24 hours home

Pa'l Norte 2018

photo: Nathan Beer

Home visiting family in Santa Barbara again, for what is yet another 24 hour visit. After living in LA for 4 years now, the friends and life that I’ve established there makes it very challenging to be gone for very long. I just finished my second to last semester at USC- my friends all graduated on Friday, but since I took a year off I have a semester left to finish up.

I received many a pitiful: “doesn’t this make you sad to see all your friends graduate without you” from parents and family friends, but I’ve thought about it and it doesn’t make me sad at all. If I hadn’t left school for a year I never would’ve frustratedly sat in my bathroom writing SAY IT AGAIN or any of the songs off “shy” for that matter.

MADDIE SHY EP BACK COVER FINAL

photo: Brigitte Crisp

Leaving school for a year was not my plan up until I did it.. which threw me into a series of attempts to find my footing. After working several jobs, figuring out which of my friends were worth driving an hour to see, and trying to find a new rhythm of life, I realized something. I realized that I blamed music for the things that felt hard in my life. Music is a hard path, it is something that is hard for the people around you to see as a steady choice, it is hard to feel like you have worth in a field of such talented and transcendent artists. It is hard to make money and to feel like it’s more than a selfish pursuit.

At first when I left school I refused to play music or write at all. I went a solid 3 months without touching my instruments or using my voice. And then, slowly, I realized that things were building up and the only way I knew how to express or understand them was through music. I started playing again, I started writing about how I felt instead of writing what I thought would sound good. And that is how “shy” was born, which is why it is so close to my heart.

But now, after a whole school year of being back has gone by, I am in a very different place. I feel more comfortable with being vulnerable, I don’t feel as much like an open nerve. I am ready to make art that comes from a new place in me and that is exciting. I am certainly not sad that all my friends graduated because look how cute they are:

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And I will definitely be just as cute next year. 😉  I feel extremely grateful for the time and energy and love that the people and my life in general has given me.

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I’ve been very fortunate, and in the past few months have experienced some pretty cool things that have made me love music more than I ever have. I am excited for this summer because I will be traveling and playing shows for almost a month straight, and have a music video for one of my favorite songs coming out. Hope all is well with you, and congratulations again to all my friends who are now USC Alums. Love to everyone.

❤ mad

stringing time together

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(picture by Jackie Domi)

I am 22 on Sunday!

I’ve been thinking about my answer to the question: “do you feel 22?”

Or not just me, but will any of us ever feel our age?

We all take on so many roles in our lives, as a friend, as a child, as a lover, as a creator, as a student, as a teacher, as an enemy, as a sibling, the list goes on. And every single one of these roles we play make us feel a different way about our age. In some of these roles age matters more than the others.

As a child, I will always feel young. As a teacher I will always feel old. As a creator I don’t feel any time at all. I think that is pretty fascinating.

Does age even matter? Maybe not.

Another thing that I have noticed, is that every year older I grow, I connect back to a different part of my past. Recently I have been relating most to my 17 year old self. A girl tired of school, has good friends, is learning to love art. Challenged by the relationships in her life. Hyper-sensitive to the energy around her. I also connect to myself when I was but a small gummy worm. Goofy, and curious.

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But those other times in my life, when I was 14 or even when I was 18, or 19, I don’t relate to that person at all. Sometimes it feels like the phases in my life are like string lights, all connected by something, but never colliding.

And what to do when you and a friend shift in and out of different phases at different times?

I remember reading a book on transitions at the end of high school and one thing that stuck out to me was this idea that when things are changing in our lives, we tend to get rid of everything but what and who we really really need. We hold so closely to the few people and concrete things in our lives, that the rest falls behind.

It’s almost as if we are doing the human version of molting. Or pheonixing or whatever you want to use as a metaphor.

But now, for the first time in my life, I feel that if I went through a big change, the people in my life would stay. The way that I am would stay.

That is a really good feeling.

Change is something I spend a lot of time thinking about, because I am constantly going through it. It takes me weeks to figure out how I feel about something— my mind has to try on a few feelings until my gut tells me which one is the right one.

It’s international women’s day, and I feel proud to be a woman. I feel proud that I have gotten over my fear of being vulnerable because I am afraid to be hurt. I am proud that I have learned to have poise through restraint. But most of all I am proud of the people who have almost literally built me like legos into the person I am. (a slightly bigger gummy worm)

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I know this was sappy

you can deal

❤ Mad

 

Why you are a magical unicorn & how I know that

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photo: Brigitte Crisp, Dani Noguera

Did you know that you are a magical shapeshifting faerie?? I did.

How you may ask am I privy to this exciting information ???

I know that you are because I know that I am.

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be. The world that you imagine is the world you live in… which means that if you want to make yourself the villain, the victim, the hero, the side-kick, you can.

Now, this is pretty old news- especially if any of you have ever read any form of self-help/inspirational literature.

This past weekend I went to a party at a friends house and was having a nice conversation in the kitchen with one of my girlfriends, just catching up. I had brought a bottle of wine to share and had poured myself a glass. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that some boy (never met him in my life) was trying to get my attention (apparently to cheers me) but I was talking to my friend so I did not divert my focus. The next thing I knew, this guy yells “toast me you FUCKING BITCH.”

(!!!!!!!!)

The room fell silent (except the party music in the background) and jaws fell to the floor as they looked between him and me wondering how I would respond.

I looked at this fellow with my eyes wide, and I ran upstairs to the bathroom. I cried.

As I sat on the bathroom floor trying to pull myself together, from the pure shock and hurt that I felt, I was deciding how I would respond. He was obviously drunk and out of his head, and he called me a bitch.. no boy should ever say that to a girl.

I took a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom with almost dry eyes, and walked straight up to him.

I said hey. Never say that to another girl again, ever. You should be ashamed of yourself. You don’t know me and you just made me cry- how does that make you feel? Do you want to be this person? I said that I forgave him and I gave him a hug and told him to figure his shit out.

He tried to explain to me that he had a lot of stuff going on and that he was projecting and whatever blah blah blah and I told him that I didn’t care, because I don’t.

The reason I tell this story is that in this instance I believe I chose to be the hero instead of the victim, and I believe he wanted to be the villain. I obviously have no proof for this, but it seems a fair assessment.

I am a magical unicorn! Don’t let people get you down. You are a magical unicorn.

I hope you never get called a bitch at a party, and I hope that if you do you know that the person talking to you is showing much more about themselves than they could possibly know about you.

Be free unicorns!

Love, Mad ❤

“shy”

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If we don’t know each other, my name is Madeleine and it’s nice to meet you ❤

I live my life in Los Angeles as an artist- and I’m writing to announce a new project I’ve been working on.

The project is a 5 song E.P. that will be titled “shy”.

It’s coming out in a little less than a month- on November 2nd, and it’ll be available anywhere you normally find music digitally. I am so excited.

I wanted to write something small to introduce you to the concept behind these songs.

If you know me personally, you know that I took a year off from university, and when I left I challenged myself to write songs in different styles and within specific themes. This led me to discover a topic that I resonated with and felt I could write about from different angles. That topic is uncertainty.

This is a topic that appears in our lives constantly- there is no end to uncertainty.

I became increasingly interested in how it blooms in our minds- in a positive and a negative way. It can either be completely crippling or totally freeing.

This is how the project began- writing under that thematic umbrella. It’s maintained that theme over time, but has grown into a tree of other things as well. Art and inspiration is amazing in that way, like a shapeshifting light that we can only try our best to keep up with and capture pieces of, to share with each other.

Creating this project has been especially transformative for me, and I am so ready to share it. I’ve been working with a small group of people that have added so much to the process, I could not be more grateful.

As I was listening to some of the mixes a few days ago- I recognized something that surprised me.

All these songs are rooted in feelings I had over the year that I never told someone.

This reveals a lot about me, and about the project itself- which is why it is titled “shy”. We all have things we choose to reveal and choose to hide.

I am choosing to reveal some of my personal thoughts and feelings through releasing these songs, as well as sentiments I think other people can relate to and hopefully find some clarity in.

I hope you get as excited about it as I am, and that you love it and share it with your people.

November 2nd! Mark your calendar!!

❤ Madeleine Mayi

(visuals by Brigitte Crisp)

your phone has made you an alien

I propose that cell phone use is a significant roadblock to me and my peers ability to communicate with each other.

I would argue that the more easy access we have to each other, the more likely we are to view each other as one-sided and therefore feel estranged from each other.

Instead of learning how to appreciate the complexity of the people around us and ourselves, we begin to view each other in a simplistic light that leads to judgement and a lack of empathy.

Humans are communal beings. We desire a sense of belonging and togetherness, and with social media and the degree of separation that having relationships through a phone create- we start seeing ourselves as outsiders. Imagine a whole society of people who see themselves as outsiders. This will cause some serious mental issues, because the contrast of feeling so connected and feeling so separate will cause confusion that will probably feel like it’s coming from within.

But really, there’s no reason to feel actually connected with the people you follow on twitter. You don’t know what’s actually happening in their lives, no matter how transparent they claim to be. So the only thing that bonds us together about it- is that we all feel separate.

 

The way we see others is often the way we see ourselves (often unknowingly) and so, as I mentioned before, we start viewing ourselves as one-sided beings. This is of course a ridiculous notion- and when you sit down and think about it consciously it makes no sense. We all know (whether you try to suppress them or not) that everyday comes with it’s set of many different emotions. Emotions are tools. They are tools for us to act in the way that aligns with our values. Every emotion should not be acted on, or said.

Now this is where texting ruins everything. It’s called trigger finger. You’ll type a message and then, oops, it’s sent. Things that would not have been said to someone’s face, get said. It’s so easy to clap-back without the consequences that come with an in person interaction. There is such an unbelievable lack of understanding and empathy when it comes to this.

On the division of american/global society, I believe that this is one of the greatest culprits.

There is absolutely no accountability, and from that human communal nature, comes strong sides being formed. People bonding together with no interest in listening to anyone on the other side.

But this is not what community means. Community is not bonding with those who are the exact same as you. When you look at the most functional communities, there is diversity- in background, in age, in beliefs. Of course there needs to be at least one strong bonding factor- but people shouldn’t be so driven to be the same, that they are afraid to have differences. It sounds silly, but if people think they will be excluded for believing something else, or even just questioning something- that instills fear into people. We have created our own little oppressive societies, just by alienating people who don’t agree, or worse, alienating people who are unsure. We self-govern our bubbles through fear and not through love and understanding. Is that really how we want to live on this earth? Spending our whole life alienating ourselves from each other? Being too afraid to have a different opinion or to even be uncertain?

That’s not how I want to live my life.

Anyway. I guess I think the positive way forward would be for us all to open ourselves up to having difficult conversations and to think before we speak. I think it’s our job to unlearn the bad mental habits that technology instills in us, and to learn how to listen to each other and treat ourselves and others with love and if not understanding, at least not condemnation.

 

That’s a lot of words on a Friday morning. Here’s a picture of something cute.

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“So what’s new, Mad?”

Damn.
I don’t think I’m going to try and reflect some deep wisdom in this post, because it seems like every time I do that I read it a month later and I hate it. And then I delete it. Plus… that’s just dumb.
So here’s to hoping this post still exists in a month. Ha.
“So what’s new, Mad?” seems to be the question of the summer so far and it’s just such a funny one.
Hmmm.. what’s new. Nothing…? Everything…?!?! Me?!?!?!
Yeah. It’s a toughie.
I mean I released an EP… Pretty positive I’ll be returning to USC in the Fall (fingers crossed)… I have bangs?! I don’t know… Got a new tattoo, um.. I’m learning to play guitar..
Yeah. I guess those are the usual ones I spit out.

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A couple days ago I went to the Getty Center (go) and saw this cool special exhibit on paintings from the 18th century, specially commissioned by magistrates and the pope, to capture important moments/places in their cities. At least I am pretty sure it was that.
It was pretty cool. Especially because I have always had this weird obsession with drawing buildings..? But these paintings were so masterfully done and captured not only these places but scenes that defined the places’ history AND the way that people reacted to them. The facial expressions and attention to detail was wild.
Anyway. There was this one moment I had with one of the paintings that I have been thinking about frequently since going.
Prepare yourself for the cheese.
I saw this one painting of some fleet of ships fighting near this dock and it had something to do with Charles III of somewhere getting somethinged. Not sure if he was killed or died or left or whatever. But there was a whole crowd of people on the shore. There had to be hundreds of terrified faces. I looked at them for so long that I forgot what the whole painting was about… each little person looked sad for a different reason… And then I stepped back and I remembered what it was about.
Weird.
It was like I looked at the details of how they felt for so long that I forgot what the bigger picture meant. Hm. Wonder if I do that in real life.
It’s easy for my emotions to be swayed easily, because I am an empathetic person and so I feel not only my own feelings but a lot of other people’s feelings too. And man, I think that’s probably why I love alone time so much. You sit me in a corner and I will love it. I go to movies alone, I go to restaurants alone, I pretty much don’t do anything unless I would do it alone.
I need alone time to figure out which feelings are mine and which are other people’s.
It’s just I want everyone to be happy. But after a long time I’ve realized that’s not really my job. But that also kind of IS my job exactly… because that is one of the big reasons I am a musician— to spread love and happiness. And sometimes that confuses my efforts and I feel like I personally owe people things, when I’ve already sort of dedicated my life to their cause indirectly… and I gotta take care of myself too. So don’t feel bad for me if you see me out on the town by myself- it’s probably my happy place. 😉
Funny because (after I deleted my most recent post) the one before that is a post about attention to detail. Contradictory?
No, I think there’s a difference between appreciating detail and being blind to how small things fit into the grand scheme.
So I guess what’s new is I am trying to figure out which small things I want to fit into what big picture.
So be happy people! Do things that make you happy.. don’t judge each other’s happiness and if you’re having a hard time maybe try and look at the big picture.
I guess that’s kind of all I have to say. Ramble. Whatever.
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 Maybe this made sense, maybe not. But I mean— why else do I put in pictures?? ;P

Sub🐾tlet✨ies👀

I love detail.

Wrapping presents and making them look nice.. coloring… looking at the kind of light fixtures people have in their homes…
There are so many details around us that matter, or maybe don’t seem to matter, but do. (at least to someone)

And not only with the world around us but all the little worlds spinning inside each of us. It’s amazing how beautifully complex human beings are. Seeing the way people react and express themselves is such a joy.

I know that I have some weird marginal quirks, little details that I doubt will disappear as I grow older.

When I feel uncomfortable I look at my lap and tuck my hair behind my ears.
When I walk on sidewalks I still try to avoid the cracks. (I used to think it was bad luck)
When I have a good thought that I am trying to articulate (but probably not doing a good job) I stretch out my fingers and widen my eyes..

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Everybody has tons of beautiful little quirks that are unique to them, which I think is the coolest thing ever.
Each person is such a work of art. This is why I could sit in a coffee shop for hours, just watching people be themselves (or not) in a routine moment of their day. It’s like a mini art museum…

When I was in New York over Thanksgiving, we visited a few (actual) art museums (Whitney & Met) and as always I was happily overwhelmed. Art museums never fail to give me a headache, (there’s just so much to look at!!) but it’s so worth it.

There was one piece that really stuck with me. It’s a painting by Paul Signac during his pointillist phase.

img_5285I don’t know how to describe what I mean by this, but I think this is what I want 2017 to be like for me.
It’s colorful, well thought out but equally spontaneous, and most importantly, an obvious attention to detail.

The trip to New York was so fun and full of so many moments of love and laughter that I will cherish forever.

Now it’s on to Christmas which is my favorite holiday ever. So I’m pretty stoked.
(Also I’m back in Santa Barbara which means hiking and Handlebar)

I hope all of you lovely people have had a wonderful past few months, or at least a past few months that has let you be optimistic for the future.
I believe that if you try and be a light, even if you can only be a little light, the world will be a better place.

The Tooth Fairy

 

Growing up, I really liked the idea of the Tooth Fairy (see I even capitalize her name.. and yes she’s a lady).
I don’t really know why to be honest, I wasn’t super into pretending when it came to toys like dolls or even with characters like Santa Claus (sorry if I spoiled it for ya), it just didn’t really appeal to me. I mean I definitely had an imagination, that’s for sure. My train of thought has always moved a million miles per hour leading me to say some seemingly random and unrelated things, that really have a long string of connection in my brain… Stories were always more my style, and noticing what the people around me were up to.
But for some reason, the Tooth Fairy stuck with me. I had a lot of hope that she would come, and I really thought she was real. I think it’s because one time I lost a tooth and then the power went out so I thought it was her… magic tiny fairies do that right?!?
Eventually I figured out that the Tooth Fairy had a lot in common with Santa Claus, and it didn’t crush me.
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve been thinking quite a bit about expectations.
In high-school I had a couple really close friends who were always by my side. We were kind of a power trio and I can confidently say that we will be in touch for the rest of our times on this little planet.
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Anyway, I have a very vivid memory of trying to explain to them how I felt about expectations.. kinda went like this:
Mad: “I don’t know, I guess I kinda like to keep my expectations pretty low so that I don’t get disappointed.. I’d rather start low and be surprised you know what I mean?”
Friends: “Well I mean I get it, but isn’t that kind of depressing? Seems kind of like a sad mentality to just expect the worst of people..”
These words were said with much love, and I really started to think about them. I haven’t stopped thinking about them. I also haven’t changed.
It’s odd, because I totally saw then and see now, the reason they said what they did.. it could be kind of sad to just project this mindset of expected failure onto people and situations….
But I’ve come to a conclusion.. and for me, I think my friends were wrong. I know myself, and I know that if I let people into my bubble of trust too soon, it’s a recipe for a lot of sad Mad.
So I like to guard my heart a little bit, and I think that’s okay.
BUT!!! Keeping your expectations low doesn’t mean you can’t have hope or faith in things that may even seem impossible. (like the Tooth Fairy)
Being sensitive is part of being an authentic human, and knowing how to care for that sensitivity is an important part of being your best self… but at the same time everyone needs a little Tooth Fairy dust in their life. 😉
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Don’t lose hope and don’t lose heart people! Love yourself and others! Life’s been good for me, back at USC grinding away. Things are busy but very pleasant. 🙂
P.s. I love these two friends more than life- you know who you are
Photo Credit:
Image 1: Dean Mitcham
Image 2: John Butler

Why not

Alright, thought I would try out another post. Turns out I have just as much to say and think about in the states as in Europe…. (?!how?! According to a drunk British guy at a party, America is far behind in terms of class and humor. So how?!) 😘 Hope you’re reading drunk British guy (hope you’re not still drunk)

imageSitting in various hip Californian coffee shops, (this one is called Mantra in Azusa- very good vibes) reflecting on my time in Europe, it occurs to me how incredibly easy it was. I was anticipating it to be much more challenging and stressful to travel alone, but after the initial shock of being there I settled into my own company and quickly adjusted to the prospect of getting around without anyone to depend on.

imageAnd really, when have I ever been a dependent person?! Never that I can remember.
A pivotal moment in the (continual) process of getting to know myself was a moment at my end of the year senior high school dinner. I graduated from a class of 15 kids from a small private Christian school in Santa Barbara. Needless to say, we knew each other pretty well- at least in terms of daily habits and quirks.
But this dinner was time where our families were involved in our interaction. After food we all sat in a circle, and for once our parents were the ones that were made to speak: they were asked to reflect on their child’s greatest accomplishments/growth in their eyes. Beautiful idea, really. Public affirmation is really important.

Anyway, all my friends parents said really beautiful things and it was a very special moment for each kid and parent. When it got to my parents turn I was expecting them to talk about getting into USC or my music growth or something (and they did) but they started with:
“Well, honestly- we didn’t really raise her- she kind of raised herself. She’s always chosen which lessons she wanted to learn from us. So we can’t take that much credit…”

This moment for me was shocking and flattering and terrifying and certainly spurred a lot of thought.
What a Lone Ranger I am.

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Ever since that moment I have studied the “I work alone” aspect of my personality to really see if it is something I want to keep as an integral part of myself.
(This is not to say that I don’t need my parents, and I am in many aspects still very dependent. I am referring to a more general and inherent type of independence)
And it’s interesting how that plays out in my thoughts and how it affects what I do and how.

Ironically, that moment of affirmed independence from my parents was probably one of the most formative moments of my recent experience. And I think I’ve concluded that I really do like to be alone. It’s been a journey to get here, but I feel almost like a whole person… 🤔

I don’t know why I felt compelled to write about this.. But I suppose I just want to promote independence- as long as the importance of community is also acknowledged.. Every single person is made in a really intriguing way- and knowing yourself is helpful in knowing how you will interact with all the other unique creatures scurrying around this little world. 🙂

image(literal scurrying creatures in Luxembourg)

Summer is good, a little too restful, but I’ve started giving piano lessons and focusing time on my fitness and generally settling into a different sort of routine.

There are some amazing hikes here in Santa Barbara and it’s been nice to catch up with old friends.

Life is good.

P.s. Shoutout to Apple for adding a timer to the camera feature…. game changer.

Last Chapter (?)

Well, I’m back. Sitting in my home in Santa Barbara- looking out the window into a sun filled garden, planning how to steal my neighbors avocados. (Hopefully she’s not reading)

I’ve always loved traveling, and part of the excitement for me is that I have an almost unbeatable place to return to. It’s like a contest with the rest of the world. 😉

But really, wow! I’m back! I made it all the way through a month long trip with no lost body parts, no lost items, no phone service, and not very much money! I’m proud of myself.
Yesterday on the plane it hit me how far I actually was from my normal life… Pretty incredible. I don’t owe it all to myself at all, that would be a huge lie. So many people along the way helped me to figure out what I was doing, hosted me in their homes, gave me food…
And I think that leads me to my main discovery. Traveling is about humility. I think so often travel can be often confused with “vacation”, but I really think they are two completely different things with different purposes and mindsets.

I had the privilege of staying with friends and family on my trip, so I felt less like a tourist- but honestly, I can’t escape the fact that I am a tourist. No matter how many hostels you stay in, or cool hip spots you find, you’re still a tourist. And that’s OKAY. Doing “touristy” things is OKAY. There’s a reason why those things are more popular, and you shouldn’t be turned off by that just because you want to be cool or different or whatever.
Just be humble.
As I was walking around the Louvre in Paris, or in Hyde park in London I noticed lots of people out on their morning run. These places are people’s home!
Travel shouldn’t be about checking off your agenda, but about letting a place inform you and teach you things you couldn’t find anywhere else. Every city and place you go has a spirit that is unique, and you’ll only really feel it if you give up your tight agenda.
I gave up trying to fit in, because I obviously didn’t. I speak American English and my French is poor. My home is in California and I don’t have dual citizenship anywhere. I am an American. Big whoop.

On another note I feel like I’ve learned a lot about being alone. I enjoy it. It’s taken me a while to get to the point where I can say that with full confidence, but this trip (and the fact that I actually did it) has given me the final boost to where I really believe myself when I say it.

And so what do I want to leave you blog reading people with? (Whoever you crazy people are)
Just do things. Please don’t let fear rule your life. Fear of poverty, fear of loneliness, fear of looking silly, fear of whatever. Ultimately people probably don’t care as much as you think they do, and will probably respect you more if you make your own decisions as a strong independent person. (And if they don’t that’s also not your problem)
Don’t be afraid.

I have loved this blog. 🙂 who knows maybe I’ll drop a few posts in once and a while, but roughly it’s coming to a close.

I’ll finally leave you with some of my favorite things:

British parks:

Friends:

Coffee:

Being alone in new places:

Thanks for following my adventures folks. 🙂 it’s been a pleasure to write for you.