Emotions

Using Music To Express Anger and Rage

Since the beginning of the year I've been studying Music Performance full-time at a local tertiary college, and the experience has been extremely healing for me. The interactions with teachers and other students have brought a lot of my unresolved adolescent insecurities to the surface: in some ways, going to college is like going back to high school. My fears about whether I would fit in brought up a lot of anxiety for me, coupled with a very strong desire to try hard to make other students like me. I often had to take a deep breath and remind myself to focus on what I was learning and just have fun participating instead. “Full-time” at the college I'm attending is only 2.5 days per week; although I spend pretty much all the rest of the week doing homework of various forms: learning to play new instruments, practising songs for our performance night, writing my own songs and getting them recorded. In the process I've found music an excellent way to express anger and rage. A lot of the songs I've been writing have a great deal of anger in them, inspired primarily by life circumstances and/or other people's behaviour. Writing, performing, recording and releasing these songs has been extremely cathartic for me and the feedback from the other students has been very positive and accepting. Over half my fellow students are straight out of high school and also have a lot of anger and rage to express. Although I'm more than twice their age, they get where I'm coming from. Finally, my inner teenager is beginning to feel accepted. [caption id="attachment_3220" align="alignright" width="300"] The Song To Play When You're Having A Bad Day[/caption] After six months hard work, I've even released my first single: a song titled Everything Is Fucked that I wrote in a yin yoga class in North Bondi at 6:37pm on 17th February 2017 while in Frog pose for seven agonising minutes. At the time, I had been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for nine years and after five months pushing myself through three excruciating yoga sessions a week, wasn't getting the results that I had hoped for: I had totally failed to pick-up at a yoga studio full of gorgeous young women, I was rapidly going broke because my Life Coaching business had failed to take off (who wants a sick Life Coach?!?), both my elderly parents had been diagnosed with cancer, a sweet hot girl I met online and completely fell for had started going out with a musician who lived 12,000 km closer to her than me; and I was still chronically ill. When the dishwasher in my apartment appeared to have stopped working properly, that was the last straw for me. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago
Assertiveness

How To Be Assertive With Strangers

I was on my way to music class this morning and the peak hour train was a little more crowded than usual. As I headed downstairs to find a seat, I came across a couple of men occupying two opposite-facing three-person bench seats. I wasn't keen on standing for a half hour while two guys occupied six seats, so I politely said "Excuse me" to the guy on the aisle end of backward-facing seat, and he kindly moved over to the window to accommodate me. As I sat in the newly vacant aisle seat, I felt constrained by the man sitting in the middle of the bench seat opposite me. He was sitting forward with his legs spread wide in the classic genital display pose that male primates evolved to demonstrate dominance to other lesser primates. So wide in fact that his left leg and knee were taking up at least a third of the legroom in my own individual seat. His behavior may have been unintentional and unconscious; but it didn't feel good to have my newly acquired space dominated by another man's knee. [caption id="attachment_3160" align="alignright" width="300"] Assertiveness Makes a Man Feel Strong[/caption] I'm working on getting over my fear of conflict with strangers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to be assertive with one who was overstepping my boundaries; albeit boundaries that I had just stepped into by requesting the seat. I made eye contact with the spread-eagled man and politely asked: "Would you mind moving your leg over a little please?" He kept his leg in place and said something that I didn't hear due to my noise-cancelling headphones. I removed them so I could hear his objection and replied: "I'm sorry?" (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago