Being a Solo Musician, Long Term Bullying & Being Different

Hey, hi. Thanks for reading. I promise though this may be long it’s not fucking dull. Yes, there will be cursing. I’m not a “polite woman.” I won’t ever be that – so if you’re looking for one, you’re on the wrong blog.

I hope I don’t need to say “trigger warning” as I think it’s implied in the title 😜

Many if you know I was the target of substantial and chronic bullying as a child, lasting from about grade 3 through to my high school graduation where I got the fuck out of my hometown and never looked back.

I’ve been called various names including bitch, spaz, loser, weirdo, psycho, you name it. I’ve had tacks put on my chairs, nasty notes put on my desk, and written on my locker. I’ve had girls tell me they would drag me away and beat me on my way home from the bus stop. I’ve had boys whisper how they’d like to sexually assault me in the middle of highschool biology class. I’ve had my hair set on fire. I’ve had teenagers try to run me over with their car. I’ve had boyfriends break up with me because THEY were bullied for being with me. And I never knew why.

I have an idea why now – I’m not a “neurotypical” and likely have ASD and ADD brain neurology. I probably said and did things that I never knew were rubbing people the wrong way. But yunno, no one ever told me. They just treated me like a piece of human garbage. And being different is no excuse for being bullied. My neurology, though it may explain why not everyone understood who I am, does not legitimize being treated any less favourably than others around me. Let’s make that perfectly clear.

Anyway, there’s a lot to that part of my story but it ends there today. What I wanted to convey is that I carry trauma that still makes me feel like I’m a piece of human garbage sometimes. Thanks assholes!

BUT GUESS WHAT – turns out I’m not a piece of human garbage. I’m a strong, powerful, funny, badass lightworking healing woman who only wants to help others NOT feel like shit too. That’s my work. I don’t want you to feel worthless, or powerless, or hurt, or wounded, and carry that around. I want you to HEAL and SHINE like the magnificent beautiful HUMAN MIRACLE that every one of us pieces of the Universe is manifesting as. And that’s why I’m sharing. Because, I do feel that way most days now. There are always moments where I feel like garbage – but I know that’s not ME – that’s the assholes that ingrained that message in me from a very young age. And I won’t BE them. I will only be ME now.

So how does that relate to my music? Well I’m glad you asked. Since I was a pre-teen, Music has been there for me. Music with a capital M. Well, it’s been there since always, but my pre-teen year’s was when I really started to use it quite heavily as a coping mechanism for being tortured. I would listen to songs filled with sadness and rage and it would make me feel so comforted and empowered that people with these feelings could manifest in such a beautiful way.

You see, for those of you who don’t use music in this way, it’s a method of relating to others on a soul level. When (most) people write music (there are definitely exceptions) – it’s a soul bearing exercise. It’s healing work. It’s catharsis. Listening to someone else’s catharsis can also be your own. “Wow, THAT guy got his heartbroken. But he wrote this record instead of offing himself. PROPS.” You dig?

First, it was listening to music that was helpful, and then it became creating. If other people could heal and stay alive in this way, well so could I. Having a father as a musician was definitely a big motivation too, of course. I learned to play bass first, and then added guitar. I also played keyboards. And guess what kinds of songs I wrote – fucking sad ones.

My parents were concerned; “why is your music so sad?” Well, it was my PROCESSING. Putting my sadness into a song was a metaphorical and literal sending away. It was an active method of staying in flow. Spiritual motion. We need to MOVE things to heal. Creating music is a beautiful soul motion. Poetry can be the same. Same with visual art, and especially DANCE!

I feel so grateful to have had that outlet. It’s funny, my ego also thought being a musician would be “cool.” Yeah, no. I think people thought I was even weirder, frankly. Why didn’t I just play field hockey and get a beach tan like everyone else? But my music was just that, MINE.

For many years through University, I tried to fit in with other musicians, and play with groups of artists who were mad confident in their skills. What was different for me was this nagging feeling that really I was garbage. My confidence when playing music with others has always been incredibly low due to this fact, and because of my neurology, the processing I needed to keep up with a group of musicians while being excruciatingly anxious just wasn’t available. So I would end up just smoking pot and hanging out with musicians, being afraid to express myself in case I really WAS garbage. “Yeah I’m a musician”, but I never really had the confidence to express myself as one in front of others who seemed so confident they were not garbage (when sometimes they weren’t very skilled at all). So my music continued to be very private except for a select few I’d share it with.

Fast forward to after having kids, being burnt out and unwell physically and mentally. I would play kids songs on my guitar for my son and run singalong circles. But really my music had crept back inside. Kids songs were safe. And eventually those fell by the wayside too. I was also holding on to some very unhelpful religious beliefs that made me feel as though my music was an unnecessary crutch I needed to let go of.

Well here I am today, and I’m happy to say my music is BACK. I’ve realized that it’s integral to my soul expression. It’s a release and a divine flow that NEEDS to happen. I’ve tried to connect with others who play music and that is not aligning, so I’m doing it SOLO and I feel like that’s the way it needs to be right now. I still have intense anxiety about performing but I am challenging my beliefs and patterns every time that comes up by just continuing on creating and SHARING my music on social media. That’s just enough public expression for me to open the doorway for actual live performances when my brain is ready. It’ll be ready in time with patience, love, and compassion.

Thank you to my husband who holds space and provides the resources for me to process and create. Thank you to my kids who listen to my songs over and over and over while I perfect them. KUDOS and THANK YOU to every solo musician who’s had the gumption to release their soul songs to the world. You are my inspiration, and you are beautiful. You are creating wonderful vibes, and you are doing so in contradiction to the myth that we need to have that “band” to perform with. Even if I don’t jive with your particular musical manifestation, I will still honour it and say thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for your long nights perfecting the gems you send out to others. Thank you for standing in coffee shops and belting out your HEART for us all to hear. Thank you for clicking “upload” to SoundCloud and hoping it’s as beautiful to others as it is to you. Thank you for those of you who remain humble even when your music has touched thousands of other souls.

THANK YOU to those bearing your soul. And know that when I release a song, no matter how trivial or simple it sounds to you, or how off key my vocals are, or how my guitar twangs a little bit here in not quite the right way – I am expressing myself in a way that is powerful and important for my soul and my own healing. Know that every note is a release and a blessing, not just the poetry that accompanies them. Sometimes it’s more the notes than the poetry – usually the poetry comes last. If you are listening to my music, thank you for sharing this with me. Thank you for holding space for my art. I appreciate every single time someone holds space for it, because you are holding space for my healing, too. And maybe your own, if my songs resonate with you ❤️. That’s been my experience with Music with a capital M.

Love to you all! And know that if you are coping with bullying currently or the impacts of it later in life, you are NOT alone. You CAN heal, you CAN shine. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need someone to talk to. My door is always open.

My SoundCloud: https://m.soundcloud.com/jaynekarmalamo

Published by jaynekarmalamo

A mommy on a mission, driven to sustainable and green living for the health of my family and my planet. Here for you to teach you what I have learned, and empower you to go back to your roots and DIY - saving money, your health, and the earth in the process!

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