17 November 2016

Snapshot of the Last Rays of Hope

26 October 2016, 1.52am.

The other day I was flipping through my notes from Songwriting class. I took this class in the final semester of my AA degree, as a modular (week-long intensive) course. This was, of course, the semester when my entire life went to h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

There were a lot of journaling exercises in that class, and it was strange reading some of what I had written in those exercises. At that point in the semester, Brittney had been dead for less than a month. Our family friend was in the final stages of an extremely aggressive cancer and would in fact die less than two weeks later. The two divorces that jaded my entire concept of familial love and care had already burst on the scene (though the extent of the fallout remained to be seen). Less than a month later, God would withdraw His presence and comfort from me and my cousin would die a horrible sudden death two months later. In short, this was in that very intense upheaval period between all those things, and my notes from that class are a unique snapshot of a very short time in my life where despite all the crap I still retained some true faith that it was for good (which left when my cousin died). This was a fleeting moment in my spiritual life, though one can very easily see the torment already in my head.

We had to write a total of six songs for the class. Because I was so completely overwhelmed, I turned out six of the worst songs I have ever written in my entire life, and because of the way everything panned out (in terms of stress, abandonment, and the subsequent loss of inspiration that still haunts me), they have, so far, turned out to be the last. I vaguely remember the concepts behind two or three of them, but the one that stands out to me is the one I wrote for Brittney.

It was composed in a rush before I had really had time to process her death so it was cheesy as heck and because my piano skills are crap the accompaniment was only a couple of token chords in the background just to say it was a song. But I still remember the metaphor I used and I remember the prof in his feedback asking if I wrote poetry because it sounded like I do. I remember feeling incredibly honoured that he would even ask me that -- this was also two years to the week since I had discovered the magic that is Daniel Amos and the songwriting of my artistic hero Terry Scott Taylor (who is nothing if not poetic).

Reading these notes, I was surprised how much hope in God I still retained at that time. Most of the terrible things had happened already by this point. If my cousin hadn't died and God hadn't withdrawn His presence from me, it would have been all uphill from there. Reading those notes made me feel, for the first time, very disconnected with who I used to be. This girl who wrote those notes was hurting but she hoped through the tears. For better or for worse, I am not like that anymore. Hope is a faded memory. I am very conscious of the fact that I have put up a wall to protect myself and nobody is tearing it down -- not even me. Maybe if the wall is strong enough God can't get through to hurt me anymore. It's destroying my fledgling performing arts career (because not only can nothing get in, nothing can get out), but what does that matter anyway? There's no hope for any of that.

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