A few things about Incubus and the new album If Not Now, When? have helped me so much lately that I want to share.
Life in general has been going fine. I'm fortunate in where I am and what I get to do on a day to day basis (this involves teaching writing and participating in Nerf Gun battles among other things), but I've been having trouble for a while now, and I've only recently been able to put my finger on the problem.
I left Los Angeles for Albuquerque New Mexico in 2007 to pursue my Ph.D. in English. The move coincided with necessary breaks from two very special men in my life, the best friends I've had and both ex "others" who had helped shape me in wonderful ways. Nevertheless, their lives had moved on to the point where I felt not only superfluous but even as if I might be hindering them. So I left feeling as if I were breaking all ties and consequently decided I hated Los Angeles and would become a new person here.
In retrospect, this stance was necessary for me to survive. The separations were wrenching, and I felt like the best part of my life was over forever. The loss of self I experienced was truly awful. Add to this a boyfriend here who held himself in reserve during our relationship and continually gave off the vibe that he somehow disapproved of me.
Well, he finally left, and I began to get my life back, but I was still trying to pretend that my life in Los Angeles was no longer meaningful.
Now, thankfully, things have begun to change.
I'm reading a novel by Samuel Butler called The Way of All Flesh, and this passage caught my attention:
"I suppose people almost always want something external to themselves, to reveal to them their own likes and dislikes. Our most assured likings have for the most part been arrived at neither by introspection nor by any process of conscious reasoning, but by the bounding forth of the heart to welcome the gospel proclaimed to it by another. We hear some say that such and such a thing is thus or thus, and in a moment the train that has been laid within us, but whose presence we knew not, flashes into consciousness and perception."
I feel as if finding my way here and reading up on the band has helped the "bounding forth of the heart" I needed to fully regain myself. Incubus is so quintessentially LA, their energy so characterized by bounding forth, that I've found myself willing to revisit my own LA story, and I can finally admit that my time there was wonderful, and that it is an inextricable part of who I am.
This brings tears to my eyes, but I'm not holding them back any longer. I may cry, but I can also dance in the grocery store again, raise my face to the sun, and feel as if I'm coming back to the person I was, someone full of joy and potential.
Now I'm looking forward to the release of the new album, reading more of Brandon's work, and attending the band's upcoming concert at Red Rocks. I'm also feeling extremely positive, and more able to do my work than I have for a long time. After all, If Not Now, When? For this I can only say thank you!
With much love to you all,
The following is an imagined dialogue between me and the members of the band Incubus. Picture if you will a lovely meet and greet setting back stage or at HQlive, and somehow I have the good fortune to speak to each of them. It might go something like this:
How are you Ben? Wow, I’ve seen some of your solo work lately, and man you can do it all. You’re a multi-instrumentalist? And a genius at writing and composing your work? So you’re basically a one-man-band on your own, huh? Oh,…