Closer to AMAZING

“I’m trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
 And the best thing you’ve ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously
It’s only life after all”

Some of you know this about me. I love music. (Look at the top menu bar. It takes up about half of the drop downs). It is one of my greatest passions and has been since I was a child. Musical influences have had a huge impact on my life.

Music has been love and warmth when I felt I had none in my life.

Music has been inspiration when my mind and heart didn’t know which way to go.

Music lifted my soul like love, or what I thought was love, often couldn’t.

I discovered the Indigo Girls when I was in high school. They were an anchor for me in a time in my life where I couldn’t even find my way back to shore. They centered me, grounded me, and opened my eyes to what was missing in my own life.

I don’t think I understood the enormity of what the Indigo Girls were saying when I first heard “Closer to Fine” in high school decades ago. Perhaps if I had, I would have realized that I wasn’t so alone, that there were people who were dealing and coping and getting by.

And in the end, it’s only life after all.

Yeah.

Amy and Emily from “The Indigo Girls” are without a doubt two of the most influential musicians in my life. While I always loved the Indigo Girls, it was in my mid twenties that I really turned to them. I had come out of a bad breakup and was a little worse for the wear.  After begging, and Begging and BEGGING and B!E!G!G!G!I!N!G! my ex to take me back (he didn’t, but I wasn’t really asking or anything) and then telling him I hated him (I didn’t, but I DID, but I didn’t, ya know?) and then drinking and crying to repeat this vicious cycle, I decided I needed to well…

Maybe find a hobby.

So I did what I knew. I put on my running shoes and I ran.

And ran.

But it wasn’t enough and I just wasn’t having my “Forrest Gump” moment. I needed something else. Something other than the following options which I had exhausted and had done little for me:

  • I had to stop calling my ex and calling him bad names while pleading with him to come back to me. I quickly realized that this was bad form. Not pathetic, exactly. More like, extremely pathetic.
  • I had to stop going out to the bars in Arlington. This just lead to more bad calls and lots of snot and mascara on my face. Not pretty, exactly. More like, REALLY not pretty.
  • I had to stop pounding the pavement. I was running over 50 miles a week. My knees hurt. Ouch.

And so I went to Fox’s music in Falls Church, VA and bought my first guitar.

And I started to learn how to play.

And I sucked. Like, I was not just bad.

I was just terrible.

But I went for it. And the nights where I wanted to “stop by a bar at 3 AM and seek solace in a bottle” I decided I would sit right down on my couch and teach myself my favorite Indigo Girls songs.

Closer to Fine. Romeo & Juliet. Kid Fears. Galileo. Nashville. Blood & Fire.

I cried. But I healed. And I got better. And I healed some more.

And I was so proud when I learned, that I dragged my guitar with me every where and performed one man talent shows (oh, you guys don’t do that?) for my family.

When that got old, I started going to open mikes, encouraged by one of my best friends, Sang. But that got old after a while too.

So I accosted a guy in a bar (It was more like 8 PM) named Kevin Sambat during one of his gigs and told him he needed to not sing alone. He would later become my good friend and bandmate, and we started singing in Northern VA and DC together.

And just think, none of this would have happened without the Indigo Girls.

Another big impact that they had on me – Amy and Emily being two of the coolest women in the world (whom I was (am) obviously non-sexually (ok, maybe just a little) crushing on) made me realize that…

I. love. lesbians.

Yes, I love lesbians.

Not romantically, but as sisters. Listening to their emotionally charged songs and the power and conviction in them brought out a new found appreciation for what my gay and lesbian friends, who have had to deal with social exclusion because of their sexuality, were REALLY dealing with.

Emily and Amy made me realize that while I had felt alone a LOT in my life, maybe I hadn’t been there enough for my gay friends who couldn’t or hadn’t yet acknowledged this core part of who they were. And while I always cared about gay rights, maybe I care just a little bit more because of that awareness I think they awakened in me.

I learned a lot about life, love and self acceptance from the songs of the Indigo Girls. Some of my favorite memories are with different groups of great female friends at their concerts, screaming and singing like my heart was on fire and my lungs were alive. No matter how many times I saw them perform.

Without these two women, I don’t know if I ever would have learned the power of my own voice. I guess I never thought anybody wanted to hear it.

And if I don’t value it, really why the hell would anyone else?

So yeah, the Indigo Girls helped me find my voice. How could I ever forget that and not acknowledge them here? Ok, I know they are not winning a Grammy – its just my blog. But still, writing this honors the part of me that will always respect these two women, who showed me some core truths I hope to always share with my daughter and son.

Embrace your individuality.
Even if its unpopular.
Even if its scary. BOO!
Even if you just want to retreat and safely be like everyone else. Which is absolutely fine. But not if its not who you are.

Honor yourself.

“I wrapped my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it
I’m crawling on your shores.”

The funny thing is in this journey which has now evolved to blogging and writing. I find that my voice is loud. And sometimes, people don’t like it. And it angers some. It has pushed away some friends. Sometimes, it even embarrasses my family.

And boy, do I like it.

I LIKE MY VOICE.

Especially when I have a cold and I get that really sexy, husky thing going.

That’s awesome.

But I’m not wrapped in fear anymore.

I sunk being safe before. Screw safety.

And I don’t have to crawl. I won’t crawl unless it seems like its the best option.

Like, if I am trying to exfoliate my knees at the beach.

And that gets me just a little bit closer to not just fine… but AMAZING.

 

 

 

 

 

Love who you are. And go listen to some Indigo Girls.

23 Responses to Closer to AMAZING

  • AJ Collins says:

    :) That’s amazing! Great post! I think getting beyond fine to amazing should be on a list of good goals to have! (I’m not sure I’m there just yet… considering that when an acquaintance said “Hi how are you” casually this afternoon… it took me a full 15-20 seconds to answer because I was trying to decide. :)
    AJ Collins recently posted…A Poem for Five Minute Friday – "Bare"My Profile

    • masalachica says:

      I know, AJ! I actually am trying to not just be like, “whoopde doo! I’m fine!” and I’m also trying to make sure I look the person in the eye when I ask them how they are, because I so often don’t leave myself open to hearing anything other than, “good” or “fine.” I would have cracked up waiting for you to decide though. Too funny.
      Hugs girl,
      Kiran

  • steph says:

    Once again you hit the nail on the head! I was in the car recently, lamenting the fact that I’ve spent too much of my life on my soon-to-be ex-husband and an ex-fiance that I met at a bar. In Dupont Circle. Far worse than Arlington :-) When “Closer to Fine” came on, I sang at the top of my lungs and instantly felt better. I realize I have lost so much time just focusing on myself. Not that I want to be selfish…just need some “me time.” Thanks for reminding me that this is ok. Even though we’ve never met, I appreciate all the support I c an get!

    • masalachica says:

      Girl, I am not even going to ask which club or bar in Dupont! ;-) I’m here if you need me! You have a lot of women/sisters in the world who would help pull you and push you and help lift you if you ever needed :-).
      Kiran

  • MomWithaDot says:

    Love that confidence, totally inspirational!!
    You look adorable in that pic with the guitar :) ! How about an upload of something you’ve strummed so we could hear it?
    MomWithaDot recently posted…Never Say NeverMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      Aw, thanks Madhavi. Actually, my songs are on the blog site. If you go to the My Music link under the Top Nav menu, listen to the song, “Yesterdays” – it’s the closest to being done. But the guitar on that is not me, it’s crazy good. It’s my friend, Buddy Speir who is a professional guitarist in Nashville.

  • Lisa
    Twitter:
    says:

    “None of this would have happened without the Indigo Girls”…but also, none of it would have happened without that crappy ex-boyfriend – more proof that when you bravely dig through the muck (aka the hard parts of life) you will likely find a diamond…or your voice. So many gifts in the hard parts :) Love this post. Also love the Indigo Girls. (And I know both parts of Closer To Fine, btw, so if ever we meet…bring your guitar ;) AND I am a big fan of lesbians – maybe even a little jealous – there are certainly times I think it would be a LOT easier to live with another woman rather than a man – ha ha. (Alas, I am just not attracted to other women – a minor obstacle). Finally, I am so glad that I am not the only one who has found my regular gig by somewhat stalking another unsuspecting musician (in this case, a saxophone playing Dad at my kids’ and his kids’ soccer games – LOL). Keep singing. You make me want to learn the guitar. And sing the Indigo Girls.
    Lisa recently posted…Life’s Necessities: Food, Water, Air and SongMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      Lisa,
      I love that. You are so wise – “So many gifts in the hard parts…”

      Oh yeah, I totally stalked Kevin out – it was too funny.

      Where do you live again? And when are we getting together to sing? :-)
      Kiran

  • Kristen Daukas
    Twitter:
    says:

    We should totally do a “everything I needed to know about life I learned from Lesbians”. I love my lesbian sisters.. one of my closest girls was a labor partner stand-in when I was pregnant with our first girl (the man traveled a lot.. always have a plan b) and a few years later, I “married” her and her wife in their commitment ceremony. They’re the ones that will give you a quick “you better give over that shit” punch and won’t let you sell yourself short.
    Kristen Daukas recently posted…Kristen’s “Pamper Me PLEASE!” GiveawayMy Profile

  • Sang says:

    Kiran, you forgot to mention that after those nights in Arlington, you would wake up with honey mustard in your hair!! HAHA…it was a tough time in your life but we had some damn good laughs too!! xoxo

    • masalachica says:

      Oh Sanger, those Cinderella nights where I lost my shoes were the best too. Glad I was able to do it all with you.

      And yes, some of our best stories are still from that time!
      Kiran

  • Anne Marie says:

    Love the Indigo girls. I think they got me past a break or two! One of the best Wolf Trap concerts ever! Closer to fine is a good goal. Going to listen now!

  • Why am I not getting your posts?! Ugh! This is gorgeous! And I’m going crazy thinking I’m missing your stuff and I am! I have an idea. Will email you with details in the AM. But I love this piece. And I love that you taught yourself to play. And I love Ani DiFranco. And are we going to sing at BlissDom too? Because that can happen, too.
    Renee Schuls-Jacobson recently posted…Romancing the Throne: A Guest Post by Tori YoungMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      Ok – can’t wait for your email! I saw your tweet about it, so will wait with baited breath. I love Ani too – “Untouchable Face” was the first song I ever heard by her and it’s still one of my favorite songs of all time. That whole album is off the hook. Yes, let’s sing at BlissDom. A little Janis, maybe? Or a night of karaoke?!

      XOXo,
      Kiran

  • Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love your voice. Both literally and metaphorically.
    You sing it, sister.
    Alison recently posted…Conversations With My ChildrenMy Profile

  • ilene
    Twitter:
    says:

    OK – so next to you – am the biggest non girl crush (but maybe a little) lover of lesbians for the exact same reasons. And I love your blog voice and that you are just so honest and YOU – and maybe one day I will get to hear your singing voice as well. xo
    ilene recently posted…Down ThereMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      Next time I come up to New Jersey to visit my family, I’ll email you in advance! Maybe we can meet up for tea or a drink or something so we can meet in person. Love your fierce voice too, you little diva ;-)

  • Mary
    Twitter:
    says:

    What a voice you have! Gorgeous writing! I’m inspired by your journey and your Indigo Girls parallels. I adore the Indigo Girls! Well done!
    Mary recently posted…Parental Redemption: The Coach Mike VersionMy Profile

  • Galit Breen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh love this, girl, so very much!

    I lovelovelove the Indigo Girls, too! #Swoon
    Galit Breen recently posted…This is Childhood: FIVEMy Profile

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MEET KIRAN
I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....
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