Angela and I

Angela and I

Monday, October 31, 2016

Through the Cracks

If you're reading this blog you probably know me at least a little bit and if you know me literally AT ALL you know that over the past three years, recovery and discovering self love has definitely become my #brand.  It's hilarious now looking back at my very first blog posts, where I would very vaguely hint at the fact that I was maybe taking time off to fix something about myself, when now I will talk about my recovery at the drop of a hat.  Even though I am incredibly candid about my journey and how far I have come, I try to make it very clear that I have bad days.  I have clinical depression.  I have OCD (and no, not the kind you think you joke about having).  These are all things that I have not recovered from, but I have become pretty good at managing them in my day to day life.

My depression has evolved over the past few years.  When I was still deeply entrenched in my disorder and during most of my recovery it was pretty classic sadness.  It was messy and tear filled.  It was hours spent in bed and crying over my reflection and mascara running down my face and snot in my throat.  It was calling my mom three times a day because I was just so sad and having breakdowns over virtually everything and everyone.  

Lately, it's a little different.  It's dry and apathetic.  It's going through the motions and vacant stares and disassociation and watching sad movies in an effort to feel anything at all.  I had a spell of this lately, and let me tell you, I think I might even prefer the mess of a girl from a few years ago compared to the zombie who sits in her room and can't get excited about almost anything.  It's just...kind of terrifying to be honest. 

I wish that the whole point of this post was to tell you how I get over these periods of time, these depression valleys I have to traverse every so often.  But, it's (unfortunately) not that easy. I have a huge list of coping mechanisms and tricks I use to make it more bearable, but sometimes it's just a stay in bed all day kind of day.  But if this crazy thing called life has taught me anything it is that there is always...always hope. I use "cracking" imagery a lot in my writing and when I talk about stuff.  I say that when I'm inspired to write, something cracks open and it rushes out of me.  I say that my disorder chipped away at me until I was full of cracks, and that recovery was about putting the pieces together.  Depression doesn't feel different to me.  I feel like no matter how bad I get, there is always a moment where it cracks.  There's no other way I know how to describe it.  Something cracks open and slowly the light seeps back in.  I know that when I'm in the thick of it, I feel like it will never end.  And you have to work hard and take care of yourself, but something will always crack the steely finish of your sadness.  Whether it's a song or your friend's laughter or a blue sky or the hope of spring.  The light will inevitably always find it's way back in.  

Peace, Love, and Burnt Part Boys references,

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Passing the Torch

*Bob Saget Voice* Kids, in the fall of 2013, I wrote a song called "Black or White". 

I love writing songs more than I love doing most things.  I love rushing home from work because I thought of a melodic line and a snippet of lyrics and if I don't get it down on paper that moment it might be gone forever. I love sequestering myself in my room and scribbling as fast as I can and strumming until it sounds right.  I love when I think of a perfect word that flawlessly conveys what I want to say.  I love when everything clicks into place.  For a while, I thought that was my favorite thing and my favorite feeling.  That was a high I thought could never be topped.  And then...we started rehearsing "Full" for the first time.  

I've now done this show...a few times.  Every time we start rehearsals and we add more people into our family, Blake and I take a few days to teach the music to the cast.  Once they have the music in their bodies and I hear them take ownership of the songs I experience something I (who I consider to be pretty okay with words) will always have trouble describing.  But let's just say that that is my very favorite feeling in the entire world.  When I first started writing the show, it was never my intent to be in it and it was definitely never my intent to play Harper, the lead role.  So when I joke that I wrote the role for myself, I actually didn't.  I never pictured myself on that stage.  This autumn, Blake High School is doing a production of the show and it is the first time I am not playing the role (aka not leaving the stage for 2 hours and going through the entire spectrum of emotions I experienced over the 5 years of my disorder and singing my heart out and crying tears of joy as I reluctantly but hopefully leave the stage as the final chord sounds).   I think the main reason I never cast anyone else in the role is because it's a lot to ask of a person.  It's a lot to take abuse from Emily for two whole acts and then somehow find the strength to belt out "Black or White" after everything else is falling apart around you.  Trust me.  I've done it a few times now.

On Thursday I had the honor of accompanying Emma, who is playing Harper at Blake at a cabaret performance of "Black or White".  It actually might have been the first time I've only played the music without singing along, and once again I experienced my favorite feeling on earth.  I love singing my music.  It's mine.  No one can take that away from me.  But I love sharing it even more. Hearing others take my songs and make them their own.  Taking ownership of the words and melody and finding truth in them from their own journeys. These are my songs, but they are also yours.

Peace, Love, and Colors ALL around,
KT <33

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Meet the Family

My name is Katie Berger and I have three beautiful children I would like you to meet.

Obviously, if you're reading this, you know Angela (she's the title of this blog, after all).  My Mom got me this beautiful concert soprano ukulele one fateful Christmas day and the rest is history.  I've told the story of why Angela is so important to me numerous times but I think it's pretty cool and it's been a while so there might be people reading who don't know!  When I was in treatment, my therapist tasked me with finding a "tangible object" that could, in some ways, replace the security blanket my disorder had become.  Easier said than done, of course, but I love homework so I went home that night ready to find something that would help me through the darkest moments.  Frustrated that nothing really made me feel safe or confident, I picked up my uke and practiced until I felt better.  It then hit me that my uke would obviously have to be my object.  Since that moment, I threw myself into music and it very much saved my life.  I always say that without recovery, my love for songwriting would not be anywhere close to what it is now.  I wrote Full on this instrument, and I pretty much still exclusively write all my music on it as well.

Oh and if you're curious, she's named after the unseen character in the musical Hair.  "Tell him Angela and I don't want our two dollars back, just him," 

Last Christmas I made it very clear that I wanted one thing and one thing only - a Tenor.  Mom delivered, as she usually does when it comes to Christmas presents (see above).  I was gifted with a new acoustic/electric baby, who I named Bobby Maler - after the unseen character mentioned in the musical Spring Awakening.  I love a theme.  

My newest child is a brand new Fender amp I got for my birthday this year!  I named her Penny because as soon as I ripped the box open and plugged in I started playing "Penny and Me" without even thinking.  Because...well...Penny and me like to roll the windows down, turn the radio on and push the pedal to the ground.  You know?  I can't wait to bring her along to gigs all over town in the near future (It's always Penny and me toniiiiiiiight).  

What have I learned in writing this post?  That Pam Berger is too good for this world.  
Peace, Love, and Ukes,

Monday, October 24, 2016

Back again for more.

Hello everyone!  Wow, I haven't written here in a while.  I've been a little busy...

What's more is that when I stopped writing here before, it was because I didn't need it anymore.  And that was honestly a great feeling.  Writing this blog was a huge help to my recovery -- it was therapeutic in a lot of ways.  I felt like I was slowly clearing out all the passageways blocked up from years of my disorder.  Untangling strands in my brain until this whole recovery thing made sense.  There came a point where I didn't need to do that anymore, so I stopped blogging, and started focusing on my playwriting and composing.

After getting back from New York, I have had so many creative ideas but not many have come to fruition.  I am in the ideation phase of creativity which is, unfortunately for me your text book achiever, kind of frustrating.  I just want to DO things.  I have so many things I want to write about!  So many things I want to say!  And because of this, I decided to dust off this old thing.  My blog before was successful and helpful to me and the people who read it.  I think that's awesome.  It's going to be a little different now.  A nice cocktail of music and writing and life post recovery and finding happiness even with all the crazy crap going on in the world right now. I hope you'll join usual, I have a lot to say.