true to themselves. The passion of these artists, but especially the passion with which Dotan spoke tonight when he introduced the artists and explained the concept of the 7 Layers sessions, inspired (or rather, inspires) me to get back on track as well. To go after what I want, unapologetically, and in the process stay true to myself the full one hundred percent.
As may be evident from the considerable lack of regular blogpost the last two months, I have been struggling a bit. Every time I think I am back on track I fall off the wagon again and it takes a lot of effort (sometimes too much effort) to climb back on. To beat this, I am trying to implement a similar strategy as I did back in August – doing more things that I like. I am also trying to create some more habits in my life, to give it a bit more structure so that I can use my time wisely. In that way, I can be more efficient when I study and it leaves me plenty of time to enjoy my free time. Tonight was a good start again. Taking the advice of a good friend of mine, I also created a list of things that are priorities to me, and another list of people that make me happy. Of people that I connect with, and who give me energy and who inspire me. I try to picture these lists when making decisions, asking myself the question whether what I am about to do is going to make me happy or help me work towards my goal of being the best version of myself. A few times, this has helped me a lot to choose the ‘right’ path, and to do things for myself instead of others (for example, my decision to start eating vegan). Of course, these lists don’t magically make everything better and I have also made some decisions I’d rather take back if I had the chance. Apparently, however, we learn from our mistakes, and they shape us into the people we are. So at times I’m doing well, and at times I’m struggling and want to give up – but I guess the important part is that I am still trying. And tonight gave me the motivation and renewed energy to keep doing exactly that.