Doris Muramatsu's Journal
Saying Goodbye to Girlyman
Written Sep 11, 2013 12:27pm
(for those of you who read this, I just added a little p.s. at the end)
When JJ and I got notice from our landlord that he had decided to sell the beautiful house we had been living in for the past two years, we realized that whatever we decided to do (move in-town or move out-of-state) that we first needed to deal with Girlyvan and equipment that had been sitting parked in Nate's driveway for over a year. It was a slow process. In order to even get the back doors open, we had to recharge the battery overnight because the van hadn't been driven in so long. We took out our in-ear monitor rack and I began the process of cleaning the inside of the van. Old Falcon Ridge programs, half-drunk water bottles, some candied ginger, as well as a professional chef's knife, cutting board, and desk lamp, were some of the remaining items. Everything was covered in spiderwebs. Miss Havisham would have approved.
Then began the process of dismantling our in-ear monitors and pedal boards, and either saving the connectors or chucking the unusables parts. The rest we had to test to make sure it worked and put up for sale. I thought I would be horribly sad or overwhelmed with messy emotions, but I was surprised to be washed in gratitude and feeling the rightness of it all. It was time to officially end Girlyman.
During the last few months of Girlyman, I was starting to see more clearly how unhappy I was being on the road, on tour, and even up on stage. I think everyone, to a certain extent, could see the signs of weakness in our emotional infrastructure. I know for me, personally, I was not able to even see clearly who I was outside of all the dynamics that engulf such a tight-knit group. I found myself simply longing to know what *I* thought, or what *I* wanted to do, and at the time I couldn't even answer those questions for myself. So I knew that the right thing for me to do was to get off the road, stop being in the band, and spend some time with Me. This was a different kind of scary than the cancer, but equally life-threatening if I *didn't* do it.
Since being off the road, I have had a remarkable year. In terms of output, maybe not. I haven't recorded my solo album yet, and I'm still working on my website, but I did just finish a beautiful kids' album that has largely been inspired by all the little kid friends in my life. I've had the opportunity to see myself in a new way, that is, be the sort of identity-less version of Doris that I've been longing for since I got cancer. Why did I long to not have an identity? Because maybe then I could see beyond the jail of my own beliefs. And maybe it would allow me to glimpse my higher self, the consciousness that resides without my personality and ego.
You might be surprised to know that even with all the fan support and love we received over the years and especially towards the end, I had an extremely difficult time taking in any of it. And when I realized that void within in me couldn't even be filled when people screamed and cheered and adored me/us, I knew I had to learn to do it for myself. It's totally that cliche that makes me roll my eyes, but states the absolute truth: You can't truly love others (or accept their love) unless you love yourself!
Honestly, I thought I would give up doing music. It was very strange to be at a dinner party or to meet new people and introduce myself as simply Doris. Not Doris from Girlyman, or Doris Who Tours Nationally and Internationally, which used to give me a false sense of importance (maybe even security) but just plain old Doris. But music, I guess, is in my blood. JJ, Nate, and I decided to make a kids' record together since we had some songs written from early last summer, and it was feeling good to work on a new project. I volunteered for Girls Rock Camp, which helps girls ages 10-16 form bands, write a song, and perform the song at a venue at the end of the week, and then I joined a song group started by Margaret Cho and a friend of hers in late June. It's not a week-long song group nor a month long one, it's a daily song group that goes until forever. Which sounds like a HUGE commitment, (I haven't done it every day) but has turned out to be something I look forward to when I do participate. So far, I've written over 45 songs. The songs feel different and come from a really un-self-conscious place, which I can safely say I've *never* felt before. The fact that I'm not writing them for any other purpose than my own self-expression is a big factor, and who knows, maybe soon I will be ready to share them with the public. :)
Anyway, I know a lot of you will and have already experienced a sort of grief from what we at first called a hiatus. But now that we are making our breakup official, I guess I want to say that despite knowing that the band breaking up was a necessary part of my life, that is not to downplay or make light of the beautiful creation that was Girlyman. We were a project born out of love, and we touched the hearts and loved the hell out of each and every one of you that crossed our path. I got to travel all over the world and meet amazing people and see moose in Alaska, learn about fly-tipping in England, and play in a sheep barn in the Netherlands! I got to experience the seasons up north, the humid, lush south, the friendliness of the midwest, and the magic of the west. Amazing times.
We laughed our asses off in the van, cried from the pain, bickered over the petty stuff, hauled our shit every night into hotels when it was below zero outside, and drove many, many miles to be with you and play for you. You were all witness to one of the most creative and fun groups I'll *ever* be involved in! And you also helped me through one of the scariest life challenges of my life, and have stood by with open hearts and support. So thank you, deeply and truly. You will not be forgotten. Girlyman will not be forgotten.
P.S. I went to a beautiful park in Atlanta with Django after I wrote this entry and this butterfly landed fairly close to me. I took out my phone to snap a photo and she started to fly away. So I said, please? I just want to take a picture of you, and she landed right in front of me and opened her wings like you see here.
I looked up the butterfly totem and here's what it said (fittingly.)The butterfly is one of the most emblematic totem animals symbolizing personal transformation. If you see the butterfly as your totem or spirit animal, pay attention to the areas in your life or personality that are in need of profound change or transformation. Perhaps, this animal totem guides you to be sensitive to your personal cycles of expansion and growth, as well as the beauty of life’s continuous unfolding. An important message carried by the spirit of the butterfly is about the ability to go through important changes with grace and lightness.
What is the meaning of the butterfly? This animal totem is primarily associated with symbolism of change and transformation.
- Powerful transformation, metamorphosis in your life, personality
- Moving through different life cycles
- Renewal, rebirth
- Lightness of being, playfulness
- Elevation from earthly matters, tuning into emotional or spiritual
- The world of the soul, the psyche
A secondary meaning of the butterfly is about finding joy in life and lightness of being.
Beautiful. Thank you guys for all the amazing feedback, love, and understanding!! -D
Another entry, finally!
Written Mar 1, 2013 2:57pm
It's been a long time since my last entry! I guess I sort of felt like since achieving a "total response" after 7 months (leukemia has no remissions, it just remains dormant) there was nothing I needed to update about my health. I still take my Sprycel, although I managed to convince my oncologist to reduce it by half, and have complete blood counts and FISH and PCR tests every six months. I would say that I'm an official cancer survivor!
My life, however, definitely split screens itself into Before Cancer and After Cancer. I feel like something exploded after my diagnosis; the great water balloon of self-deception imploded within me or on top of me, and I've been drenched and shocked ever since. It might surprise some of you to know that I still have trouble looking in the mirror, which is obviously a huge metaphor for being able to face myself. For a while I got rid of all the mirrors in my house, which was a temporary solution, bringing temporary relief. But as 2013 carries on, I hear a lot of talk about how we've transitioned into the Age of Light, and I've certainly felt the shift in energy across the board. I think that shift is telling me that it's no longer acceptable to keep hiding. The more I do that, the more twitchy and uncomfortable I feel. With the determination I inherited from my dear mother, who proved to her doctor that she could reduce her cholesterol by eating only oatmeal for 9 months straight, (yes, she lowered it, and no, she can't even look at a bowl of it now) I have set about with my flashlight of awakening and am shining that beam of light in places that I haven't illuminated since childhood. I'm finding that there's a lot of fear and anxiety, but I'm also finding that standing there and feeling it and having compassion for it/me transforms the energy into something peculiarly harmless. I meditate daily and have even started doing some chanting. I was a little self-conscious at first, but wanted to feel how singing a chant could raise my vibration. (Also, last summer, I had a life-altering Akashic reading where I was told that something I needed to heal in this lifetime was my voice because I had been overpowered by others for most of my life, especially as a little girl. She said that singing releases tension and reorganizes my energy, which even though I've never thought about that, is an incredibly accurate statement.) So I wondered if by chanting sacred words that have the intention to heal and connect to the Divine through specific vibrations, that that could help me. Trust me, I think I need all the help I can get! I've found myself weeping at times, relaxed and realigned in others, so I will continue for as long as it helps. :)
It's been necessary and odd and lonely to be off the road and to not have been in contact with all of you. How are you? I've been more creative than ever, doing all sorts of art projects and discovering that I really love the art of papercutting. I've also been writing a lot of songs, some for Django Jones (the kids' record) and some for my eventual solo record. I haven't even talked about/announced my solo record yet because it still feels like a fanciful idea in my head, something I'm pretty scared to do. Why am I scared? (Hmm, scroll back up to not wanting to look at myself in the mirror part.) It feels like an important part of my growth and empowerment, so when it happens, you'll know how much progress I've made!
Here are some links to the things I've mentioned if you're interested:
This is a podcast on SoundsTrue.com that I listened to about devotional chant. The woman's name is Snatam Kaur. Sounds True is a wonderful site with *great* interviews with all sorts of spiritual people. Tami Simon is a talented interviewer, I'm always really impressed with her questions and her ability to just let people talk.
For more information on the Akashic records, visit akashictransformations.com.
Jen Eramith is an incredibly articulate and accurate reader of the records and does hour-long sessions. If you sign up on her site, you can get monthly channelings on topics ranging from enlightenment after 2012, to soul mates, to forgiveness. You know, petty stuff like that. ;) Beautiful teachings from a higher perspective.
For more information on the sweet little kids' album that Nate, JJ, and I are making, visit Djangojonesband.com.
We are taking pre-orders and would love your help so we can put it out.
Love you all!
Written Nov 26, 2011 1:54pmCoincidentally, (or not) I am home in NJ for Thanksgiving this year. The air is heavy with last night's rain, and the fall chill is finally settling in after some unseasonably warm weather. It's all familiar. I can even tell when it rains, not by seeing it through the window, but by the way the car tires sound on the asphalt as they drive by my house. It reminds me of baking, and how I just know a cake is done not by how long it's been in the oven, but how it feels to the touch. When you do something so often, you begin to understand it on a number of different levels. You no longer rely on your brain to tell you if it's true, you just feel its truth.
I'm struck by how familiar everything feels yet what a very different person I've become over the last year. This year, I can breathe. The prune-colored bruises on my body are gone. I crave all sorts of foods, not just toothpaste and menthol coughdrops. I am awake for most of the day. When it's freezing cold at night, I don't kick off the covers because I'm burning up with a fever. My legs don't swell up this second I stand up, and my spleen is happily tucked under my ribcage, protected like a mouse in its hole. I've had a lot of help through western medicine and the pharmaceutical industry to get my body back to this normal functioning, to which I am humbly grateful.
I've gone through a journey of sorts this year, traveling to the very core of my existence and back. A blood disease feels like a metaphorical turning against myself, and as I've healed the wounds of my past, my blood has run clear. This has been no easy feat. I've spent a lot of time on the bathroom floor crying out in agony, waiting for the day when I didn't feel like I wanted to die because I couldn't get out of my own head. I was angry at my leukemia for forcing me to face myself, because the more I ran away from myself, the sicker I got. Now, on the other side of it, I am thankful to it for giving me the opportunity to heal.
It takes a long time for something to become routine. I've listened to the wet wheels of the cars driving by my childhood home since I was a baby, and I've baked hundreds and hundreds of cakes and cookies and pies since I graduated college. It's just been a year since my cancer diagnosis, a simultaneously short and long year, and I know it will take years and years more of diligent practice to trust only my Higher Self. In order for this trust to fully occur, I have to be willing to lead with my heart more than my head, and continually choose my essence of being over my ego. That is the work that I face daily.