Creativity, Love and Connection, music

Dirty-Love Dozen

A Grunge-Rock Love Journey.


Honestly, I’m not a Valentine’s Day kind of woman. I won’t lie, there was a time when it might have meant something to me. When I fell for the “flawless” romantic Valentine’s Day hype we see in the media. You know, the pipe-dream feeding us the scoop about how important it is to celebrate love on this one particular day of the year. As if those 24-hours could actually determine the authenticity of your relationship. The bigger the bouquet, the bigger the love, right?

Wait. Don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question and I was really talking about bouquets… hmm…. where was I?

Big love-things and bigger bouquets aside, I could care less about Valentine’s Day now.

In truth, I like to think of Valentine’s Day in the essence of it’s dark, messy and mysterious history because real life love is like that. Love can be dark, messy and certainly as mysterious as the shady origins of Valentine’s Day.

A bit like a Grunge-Rock love journey, really.

Let me explain.

Romantic love is wonderful. It’s an experience most of us want to create in our lives. To connect deeply, soulfully and honestly with your lover is one of life’s greatest gifts because each time we love, we learn how to open our heart that little bit wider.

But as much as love can activate the best version of ourselves is as much as it has the ability to take us on a journey through the dark night of the soul.

An unforgettable odyssey that causes deep reflection and insight, and transforms us into new states of awareness — better people. We learn so much about ourselves through love and heart pain.

How you fold the experience within your inner-sanctuary makes all the difference between inviting bitterness or benevolence into your life.

We don’t need Valentine’s Day to remind us of that. We just need to understand what love means to us, and how far we’re willing to go for that unique, soulful connection.

My Grunge-Rock Love Journey playlist is for anyone who has known deep love and dark pain, and who, despite everything, has fully realized that love isn’t always like a mushy love song or a romantic movie. Love has a dark side that burns a trail toward the light inside of us if we embrace it.



#1 Love Hurts by Nazareth

“Love is like a flame. It burns you when it’s hot.”

Personally, I can resonate with the energy of love and its sweet darkness through this song.

Love Hurts was originally released by the Everly Brothers on their 1960 album, A Date with The Everly Brothers. But when Nazareth covered the track in 74’, the band’s lead singer Dan McCafferty hit new realms of despair with his emotionally raw vocal delivery. Reminding us about the pain of deep love and ardent passion.

Love Hurts introduces our Grunge-Rock Love Journey because the flame burns, magnetizes and leaves a scar on our soul like nothing else.

#2 Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana

“I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks.”

Apparently, there was much confusion about how Cobain meant this song to be interpreted. Some speculated that it may have been about cancer. Others, thought it was about drugs.

Me? Right away, the meaning of Heart-Shaped Box echoed the power of the feminine. Courtney Love confirmed my inklings when she said:

“You do know the song is about my vagina, right? Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back, umm. On top of which some of the lyrics about my vagina I contributed…”

Nirvana’s omnipresent Heart-Shaped Box reflects the intricate love dynamics between the masculine and feminine energies.

#3 Sex Type Thing by Stone Temple Pilots

“You wouldn’t want me to have to hurt you too, hurt you too?”

Despite thatthis song may have been composed by Scott Weiland with a very dark subject matter in mind, it’s coming in at track three because my interpretation borders along exquisite lust and sexual power.

“I know you want what’s on my mind.”

Need I say more?

#4 Desire by Meg Myers

“Boy, I’m gonna love you. I’m gonna tear into your soul.”

Sexy. Powerful. Incredibly haunting. Ms. Myers captures the bone-deep yearning of desire with a rebellious flare that resonates like the hunger of a new lover.

Track four, Desire brings a demanding contrast of murky-pure revolution to love. Move me from the inside or move on, buddy.

#5 Touch, Peel and Stand by Days of the New

“And now I stand, and I peel for more.”

Sex or drugs? It’s said that song-writer Travis Meeks wrote these lyrics about “the apple in the garden of Eden — you can touch, peel, and then stand with it, but you’re told not to eat it. In the end were gonna do what were told not to do. It just takes time for us to find that reason.”

Some types of love can be a little messed-up, complicated and extremely addictive.

This acoustic post-grunge number packs a sexy feel that for me, embodies that darkly primitive and at times, disturbing connection between lovers.

#6 Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson

“And the love we share seems to go nowhere.”

Tainted Love was composed by Ed Cobb and originally recorded by Gloria Jean in 1964 before Soft Cell blasted their cover into the UK record charts in 1981. Marilyn Manson, however, brings a unique gothic flavor to this track that captures toxic love perfectly.

When love seems to go nowhere beyond a tease, it’s time to run, baby.

#7 Mudshovel by Staind

“And you rip me apart with the brutal things you say.”

I’m not a musician, so I am unfamiliar with correct muso-lingo, but damn, I love it when the heavy riffs drop at the opening of this grungy rock metal number.

It gets me every time.

The brutal way singer Aaron Lewis delivers the lyrics over the pulsating rhythm of heavy guitar is powerfully intense. You can just feel and relate with his torment and pain.

This kickass track will get you moving one way or another through the process of love. Remember to use your middle finger while you’re jamming it at the one who hurt you.

Rage has its purpose.

#8 Like Suicide by Seether

“And it’s the same old trip, the same old trip as before.”

Flowing the toxic relationship theme into this hard rock/nu metal combo, track eight is serving up an audio slice of love-gone-wrong. Like suicide describes the cycle of old games and emotional blackmail which, frankly, none of us need.

For those who’ve known that twisted, player-of-hearts who delights in setting you up to fall and fail, Seether brings enough thrash here to help keep your resolve — we will not be used by love.

#9 Torn by Creed

“Yes, I’m the one who, the only one who would carry on this far.”

Speaking of love, Creed articulates the above-mentioned dark night of the soul perfectly in this spiritual, soul-searching hard rock track.

The thing about loving someone deeply is that it ignites personal change and causes you to question everything. Including all that you believed to be true.

This song is a journey in itself.

#10 Butterfly with Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

“And what do I get for my pain? Betrayed desires and a piece of the game.”

In 1997, Butterfly with Wings won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, and has got to be one the most popular and recognizable songs produced by Smashing Pumpkins.

The push-back track. This song sends a clear message about transformation and breaking out of “the cage” — societal conditioning, oppression, cultural expectations…. heart pain. The same elements apply in love because love was never meant to conform, be conditioned (by holidays like Valentine’s Day) or obey “human” rules.

We hurt and then we somehow find our wings to fly a new journey. We discover who we truly are.

#11 Voodoo by Godsmack

“I’m coming back again.”

The constant beat of the drums combined with the percussion instruments in Godsmack’s Voodoo lends a tribal feel that is both hypnotic and sexy, clinging to your hips like a new revelation. That’s what this song does to me.

Besides, they do say that love is like a drug….

Life just showed you a part of yourself that was previously unknown. Breathe in, breathe in — you’re coming back again, anew.

#12 The Chemicals Between Us by Bush

“I’d like to thank, all of my lovers, lovers, lovers.”

The final song of the Grunge-Rock Love Journey is a digitally-effective vintage take about the everlasting bond between lovers and the imprint we leave on each other. Like a tribute to love and connection.

Featured in the popular American drama series, Charmed, songwriter Gavin Rossdale, explains the lyrics as “the differences between lovers.”

Our great loves may not always last forever, but the love each relationship brings into our life experience is an intimate path designed to expand our hearts and teach us more about ourselves — who we are, what we want and don’t want, and the things we do or don’t do along the journey of love.


At the end of the day, I believe that the best kind of love isn’t always supposed to be about settling in your comfort zone. Great love is meant to challenge, transform and free you like a Grunge-Rock Love Journey.


Also published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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A Writer’s Wine

Is the echo of their soul.

Just as I sit down to write this message for you, Never Tear Us Apart by INXS starts drifting through my opened office window. The neighbours are using their outdoor sound system. At least they have the fortitude to play decent music.

Kirk Pengilly owns the saxophone that carries along the summer breeze. I begin to smile but it hardly forms as the music transports me elsewhere. Now, the half-buried awaken within me and I’m trying to catch the breath of eternal soul, making wine from love and pain.

“We could live for a thousand years, but if I hurt you, I’d make wine from your tears.”

It’s got to be one of my favourite song lyrics of all time.

Then, I’m back at my desk and entangled with a ghost, and somewhat grateful that I have cried tears enough to make wine.

Words are a Writer’s Wine

And some of our most powerful stories are born from the pain of heartache, loss and love. At Living Out Loud, our writers are making wine and sharing those unique perspectives with those who are intended to read and learn from their great work, and we couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of it.

February has been our busiest month ever, and we are so excited to welcome and publish the work of our new writers as much as our regulars who continue to support our cozy little corner of Medium with their beautiful “wine” — every piece is helping to give life and shape the fabric of Living Out Loud, and it’s our pleasure to serve our writers and readers in synergetic, intoxicating connection.


Latest News

Miss Harley and I have recently created a Slack group for our writers so that we can keep in touch outside of Medium. Our Slack group is a great tool for writers to use in case they wish to express any concerns or questions that they may have about a piece, or even to just pop in to say “Hey” once in a while.

Spotify

We’ve also created a LOL Writer’s Collection Playlist on Spotify just for fun, and would love to hear about your favourite tunes so that we can make this playlist something really unique.

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Join us! 👋 Let’s move this to Slack! You can sign up here: https://join.slack.com/t/livingoutloudpub/shared_invite/zt-lp6a7510-YpkWK6tUT0cpFxWMtdGCjw

Email

Or email us at Livingoutloud@gmail.com and we’ll send you an invitation.

LOL Writers Collection on Spotify:

  • Hit “like” so that you can access and listen to the playlist anytime on your own Spotify account.

Keep sharing the “wine”.

With love,

Kim, Harley & Lexi

#Love #wine #life #music


What are you listening to lately?

Many thanks to our writers…

Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
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First published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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A Shamanic Soul Journey

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“Hey Kim, my other half is interested in attending this event. Wondering if it might interest you.”

A fast click on the link to check it out reveals a compelling headline: A Shamanic Journey and Drumming Circle. Truth be told, I didn’t need to dive in any deeper on this one. My usual tendency to procrastinate the pros and cons of deserting my comfortable lair in favor of stepping out into the big wide world took a backseat. I was in.

“Tell your other half she has a partner in crime,” I replied.

By other half, my friend and author Catherine Evans was referring to her pseudonym, Cate Ellink – her less subdued self. This is the part of herself that loves to explore strange phenomena and pushes back against the social norms. The same part of herself that I seem to energize. I must admit, I do have a knack of unleashing and fueling those underlying qualities in those closest to me. Go figure.

Maybe it is because I tend to view the world through the lens of acceptance. I have no interest in judging others, idle gossip or sifting through tedious social bullshit. I am the first to laugh at myself and do so often; I like to play too; especially when the game involves a worthy adversary – in the nicest sense, of course. Yep, overall, you could say that I Go with the Flow. I work at keeping the faith and trusting that the universe has my back even during the times when the reality appears to the contrary. And I love to ponder and explore the more mysterious side of life. Who doesn’t?

Yeah. Back to the drumming.

Honestly, given all I just divulged about my interest in mystic exploration, it isn’t a long shot to conclude that taking a Shamanic Drumming journey is right up my ally. Even though I had never drummed before.

“Don’t you just smack your hand down?” Cath responded when confronted with the above comment. “Rhythm. We have rhythm, don’t we?”

Well, yeah. I’ve got rhythm honey, but as far as I’m aware, rhythm tends to favour my hips and not the ability to chime on a musical instrument.

Hmm. I didn’t express those thoughts out loud. Instead, I shut my mouth and charged forth into unknown territory; the world of Shamanic Drumming and meditation.

Did you know that the medicine drum is a tool used for healing and transformation since ancient times? And that drumming has the power to synchronise brain hemispheres and create altered states of consciousness in which healing and wisdom from the higher self can be obtained?

We were anointed with pine oil and smudged with sage and other pungently burning incense. We were cleansed and balanced with some kind of spritzy concoction; we listened to our hosts talk about the moon’s energy and shedding old habits that no longer served us; and we each gave an offering back to humanity in the form of soft tobacco leaves and syrupy whispers.

They gave us a medicine drum; mine was of deer, Catherine’s, kangaroo. Turned out, we didn’t have to just smack our hands down and wing it. We had drum sticks to guide our… erm… rhythm.

Oh, and we found it! Maybe not right away, but when our hosts began the steady tempo and the sensual sounds of our hostess’ voice rose above the thick incense curling through the room; rhythm had not eluded us. In fact, it became our friend.

The beat seemed to seep into my being like a sacred mystery unravelling the invisible threads binding me. It was glorious and liberating, utterly beautiful, and it created a sense wellness within. Sometimes, all it takes is an unexpected moment to arrive to show us what we didn’t realize we needed. I hadn’t realized that I needed to merge with the beat of a drum and fuse with the sacred energy accompanying us in the room that night. And I certainly didn’t realize that I needed to join hands in a circle made up of like-minded strangers and express my wishes for the greater good of humanity. It was like soul therapy.

After which, I felt renewed and energized. Were you aware that rhythm is a primordial vibration that pulses through our bodies with the beating of our hearts? Yep, consider the following quote:

“Ancient sources tell us that the frame drum was not just a powerful symbol of spiritual presence, it was an important tool for many spiritual experiences. Priestesses of the goddess were skilled technicians in its uses. They knew which rhythms quickened the life in freshly planted seeds, which facilitated childbirth and which induced ecstatic trance of spiritual transcendence. Guided by drum beats, these sacred drummers could alter their consciousness at will, travelling through the three worlds of the goddess: the heavens, the earth and the underworld.”

~ Layne Redmond

They spoke about our connection to the land and the universe, and how most of us are living beneath a veil of ignorance; and how the ideals and beliefs of humanity have turned upside down. The need to get back to our roots and remember the truth of who we really are is becoming imperative if we wish to see change in the world.

I agree. I guess that’s why I found myself in a dimly-lit area breathing incense, smelling like pine oil and gazing in wonder at the oh-so-interesting altar-mat splayed mid-center of the room and adorned with totems.

We sat upon blanketed mats with pillows and listened to words of ancient practices and beliefs surrounding the Bone Dance. Syllables strung together to form sentences fell upon my ears and swirled around my euphoric mind – the concept of shedding the outer layers and becoming a skeleton resonated someplace deep within me. The notion being that beneath our fleshy exteriors, our material-based desires, and our personalities, we are all mirrored. Take it all away and we’re left alike; an identical process of bones.

Have you ever meditated to the sound of the drum with interluding bouts of the didgeridoo? D – d- did you do-do?

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I hadn’t either. Admittedly, I’m not used to participating in group meditation, preferring the solitude of my own soft and quiet space when practicing stilling the mind. But there was something extremely transformative, uplifting and moving about tuning my senses into those soulful beats, that I almost forgot how hard the floor was becoming beneath my butt. Almost.

Okay, I might have to work on that part of the whole Shamanic Drumming journey experience.

All in all, the night far exceeded the expectations I actually didn’t have. It began with a picnic beneath the stars and great conversation, and ended on a naturally induced high – the likes of which cannot be achieved without transporting your spirit to the higher-realms where mysteries abound and dreams are for the taking.

Shamanic Drumming was more than just a meditative journey. It was a soul journey and I can’t wait to do it again.

 

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Scandalous: A Fleeting Love Song


 

Do you remember your first broken heart?

You do, right?

I’m not talking about the crush you had on that cute guy or girl during middle school that resulted in a wounded heart for a day or two. I’m talking about the first time you felt as if your heart had split in two and spilled with the blood of utter misery. The time you cried yourself to sleep every night and awoke with the weight of the world on your shoulders.

You know what I’m talking about.

It was the same time when every love song you’d ever known suddenly resonated. No longer was Islands in the Stream just a chirpy tune you knew off by heart. That music. Those words. They weren’t just catchy vibes you sang along with to the radio anymore.

Uh-uh. No sirree.  Your world had spun off its axis and nothing would ever be the same again. You had leveled up to a different ball game and you’d just lost the first innings.

Welcome to heartbreak central.

Don’t forget to grab your tissues at the door while you drown yourself in the music that now transcended into something meaningful. Something solemnly expressive. Something … raw. Lyrics. Tunes. Voices. Instruments. All of them pulsed, beaten and drummed against your brain like a weeping melody that etched a memorable notch on your freshly bruised heart.

I Wish it Would Rain Down on Me – Phil Collins.

“Cos, I know in my heart of hearts I’m never gonna hold you again” – I mean, come on. I almost broke the cassette tape hitting the rewind button. I choked. The stereo choked. But I did it – I abused that rewind button till the surface was worn smooth while I sprawled on my bed and gazed teary eyed at the ceiling wondering how he could have rejected me.

How?

Love Song – Prince and Madonna.

A love song with swag … Attitude … Sass.

“Say what you mean, mean what you say. This is not a love song.”

“I’m losing my mind (are you wasting my time).”

Gaslighting?

Hmm. Another subject.

He was my friend’s older brother and he liked Prince. He drove his parents’ car and he played the Batman soundtrack every time I rode with him.

Scandalous – Prince.

“Understand, understand that I love you.”

I understand. Baby.

He could dance. Oh, how he could dance. He had the moves and the grind. His hair would fall over his brow as he worked his hips and did sexy things with his lips. He asked me to dance at the high school disco, and holy mother of all things hot, I had never been so turned on.

Mind you, I was only sixteen.

And sweet.

Didn’t matter how sweet I was, by the following day, word had spread around like a blazing wildfire – He and Kim looked as if they needed a bed last night.

Erm… huh? Nah.

He must have heard it through the Grapevine, because it didn’t take long for my home phone to ring. Remember how phones used to be attached to the wall socket in a common area in your home and the curly cord could only reach so far?

Ours was in a small hallway leading to the bedrooms and the bathroom, smack bang in the midst of a heavy traffic zone. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stretch that damned cord far enough to reach my room. I tried hard.

Sweet talker crooned down the line. He’s all smooth.

“Hi baby.”

Blushing. He called me, baby?

I’m suddenly feeling rather mature .

“Hi,” I said, gushing.

“I had fun last night.”

Blushing plus heart flip.

Definitely feeling all-woman now.

“Me too.”

“Can I take you out on a date this Saturday night?”

Blushing plus heart flip plus inner-delighted scream.

Slight alarmed pause, then: “Hold on, I’ll just ask my mum.”

The grown-up feelings fizzled fast after that, especially when she slapped me with a strict curfew of 10pm.

Wait – what? 10pm?

I know, right? I debated. Hell, I argued till I was blue in the face. I was good at debating with my mother. I was also good at losing those battles. She was nervous. I was going out on my first date with an older boy that drove a car. What was her deal, anyway?

I didn’t understand …

He took me to Darling Harbour. He held my hand and we walked along the harbourside and gazed at the city fountains cascading beneath fairy lights that sprinkled and twinkled in the trees above us. Sigh.

Sound romantic?

It was. To me. Those moments were the same ones that bonded us. Well, I can’t speak for him, but that was my perception, my experience. It was short-lived though, because I had a curfew, remember, and he had other pressing matters to attend to within that timeframe.

Like, get into my pants.

 “Whisper, whisper a question.”    

He parked at the beach and asked me to join him in the back seat of the car. He introduced me to lust and desire, and the hottest kissing session I’d ever known. He introduced me to dry-humping.

“With my body, I’ll scream a reply.”

The chemistry was amazing, and I was falling in love. Foreign things began happening to my body; my head whirled, pulse ramped, nipples ached and something else – I got wet. Really wet.

Who knew that could happen?

Not me.

Temperatures rose higher than a tsunami on amphetamines. The car windows fogged. We were covered in kisses and sweat and trapped in a steamy mobile Turkish bath on high arousal. My sweater was off. Bra still intact. It was at this point he moved in for the kill – the zipper on my jeans.

Panic set in.

“Don’t be afraid, baby. Touch it and explode.”  

It was going to explode alright. There was no mistaking the bulge, and absolutely zero doubt that he wanted to get unzipped and release its throbbing wrath upon me. It was then I put on the brakes.

“Stop!”

“Huh?” Breath hot and urgent in my ear. Spaghetti hands in a frenzy. “No, why? We’re having fun.”

I couldn’t argue with that, but I wasn’t going to lose my virginity in the back seat of a car on a first date – no matter how much I liked him.

He didn’t like that.

“Take me home.”

He didn’t like that either.

“Please.”

Suddenly, I was silently grateful for my early curfew and had an inkling why my mother had been so nervous about this date. We rode in silence and he said he’d call me. He didn’t.

Enter Phil Collins on rewind.

What is it with guys not calling you if you don’t give out?

Dicks.

After that, he systematically made his way through a lot of pretty girls in my year who did give out. I think he appreciated systems. Yes, he liked his systems. The girls, however, did not. They put out and he called on them again – until they inevitably wound up sobbing along to Phil Collins.

Or Millie Vanilli.

“I knew it from the start you would break my heart.”  

I might’ve silently smirked when watching mascara tears staining virtuous faces black as one pretty girl after the other caught the backdraft of his sting. He hurt me too, but it could have been worse; I could have been one of them black-stained notches on his belt. I could’ve slept with him.

He called me again a few months down the track. He was ready for round two. I guess he thought I’d matured enough to get all-woman with him. That time, I turned down his invitation. Not saying it was easy, though.

That smile. Those deep brown eyes. Luscious lips … steamy mobile Turkish baths and hand holding in Darling Harbour beneath twinkling lights. Sigh.

“No thanks.”

Choke. Did I just turn down the most irresistible guy in school?

Yep. He shattered my heart for crying out loud. There was no return ticket. I did the time. I cried, I wrote him letters (and actually posted one to him – cringe); I moped around for days, weeks … months. Then I found a spot in my mind and placed him on a shelf and moved on. Witnessing his playboy antics probably helped some too. Black tears leave lasting strong impressions.

About six months ago I heard from him again. I was going through a tough time. My heart was hurting when he pinged me out of the blue. It was as if the universe was reminding me of the past. It was reminding me that hearts break, and hearts heal, and everything would be alright. Serendipity.

“I should write a book about my life. It would be a bestseller!” he told me.

“Oh, hey, I know. You can begin your book about the time you broke my heart.”

“Did I really? That was never my intention.”

Erm … yeah. Duh. Did you not get that letter? (cringe). I’m certain I spoke for myself earlier about the bonding and romance part along a dark Darling Harbour street. Luminous city fountains and fairy light dreams.

Yeah.

“You have my sincerest apologies. Believe it or not I have often thought about you over the years.”

Hmm. I wonder had I not put on the brakes in the steam-machine that night if that would have turned out differently. Either way, whatever it was that we shared has made its mark against our memories and formed part of the fabric of who we both are today.

I must admit he’s a pretty cool guy with a vibrant personality, though. Whenever I hear from him, he always makes me laugh. It’s not unusual to receive something like this in Messenger nowadays:

“What’s up, ex-girlfriend with a broken heart? HAHA!”

“Cute :)”

 “Spirits rise and spirits fall.”

 

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