Roller Coaster

The comparison of life to this recreational assimilates with many life obstacles.

We go through roller coasters of emotions, ups and downs and turns when life gets hectic, the analogy is even used for when you are so excited it is equivalent to being on top of a roller coaster, waiting for the big drop to happen.

I find the analogy intriguing, yet wonder why we must feel  so afraid of the ups and downs. Why do we fear the inevitable tosses and turns of life, our salad mixers are sturdy in our hands, yet we tend to hesitate to stir the create a colorful work of art that our talents can absolutely create.

Life jolts us; unexpected deaths, losing a job, failing a project, depression, anxiety, mania. All extreme to  different people, and all are okay. These make us human. Having things “just-so” is impossible.

For example: You tear your tights after months of preparing for this big project. Folders labeled and allocated, your meditation clearing your mind each night in preparation. You could be suffering depression, your anxiety can be unmanageable, but you jumped those internal hurdles to make yourself mentally ready, and find a peace of mind to make this presentation perfect. Then you hop on the train, and someone with a sharp umbrella accidentally rips your tights as you are leaving for your stop.

This is a perfect example of a roller coaster situation. All ups and downs, jolts and turns, and as soon as the car stops, you have two decisions: break down and give up, or you breath , let a tear or two out, and find the nearest CVS for the cheapest pair to get you through this big, pivotal meeting.

Life will always throw you these situations, and they can be a build up of completing a project you are passionate about, that will lead you to better opportunities. Or these roller coasters could be your everyday life; the trials of getting out of bed, the next jolt of washing your face, making breakfast while conquering the crippling anxiety of putting food into your stomach for the fear of being “fat” or “ugly”.

Life in the arts is fast-paced. In any job, really, but in the arts, perfection is in high pressure. Facing personal obstacles along with pivotal career-moving opportunities  go hand-in-hand. Learning to balance your emotions and skills is tough, but possible. You got to move with every opportunity and sometimes put your mental state aside. Sometimes you need to sit one out, and take care of you. It sometimes seems unfair, sometimes you won’t have empathetic peers, but should that stop you?

You are your own person. Your sadness is beautiful, your anxiety shows you care, your depression is heartbreaking, but shows you are a strong person. You matter, and these hitches should make you become a better you. These Desmond I call them, will always be there, sometimes peaking its ugly head out when everything is amazing. It becomes a sudden backwards track, but it is up to you if you want to channel these emotions with your work to show resilience.

The roller coasters of life are inevitable, but are as inevitable as the beauty you make, the projects you create, the tasks at work you complete and conquer.

Never let a roller coaster guide you, you take hold of those bars, eyes open and forward, anticipating the next movement with the mind-set, “challenge accepted “.  You are a person who matters, and my friends in the arts, ou can so do this. Hang tight, and make the ride you embark something to hone.

Fight your internal fights, you will make an impact. Do at your own pace, because your health matters.

Love, Loss, and What I Wrote

I am an ambitious person.

write music, manage a start up company, help my sister with her wedding, save up money, possibly going back to school, trip to Germany, be kind and proactive with family, post music quips everyday, perform and practice as much as I can, while making new friends but keeping my long-term friends near and dear to me. To the average person, this is a lot of tasks. To me, I am selling it to myself that I can, because anything is possible when you decide not to be stuck anymore.

I made a big decision to stay in New York. My love for it faded, and this past summer, I was looking at schools overseas, jobs all over the country, whatever it took to take a break from my long-term relationship from Manhattan. I needed freedom, and freedom was what I was going to get. 

I was not dating, and haven’t been, at the time, for six months so I could learn about myself, and it lead to Jay. One curious click onto Okcupid after a long break from the crazy world of online dating lead me to a profile of a man who was funny, charming, and really adorable. We met in person, and instantly became a friend and a big part in my life. To meet someone you instantly connect with, share common opinions, be silly with at inappropriate times together, while supporting and loving each other, is seriously a blessing. We know we have different goals in life, but preserve our relationship with communication, not going to bed angry, and assuring one another when times are tough, confusing, or amazing! 

My relationship with Jay sparked inspiration. Music lived in him, and my muse re-ignited. I planned out projects, wrote for a short film (White Privilege Frankenstein-please come to our showcase at the Katra Film Series on February 6th!), and I left a pretty negatively-prone work environment to work with Sinem Saniyè on her record label. To work with someone driven, creative, yet strong in every sense of the word is a life-changing experience, and could not be happier!

I also decided to embark on a 365 day journey of posting music everyday on Social Media. Whether I perform on a trash can, practice my instruments, song in weird places, what-have-you, I will do it! A dear friend of mine completed this with such success with her dance move/day project, and watching her do this everyday no matter what was inspiring. I made my decision, and started to plan!

December hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I was moving up with music, relationships, my career, I could not escape from uncertainty. However, I made decisions, was implementing them, and therefore, it was time to fight uncertainty for good. 

Then my grandfather got sick. This was a man who lived his life to be a Godly person, a father, a husband, a grandfather and great-grandfather, and made sure that each and every one of us knew how to sing an Irish tune, play card games, cheat in card games, and keep my dad and his 9 siblings together. We drove up right after Christmas to see him, holding our breath that we would be able to say goodbye. The man in his deathbed asked for wine and beer, joked with us when he decided to be awake for his birthday, and waited until all ten of his children and his elder grandchildren of 42 were present to guide him to the next journey. Writing this is difficult, but in me was song. My family was together grieving, but they were celebrating his life. The time we spent preparing for his funeral, consulting my grieving grandmother, and making sure everyone around was doing the best they could is something I will always hold on to. I have a big family, and can happily and soulfully say I am close to each and every one of them.

After his death I thought about my goals, my life in general, my existence, and dug deep into my being. The guilt I put myself though all these years for not being “perfect”; was that worth it? Is life about perfection? Or, is life about your passions and moving forward with them? Is it about love? Is it about fear? What kind of life am I living by questioning myself, when I saw in front of me a man I knew my whole life, live his life the way he needed to, with love and compassion, pass away with his entire family celebrating his life and peace? 

Lesson learned: my fear for imperfection needed to end. Not tomorrow, not at the end of this year, after this year-long music project, now. My grandpa was not a perfect man, because a perfect man and/or woman does not exist. But I respected him for his passion. And love him always. 

So I started my project “late”, one week after New Years, and still found myself judging my process. This wasn’t what this was to be about, so I kept forcing myself to break free from the uncertain Allison I was, and kept posting.

With the death of David Bowie, I was paralyzed with more grief. A man who I loved from out of the womb, whose music made me feel like I wasn’t an outcast, will never create again. Another lesson leaned: Live like Bowie. Did he care what others thought? Probably, but as an artist, he made sure that his music said otherwise. This is remarkable and inspiring! And if anything else, it wrapped up my long epiphany of how I need to live my life with this:

Don’t apologize for art, apologize for holding back.

As week’s went on, got a new project, building up with the record label, 6/8 Records with Sinem, sharing more with my love, playing more confidently with bassoon in an amazing community band, singing more, helping my family and friends while working on not overwhelming myself or others, and being present with my art.

I made it 21 days of posting music. Then I realized something: as much as this is doable, admirable, and creative, I’m not enjoying it. So, I’m allowing a break from this. I need to enjoy my music, because by not enjoying, I’m apologizing. And that is not excusable anymore. 

Will I continue the project? Maybe in April! I want to make time to create on my own without a deadline, so that music becomes organic. Until then, I will live my life like Bowie, yet more importantly like my grandfather. Love and passion is what is key, and therefore, that is what I aim to do, believe in, and be.

When it is Not “An Industry” Thing

Like many industries out there, the music and entertainment industry provides amazing job opportunities, bosses that allow growth and creative space, and amazing perks (paid time off, free concerts/events, travel).

However, is your work environment worth these opportunities?  Are your employees yelling at each other?  Is there gossip about everyone stirring in every room and every event? Do your higher-ups ignore your initiatives?

These are things to consider.  You might think, “Well, the arts is stressful, and every work place has gossip..”, but what it comes down to it is, if you feel uncomfortable and feel under-appreciated, it isn’t “an industry” thing, it is a company thing. And it can be a You thing, too.

I have about five years in the entertainment industry under my belt, and with those years, I learned what a healthy environment is, and what is not.  Granted, I have also learned a lot about working with different personality types, different working environments, how to handle situations in various manners, and am no master at it, but am at the point in my career that I know when to stay or to walk out of a position.

I have walked away before. Twice. Once was an internship, and in a way it was the right thing to do, and learning in an environment where people yelled at each other, welcomed inappropriate conduct, and basically ignored my presence, was not going to help me grow as a person. This was not a huge loss, since I was working at this internship straight out of college, and was working at Starbucks part-time. I knew I could find other methods to learn about music in a different way, and although it made me uncomfortable to leave, I knew my discomfort was a sign that this was not a good fit.

When I walked out of a job that paid, it was a scary situation. My salary and well-being was put on the line, but this exact time, I learned that what I walked away from was a job that provided no growth, few benefits, and a working environment that valued those who would rather gossip than get a project done. I was barely trained, and found myself swirling into a vortex of self-doubt, depression, and self-loathing.  “why can’t I learn faster? Am I showing anxiety too much? Am I weak?” were questions that swarmed in my brain.  150905-154091

I had plenty to learn and to improve on with this company, and kept telling myself that “This is how it is in entertainment, you need to be quick! You need to work harder and not care about what others say. You need to research more on your own time”. These things are all true, and although I implemented these things, I found myself making mistakes more due to a crucial amount of negative feedback, unanswered emails/calls from my superiors, and for simple mis-communication.

I read back to a great article from The Muse, 7 Signs that You Should Leave Your Job (Sooner Rather than Later), and although I found myself at a job that had employees stay even when they were not feeling welcomed or happy, the last sign spoke to me.  My gut told me that this is a place that is not going to help me go.  In fact, it seemed that they were intentionally or unintentionally seeking for me to fail.  This isn’t an industry thing, and IMO, this isn’t a place to work.

So for my friends, colleagues, mentors, peers–if you are not being valued, you are working for no feedback, or you feel like the only reason why you are staying are for “The Perks”, re-evaluate your situation.  Life is too short to waste at a job you hate.  It is too short to worry about when the axe will drop. Sometimes, you need to let go of such job, shrug off the stereotypes about your industry and how people generally are in that industry, and find what makes you happy. If it means working at a coffee shop for two years while you find it, or for two months while you transition, know that every job is a building block to your personal growth as a person, worker, and being.  Make your life matter, and dump your job!

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It’s not you, it’s me…and maybe you, “Company”. See you later!

Who Are These People?

Everything I ever wanted to say. Thank you, Christain and Ken!

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We inhabit a world that is filled with so much natural beauty.  It is all around us.  If we can find a spot on the Earth that is not beautiful, that is ugly, chances are it is the actions of human beings that have made it so.

Who are the people whose lives have such a deficit of appreciation of our world that they busy themselves with activities that pollute, destroy, and render increasingly vast areas of our planet deathly shadows of what they once were?  But not only that, these same people also demonstrate a similar disregard for human life.  Of course, if one is contemptuous of the Earth that is an inescapable show of contempt for human life as well.  Because we depend upon a healthy Earth to be healthy ourselves.

There is much information available on the internet and elsewhere about who is abusing our planet.  But…

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A lonely job

This goes for composing as well. Could not have put it better myself! 🙂 Thank you, Christian for sharing your thoughts and this post!

Cristian Mihai

lonely“An artist is always alone – if he is an artist.”Henry Miller

Writing is a lonely job, no doubt about it. And no matter how successful you might become, you’re still alone. It’s the inexorable truth of the writer’s condition: you sit at your desk, in an empty room or in the most crowded coffee shop, yet you’re alone. You just do your thing.

Of course, this poses a rather interesting question: if you spend that much time alone, how do you find stuff to write about?

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Sounds of Solace

Two months.

It has been two months, and I have composed for a short, got a new job, found peace with my old habits, and am moving ever faster. I even found infatuation, and an infatuation that has brought song back to my heart, laughter to my voice, and light to when I start to see dark.

Life is an adventure, and by becoming a fast-moving, yet secure, sincere, confident, and artistic (and showing it to those I would be nervous to show), has been the driving force of my progress.

What has sparked this?

Years of insecurity and being my worst enemy dented the progress in my career.  For many years, I have let my negatives show, and my positives lay low.  It took me until the age of 25 to say “enough!”, and I am so glad I did.  Yes, I possibly missed opportunities. I possibly could have been somewhere else, but why think of the past like that when you can keep going to get to where you want in life?

I believe what got the gears going was my last job interview.  I was nervous, since I wanted the job badly, and working at retail while supporting my marketing and composing career was getting to me. I sit down with the interviewee, who tells me off the bat that he has no idea how to interview someone, and I was the first person he ever interviewed.  I grew silent.  When he asks me questions, I clammed up, but took a sip of water to calm down.  He saw this as an opportunity to ask me questions about my LinkedIn account that he clearly didn’t look over for very long, and grills me about a job I wasn’t interviewing for.  I was rubbed off the wrong way, and felt his demeanor was off-putting.  However, he brings me on to work events, but as I was continuing to interview for him, he sends me an email about his resignation from the company, and goes on to tell me that I am a “Go-get her”, but cannot interview for the life of me. I snap. This isn’t me, and I will not allow someone who clearly had no hold on his business skills to tell me such grammatically incorrect and blunt information.

As much as that experience stunk, it did not stop me from getting that job. I called up HR, explained the situation and my continued interest, and here I am, working for them, and loving everyday.  That man did teach me one thing: if you are ever nervous, do not show it.  And if you are emailing someone, check your work…cause you will look like an idiot!

It is scary though! It feels like I am going full speed in a new car, and I have the sun in my eyes, but I know which way to go.  However, caution is high, for I do not want to ruin the new and great.

So tonight, I finally have time to relax, update my profiles, (Yes, multiple!), catch up on emails, and watch Driving Miss Daisy on PBS.  To have time to watch art while I am in the process of creating, or taking a break, is all I wanted in life.

So I am going to enjoy it.  Why ruin it with worry?  It has only hindered me for so long.  No more stepping back, time to step forward, and keep driving!

This is so exciting! (Short Film Release!)

I’m back!

I have been working on so many projects, checking out scholastic options, changed jobs, lifestyle choices, all the things!  In just two months!

I also have been composing more, playing more, singing more, etc. And it feels amazing!  I no longer have the stresses that held onto my creativity!  I also made hard choices of taking a step back from marketing for artists and starter up businesses, which, again, difficult choices, but an amazing path for creativity.

That being said, I am proud to announce that I composed for a short film recently, and it has been BLOWING UP!

I want to share this with you all, since it is so topical, yet amazing with nailing dark comedy.

So please, watch the creation!  It is truly alive!

If you like what you see, follow us on Facebook at White Privilege Frankenstein, share with your friends using #wpf!

The following have seen our 1000 viewed video, and did this:

“Jesse Williams of Grey’s Anatomy posted about us on Tumblr“.

“Charles Blow from the NY Times quoted the short on Twitter“.

YES!

Watch below!

MORE MUSIC TO COME AND I MEAN IT!

White Privilege Frankenstein

So happy that we reached 110% goal and more! Could not be happier to compose for such an amazing project!!!!

Chris Carfizzi, Actor

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle

For a while, I’ve been talking creating my/your own work. And I have been. But, now I’ve found a topic that resonates with a lot of people: White Privilege. Not an easy topic at all. But, I found a really great take on it. And I have found a team who really believes in it.

I’ll be talking more about it in the near future, but for now I’m asking you to consider joining my Kickstarter campaign. We’re 75% funded already, but if I make more in my campaign, I might be able to pay my actors which is huge.

Please check out my campaign here http://kck.st/1V5uK1C  and consider joining us for even a $5 or $10 level. If you can give more, that’s great too .

Thanks for considering!

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Why I Have Not Blogged in Awhile, and That is Okay!

Yes, this isn’t the greatest for someone starting out their own practice as a marketing consultant and publicist.

But, it is good when you are doing the following, which I have done:

  • Reflecting on my business skills and practices
  • Re-creating my approach with working with artists
  • Finding a new, steady job to help fund my future
  • Refocusing on my career path
  • Enjoying my music and switching over publishers

And most importantly….DRUM ROLL….

Practicing my LSATS!  Yes that is right, I will be prospectively joining my peers in the life of law, and plan on focusing my career on copyright law for musicians.  I want to make sure artists know the legal steps to protect their music, as well as help them form a plan when finding a publicist, manager, booking agent, and a publisher.

I have seen artists successfully find a great fit with all of their business partners, but not many, and have found that I want to be that person to help get them on their feet.

So I may not blog as often, but until I get into my groove, you will see posts about my journey of getting into law school, the passions behind my learning experience, and how I am fitting in (successfully) marketing and publicity clients, as well as composing for many mediums.

Now you know, and now watch out, because I am a go-getter!

Is Criticism a Bad Thing?

It’s been a busy week.

And usually I worry about this. I worry about a lot of things, but what worries me the most is bending. By bending, I mean letting things get to me, letting others actions slow me down, and most of all, letting something affect the way I want to live my life, then stopping my passions as a result.

That being said, I take criticism as a tool to better myself.  Whether it be constructive or not, not everyone is going to like what you are doing, and either they will tell you what you think in a way that will help, or bluntly discuss how you are not in the right.

So, why are we afraid of criticism?  Yes, hearing the truth that comes off as “negative” hurts, but in life, this is how we learn and grow.  I sometimes need a day or two to digest criticism as a professional and reflect on what the stated observation.  However, I have found my peers to need weeks, or even worse, stop their passions.

When it comes to dealing with criticism, it is knowing that fear and doubt will be visible to the other person.  This is vulnerable, and for a lot of millennials, in my opinion, are afraid to deal with vulnerability.

In an article by Kim Quindlen, she states 15 reasons why we as a generation fear success.  One that she states so eloquently

” It’s much easier to daydream about the idea of success and the idea of happiness than it is to actually go after it. Because if you go after it, there’s a chance it won’t happen. And then the illusion is ruined and your daydream is no longer safely tucked inside the inner pockets of your mind.”

Why can’t we get past our insecurities? Why can’t we push through the toughest of the tough?

I read an article last week about how college campus as of the past 20 years find teaching sensitive subjects in classrooms hindering and almost impossible. A great read, actually! And I read what Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt had to say in “The Coddling of the American Mind“, and felt like no matter my issues-at-hand in the past, I made sure that I listened to critical subjects, thoughts, and debates in class.  It not only helped me learn, but grow as a person.

I reposted the article on Facebook, thinking nothing of this, and found more of my peers either didn’t read the article and commented (another issue-at-hand, which we have a habit of doing living on  social media), or voiced their concerns towards the article.  I didn’t take any of their comments personally, since they were voicing their opinion, but found that they worry that not everyone can handle cognitive behavior, and therefore “trigger words” or “trigger warnings” are imperative to the classroom. This includes discussing rape, suicide, anxiety, anything that might set someone off towards a painful and traumatic time in their life.  These peers felt that we need to stay on target of protecting people from getting hurt.

I admire these peers.  They are for the common good and for the right to protect others from harm.  However, what I felt jarring is that we learn from pain.  We learn from facing issues, even when traumatic.

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So what can we do to level us in this subject? In the arts, we are vulnerable, emotional people, but what makes those stand out from others is developing a thick skin.  We need to acknowledge the negative attributes in our lives as stepping-stones.  We also need to see that if someone does not like our work of art, we cannot bend.  If someone says something sexist to a person, face that person, or talk to someone who can settle the issue. And by doing so, find a way to work with it, and use it as a tool to get through the next obstacle.

So here are my thoughts on how to handle critics:

  • Soak it in-know what the person is saying and why.
  • Feel it briefly, and I mean briefly.  But to know that it makes you feel a certain way is important when dealing with these issues.  You are not blocking feelings, therefore it will not come up later.  You are in contrast, not living what they say, and ruining your lifestyle.
  • See what the critique has in store and research solutions to better yourself. Maybe you need to write more fluid. Or maybe you are composing the same type of music over and over again. So…
  • Get out of your comfort zone!  Find a solution that is a little out of what you normally do, and experiment.  Life is about exploring, and as artists, and even more in general, as people, trying new things can only help grow a person!
  • Let your past be a lesson, not a living.  If you live in the past, it will make you stall in the moments passed by, making you miss the now.

So when life is busy, and you are taking on criticism and negative events, remember: you are forming a new tool at hand.  I am no expert, and this is how I feel from my experience. Live your life from your experience, and run with it.  At this moment, I am looking for jobs, composing, waiting on projects, and dealing with some personal stresses.  But to tell you the truth, I know that this day will make me stronger, make me grow, and will pave my way towards what my life’s purpose will be.

Find yours! Don’t be afraid of what people say, and go for it!