why she's cool
Kat is a musician / teacher / sweet human who radiates joy wherever she goes. She's insightful and creative and a real pleasure to be around.
Describing myself is tough, as I am still learning to be the best spokesperson for myself. Hoping it would provide me with some direction, with a shudder and a cringe, I completed a popular ‘Personality Types’ test. The test confirmed my fears, or rather my intuition. I am neither one nor the other in all ‘dimensions’ of personality. As the test put it “You’re right on the borderline, we can’t say for sure what style you are.” ...
I am Kathleen but more broadly, I am life. And life is not, and cannot ever be crystallised into one distinct thing. I am early mornings with tea and jazz as much as I am late nights with bourbon and howls. I am flourishing fields of green and I am snow-capped foggy mountains. The simple heart with the ambitions of an Amazon. I feel that every person should see themselves from a diverse perspective, rather than boxed ‘personality types’ that weigh down an invisible dome of ‘can dos’ and ‘can’t dos’. Being true to yourself can only work when your being is free to explore its boundaries. I work as a primary teacher and spend the rest of my time as a musician. I like to think of myself as music connoisseur of sorts, though most people don’t take the time to find that out. I have a freakish adoration for Ireland and a fierce passion for playing the guitar like the goddesses before me. If I had to state something I truly hated, it would be olives and my inability to apply straight eyeliner.
On Being A Muscian:
My initial involvement in music started playing my guitar bashfully in my room. I started when I was at Uni after I had formed a deep appreciation of Led Zeppelin. I would listen to Jimmy Page (guitarist of Led Zeppelin) and one day I just decided, “You know, I reckon I could play that.” And so began my journey. I started with no musical experience and no music theory knowledge. Think as out of depth as a 92 year old with an Ipad.
The more I play, the more I understand myself. There are just certain notes that describe feelings much deeper than words ever could. For this reason, I love the guitar. Singing has come relatively recently. And the delay has everything to do with feeling comfortable in my body. To sing means to use the soul voice. It is the most vulnerable place I put myself in. But now is morphing into a pure source of courage and fearlessness for me.
In terms of being a female musician within the music industry, I feel that I have seen both sides. I’ve been involved in a few bands, mostly consisting of males, and I feel that if you are genuine, humble and put in the hours, 90% of the time you’re treated equally within the group. Though, I have been involved with a band that tried to constrain me to the “girl that stands there and is easy on the eyes” routine and it was a negative time. I was learning and gaining experience, however the pay off was that my input was more of a through-put, and ideas I may have had were considered child’s play.
So far, playing gigs, recording my progress, making incredible friends, I have learnt so much. I’ve learnt more and more to make every decision with love over fear, with trust over doubt and with endlessly reinvested kind energy. It doesn’t mean I am always positive or kind or graceful with my music, I can be and am sweetly anxious, messy and negative but the space between my thoughts and actions grows longer with practice and patience.
To embolden. I feel that this is my main job as a teacher. Yes, there are the adjectives, the “i before e except after c” and the 9 times tables, but at a foundational level, I give my kiddies courage and motivation to fuel their spirit. I don’t want to be a teacher that doesn’t appreciate the tool they have to sculpt a child’s mind. We have such influence! Many people I know remember how their teachers either inspired them, or left them feeling worthless. When my students are older, I want to be this melodic, misty memory for them where there is colour, love, plants and lessons that encourage them to think with their own minds and be connected with the earth.
Working with children has certainly stretched my capacity as a human. It’s hard to be equally invested in each student’s life. I barely have free lunches because I’m either giving a student a guitar lesson, or explaining how supernovas cause such luminous, incredible waves energy. The amplified love and appreciation I receive in return, from them and their families, is well worth my invested time! What I have realised from my kiddies though is they are just like us; adults, I’m saying. They love getting information as instantly as we do, they worry about what others think (though understand that they shouldn’t) and look to the future. In saying that, they are infinitely more skilled at being as present and aware of the moment as adults are. Sometimes when I switch my brain off ‘teacher’ mode, I observe them clearer and I see how well they use their intuition. So in a way they’ve taught me to practice listening to my intuition, my inner voice and to be as present as I can be. Ask questions, be curious, see what I see, hear what I hear and then act upon what I know to be true.
Balance in every single facet or life is essential. You mess with balance and you become out of sync with the earth. But let’s face it, life is multifaceted and there is only so much energy to go around. I think the trick to this problem is quality over quantity. There is an implied belief that more you try you squeeze in the day the more successful you are. If you’re not constantly busy, you’re considered lazy and made to feel guilty about it. No! I’ve had days where I sit outside with my dog, Reggie, plant sunflower seeds all afternoon then sit in front of my vinyl player at night and listen to the same song 20 thousand times while staring at psychedelic record sleeves. It recharges me. Some days are meant to be like this.
Nature balances me out on many levels. I need the soil, trees and mountains, for that’s where I feel at peace. The elements of the outdoors combine to speak to my soul so distinctly that it creates a calmness and intensity. If I don’t give myself this time the anxiety and energy levels I experience rise to a boiling point of extreme irritability and my soul opts out of my body completely.
In terms of my partner in crime, Matt, we balance out the seriousness of long term relationships by just being as innocent and childish as we want to be. There is still a playfulness that hasn’t faded away yet. Our souls are alive together; we are like two kids again seeing the world for the first time. Fighting is also part of the balance too because once we’ve resolved it, it brings to life a stronger facet of the relationship. Being with him has multiplied all the good in my life and changed me forever. If you could metaphorically put our relationship onto a guitar fret, we at times may be playing different notes, balancing out our individual instinctual needs but we’ll always be in the same sweet tuning, poetically caressing and harmonizing. We’ll say open G.
Connection comes with genuine communication but is hindered greatly by a self desire to have people like you. If we cared less about getting other people to be interested in us, then the way we communicate and connect with people would alter drastically. When people talk, the only way to get past that polite, how-do-you-do banter is to pay ridiculous attention to what others are saying and to not become distracted by what you're holding or the next thing you want to say.
Words are inert, they're just symbols, so the task lies in not what a person is saying, but why they are saying it. The ramblings of someone you are talking to have a purpose that you are meant to find. If I had learnt this concept earlier on, I think I would have been less uncomfortable in social situations and seemed open for deep friendships. When I'm trying to connect I always remind myself to be kind and not to be afraid of being bold.