love is bulletproof

Thanksgiving 2016. My new Samsung smartwatch! My gratitude.

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My life in Yelp reviews: Mary “Grassroots Girl” B.

 

I have a LOT to be grateful for.

If your limbs grew back after losing them, you might relate.

Years ago, somebody with my limitations would have perished.

Today, I will put on an amazing timepiece to celebrate how far I’ve come.

How it began. In my infancy, I developed a fever due an infection caused by mistreated wounds.

When my fever reached one hundred and six degrees Fahrenheit, nurses covered me with ice-soaked towels. I remember screaming, but the next day, I forgot everything.

Afraid I’d forget everything, each night before I fell asleep, I remembered the same memories.

Each day, I forgot the same details.

Everything I forgot belonged to one category,
everything I remembered belonged to another.

In my early childhood, some children’s books were easier to recall than others. First nursery rhymes, then Dr. Seuss, eventually Shakespeare, I memorized books. *As long as they rhymed.*

It’s easy to see why I fell in love with poetry. Eventually, I synchronized my poetry to music.

I developed migraines when I began taking birth control.
BAD ones.

Eventually, doctors found a massive anomaly on the right side of my brain, beneath the scars from my infancy.

A complicated life-saving neurosurgery to repair
the anomaly went better than I expected.

But I had side effects.

Within weeks, I lost the glasses I’d worn for years.
I lost numerous pairs of replacement glasses.

maryslostglasses
I lost my cell phone, and numerous replacements.

When my problems eluded doctors, I went back to my roots.

I read books and online publications.
I sought help and advice. Everyday,
I worked hard to survive.

To compensate for my new symptoms,
I bought dozens of pairs of glasses,

marysglasses
and numerous inexpensive phones.

I learned how to love being lost.
I took notes, and recognized how small changes,
like diet, had an effect on my symptoms.

I wanted to share my progress, in case it helped others.
I discussed volunteering as a subject to large
learning institutions, hoping for a cure.

After years of reading, research, and requesting feedback.
I struck gold when a Google search found a correlation between my hospitalizations and symptoms, and an online forum to talk to.

I confirmed my far-fetched self-diagnosis with doctors and scheduled surgery to repair a large aneurysm.

Prior to surgery, I underwent numerous tests to rule out hereditary defect and disease, which could have accounted for some of my symptoms. The testing did not agree with me. It’s a long story.

My adverse reactions and injuries led to something positive.

I ended up in the hospital. My aneurysm was finally considered the life-threatening emergency, it had always been.

The episodes I had been suffering through for years, were mini-strokes. Each one could have ended me. I was lucky to be alive.

The surgery went SO better than I could have imagined.

mary_post_surgery

So much has improved.

Too much to list.

My worst and most life-threatening episodes have been cured.
My memory improved.
I’ve kept the same pair of glasses and
the same phone without losing them.

I bought my first nice phone in many years,
to celebrate my improvement. I love it!

I wish I could share everything
I have learned along the way here,
like the amazing advice, from the exceptional minds,
willing to spend their time trying to
help neurosurgery survivors like me,’out-think’
their limitations.

Q. “Why is it sometimes easier for me to focus
on one task at a time, and sometimes easier to focus
on many at once?
Could it be like a drain that catches when enough twigs bind together? Or how a lot of items can become tangled?”

Best answer: No, numerous items create the ability to sort.

Q. “Why do I get lost at an intersection I know well,
more often than a new one?”

The best answer is too sophisticated
for me to express properly.

The short version is this:
The number of choices for me, when sorting my memories,
can overwhelm my ability,

For example,
at an intersection where I have previously made right turns,
left turns, u-turns etc.. These many past-memory choices
to choose from, give me an enormous amount of memories
to choose from, and for me, sometimes, too many.

This is very similar to a computer problem,
ram vs memory. Studying the computer problem,
allows me to view the problem abstractly, which makes
navigating these intersections easier for me to process.

Navigation is a great place to study all kinds of problems,
including memory.

Question: “Abstract thought has helped many of my problems,
how can I take it a step further?

Answer: Samsung! A smartwatch. A wearable.I love it!

I memorized states and capitals in elementary school, as set to poetry.

I memorized the events of my life as set to a massive songwriting catalog.

Maybe, just maybe, I will memorize life as it happens, as set to a watch! Maybe it will just help me navigate life. Still great!

Google, YouTube, Yelp, I know you guys help everyone,
but you REALLY help me, and people like me navigate life.
Everyday.

Thank you to everyone who helped me come this far.
I can not properly express my gratitude with words.

I am doing so much better now! *See this week’s pics of me
and “That guy”, (my tiny pink stuffed hippo)for proof.

Like many close friends who have been with me through many hospitalizations, he has seen me suffer.

Now, you guys get to see me live.

I have been rescued, raised, and mentored
by the most amazing people on earth.
I will try to do them right by the actions of my life,
in gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for listening.:-)

Sequoia National Forest

Sequoia National Forest, Big Trees, Caltech, Magic

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I went on an amazing camping trip in the Sequoia National forest years ago.

In the sand, on the beach, by a lake, where I buried them,
my lost keys were found by a member of Caltech’s faculty.

The silver lining, my lost keys eventually opened the
doors for me to Caltech’s library.

Doctors, teachers, scientists, mathematicians
(you know who you are) encouraged a crazy girl
like me. To read, get help, survive, improve.
(I am alive because of you.)

With a little help, you can overcome anything.

Build and modify instruments to play
with diminished grip strength.
(Shout out to the guitar hospital graduates
who have improved my instruments.)

If your dominant hand is injured like mine,
you can invent new ways to play, backwards,
over/underhanded. Learn to play with your teeth,
your feet!

Rely on moonshot ideas and the kind of friends
you make by losing your keys in the sand on the beach.

One of my current projects is largely influenced
by Caltech and my friends there.

Many of them have moved away or moved on
to helping others, but they will never be forgotten.

Nor will their ideas. Like the one involving technology,
memory, computing, code and abstract thought,
also known as “putting on the watch”.

I was advised to write code as a way to better
understand my memory. Magical advice!

It has been suggested to me that a wearable
(e.g., a smartwatch) might help me
in the same way a dot on a chalkboard
or map helps one navigate. I’ll keep you posted!

If anything that helps me is able to help someone else,
then maybe I’ll be doing right
by those who have helped me.

For now, I can only promise
to continue what they started,
and to never give up.

When I was a little girl, a UCLA doctor
told me to draw a picture. Somehow,
I became everything in that picture.

To me, this was magic.

Amazing people like him
are still helping people like me achieve
their dreams today. In the same way …

+++++Magic++++

(Thanks for listening)

I Believe in Magic
===============================

If you take my hand

I am flying

I couldn’t stand

But with you, I dance

I couldn’t see

That I was blind

They all left me

You wouldn’t let me fall behind

I believe in magic

Miracles happen

Dreams do come true

Because of you

I believe in magic

Sure as I’m standing

I have the proof

because of you

I know magic is true

You turned my quill

into butterflies

The world stands still

so I can see it through your eyes

I couldn’t see

That I was blind

They all left me

You wouldn’t let me fall behind

I believe in magic

Miracles happen

Dreams do come true

Because of you

I believe in magic

Sure as I’m standing

I am the proof

because of you

I know magic is true

pajama jam!

What Heaven Was Like

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Love, dance, play, kiss. Just like..

when we were kids.

What were you like when you were little?

What changed, endured, faded or stayed?

Did you hang on to the same big dreams? Do you still dance when you get your way? Raise hell when you don’t?! I do.

Do you still have some of that same goofy smile left from “now and later” days? Are you happier now than you were back then? I am.

Man, there are so many things about me I wish I could change.

Some parts I was born with, some are engraved.

Some, no torture chamber could ever tear away. My autopilot. Code. Mission statement./

Are there some “big decisions” ‘little you’ is still hell-bent on standing by, for and behind.

If you could write your own code for the future in three rules, what would they be? Did you? Are you living by them?

How would you prevent your future self from screwing things up?

What do you believe in enough to let it rein your all your futur moves in life. Indefinitely?

To the part of you that will never change,

Remember when we had no where to go? No money? No hope? The best thing to find was the wrong way home.

Paper-bag lunches instead plat du jouor. Concerts, instead of web-TV.

Wine coolers? Zima? Strawberry wine? **sigh***

If you’re too young to get that one, hey! wanna hang out? Teach me how to social media, I’ll teach you how about analog recording.

I started a dance team when I was 8. To join my crew, your favorite color had to be pink.

A semi professional cheerleader when I was 22, clubbing was a 7-night-a week sport.

This summer, I danced my way to the VIP from stadium seating. From VIP to the front row with my prettiest girlfriend.

Sandra, still the best dancer in the Americas. Salt n Pepper, they still have it, so do you!

Last Friday, me, pajamas, Michael Jackson.

This Friday, meet me int the forest.

Let’s talk about the best ways to change the world.

Trade life stories with me.

++++++++++++++++++=Mine is a song.

Thanks for listening.:-)

What Heaven Was Like
————————-

Had we met when I was 15 we’d be on my blanket in the grass

behind the birch tree that summit from the mountain’s awning

We would share sandwiches and songs

Even though you’d be dead- wrong

I’d cling to your every word like hands to a cliff before falling

Had we met when I was 17 we’d be on my blanket in the grass

listening to the echo of Irvine Meadows stadium

We’d share a drink

we’d share a drag

into plastic cups we’d laugh

We’d lose our grip, we’d lose our grasp

but we would find ‘us’.

Had we met when I 25, we’d be dancing in the moonlight

drunk from the soft score of a wild night and the city streets

We’d end up in my fastest car, recklessly follow our hearts

We’d make useless promises in the dark about not leaving

Had we met now that I’m grown

now that I’m old enough to know

my heart would not betray my thoughts

you’d hear no lies

I’d tell you everything I knew

Lay all my cards out in full view

I’d say, “There’s nobody like you”

*but I’d be right

So do not not ever let us meet

For I could never stand to be

Me

Without you

After I knew

/////What heaven was like//////

Higher Standards

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Higher Standards
—————————–

Are we judged by our deeds? The color of our skin? Where we came from?

Foster kids like me, by some standards, fall short. REALLY short.

On paper, depending on the metric, I am either extraordinary or…… the absolute worst. EVER.

If you are not invited to the party you most want to attend, such as a family, a job or love? Take heart.

Purchase stock in a bad bet. Double down on yourself when no one else will.

An extraordinary person taught me this valuable lesson years ago. My brother.

There I was, going through life mistakenly believing I was great. Record companies told me my life story was more valuable to them than my music. This was great news! What I had to be ashamed of wasn’t so bad after all.

Press and publishers considered my background an asset to my autobiographical song catalog. With pride, I offered the details of my rough start in life and what I made of it.

Every once in a while, the truth about my lineage is the absolute worst news ever.

To people like John. (Sorry John, I love you now.)

My first grown up date.

I invited John to a celebrity birthday party. Janet (miss Janet if you’re nasty) Jackson’s. I felt so cool for being invited myself!

I thought it was romantic when he suggested we blow off the big party and long valet line for a quiet dinner.

I sat in bright neon light on the westside at a fancy restaurant. Posh. Swank. Expensive. Uncomfortable.

My party dress stood out like a storm trooper’s uniform on the red carpet of the Oscars. He sat across from me, leaning on his fingers with crushing eyes which made me blush.

The spell would soon be broken by my answer to a question I had never been asked before.

“So….. What does your father do?”

His eyes glittered with anticipation. Then they didn’t.

“I don’t know. I was raised in foster care. I was mistreated when I was little”.

His expression changed from twinkle to absolute horror.

He told me about how different we were. *The opposite in fact.

A gentleman, John was able to find one thing we did have in common. Kids must have made fun of us both.

Him, for being so wealthy. Me, for everything I had not. Like family.

His father drove him to school in a Rolls Royce. Mine didn’t drive me at all.

Again, a gentleman, John offered to do me a great favor. A kind deed. A mitzvah. John said he would date me anyway. “In spite of my past and parents”.

Here I stood at the crossroads. I needed advice.

I asked my brother if he’d run into the same problem. Did he tell girls about where we came from?

My brother has all the answers. He should write a book!

He didn’t tell anyone about our dark history. They didn’t need to know.

Instead, he told anyone interested, he wasn’t close with his family. This wasn’t a lie. This is exactly what I will say!!

I could imagine how cool my life might sound if I just left out…… everything.

“What else do you say?!” I needed to take notes!

He kept another secret from his friends. He didn’t tell anyone he was paying for his own education. Theirs was paid for by loving parents.

This did not sit well with me.

This amazing, endearing, hardworking genius was…. lucky to be alive. After escaping with nothing but the shirt on his back when he was a kid, he was working full-time to put himself through college.

I let him have it. I told him the best thing about him was how he was putting himself through school without any help. From anyone. It defined his great qualities to me.

But, like a bossy, bitchy, emotional sister, I yelled it at him.

Tit for tat, he returned fire.

“Why do you want to lie then?!”

He was right.

I hung my head in shame, hung up with my brother and dialed John. He couldn’t believe I was breaking up with him.

He laughed and laughed.

“YOU?! are breaking up with ME”?!

“Uh huh. Sorry, but you don’t know what good is.”

A defining moment. (We are friends now.)

And so the story continued. Every once in a while somebody will see me for what I lack. It’s fair.

My medical history kept me from being permitted to marry into one family whose fortune might be at risk if I needed ANOTHER neurosurgery. They were right!

If you are not good enough for someone? Well? Be better. To yourself.

There is a lot more wrong with me than you. My insecurity is otherwise known as common sense. My education is lacking. My income is unreliable. My health is … not so great, but I’m doing better now!

When my friends need the shirt off my back, I will be there.

When the day needs to be saved, I will deliver.

If you know me long enough, you will know me by my deeds. You can predict my movements by predicting what guides me. Accurately. Indefinitely.

This might not be good enough for some.

It is good enough for me.

To my friends who are judged for their stats, background, past, skin, etc.

Prove them wrong.

BE great.

If they say you are not good enough, show them it isn’t true.

Chart your own course to a self-made future. Write your own destiny. Build an empire. A legacy. A dynasty.

Make ’em kick rocks for not investing in you when they had a chance. Hold a grudge. I do!

Then thank them.

For, if not proving them wrong, you might not be proved right.

If you didn’t make the cut by some standard……..

Hold yourself to higher standards.

Keep this word near your heart where it belongs and let no one take it from you,

Let

NO ONE

EVER

take this from you…

DIGNITY: the quality of deserving self-respect.

(thanks for listening.:-))

Diamonds From Coal

+++++++++++++++++++++

I didn’t always have it all figured out
but I know the sound that a bullet makes now

I kept my head down
While life pushed me around

Wearing it out
can wear you down

But you can get diamonds from coal

Passion from blows

Over rainbows

is understanding

I want to write
my name in the sky

Every headline

to be mine

all mine

Taught what is right

by those with less than I

wheel-chair confined,

you taught me how to fly

You can get diamonds from Coal

Passion from blows

Over rainbows…..

is understanding

((((((((((((/)))))))))))))

My first best bud.:-)

The Paper-doll’s Giants (based on a true Story)

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Once upon a time (a time not far from now), in a land not far from here, lived extraordinary heroes (not unlike our own).

Paper burns when held to a flame.

Paper wears, it tears. It disintegrates.

A little girl, made of paper, ……………….

***Escaped***

She found aid

Grace.

A safe hiding place.

The paper-doll’s life was saved…

By giants.

To be continued……

Former-Foster Kids Forever

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Mrs. Fowler and Mrs. Maize call the police, Lincoln Elementary, circa 1980s.

Showing off my battle wounds to LAPD, I regaled my jaw-dropped audience. I pointed to every mark on my body along with where it came from.

When I moved on from the bruises to the scars, one of the officers took a deep breath and looked at his weapon.

(Was he mad at me?)

Boy, was I getting a lot of attention! I didn’t know my home life was any different from my classmates, ‘til the cops showed up at my school.

Melody and Jim were launching a coffee shop funded by foster kids like us. My brother and I stared out the window of our bedroom and wondered if we could walk home. We missed our mother, our toys, our dog.

My new kindergarten teacher presented me with a book, a huge Mother Goose nursery rhymes book signed by every one of my Lincoln Elementary school classmates. My first book of poetry, still memorized.

At night, Melody and Jim argued about something called “debt”. “How many more G. D. kids do we have to take in to make ends meet!?”

That summer, a van filled with other foster kid arrived to take me to the Los Angeles Courthouse. Afterwards, I sat in a long, shiny hallway on the wooden bench with my pink-boxed lunch, bologna sandwich, and red apple. *The apple gave me an idea.

After my name was called, I sat in the back of a room next to my social worker, listening to words I didn’t understand.

“Ward of the state…”

“…detriment to the health and welfare of said minor.”

Huh?

This was my big chance. Now or never. I polished my apple on my T-shirt as I watched the beautiful judge speak an exotic language of legal vernacular.

Then I made a run for her.

The distance between the back of the courtroom and the bench felt like miles. As I approached, I could see her more clearly. Her dark brown hair was swept up in a sophisticated bun, and her lipstick matched my offering

I knew she would know exactly what my sacrificed apple meant. She did! She let my brother and I return home, with stipulations. Counseling, follow-up, and no contact with my incarcerated stepdad, Bob….

After Bob was paroled, he made a beeline for my brother and me.

Why did we get into the car? He was taking us for a ride so we could buy our mother some cookies. LAPD caught him as he tried to leave the country with us.

Yeah, I know the cops can be jerks, abuse their authority, and inspire kick-ass NWA songs, but they also save kids like my brother and me from certain death.

Our mother replaced Bob with Tom, who was almost as bad as Bob, who was almost as bad as she was.

A few years later, the LAPD rescued me again, thanks to a call made by an amazing little girl named Tracy Lee.

I spent many years of my childhood in foster care. Sometimes I was just a meal ticket for someone who hated kids. Sometimes, I was cherished and supported by amazing group home staff members who took me to church on Sunday, home for Christmas, and displayed my paintings on their walls. No matter who took me in or where they took me, it was better than where I was from and I will always be grateful to them.

Thanks to foster care, I am alive. I am a proud member of Sons & Daughters United. I am not ashamed of being a member of support groups to this day. Decades of therapy has not yet put it all behind me.

A commercial for the Discovery Channel, depicting a mother’s love among animals, still squeezes my heart. Seeing a parent apply a Band-Aid to a child forces me to remember the bandages and Tylenol of my life came from strangers.

Being a former foster kid is not an excuse. For me, it is the reason I do some of the things I do.

I find love in unusual places. The institutions and civil servants who saved my brother and me have a place in my heart. They are family to me.

Being a former foster kid is no reason not to study, work hard or set a good example for other foster kids, my brothers and sisters forever.

My brother, my hero in life, left home with nothing but the shirt on his back. He paid for college by delivering pizza. Now, he is the adoring father of three beautiful blond angels, the eldest, named Mary.:-)

Many of my former foster siblings are very successful. I grew up surrounded by talent, beauty and intelligence. I never won a talent contest when facing off against my foster siblings. We were every color, creed and religious background, raised by people of every color creed and faith, without prejudice, we were sisters.

Judges, lawyers, politicians, authors, choreographers and caretakers, many my fellow former-wards of the state are making a positive impact in the world.

Me? I have given music lessons and concerts to orphanages, foster homes, group homes and support groups. I tell other foster kids how I taught myself to play and compose music in foster care. How they can be anything they want to be. And how I understand what it’s like to be homesick, long for parents, and want someone to be proud of you. I tell them I find that “someone” in every hero that has ever helped a former-foster kid like me.

So if you have a mother, a Grandmother, a father or guardian, or anyone who ever applied a band aid to your knee, do me a favor, pick up the phone and tell them how lucky you are to have them.

People tell me it’s silly to love the hospital or the system that saved my life. “Grace”, my guitar, is my best friend.

I do some of the things I do because of where I’m from. Like music. This is for you, former foster kids forever.

The Strange Places Of Grace
====================================

If Anthony is awake, he’s folding his big arms somewhere

just destined to be angry at world

because it’s too loud or its.. too cold or its…

somehow it ain’t right

Writing off my family as a loss to his fight

“Come to me, let me show you a thing.

You need some lessoning

from my overgrown hands….

but from my father I found “Grace”

and the strength to raise my face

I found “Grace”

and the strength to raise my face

She talks to God every day.

Asks him to change something

She says “I don’t why I stay with him anyway.

Maybe its because it’s too hard or I’m,

I’m too old or I, I don’t want to be alone at night.

So I sit and wait for something

until I can make it on my own in life”

“Come to me, let me show you a thing”.

You need some lessoning.

What I do to you, he’s done to me.

But from your father, I found grace

and the strength to raise my face

I found grace.

and the strength to raise my face

Grace

Let me show you a thing
let me show you a thing
let me show you a thing

What I found in here….

grace

Overcoming

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What would tomorrow look like if everything went right today?

If you could rewrite your past, would you? If so, what would you change?

I dwell on the past. I can’t help it. It makes me transparent. Reactionary. Justifiably insecure. And, a musician.

I wouldn’t exchange my past for anything. Every mistake is exactly what it took. Suffering = beautiful songs.

If I possess a talent, it is recycling. I taught myself to play music in a home for abused children. If I could take back the abuse, would I? No. Fair trade.

If tomorrow were perfect, what would it look like to you? Would you win the lottery? Win back an ex? Make up with a family member? Would your goldfish come back to life?

Me? I’d hit the red-light button in my studio and finish what I started. Commandeer the services of my old band’s very-missed-by-me drummer and replace some programmed beats for the real thing.

Remix. Reformat. Release “Volume”.

I’d form the next Fleetwood Mac and start a grassroots movement in the inland empire in honor of where I came from.

Update my status on Facebook to ‘all better now’.

Pen the last page of a book filled with too many heroes to make room for monsters. Trade olive branches for forgiveness. Stare at the horizon. Throw a peace sign at a camera from a sold-out show.

What would your tomorrow look like if everything went right today?

Mine is about music, peace, love, forgiveness overcoming and understanding.

+++++++++++++++++++++++crossing fingers++++++++++++++++++++++++

Overcoming
———————

We all share the same view

We’re all under the same roof

Behind masks, behind bars

Where we follow our hearts

We’re all made of the same parts

When we make something

where we have nothing…

You can overcome

anything

Where we’re from

is just the beginning

Overcome

anything

on we run

Until we are winning the race

finding our place

in the sun’s embrace

Never stop running

Overcoming…

We all have the same dream

We are all

after the same thing

I am yours, you are mine

Trip and I fall behind

We all

share this uphill climb

When we make something

Where we have nothing….

You can overcome

anything

Where we’re from

is just the beginning

Overcome

anything

on we run

Until we are winning the race

finding our place

in the sun’s embrace

Never stop running

Overcoming…

Out Of The Dirt We Find The Roses

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The woman behind the roses…..

I met my mother’s sister when I was a young adult. Aunt Jean let me call her mom. (She was a saint.)

A partner at a powerful law firm, an award-winning gardener, a remarkable woman.

“You come from good stock” she would say which reassured me.

I wanted to be just like her.

I can see her now tending to her garden. Her mint green eyes hidden behind a big brimmed hat. Curls which earned her the childhood nickname ‘Suzy Q’, not to be tamed. After a sixteen hour day at the office, she would be elbow deep in mud pruning her beautiful roses.

I loved cooking for her more than anyone else in the world. When she came from work, I’d greet her with a real old fashioned banquet. In her kitchen, I wore a ridiculous denim apron with a big cow painted on it which made her laugh.

She sent me a book called ‘Remarkable Women Of The Twenty-first Century’ with an inscription I cling to like a flashlight in the dark.

She was killed in a fatal car crash en-route to spend a rare holiday weekend at her guest house. She was very young.

The world mourned her loss. Her firm, her clients, her beautiful daughter, her brother, her mother, her friends, her dog. We all sat in her beautiful garden unable to contain our grief at the site of her majestic flowers who would miss her like we did.

I went home, put the top down, played Van Morrison and buckled a seatbelt around my dog.(Pudgy) Her happy smile at the first sight of Silverlake always cheered me up.

I bought apples from Farmer’s Market on third street so that I could bake a pie wearing her apron.

After rereading her beloved inscription, I made a promise to her that I would do something great with my life. I’m working on it!

Before I met her, I was scared that I came from monsters, my DNA was made of bad stuff. She is a silver lining in my life. Out of the dirt we find the roses.

Find The Roses
—————
My little dog and Van Morrison in the moonlight with the top rolled down

Homemade bread, my mother’s apron and my hands all covered in flour

The are the things that I cling to when I can’t get up from the ground

There is always something that won’t let you down.

Out of the dirt we find the roses

Out of the hurt we find out what we’re made of

After the rain ends. after your heart mends

run outside and find the roses
find the roses
find the roses

Black top road beneath my tires leg just before the sun sweeps up the morning dew
Betty Davis in a black and white and the levies I had on when I met you
These are the faces that I turn to when the world locks me out of the room
When I have lost my smile this is the map I use

Out of the dirt we find the roses

Out of the hurt we find out what we’re made of

After the rain ends. after your heart mends

run outside and find the roses
find the roses
find the roses

20151209_1704371

San Bernardino, CA. Meth, bullets, rainbows, butterflies and secret waterfalls. My grassroots.

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“Jesus will save me for I am with child,” my mother said through the payphone. My stepfather hadn’t been home to pay the rent leaving my mother to depend on Jesus, who she believed would intervene. I needed a miracle. I had three days to save my sister before the official sheriff lock out.

I gathered my belongings from where I was being raised in foster care and took the bus to San Bernardino. I walked through the Victorian ruins of downtown’s Ninth Street, a crumbling bullet-riddled wasteland filled with zombie-like miscreants. I passed the liquor store where rival gang members pumped quarters into the “Street Fighter” arcade machine.

Food stamps were the most common currency.

Skeleton frames of bullet-pierced muscle cars were abandoned like grocery carts, sometimes upside-downed by roughnecks who didn’t have cows to tip.

My brother and I devised a plan. I can’t tell you how we raised the money. All I can tell you is my brother was a wizard with electronics, I was a master of locks, and we were both REALLY big Metallica fans.

We rolled quarters, scavenged, scraped and schemed. We were both far too young to legally rent an apartment. A receipt proves that a toe-headed boy and a tall little girl paid the first and last month’s rent, plus security deposit, for a three-bedroom apartment in the much nicer uptown San Bernardino with………. QUARTERS.

Minutes before the sheriff came to evict my mother, we moved into a serene mountain town. My little sister looked up at me with her big blue eyes and delivered some terrible news:

“Maybwee, I’m hungwee!”

What would you have done? My last penny had paid for the roof over her head. I needed another miracle.

I walked to the market with my heart in my hand and asked the store manager to loan me some groceries, which I promised to pay for when I got paid on Friday, so I could feed my sister. Naturally, the store manager turned me down.

Believe in miracles….

A moment later, a man in a well-tailored suit who had overheard my conversation opened a large leather book of receipts and offered a tax donation receipt from his church in exchange for my requested groceries.

My box of groceries just happened to contain the exact ingredients for sloppy joes. My mother said grace and thanked Jesus for saving her.

In San Bernardino, I walked through graveyards while reading vampire and science fiction stories with my vampire-like friends. I read broken home-themed poetry at the local bookstores, and played acoustic sets of broken home-themed songs at local cafes in exchange for my supper. I met a boy visiting San Bernardino who I would write a lifetime’s worth of heartbreak songs about, songs like “Stay with Me.”

I heard stories filled with pride about Randy Rhodes, who was from here, and was buried here.

And I heard stories about Rose, the 12-year old girl across the street, whose parents locked her in a closet for a decade. Her first words after being rescued taught me a priceless lesson.

She said she was happy to be free, and “to see the sun for the first time”. A local legend worth looking up to, many of my first songs were written about her.

I spent my change on tattered vintage clothing from thrift stores, which I mended. I hauled discarded furniture home, which I restored and sold via yard sales. I babysat and cleaned houses.

I braided daisies into my sister’s hair.

I hiked into the mountains to see the sunset every night.

One day on my mountain hike, I found a secret waterfall.

A real waterfall!

Every day afterwards, I hiked to visit my secret waterfall. I never saw another soul on my path, making this waterfall mine alone.

At the waterfall and en-route to the waterfall, I made my big decisions about life. What I would stand for when I grew up. What I would wear when I grew up. I would never wear gold jewelry (it seemed important at the time). I would never give up on the causes I believed in and carried picket signs for. I would never forget falling in love with everything that I fell in love with here. I only lived in San Bernardino for a few months. I got signed and moved to LA.

In LA, I played on the Sunset Strip and lunched in the Euro-trash district. When my label shelved my band Coal’s record, I had to get my first “real” job. With each passing year, I made more money than the year before, doing session work, studio work, and giving music lessons. I worked in film and television.

The harder I worked, the more the money poured in. For the first time in my life, I could buy anything that I wanted. I felt as if I had successfully “washed off” where I was from.

I paid cash for houses and sports cars.

I dined at the most expensive restaurants, took the most expensive vacations, and bought the most expensive jewelry and clothing I could find on Rodeo Drive, as if those status symbols would show everyone I belonged.

I was represented by the best lawyer in LA, and my songs were being covered and considered by A-level stars such as Pink. I danced victory dances across my lawn when I opened my royalty checks.

I was “on the list” at every club. My expensive blonde highlights matched my expensive blowouts.

I did what industry pros told me to, and played, wrote and performed whatever paid the most. I wore what they told me to wear, ate what they told me to eat, and said what they told me to say. Selling out is a good business to be in.

My management company at the time forbade me to go out in sun, because it made me look “too ethnic.” (I am of Amazonian descent on my Father’s side, indigenous Ecuadorian, to be precise)

I was told not to eat.

When I balked at the thousand-dollar price tag attached to a pair of jeans, my management said, “Do you NOT want a career?”

At the height of my life’s income, and most promising moments of my career, when I was in my twenties, I fell asleep in Los Angeles for what might have been forever and woke up… in San Bernardino.

Are you cynical, critical, or optimistic? That might determine what you think about falling asleep in Los Angeles and waking up in San Bernardino.

If you value money, you might see this as a bad move. If you’re like me, you might think this awakening was genuine magic.

Immediately after a complicated neurosurgery, was disoriented, dizzy and sick. The ride home from the hospital was scary and confusing. Had the buildings all moved around in Los Angeles while I was sleeping? I was scared about my medical bills and the fact that I wasn’t working. (How would I afford my weekly Burke Williams?! Gucci?! Prada?!)

I was in bad shape. I couldn’t drive.

So I walked. And walked and walked and walked.

I walked to the liquor store and bought a cup of ice (it was summer). I walked into a thrift store and bought a Stevie Nicks-style sweater, which I mended. I spent the spare change in my pockets at a taco stand. I remembered having lavender hair, writing broken-home songs, carrying picket signs, hanging out with vampires, surviving on spare change, and visiting my secret waterfall.

I fired my management, walked in the sun, joined a rock band, and started the framework for a silver lining-themed record album, which I would call “Volume.”

On December 2nd 2015, a couple opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Fourteen people were killed and even more were injured. My heart goes out to the victim’s families and anyone affected by this atrocity.

Here are several ways you can help:

San Bernardino mass shooting: How to help | abc7.com

The American Red Cross always needs your blood, even when there hasn’t been a high-profile shooting or disaster.

The United States Department of Justice Web site refers to the Riverside and San Bernardino County area as “the methamphetamine capital of the United States.”

How did they get that title?

I’ll tell you what the locals told me. The mayor of Los Angeles at the time supposedly came up with a plan for cleaning up the streets of LA while simultaneously alleviating overcrowded, underfunded prisons.

Some locals claim LA’s drug criminals were granted early parole in exchange for taking a one-way bus trip to sleepy San Bernardino. Apparently the assumption was that this was a town where a criminal would be likely to clean up his act.

The plan backfired, ruining a formerly peaceful college town and forcing it to declare bankruptcy.

The once-charming town just below the arrowhead-marked mountains still has a long way to go. She could use your help. Supporting the local commerce, assisting in neighborhood revitalization projects, and donating to programs for ‘at risk’ youth are a few ways that you can help.

I truly love San Bernardino. It is a magical place to me, filled with butterflies, mountains, rainbows, secret waterfalls, and miracles. In San Bernardino, I drive up the mountain to the arrowhead for the view. I wait in line at Sundowner’s for the best cash-only steak in Southern California.

I’ve been hunting for the waterfall from my youth for years, but I’ve not yet found it.

Buildings have been constructed and cul-de-sacs have been created.

Maybe they dammed the stream? Maybe it dried up? Searching for the waterfall is almost as much fun as it will be to find it.

I wish you had your own secret waterfall.

Finding a secret waterfall is like finding a hidden door in your closet that opens up to Paris. I wish I could give something back to San Bernardino, like a café where next-gen kids can read their broken home-themed poetry.

Like most of us, there are a lot of things that I would do if I only had the money. First, I’d build a David Geffen-sized wing for the hospital that saved my life and name it after my childhood doctor. I’d rescue a small part of Ecuador’s Amazonia in honor of my ancestors and their lost waterfalls.

Dang, I hope one of my songs makes that possible. Miracles happen.:-)

veggies, turned into noodles!

How to fail at dieting this Thanksgiving. Tips from a gluten-free grassroots girl

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This Thanksgiving, I have a LOT to be grateful for. Most of all, I am grateful for my health.

In honor of my newly-improved health and everyone who helped me, I’m trying to take better care of myself. I quit espresso.

Me, the girl who used to consume six shots from Starbucks on a regular basis in order to combat migraines, switched to coffee.

I love to cook, I love to eat. I love the holidays, especially the food.

I have tried some pretty crazy (probably unhealthy) diets in the past. Atkins, (the all-meat with extra butter and bacon diet) hot yoga, Weight Watchers, starvation. I followed the advice of doctors, nutritionists and trainers hoping to improve my cholesterol, live a longer life, and improve my appearance.

As an artist, I have stood in front of a room full of people telling me that I needed to lose weight in order to have a career. It was EXACTLY as embarrassing as it sounds. The all-meat diet worked, but is it healthy?

No carb or low carb? I once gained twenty pounds in eleven days while on a diet. Is something wrong with me?!

I ate bread, pasta and cereal for a total of about 1200 calories per day and averaged an hour in the gym as well. For some, this might lead to weight loss. For me, it did the opposite.

For some, becoming gluten-intolerant might lead to weight loss. No cake. No cookies. No fried food. For me, it meant no Lean Cuisine. No Power bars.

Most of the ‘diet’ food that I loved became off-limits by eliminating wheat. Gluten-free replacement foods are often made of starchy-starches without the fiber of wheat. Plus, not being able to eat pizza makes me want to eat gluten-free pizza. Push the red button! Tell me that I can’t do something, I do it. (I never ate pizza prior to the onset of my gluten intolerance.)

In an effort to invest in my health, I am trying to buy organic produce, grass-fed beef, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken. Will it help?

Once again, like most of my life, I want to lose ten pounds. Is it possible to do it the healthy way? The crazy diets that I have tried in the past might be unhealthy. For example, piling butter on top of my bacon. (it worked.)

Instead, I am taking pictures of my food,

veggies, turned into noodles!

veggies, turned into noodles!

counting my calories, spending extra time in the gym, (reading your blogs)

and hoping that a healthy lifestyle shows up on the scale someday. If not? Oh well. Maybe being ten pounds lighter by-way-of-bacon will catch up to me in the end heart-attack-style. I have WAY too much to be thankful for to do that. Tonight, I am reading your blogs, watching your YouTube recipes, cooking a much-healthier-than-usual Thanksgiving meal for tomorrow. Totally inspired, and happy to be alive. Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for listening.:-)

Alternatives to suicide “Someday” -Mary Born

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I was an artist long before I learned to play music. I drew a picture when I was a little girl that changed my life forever.

Bright white light, white walls, white blanket, white outfits running down long glossy white hallways. Me, beneath white bandages. A snow-blind universe.

I was in the hospital, he was my doctor. He looked angry whenever he looked at my bandages. When he asked me how I was feeling, I told him I was sad. (I WAS REALLY SAD) He let me in on a few of life’s secrets and truths.

He pointed at a thick manila folder and said. “I’m not going to bullshit you, your life sucks”. He said that things would get better for me when I grew up. He told me to ‘picture it’ but I couldn’t. He told me to draw a picture of what tomorrow would look like if everything went right today.

While recovering, I drew pictures. What if I could make it to my thirteenth, sixteenth, thirtieth birthday? What if everything went right? I would learn to play and compose music, join a band, make a difference.

Because of him….. I play music. Because of him, I am alive. I have an irrational view of the world filled with optimism which he designed. There, now you know where I got it!:-)

He saw better in me than I could see in myself. He wanted better for me than I knew how to want for myself. He was selfless, anonymous, a true friend. I love credit, praise, ********applause*****. He went far beyond what his job description called for. He stood up for me.

I will hold open the door for someone, offer my seat, smile at a stranger and think of him. When these things are returned to me, I will think of him.

Throughout my life, I have told his story many times but it didn’t become a song until I watched
“The Music Never Stopped.” I love this movie! The film better framed what I had been given with music. I stood in awe at the special connection that I shared with my childhood doctor, music and being alive to tell this story. He gave me a VERY special gift.

It was as if a thousand gears turned all at once. I wrote all night long. It was the most prolific moment of my life. A thousand notes exited my piano along with many songs, including “Someday” an ode to his hopeful wishes for the future of other people. I wish that I could give you all of his good advice along with all the attached-ideals, empathy, integrity and grace that was his message so that you could use it whenever you need it.

If you are sad, down, facing impossible adds, if the whole world is against you, find the light. Draw a picture. Thanks for listening.:-)

Someday
———–

When you are faced with big decisions, don’t give up
Times were hard when I was little and I didn’t have enough

But these were my eyes, this was my voice, this was the smile that they could not take from me

So hold on baby just wait and see
Everything is gonna be……

Someday you are going to find your way through
Someday all of your dreams will come true
Someday you will overcome
Someday is on your horizon

So hold on baby it will be so great…..
Someday

Man, life is hard but it’s worth living, these broken parts mend
If it’s hard in the beginning, make this how it ends:

With your eyes, and your voice, and your smile, your unrelenting dignity

hold on baby just wait and see
Everything is gonna be……

Someday you will find your way through
Someday all of your dreams will come true
Someday you will overcome
Someday is on your horizon

So hold on baby just wait and see
Everything is gonna be……

Great

Someday…………:-):-):-)


Me, storytelling in my hotel room camped out across the street from my favorite hospital awaiting surgery

I lose a lot of glasses!

All About Memory from a neurosurgery survivor

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I have been living with memory impairment since I was a little girl. My teachers, tutors, trial, error and invention helped me get through my homework with various memorization strategies, none more effective than music.

I thought that if I could help other people who suffered with memory impairment, doctors might find a cure for me too. When my memory gained the attention of elite neuroscientists, I gathered my lifetime imaging and test results hoping to make a better volunteer. I read, studied, and reached out to others with my limitations and abilities. I met with fellow self-taught master multi-instrumentalists who play-by-ear to compare memory notes.

I read everything that I could on the subject of memory impairment in hopes of finding my niche. Similar to my first Physics book, I quickly realized that almost everything I had ever taught myself or pondered was nothing new. *Almost everything.

If I were to draw a long straight line, there would be a consistent break in that line. Like a ‘skip’ on a record or a missing split second. Sometimes I misplace something in that split second, sometimes it effects my handwriting, speech, or my footsteps. I rely on the parts of my memory which perform well to compensate for these shortcomings and limitations. I draw with tiny fast lines to compensate for the skip.

Parts of my memory over-perform and replay constantly like a broken record, beyond my control. These memories are typically personal. meaningful, or related to my senses. These types of memories add weight to my emotions and influence the way that I play and write music.

Maybe what helps me will not help you, but if it does, it would mean a lot to me. I promise to share with you everything that has ever helped me, just in case it helps you too.:-)

I used to cry when I got lost, I used to cry when I lost my glasses, I used to cry when I could not memorize dates in my elementary school history books, I used to fall down, scrape my knees, and cry. I still get lost, I still lose my glasses, I still can’t memorize numbers, I still scrape my knees, but I don’t cry about it anymore.

Cheers to overcoming obstacles! Try this if it helps, discard it if it doesn’t.

Think of your brain like a planet made of continents, each responsible for separate tasks, like different kinds of memories, connected by bridges and roads which connect those memories. I remember different subjects in different ways and learn different subjects at different rates. Re-framing my thoughts can have a huge impact on whether or not I remember them, like building a new road which passes over a river.

I carefully catalog the items and subjects which I recall better than others and make a map which helps me tie things together, like a thread to weave fabric around. Music is an amazing thread to weave with! It keeps time, it echoes so that I have a second chance to recall the details. It is the ultimate place mark to synchronize with.  For me, it stores memories in a special place. My songs are recalled by playing them, recalled in a way that is similar to riding a bike.

If you recall some things better than others, try tying them together with the things you easily forget. Try learning a new subject which challenges your thoughts in a new way. For me, studying math helps. I hate math! The smell, taste and sound of a memory helps me recall the rest.

Forgiving myself, laughing at my mistakes, dwelling on what I do right rather than what I lose and have lost helps more than anything. I own one hundred pair of glasses so that I don’t mind losing a pair. I try to get lost, it is my favorite pastime! While lost, I find new neighborhoods and learn how to feel comfortable not knowing where I am which helps me navigate.

I write myself letters in anticipation of what I might lose in the future. “Dear Mary, if you are reading this note, you have lost your keys, turn this page over for instructions on finding your spare set”. -I have read MANY thoughtful letters from ‘past me’Mary Born, glasses who politely plans for my forgetful ways. Anyone who knows me has heard me say, “Thanks past Mary!” -Maybe that sounds stupid, but these are just a few of the things that help me.

It would make my day if any of it helps you! Thanks for listening.:-)

Heroes, mentors, angels, saviors, lifesavers and saints

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Who made you? What defines you? To whom do you owe your life? What would you have done without the help, hugs, advice, and encouragement of your parents, teachers, and friends?

 

If you’re like me, your lifetime is not long enough to express your owed-gratitude to the people without whom you would not be here.  Like many former foster kids, I have many heroes, and my life is amazing for having met them. I am here because of them. No words can credit them what they are owed. I will try to do them right by the actions of my life.

 

I have yet to properly thank all the people who helped save me. Please allow me to recognize a few of my heroes here.

 

Lawmakers, judges, social workers, taxpayers and volunteers spent their lives fighting for laws to protect abused children. I have yet to thank all of them, but I did get the chance to thank a few. Always humble and modest, these heroes typically claim to have just been doing their job.

 

There are a few people who I have not yet tracked down and thanked for saving my life. Maybe they will read this.

 

Tracy Lee.

 

When I was eight, I used to climb through a tiny window in the shower and sleep under the house in the dirt to escape the more torturous punishments. My mother, who never knew where her young daughter was, tried to scare some sense into me by convincing a laborer to tell me terrifying stories about juvenile hall, where I would end up if I ran away.

 

I tried so hard to run away.

 

I tried to move into the screen of a drive-in movie theater with my blanket. I tried to gain employment at fast food restaurants. I prayed. A little girl named Tracy Lee saved me.

 

After a bubble bath at my house, Tracy put some “Sun In” in my hair while we giggled. If you’re not familiar with “Sun In,” it’s a hair-lightening product activated by the sun. This was nighttime and therefore this product was ineffective. My mother asked me what was in my hair and I told her.

 

Boy, was I in trouble.

 

My mother told Tracy to fetch her belt, but ‘it’ wasn’t good enough. Her arms got tired. My stepfather took over.

 

And beat me with a manual typewriter.

 

Not wanting there to be a witness, my mother told Tracy I was no longer worthy of company, so she would drive her home.

 

The color in Tracy’s face was gone. She took my hand with tears in her eyes and stern voice, she whispered her plan to me. She said my parents were “worse than afterschool specials,” and her father would adopt me, and we would become sisters.

 

I loved this plan!

 

We would both jump out of the car, outrun my mother, and tell Tracy’s father the whole story.

 

Unfortunately, as Tracy jumped from the vehicle, my mother realized our plan, pulled me back into the car, and began to speed away.

 

Tracy screamed, “Jump out at the red light!”

 

The light was green, but I jumped.

 

Covered in blood, barefoot, wearing a white t-shirt and white stretch pants, I ran through the condominium complex where Tracy lived, desperately trying to find her home, but they all looked alike. Which one was hers!?

 

Then I heard the sirens.

 

Oh no, I thought, I am a runaway. They’re going to take me to jail. I crawled into a Dumpster and hid.

 

I heard police officers running, calling my name. I tried not to cough but I was hurt and it was too itchy, I knew that they would find me, so I crawled out of the Dumpster and faced a sea of police officers shining their flashlights at me.

 

I put my arms up in the air, my wrists forward and screamed “I surrender!” I pleased with the police officers to take me to jail. I said that if I was taken home, they were going to kill me.

 

To my surprise, one of the officers took off his jacket and wrapped it around me instead. He pinned a badge on me and told me it was a bravery medal. What a nice guy! Another cop knelt in front of me and explained that Tracy had told them EVERYTHING. He promised me that I was never going home again.

 

I was driven away to the hospital and placed into foster care. I never saw Tracy again.

 

I owe her everything.

 

The police took me to UCLA hospital, then to MacLaren Hall Children’s Center. (the Los Angeles county orphanage) Eventually, I ended up at the David & Margaret Home for girls, where I lived for many years, met many heroes and taught myself to play music.

 

When I arrived at MacLaren Hall in the middle of the night, I was given a shower with lice shampoo, (which burned my cuts) a pair of used pajamas with a teddy bear logo which read: MAC, and a black plastic comb. Everything that I had was taken from me.

 

The holidays were hard times in foster care. My birthday came and went without notice. On Christmas Eve, gruel (cream of wheat?) was ladled from a vat, pushed on a cart by a disgruntled orderly. I cried myself to sleep, selfishly wishing for presents, a tree, and Santa. I loved Christmas. I wondered how Santa would find us at MacLaren Hall.  I woke at dawn to a strange sound. A man with a long white beard, wearing a cap was kneeling outside of my room. Surely, it was Santa!

 

“Santa, you found us!” I ran towards him, but I was intercepted by a pretty African-American nurse who dropped her voice to a whisper and said, “He’s praying for the sun the rise today sweetheart, now go back to your room.” (The sun did rise that day)

 

Christmas came, even for us.  We, hundreds of kids without families, opened presents on Christmas morning. The Gap gave each of us a brand new sweater. Record labels gave each of us a cassette tape. We were even given teddy bears by some anonymous saint. Santa? Some big-hearted business tycoon? Whoever it was, from all of us, especially me, thanks.

 

And yeah, we ate gruel on Christmas, but I couldn’t help but smile. Our disgruntled orderly probably had a family he wanted to see on Christmas.

 

Somebody cared about us. Somebody made sure we were safe. Overtime was paid. Somebody made sure all three hundred Los Angeles children without families or homes had Christmas presents to open.

 

This was a land filled with heroes, some whose hands I have found to shake with gratitude.

 

Some of them, I still hope to find.

 

This year, I needed a few lifesaving neurosurgeries, and the list of heroes who helped save me got even longer.

 

To all the amazing people who mentored, counseled, advised, and rescued me –and people like me– I am alive because of you.

 

I will spend my life trying to repay you. Especially in song. Many heroes, many songs. Here is one of them, “Stranded.” -Where would I be without you here to see me through it? One of many, for my life’s many heroes. Thanks for listening!

 

“Forever Promises” -“Stay with Me” part infinity.

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Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? How long did it last? For me? Forever.

 

Parts of my memory behave photographically. Not the exceptional photographic memory featured in movies belonging to card-counting geniuses and Jeopardy champions. I wish! It sucks to be me sometimes! To have certain memories replay repeatedly, like a broken record. It’s distracting. It hurts.

 

I wish that I could choose what I remember, and what I forget. Can you? Can anyone? What do you remember and why? I have hundreds of songs, letters and encounters memorized, vividly, without trying. Everything that I have ever tasted, touched or felt. Not because I easily recall anything, but because I dwell on certain things which I cannot control.

 

I remember the day we met. The temperature, the way the sky looked, which direction the wind was blowing. The words we said, the song in the background. The color of the paint on the nearby houses, the cracks in the sidewalk. The redheaded woman washing dishes through the kitchen window, the pattern on the curtains. The chocolate paint peeling away from the trim of the mustard yellow cottage, the texture of the asphalt where we stood. The degrees which the sun had fallen as he shook my hand. I was a kid, he was a teenager. It was love at first sight.

 

Within an hour of meeting him, I had written a song, one of my first. “You’re brighter than the city lights to young country eyes.” -“The Pain Of You” He played “Dungeons and Dragons” on Fridays. I lied to him about which birthday I was celebrating that Friday when I handed him my phone number. I was a VERY tall little girl!

 

He listened to my little songs, many written about him . We took sandwiches and strawberry nectar on picnics behind the birch trees which summited from the mountain’s awning. Big moons, blue skies, orange sunsets, green leaves. After finding a love letter, I wrote “I don’t Cry”. After he dropped off a box of chocolates to me in a hurry to be somewhere else on Valentine’s day, I wrote, “Don’t say Sorry”. After he broke my heart for what I thought would be the last time, I wrote “Stay With Me” (“Stay”) I was a teenager.

 

Echo after echo, I remembered, re-remembered and wrote. Every day, I saw the day we met, the day he left and everything in between. He was my shadow. Forever.

 

It was my fate.  I would never be able to forget…. or stop re-remembering? Maybe he would come visit me when I was very old to say “Goodbye”. I’d be waiting. When he got married, I was happy for him. Still, every once in while, I’d hear a song on the radio, pull my car to the side of the road and cry for hours. Every day, I re-remembered EVERYTHING. Like a catchy song that I could not stop singing.

 

When he flirted with me over the years, part of me was glad that I was no longer had the right to be jealous. He told me that he still loved me, knowing that I still loved him. Then, over 20 years after we met, he asked me out on a date. -He had things to give me, such as old pictures and letters. He was leaving his wife. Was it my fault?! I decided not to see him. Maybe they would work it out?

 

He called to tell me about how much he loved his new freedom and the records that he wanted to play me. I continued to postpone our ‘date’. Then, I heard about his new girlfriend….

 

He called to say that they were “not even monogamous!!” (He was free to ‘hook up’ with me anytime?!) His smooth careless comments had miraculously managed to mute a bell which would have otherwise been indefinitely ringing. I stared at the shadow who had stood next to me for over twenty years. The sky fell down. My universe was ruin and wreckage. Ok, that’s what it felt like!

 

For the first time in my life, I told my dearest childhood friend that I would never speak to him again. I wrote him a letter to emphasize the same point. Why can’t I be cool and hold anything in?!!

 

I built a bookshelf to comfort myself and wrote a blog-post about the comfort my hands gave me in times like these entitled “Eyes Like Yours”. I drove to the mountains to cry where no one could hear me. Each day, I mourned the loss of what no one could see that I had lost. Every day, I re-remembered EVERYTHING. Every word that we exchanged, every lie and promise. Every song that played in the background on the radio, every tree, plant and flower that we drove past while we argued. This once-infinite echo was replaced by a deafening silence. Like a dead-end or a brick wall replacing an open meadow.

 

Would you have been happy? Relieved? The record stopped skipping. The empty space felt like a phantom limb. I missed my shadow. I pondered the connection between never and forever, infinity and impossible. Eventually, I summarized my heartbreak into a song. “Forever Promises” was to be the first single on the follow-up EP to “Volume”. It is the saddest, most commercial song that I have ever written. I am still hoping to record this song someday. Soon? I hope so! For YOU. (you know who you are) Thanks for listening!

 

Forever Promises
—————————————————————————–

When I told you that I didn’t cry, it was just the mist from the rain
It was the first of a million lies, designed to get you to stay
We were jealous and we were wrong, and we both should have known
Did we end up where we belong now that we’re all alone?

 

Now it’s never
It was forever
I remember every single word that you said the day we met
I knew that we would be something
now that there’s nothing but regret
I won’t forget
all the forever promises
because never lasts forever
and forever never ends
forever promises

 

When you told me that you would stay, I knew that it was a lie
but I wanted you anyway, even when you weren’t mine
Years together and years apart, said we’d always be friends
We laughed, we screamed, but we crossed our hearts, we promised not to forget

 

but now it’s never
It was forever

I remember

every single word that we said the day we met
I knew that we would be something
now that there is nothing but regret
I won’t forget

all the forever promises
because never lasts forever
and forever never ends

 

forever promises

 

forever promises

 

forever promises

 

forever promises……………………………

 

 

Copyright, Mary Born

Things happen for a reason, just believe.;-)

“The Sky Is Falling”, Mary Born, “Volume”

0

I had a party when I came home from the hospital. The invitation read: Come celebrate my survival! A barbeque in Silverlake, CA

At the party, I played the first song that I wrote post-neurosurgery. After the ‘reboot’. After I deleted a couple of years from my memory.

My Gucci shoes looked foreign. My BMW seemed out of place. I called my friends and asked questions like, “What do I like to eat?!”

Whose life had I stepped into? Thanks a lot past Mary, future Mary sucks! It was terrible!

What if YOU fell asleep tomorrow and woke up in a few years? What if YOUR once-idealistic values seemed to have vanished while you were sleeping? What if the lavender-haired teenage girl who carried picket signs, fronted the Los Angeles rock band “Coal” and volunteered for worthy causes galore turned into a blonde status-seeker who played…. pop music?! And. Owned one hundred pairs of designer shoes?!

Me? I thought it was a blessing. A miracle. A chance to make better choices. A second chance to do a better job at life. To have better ideals. *Especially when it came to music.

Unable to work, I sat down at my desk and tried to change the world. I wrote letters and raised money for worthy causes. Dear Mr Mandela, enclosed is my tiny contribution…

I volunteered for anyone and everyone who would have me. Just like old times! My newfound empathy for the rest of the world meant heartache. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Like every meaningful moment in my life, I wrote a song about it. Thanks for listening!:-)

Click here to listen now!

The Sky Is Falling
——————————–

Doesn’t anybody want a world without weapons?
Anybody else seen the news at eleven?
Anybody can see
that the sky is crying
Nobody is winning
as long as we a fighting
When there is nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep
and nobody listening no matter how hard you’re crying…

The sky is falling
We can fly but we are crawling
If not now then when?
You and I should be flying
We should be flying

Doesn’t anybody think that there’s a solution?
While we’re waiting they’re banking campaign contributions
Somebody is in pain
somebody is afraid
somebody’s reaching out but they’re reaching in vain
When there’s nothing to eat and no where to sleep
and nobody listening no matter how hard you are crying….

The sky is falling
We can fly but we are crawling
If not now then when?
You and I should be flying
We should be flying

What if we didn’t go hungry?
tried out peace instead of dying?
Changed our minds
and opened our eyes
and lived our lives colorblind
The sky…….

The sky is falling
We can fly but we are crawling
If not now then when?
You and I should be flying
We should be flying

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