Telling on myself

I am a white middle aged woman. I’m a daughter, sister and mother. I’m an active duty soldier. I’m an animal advocate. I’m a jazz musician. I’m an empath. I’m a recovering Catholic who loves the art and ritual but hates the learned guilt.

These are the labels I attach to myself. They tell a story about who I am, and what has been my life.

Over the past several months and years, I have felt this uneasy motion in the world. It’s like I am on a surface that is slowly being tilted, and I’m sliding towards some invisible edge.

If I’m honest, I am finding little pleasure in the things that used to bring me such joy, especially making music. It’s not that I don’t care about music. I adore it. But I don’t find any great pull to create. Therefore, I don’t touch my horn. Instead, I read, I study, I worry about my children, I sleep. When I feel restless, I find myself doing monotonous tasks that require little thought, and I feel ok because my time is passing by with little boredom, and the rough edges fade away from my thoughts for a little while. I feel every pain and ache my body has to give, and I feel them with very little physical output.

What is happening?!

I’m not lazy.

I’m terrified!

I have no control over the shit that is going on in a world that I grew up believing was safe and good. I am slowly becoming paralyzed in some place I don’t recognize, and I’m not sure if this is the normal process of aging, or if it’s just really fucked up.

I feel like a child relying on her parents to protect her, but who doesn’t really know if her parents are in the house.

The country is a hot mess. Playing a piece of metal feels pretty feeble and unimportant. What good is it if the national pain is rising? Our children deserve a better life than what we are collectively living. The current situation is unsustainable. Something may break beyond repair, and this is what is so frightening.

Am I all alone on this path?

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7 Responses to Telling on myself

  1. John Daniel says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here. My earliest memories of life are of my parents and older brother fighting, constantly bickering at one another, and my father threatening to leave. Sometimes he did leave. And horrific spankings for no reason that I can remember. But more than that I remember my earliest conversations with God, trying to make sense of it all, asking why. I was three. The answers I got were about love. You see, I remembered something about the unified field we come from, and perhaps something about a past life, and I had hoped for more. God said without a dualistic world, we would never be complete because we would never CHOOSE TO LOVE. My dad was suffering because of his own horrific childhood, and he grew out of it. Along the way, he was quite the antiracist. We visited migrant farms. We went to Mississippi and visited sharecroppers. When in Mexico we adopted street kids one day at a time. And I absolutely knew from growing up in the 60’s and 70’s that civil rights acts and laws and affirmative action could only accomplish so much and would come with a price. So I decided to spend my days on earth raising consciousness, in myself and in others. It’s why I do music, and it’s why I teach. There is an undertow, and the racists feel it, they know it is their last chance and they are fighting to their deaths. This undertow is people waking up and choosing love. Most people get it. Rest up dear soul. It is every bit as bad as you think it is, but it isn’t over.


    • Thanks for sharing your private details, John. I find strength in knowing I am not alone in my struggles. Hopefully, more of us can come together knowing we have strength, after all – collectively. Stay safe.


    • Theresa Christopher says:

      No, you are not alone. I am not a musician or soldier. I am a white, 60 year old woman. However,your words resonate in my soul, and are very close to describing many of my same thoughts and feeling. I worry deeply about so many people accepting , defending , or explaining away behavior and policy we witness from elected and appointed leaders. If this truly is the new norm ,we are in grave danger of our democracy crumbling. I have always voted for the person not the party. My father( you got to know pretty well!) was a life long Republican , but took very seriously serving his Commander in Chief during his 24 years of active duty in the United States Navy. He wouldn’t speak publicly about any Commander in chief, regardless of his opinions and view. Privately I knew of his opinions! He served beginning in WWII and left active duty in 1966. He began to worry about his much loved Republican Party allowing fringe groups to slowly highjack the party. In our family, dinner time( truly anytime) was debate and discussion time. For brevity’s sake I will simply say that he resigned from membership in the Republican Party because of Trump’s nomination. He wrote a lengthy letter outlining his grievances. He strongly felt Trump was erratic, dangerous,and narcissistic. He also felt Trump did not possess the ability to listen and learn . He worried Trump would indeed run the country like a squabbling family business. He grieved Trump’s election! He worried that more and more Republicans would stop checking Trump’s behavior. I see that exact behavior and worry for our country!
      We are alive in troubling times indeed!


  2. Mark Taylor says:


    Great post! I’m having some of the same issues. Can’t seem to sit down and write anymore since I don’t have any projects on the horizon. I have 3 charts going at once which I’ve never done!
    Publishing biz is in the dumper right now, Thankfully we have the army check to make it through the month!
    Sorry for this bs whining! Keep writing, it’s time to put a book of musings together!
    Call sometime, 7038998344?

    Stay safe and vote!


  3. I’ve experienced some of these feelings too, in the last few months. It’s such a stressful time, in multiple ways. What’s helping me are three things:

    1. Reading the news once per day, in the morning–that’s it.
    2. Constantly bringing my focus back to what I can control.
    3. Focusing on helping other people.

    Love your playing and your writing. Hang in there!



  4. Paul S Armstrong says:

    Jonathan is on point

    I am in Australia now and watching this from the sideline. The shit that is going down is bad whether Blue, Red or in between and it is gaining the momentum of a run away train. The thought of NOV 3 kind of freaks me out and scares the hell out of me but the 3 points that John outlines are exactly how I am dealing with things post stroke. Even though I am now an Expat I found myself getting so stressed out trying to sort out the conflicting reports that I do receive over here (CNN or FoX…that is it) that I ended up having a TIA (mini-stroke) 4 weeks ago. My brain said, “whoa, this is enough” and shut down for a day. I have no memory of about 4 hours of my life.

    I now ground myself like I am at a AA meeting

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.


  5. Kevin Failoni says:

    Hi Liesl, I stumbled onto your site from OJs trumpet page. I’m a jazz trumpet player and I play a NY Bach so I was curious about your playing career. But as I read what you wrote I think I’m here for a different reason. Reading about your uncertainties about the world and how you feel I think many people can identify. I’m just going to give you my take and you can do what you want with it . Im a Christian and an evangelist. When I read about what you said about being a recoved Roman Catholic I just nodded in agreement. You said you were tired of the guilt. Roman Catholicism isnt Christianity.. I studied its doctrines for 35 years and grew up in an Italian Catholic family. It is a false Christianity whose system can produce nothing but guilt. We live in uncertain times and I believe to only lasting hope in in the knowledge of the true gospel of scripture. The whole bible points to one thing the cross. The message is God wants to forgive us of our sins, are we interested? By simply repenting( turning from our sin) and believing in the gospel that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the 3rd day, believing those truths alone save us. God removes all guilt from us at that moment, not add guilt, he forgives us of all sins past present and future..We are fully accepted, adopted, and justified because of what Christ did. His Spirit removes punishment or guilt. That’s the good news. Scripture says the world, our culture is a fallen world because of sin. Leisl you can never find peace in this world, but you can in Christ through believing in him, not knowing what the future holds but who holds the future. And this is his promise to believers, peace, eternal life, and that God will work all things together for your good Romans 8:28. Joy in scripture in the Greek is the absence of fear. This is the fruit of belief in the gospel. Mark 1:15. All the best Kevin


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