No more Mr. Niceguy (Fitting the mold part II)

In my previous blog entry, I wrote about a phenomenon called the mold, and how it tries to suck you inside. It’s like a road. Roads are usually surfaced by the government with asphalt to ensure a smooth ride from spot A to spot B. For example, if I want to take a car trip to Kajaani, I know exactly the way, which way to turn, amount of gas needed, etc. Nothing new, often I just wish that the trip would be over as soon as possible, because it is boring because I know what will happen the next 1,5 hours. Life is like this road trip to Kajaani. I see other people sharing the same ride in their own cars, they also seem to know where they are going. They might pass me if I am too slow or even give me the finger. What if suddenly on the way from A to B, I would take road C that is not in the map. The car would brake down in the forest, I might even hit a tree, and become a pedestrian and get eaten by a bear, I would never get to Kajaani this time. This introduction was written because last time I stated that people choose the mold or the asphalted road to get from A to B because it is easier.

Mr. Ex-Niceguy (Photo by Pirjo Lempeä)

Now to the actual topic. In the mold checklist, I stated career or doing your job as one of the checkpoints in life.  I read an interesting article about the essence of being social. The trend so far has been, especially in the work life, that social individuals, or socializing in general, are embraced. The article states that problems in the work life are not solved just by being “a cool person” or hiring them. I wonder how many have filled a job application stating that they are social and practically get along with every single person on earth. Everyone knows inside their head that this is not possible, and the “getting along” thing limits itself really into a handful of people in each person’s life. Rest of the time we are just tolerable while our instinct tells us to run from the unpleasant waste of time social situation.

According to the article, a job applicant would really stand out from the mass if one would state that new people are not always interesting and s(he) does not get along with everybody because s(he) does not approve the way some people behave. A very good underlining point in the article was that people often confuse social skills to socializing or being social. A social person prefers being accompanied by other people over being alone, whereas social skills are the skills that tell us how to behave in a social situation. Therefore, a social person, i.e. desires company over solitude, can be a total brick if that person lacks social skills, and the other way round. I have also written into an application that I am a social person although I often feel that being social means nothing. It is like saying “hi” to the TV’s news reporter. I will never write that again.

-Antti

Dancing with the beginners

I have a new hobby. Since this autumn I’ve been going to ballroom dance lessons. You know, the “real kind of dancing”, with waltzes, quicksteps and such – as seen on tv. My new hobby kind of started out as a bet (at our favorite bar NGO) when Antti and his spouse talked me and my partner into going to this course together. As my boyfriend and Antti’s wife are ex-ballroom dancers, it seemed like a nice little joke – the both of them starting dancing with the two of us, who had only danced a little bit of flamenco (and not very well, and not always sober).

Anyway, amidst the reggae music and the Mongozo-mango beers the bet was on and next week we took up dance lessons. As it turned out it was quite fun. In the end, Antti and his wife didn’t come after the first lesson, but me and my co-apartmentowner /new dance partner did.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve started to practice something completely new. I think it’s fascinating how that makes you humble, when you see yourself in the mirror, looking like a comlpete ass 😀

Taking up new paths, away from our comfort-zone is also what we’ve been doing lately with our music. Publishing a new song every two weeks has brought us a new way of working. While we were making and recording our newest song Retransmisíon, it felt like we were doing something completely new for us, “making it up as we go along”, instead of slow-cooking and practicing everything before recording. After reconding the vocals, I had no idea what to expect. It kinda felt the same as practicing new steps for the tango – you just hope you start with the right foot and dont’t stumble. In the end, the song turned out quite good. You can listen to it at the “media” section or at Myspace or FB.

Maybe one day I’ll start looking like the bell of the ballroom dance, instead of an ass. (Meaning the animal, not the body part.)

-Anna

Can you fit the mold?

The average human life is pretty much pre-determined. If you are born healthy and parented in a way that you remain sane thru your childhood, you’ve got fair chance to live an average life. Or maybe in terms of mathematical vocabulary, average is not the best term. Mode is far better since it indicates the most occurring entity. So, mode human life can be described as one most people live. Mentally ill unemployed cancer patient is not living a mode human life. Furthermore, and most importantly, the mode human life is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore this short analysis is only the way I see it and have experienced it so far, of course.

I believe that there exists a common mold that sucks people in from the very beginning, starting at birth. The mold has several checking points during the human’s life span, e.g. finishing kindergarten, finishing compulsory school, finishing any further studies after high/vocational school, getting a partner, doing your military service, getting a career, getting married/registered, having/adopting babies (perhaps adopting is outside mold), buying a car, getting a mortgage and buying an apartment, staying married, doing your job well, enhancing your career etc. The list can go on endlessly.

What is this mold? It is the mode way most people have lived their lives fantazillion times before you. You have heard the expression “this is how it has always been done”. It is the perfect mold expression. When people are young they tend to have feelings that their lives are going to be different from everybody else’s life. When they grow older and take the weight of the world on their shoulders, they find that it is not so different. They have actually done the things check listed in the second paragraph. Your life has already been lived, how is that? 🙂

Why does this mold so easily suck one in? Because it is the easiest way to live, in the box, staying in the row, behaving like a responsible citizen contributing to the monetary capital of the society. Most importantly, NOBODY complains or questions your choices if you stay in the mold – how easy is that, you’ve got accepted! Wait: although the mold sucks you in it can also spit you out. Cannot have babies naturally like your neighbors, consider adoption (that’s why the parentheses previously)? Got fired from your job and you fell into depression and the only thing you can do is the get the morning paper wearing only underpants holding a coffee mug while your neighbor hops into his new SUV, suit on tidy, you feel like shit. Why should you feel like shit? Because you wanted the mold, so you care. The mold can spit you out when you want it bad, and suck you in when you don’t want to get there. So when you don’t respect the “authoritaah” of the mold, you don’t feel like shit being outside the grid. However, you have to get used to the fact that you hear more complaints about the choices you have made and will make in your life.

What’s the point? Many people want to live in the mold, and many do not want to, so what? The point is that the minute you recognize this pattern in life you may feel a little bit better or worse but still you recognize how things are built for you and how they affect the decisions you make in your life. Are the decisions for you or for somebody else?

-Antti

Silent all these years

Last summer I got my first ever paid summer vacation. It’s funny how life gets more and more defined by the moments that you are free from work, when you get a job. Weeks are only defined by weekends, months seem to be pushing forward faster than ever.

During this last year I have been working my ass off, trying to fit into whatever role needed – work-me, home- me, freetime-me, stress-me, flamenco-me – me me me me me. Funny how working for others can cause so much self reflection. At some point, peekin from under the piles of over-time hours I noticed that I had lost sight of me-the-musician. I got scared that she’d drowned for good. After a long break from gigs and away from the band stuff, I felt that even my voice was lost. I started questioning my own motivation – was this is it? Now I have a real job and music is “just a hobby”?

Luckily when summer came, I found my way out of that black hole. The band was back in business after Antti’s return and I was singing and dancing, remembering that work is jus work and the rest is life – not a hobby.

In the songs we’d been working on during last summer, you can hear the voice that was missing. I guess it’s like that for the whole band and not just for me. The courage to take new paths, further from where we started from (somewhere in the beginning of the millennium), has taken us closer to a starting point of something that is natural for all of us: Big melodies, a feel of the old autumn forest and just a touch of melancholy. It has also taken me to one personal musical starting point: I saw Tori Amos live at Pori Jazz festival. As a reminder to what you can be – even though the holidays tend to end and you have to go back to work.

-Anna