New Music Release: Kitten in the Rubble
I am releasing a new composition/song today called Kitten in the Rubble
This is 7 and a half minute piece that required 7 months of my time, love, honesty, and a deep exploration of ancestral trauma to complete.
I had the pleasure of working with Sassan Zaker (Fadedeon) and Corey Hess at Cedar Tone Sound in the production of this!
It is comprised of three separate, yet intertwining parts to represent 3 generations of women (grandmother, mother, myself) to honor the truth that I was alive on a cellular level as an egg within my mother’s 15 week old reproductive system within my grandmother’s womb. I was alive within my mother’s fetus within my grandmother’s body. We all were.
I've tried to run from from trauma for a long time. Last year, It followed me all the way to Hiroshima Japan to Peace Park, home of the Atomic Bomb site.
What I saw and felt was haunting, it possessed & compelled to create & release this composition.
The travel group and I hiked up the side of a mountain earlier in the day to view the city, sea, and the islands of in the distance.
We traveled up the tree-canopy enclosed trail, dodging webs of giant red and yellow spiders weaving their traps for smaller creatures. We found an opening in the tree line, gazing over the beautiful city of Hiroshima nestled in the mountains by the sea.
I couldn’t help but imagine the atomic bomb dropping, what a 40,000 foot high mushroom cloud looked like, what the pilots felt as it landed, seeing with my own eyes a rebuilt city. If I didn’t know the history, I’d have no idea what happened there, there was hardly a physical or visible trace…
As I contemplated the quantifiable death toll from the deadliest conflict in history, WW2 (85 million death, estimate) the sheer damage to the environment, human psyche…
Cognitive dissonance ensued - I simultaneously knew that without this war tactic, I probably wouldn’t be alive today. This struck a chord (specifically B7…) that turned into this song. I just didn’t realize how deep of a song it would be, let alone how much I need my art to survive.
With my own eyes I stared into the ruins, the dome that used to be an arts conservatory, I felt the weight of it all, multiple conflicting truths tied to ancestral trauma…
...what broke my contemplation, was a kitten, yes a little baby cat, playing in the rubble of the bomb site...
This symbolism made me weep as I wrote the lyrics on a bench in Peace Park.
To me, the kitten represented new life, birth, re-birth, innocence, within the juxtaposition of this CATostrophic (apologies for the dark humor pun trying to lighten the mood, I'm an animal…) loss and symbol of death and destruction, yet necessary life-preserving violence.
When my grandfather came home in the mid 1940’s, PTSD was not a diagnosed condition. There wasn’t, and still isn’t much, resources for men regarding mental health, getting in touch with their feelings, and processing through them. (there are quite a few healthy masculinity groups showing up that I’m so happy to see!!) The basic human right of processing thru pain is still stigmatized as “unmanly”.
An entire gender shamed out of and cut off from their feelings.
Cultural and societal norms made it taboo to discuss, it wasn’t acceptable to “burden the rest of the family” with the emotional weight these horrors carry. I've only heard handed down stories of what my he experienced, he passed when I was 6 or 7 years old.
I do know that he arrived on Normandy Beach - day 2...can you even imagine seeing thousands of dead bodies, any of which could have been you, within the sheer luck of a few hours time difference?
He and other relatives of mine freed Jewish people from concentration camps.
A hero by definition…yet physically & verbally abusive to his family, as well as himself through tobacco-use, alcoholism, and the inability & support to process through PTSD & trauma from WW2.
I am aware that he grew up during the Great Depression in northern Minnesota, and my great grandparents had very little. An entire lifetime living in survival mode doesn’t breed much room for processing emotions and feelings. The term “Anhodemia” comes to mind, or the inability to feel pleasure. I think this word applies to many Midwestern people.
Many of the letters he wrote home, his credentials, and uniforms, were stashed up in the attic of their home, later destroyed by water damage.
Much of his story (and feelings) vanished with his passing, but my compassionate and open-hearted father who grew up in the Panama Canal Zone listened curiously on my grandfather’s death bead. Somehow only he was able to draw out stories his closest family members didn't know.
Some of grandfather’s untold stories were finally shared via eulogy, delivered at his funeral by my father, who only knew him a few short years.
I see my father as an amazing example of Healthy Masculinity, in harmony with the sacred femininity of my mother. They describe their love as a “witness to each other’s lives”, reflecting as mirrors, river banks containing waters - they need each other just as much as the sun needs the moon.
I think about toxic masculinity today, in the year 2019, and how perhaps many men's issues stem from unacknowledged repressed feelings, the unwillingness, or lack of support/infrastructures to explore and process them. Multiple generations of normalized numbness, compounding trauma multiplied by generations, ie epigenetic trauma... here we are today with a male dominance issue.
Shortly after I returned from Japan, hungry to understand what I felt, I found an audio-book called "It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are, and How to End the Cycle" by Mark Wolynn.
To Quote: "The latest scientific research, now making headlines, supports what many have long intuited—that traumatic experiences can be passed down through generations. It Didn’t Start with You builds on the work of leading experts in post-traumatic stress, including Mount Sinai School of Medicine neuroscientist Rachel Yehuda and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score. Even if the person who suffered the original trauma has died, or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory and feelings can live on. These emotional legacies are often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language, and they play a far greater role in our emotional and physical health than has ever before been understood."
For me, the trauma of WW2 inherited from my Grandfather’s abuse acted out on my grandmother bubbled up, staring into the epicenter of the Hiroshima bomb site.
Even how we deal (or choose not to…) with our trauma impacts us on an cellular level. It’s clear he avoided his feelings, avoidance is also a tactic I used which unknowingly prolonged my suffering with for A LONG TIME.
It took me to this epicenter of destruction mixed with new life to see how I was perpetuating self harm and avoidance of trauma, to dive fully into my path, to find my new life.
One with deeper truth, acknowledging everything I’ve been through, trusting my feelings, intuition, wisdom, and truth. No longer avoiding pain, rather, leaning in to learn what it’s here to teach me.
Outside of the rubble of my recently broken relationship,. I realized was a cyclical manifestation of abusive relationships both my mother and grandmother also fell into -
I now dive into my own sacred femininity, I am learning, I am growing, I am honoring my truth, my herstory, my art, my freedom, my birthrights of love, abundance, and joy.
We have entered the age of Aquarius, we are watching structures of the patriarchy fall, not to masculinity’s demise, rather, to femininity’s rise.
To quote another song of mine - History & Empathy -
“Do we really think that we, have come so far from history?
That we won’t repeat it unintentionally, out of lack of love and empathy?”
May this composition, bath of sound, and lyrical transmutation vessel release the ghostly pain that echo’s through my body.
May this heal my grandfather, equal parts hero & heartbroken, hurting himself and his family, and me.
May this soul work, combined with releasing the trauma I've personally endured in this lifetime, be a puzzle piece to me being set free.
May this honor his trauma he never got to work through on this planet.
May this remind other readers of their family history (and herstory) to consider ancestral trauma.
May this serve as a reminder to be compassionate with our scars, to honor the hidden trauma that lies within the troubled, and for us to view trauma through a holistic lens.
To heal holistically, I believe it requires healing 7 generations back, and 7 generations forward.
"Turn that down so I can see, another case of 21st century blues.
Just how bad does it need to get, until you ask for a clue?
Good morning catastrophe, go ask my friends who've lived longer than me.
Compassion or the scarred skin we've learned to live in.
When do we fall in love with the time we're given?
When we see, endless synchronicity, wherever we be.
Guess I'm not going back, because I've never been.
In my ancestors step's I've walked thru the shore.
And in my own the rubble of that dome.
In the cinder blocking, a kitten calls itself it's home.
Started in the middle now ya out there on the outside,
It's not defined it's not defined.
When ya bending with the times, you're in an echo's rhyme
you're in a bind you're in a bind.
Way up in the attic in a box you'll never, you'll never find,
you'll never find, it's on my mind.
All the people lost within atomic reach,
Shadow's all they left behind.
This whole world up in arms is not just spending money alone,
No such thing as compromise between good and evil, Love is our home.
No such thing as compromise between good and evil, Love is our home.
No such thing as compromise between good and evil, Love is our home."