Saturday, 30 March 2013


I am inherently an introvert with extrovert ideas. As life has gone on, I've noticed that its not just my mind and voice that turn in on themselves, but my body just does not want intrusive feelings, or indeed to "let go" of those intrusions once I have them. It’s a difficult conundrum. An instance was Last summer, I had to have a tooth taken out. They assured me it would just take five  minutes, and I would feel little to no pain. Forty five minutes later, and I know it was forty five minutes because I peaked at the clocked through closed eyes, and a mantra "OK tooth I let you go"(at that point I thought anything might work, even the thought of also pulling myself against the pliers, but no..). I have never felt like tipping a dentist before, but seeing that he really got his work out, the temptation was there. As I sat up from the surgery, he could only exclaim

 "My goodness, that was an absolute fucker!"

 This can be the intensity that mind, body and soul function.  and on top of that, feeling somethings to raw capacity, it overwhelms the system.  I have to make conscious effort to keep balance within myself.  I am softly spoken, and sometimes find that I am more so than other times, and when I see it mirror in the face of others, that’s a trigger for me to consider how to pull myself forward again in terms of energy.  If I ignore these triggers, then I'm into dangerous waters. That is something l know of myself.

 A few years ago, I was in those difficult waters of self struggle, and a friend suggested a singing group. To take the pressure out of it that I am singing, I call it musicgroep.  I loved my musicgroep, it was a maternal, nurturing setting where through different singing practise, it encouraged my voice to come forward, and my body language to become more strong in its stance again. It also helped me to connect emotion to my words again.  When you are high sensitive, and you don’t have boundaries to others drama and emotion, it can overwhelm, and as a result I would become numb to it all. For the whole year in musicgroep, they talked about the wonderful moment when one person or another would have their "break-through". I never had that. And then I became homeless. I usually just say that things got chaotic.

But then I found myself standing in a field, because I had to pick up phone credit from the garage, and because I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. And then I called my best friend. She said, keep crying if I need to, but keep going. The call finished and I was still standing in the field. OK keep going.. But where..? I don’t know where to go. Within two seconds a friend called. He has been a strong influence in my life, his voice is with strong energy, in good time we've  played like eight year olds, in bad times we've fought like eight year olds, but whatever happens, he is there for me.

 And then I found myself in Utrecht, with a friend of his. A friend who had little to nothing in his apartment. How can those who have nothing, be the happiest to offer everything? As much as the generosity was overwhelming, sharing a mattress and blanket was not an option, and I felt mirrored hesitance from him too. And so then I found myself staying in a hostel in Utrecht.

                             Emeli Sande - Next to Me. (Sometimes, i put music up for your optional pleasure, but this blog, I would really appreciate if you could take time really to watch and listen, reflect and feel the atmosphere and performances, as they are part of this story. Thank you x)

I had two more music lessons to go. And through the year, I'd always felt that the song choice, though broad,  was not in my mindset. They were beautiful songs, but they didn’t connect with me. So  I asked for the last lesson to sing something from Emeli Sande.  Next to me.  Because when the storm clouds were rolling in, when I was suffocating from it all, when I was crying in the middle of a field. There were two friends next to me. And I wanted to sing it for them.  To honour them.

 At the musicgroep. They said it was my breakthrough. I sang it just for what had happened. And when you see other people crying when you sing. Well it must have meant something. They asked me to return to the open day and sing it as part of the performance. I said yes. But I was worrying. Can I afford the train again from Utrecht to Breda?. And where the hell am I going  to practise? Staying at the hostel, there is no privacy, and I need privacy to do something intimate. Singing is intimate to me, and only in a room where no one listens, do I practise.

There turned out to be five minutes to practise. It was as the hostel cafe closed, and the staff went to smoke on the patio. I asked to use the wide screen computer, kneeled on the sofa, faced the wall. This is poormans privacy. But I practised.


When the money's spent and all my friends have vanished

and I can't seem to find no help or love for free

I know there's no need for me to panic

cause I'll find him, I'll find him next to me

When the skies are grey and all the doors are closing

and the rising pressure makes it hard to breathe

when, all I needs a hand to stop the tears from falling

I will find him, will find him next to me

The next morning, a German class trip were getting ready to leave the hostel. I had thought they didn’t like me (or anyone) they were so cold in manner, and solemn. When one guy brought a camera out, I thought it was to take a picture of his girlfriend. It was, but also with me in it. I am not keen on attention, and ultimately do not like having photos taken. But he said softly smiling.

"I heard you sing last night, it was beautiful. You sang from the heart".

 So this is my journey with one song. It connected me to the German couple that I thought disliked me, it connected itself to two important friends. And it connected me to my emotions. But the connection goes further than that  . At present I am still connected to the musicgroep, though it is parent and child, love and forgiving care. I am unable to honour them at the moment with finance or reliability, but they wait with patience. This patience really humbles me, and I hope someday soon to honour what they have given me.  A few days ago, I received an invitation for their "bounding" day. To reconnect, to bind together, and I find my heart connecting them Next to Me.


Sometimes a story can ripple in all concepts of time. Until the moments of last year, I  always had this feeling that my actions never have affect, that my simply being and relating to people is entirely my own happiness, and my own challenge. But a year or so ago happenings took learning to a new unexpected level.  I always felt a deep frustration, that there were troubles and frustrations in the world lying on my shoulders to suffocating levels, causing me great anger caught up within, but if I shouted about it, who would listen? Who would act? Who would MAKE change happen?  
You can find more about Carolyne on facebook.

So becoming friends with someone who already had a public voice, yet alone in the spotlight, was and remains an alien experience that I live with adjusting to.  Everyone has elements of normal, yet everyone is special, thus everyone should be considered equal.

I was so happy that my friends voice was reaching people with a particular subject, I wrote my "holy shit" moment to brother David. And actually quite reverently, he said that it amazed him how connected we all are. This was the first time I really considered connectedness. It was the first time that I had a conscious move from, I am learning from life, and I am being shaped, both by happiness and by struggle, to - I have affect.  I can have affect. A somewhat overwhelming notion. It is an easy concept for me to feel inspired, to look at others and think how wonderful it is that they have affect in my life. But to realise that I in return influence and affect them or others, well that can sometimes be difficult and in fact an ongoing challenge to accept in notion..  To hear someone with strong voice tell me that I inspire. And then to see it written in black and white, in print. Fast on paper, written in time, well that’s what I  find  overwhelming.  And those holy shit moments, well I relay those to brother David (I have no idea why I am making him sound so reverent in this blog, it must be the change in pope.  Brother David is also in the public eye, but being nurtured into early adulthood with his musicality and toilet humour, it gives  me a different perspective to those already standing in the spotlight. Less intimidating, less barriers.  So  when brother David mentioned his fascination with how connected we all are, it didn’t completely sink in. in fact in hindsight, I was beyond blasé.


 And then I saw my friend,  in a concert arena, body surfing through hues of soft orange, purple and blue light. Across a thousand hands ready to carry, it sank in to me that if I am one drop of inspiration, and he inspires this sea of people, even if its for an hour of dancing, then its an honour to be connected with this. At one point he stretches his limbs out exalting in the moment, of being in that moment of happiness, and at first I from a mind and body cast in locked mind, I felt jealous that I couldn’t ever have that feeling and freedom of complete expression of content, happiness, elation.

But these days I look at it differently, shouldn’t this be how it should be? Stretching in rejoice to the support of others, and in turn allowing them to stretch in appreciation by holding them on high. This is a voice being held on high. We need voices in society in order to inspire in various ways, to uplift those needing lifted, those needing carried for a while.  I don’t think it necessarily means that we all have to shout. A lot of people cant raise their voice, and I think if you cant, well that’s OK. But in that case, support someone who voices a passion that you share.  We are only human, and we do need support, even those in the spotlight.

I recently read a book from a friend, its called "Together we build a brighter future" by Salem Samhoud. I am really falling in to connectedness just by living, but to find a book written very clearly, and solidly on it, well i find it quite refreshing. so i may well refer back to this book in future blogs.

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves…   All things are bound together. All things connect. " - Salem Samhoud.

Photograph by Jonathan Oldham (Amsterdam)

So how can I explain this web as I've seen it?  Well after semi-considering brother Davids sentiment. Life let the answer unfold, first in a vague suggestion, and then to pretty much suggestion of the undeniable.
A few years ago I broke my knee from which I lost my dance., it resulted in being stripped of what I had held very dear. Music and dance. So in clasping to what I could from it. Being banished by life to the sofa. There is a lot of tiredness, healing, and frustration. So escape would come by looking at new music. It was a time where new injury meant that I had to face scars of old injury and reflect.

From somewhere on planet youtube. I found a link for Speech Debelle, which refreshed the that there was still new music being made in which I felt comfortable in. that "home" feeling. And via links, I found music of Kobi Onyame, live at Glastonbury.  OK lets leave that thread there for a moment.  Lets go back further, to days of post-grad study.
And I worked in a shop, and round the corner from the shop lived brother David. It is a blessing to have a cuppasoup in a home where musical mixes are created. As I moved to study abroad, David began with a few others to encourage new Scottish talent via soul Karma lounge. And there came in Adele Sande. In the flippant way I did, I looked over many postings of her promotion. I do this, I don’t know why. But once this habit was overcome then I realised, wow, this is talent that inspires me, that lifts me up from tiredness and pain. This is someone who writes cleverly, and whole words just click with  me. Her name is now Emeli.

 So back to circa 2009. a few months after I had first listened to Kobi Onyame, returning to listen to the video links again, I took more time to look into videos of work and inspiration behind the music.  And particularly his road to Glastonbury. For him, an important moment for him to be heard by the industry.  and from there introduced his support. And he introduced his backing singer, Emeli Sande.  So this struck me as connection, but looking from the outside i wondered how many more intricacies to the this web could there have too to encourage each others success?

 This connection planted the seed to an a-ha moment. No, no, no, your getting it wrong..  not the eighties.. Actually lets translate a-ha to the "holy shit" spectrum. A-ha, is a mild tremor that may lead towards a "holy shit" moment.  And holy shit, is not an elongated toilet moment. A holy shit moment happens when something so amazing transpires, I'd almost be in disbelief, were it not for the fact that its accompanied with an air punching "YES! Life is good!!". That, friends is a "holy shit!" moment. 

 So yes the a-ha. The a-ha sewed a seed of thought, how connected is this all? And where does it link to?  Because the link from a painful healing, to Speech Debelle, to Kobi Onyame, to Emeli Sande, to brother David mixing music, to having a cuppa soup and getting "that" kind of warning for putting my feet up on a much loved  new leather sofa. Actually now we are on the subject, nor in fact did he appreciate my new party piece of balancing a pint glass of water on my head (no hands!), in such close vicinity to his very chic investment.
 ".. Nicki.. Put down the water".

 But the idea of how connected we are has kept on flowing.  In fact, perhaps it was flowing before I even knew it existed. When the plot in a story is revealed, and you were previously unaware that there was a story being written..

 Kobi Onyame can be found on facebook or via his youtube channel

 After my knee break, I returned to work with the horses. There was a new team created, and it felt like a really strong sisterhood. One of my sisters there, was also sensitive, and beautiful inside and out. and well, we could create a vibe of humour and joy, and let it flow.  We walk different paths now, but the sisterhood still lives between us. Through friendship, we witnessed how immensely connected our lives can be.

 We were sitting outside, she was smoking, we were exchanging girly stories from the evening before. The evening before, I had decided to investigate more into the field of Dutch hiphop, not just one group but more, more knowledge. But I came to a interview made with my friend in it. Considering to watch it..  stung against my principles, but this time, well lets see.. So mentioned in the interview linked an occasion linked in completely unforeseeable threads of a story. In our girlymode, Max wanted to watch the interview, I answered with reluctant OK. These are my private friends, this is my private life, but they are public.

And as we watched it in an evening, it came to the last question.  The question enquired about a television program that he had participated in, a sort of teenage homeswap.

 "My ex was also in that program, it was years ago..", Max casually mentioned.

 "Oh right.." replied I,  as the interview continued

 "My ex also lived in Rotterdam..  He was also called Nico… " A realisation was coming across her face, not fear, but similar to..

 "Nicki, can we check the website, maybe  his program is there.."

. Max is a hell of a lot more proactive than me, she lives life without hesitation. Whereas I, as the website revealed the next chapter of the evening, felt a closure of doom, I really feel resistant to poking into things.. And so opened the debate

 ".. But Nicki, this is a decision that they made.. This is on TV for the whole world to see.."

 I really still didn’t like the idea. If I am being friends with someone, they should tell me about themselves, by themselves.  This debate was about to really run, as the program followed through house and home of others lives. And then there was the ex. The beautiful Max, had probably been awaiting my reaction

 "..You kissed THAT?!"

 And with head-jilt reaction. Shaking her head vigorously. "Yes, but we didn't use tongues".

 Needless to say, from that moment, our focus concentrated on jovial Nico-isms and his complete focus on what a shitty world is around him.  But to have a look at how this story got to girls laughing around the table. Well, we calculated that threads of the story began to weave around 8 years before either of us had any notion or concept of what the future would bring. Life took four individuals on completely different paths, varying lifestyles and outlooks, and connected us very delicately with side stitching, bordering on transparent, but with strong enough shine to catch the light, and from there let a story shine through. When I look at it, it amazes me to think what was sewn together, and whether laughing around the table was the end point of it or not, well that’s not my business to know. But if my past has been sewn so well with such intricacies, then standing here in the " now", well it gives me a feeling that life has amazing plans in store.  And when life throws  a hardball, this helps me to dance in the rain.

 "Connection also happens if we celebrate life more with respect for nature and for other people. You must have the capacity to not become sombre and negative.  Celebrate life joyfully. That’s what its all about." - Salem Samhoud

 In order to be successfully connected and be aware of its merits, it is suggested that connection with others also comes through better knowledge of yourself, and awareness of your environment. So in the next blog or so, I want to have a look at different areas of this. But in concluding this blog, it leaves me with one predominant thought, which is that, if we are all connected and focus on inspiring instead of judging and chastising each other, what new heights could we reach?  Musicians and Artists support their connections in order to better their situation, but in normal life, i believe we can also support each other a little more. Life is difficult sometimes, so surely through supporting those people we are connected to and likewise viceversa, we can help make life a little easier. But perhaps as you read this, you feel that you are already living with a good team around you, in that case I would love to hear from you.
 I am going to finish this blog with a song that uplifts me in listening to it, written by Emeli Sande.
"This song is called Wonder.and I wrote it about the wonder within us all, and the light,  and everything special that we can do as people, if we believe.."


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