Biography of this
When I was young I was strange. Then I grew up, and became deranged. No. Just kidding...
Geez, how can I make this simple? I'll try. Well, my name is Natalie Marie Rose Guedes. I go by my second middle name, Rose, and I'm often called "Rosie" by friends and family. I am a passionate 32 year old wife, mother of two wonderful sons ages 9 and 11, music producer, artist, artivist and advocate. I live in Victoria B.C, Canada. I am battling a serious and debilitating complex connective tissue disorder, which is a genetic condition known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I am doing my best to rise above all the painful challenges that come with this illness, and that especially includes pursuing my dream, my music, no matter what.
Originally, I wasn't sure if I could do it, given the challenges. I thought my dream would maybe pass me by, that I had been foolish and simply waited too long to seriously pursue it - that it was nothing more than a dream that would remain broken. But I was compelled. I said to me myself "No, this is gonna happen; Rose, you will be the 'queen of your dream' ... and that's how I chose my stage name. My stage name represents not giving up on your dream, and what you feel is your purpose - no matter what.
So, I pushed in any way I could, to find a way to make it happen, because it has always been top on my bucket list, to be able to share my music with the world and I just had to 'get it out there.' I've been writing poetry and songs for years, and have come up with some good stuff. I worked with some great people - but lately, in the past couple years, when I've been at my sickest physically, I've written the best stuff I'd ever written. It has all been with a consistent running theme. Struggle and hope.
I just knew I had to materialize this into an album. It wasn't easy at all. I worked to get 'better enough' after a scary and brutal bout which wound me down to concerning low body weight, and eventually in the hospital, back in 2016. I barely survived through. I worked hard to 'nurse myself' back, through some new meds that I found were needed, learning about herbal tea preparations, very gentle physio, getting back out for walks etc. I was able to arrive at a place where I was about half-stronger. I had hit a 'grace period' over this last summer, where I thought I could really do this. I seized that opportunity.
Then, I sought investment. My longtime dear friend, reiki master Ellen Eckstrand, of Asraay Jadid Enterprises, was inspired by this new music of mine; catchy melodic tunes written to represent struggle and hope, influenced by my own survival story. Ellen was wowed, and expressed a desire to be the investor. So enter Ellen into the equation. Then, I reconnected with my friend, the talented Eric Hogg, of Soma Sound, to inform him that I now had the resources to do the dream album. He was very excited to hear this.
From the time I reconnected with Eric (we were actually acquainted in high school when he was the lead singer of a band I liked - Victoria is not too big a place) I knew that he would be the perfect person to co-produce this album with. It is hard to find words to describe Erics' uniquely intricate talent and honed skills, but I myself like to call it "wizardry." He uses a perfect combination of creativity, technical skill, and he can think well outside the box. He knows just how to push the limits and create new hybrids from previous 'favourites', and has always understood my visions regarding this. I knew Eric was the right person to help me materialize my vision. In early august 2017, we had a meeting with Ellen, and from there, we had the green light to go.
After a few talks and planning, we began. I built my visions from scratch on Logic 10, recorded the vocals, took several production notes, and then sent them over to Eric, so he could perform what I like to call this "wizardry." We went through several versions of each song, back and forth, in tandem, as it all developed. I pushed my limits to do it, but I was fierce in spite of it all, and so here it is. Here it is, Live To Dream.
I feel many people will love it.
My mission, when it comes to my music, allows me to both play and have fun, and make a difference. I am a multi-faceted, admittedly eccentric, creative, strong willed and highly empathic person. I am a truth seeker, always wanting to know the "why", and have been that way since I was really little. I think a little differently - I'm an analytical but creative and fluid thinker. In fact I am diagnosed on the autistic spectrum (asperger syndrome, to be specific.)
Since 2011 I have been involved in the adult autistic community and in doing my part to educate by sharing my reflections and experiences with autism from my own human point of view, through blogs and YouTube. My work here, as blogger "A Girl Outside The Box" and later, vlogger "Girl Outside", was well received by many. It was an intense, sometimes tumultuous journey that was both wondrous and painful, because it also attracted bullies, trolls and ignorant, harsh critics even in my own personal life. I didn't realize, at that time, what I would endure coming 'out of the closet' so openly, as an autistic woman.
The 'battle' to defend this tended to weigh on me emotionally, and heavily divert me from my music art, which I needed to balance me properly. So it was a real double edged sword. For this reason, I have mostly closed that chapter. But I am glad to have helped many people in the way I did, at the time. I have left the better of my work as "Girl Outside" up available on social media...and though Girl Outside is over, I will always, to some degree anyway, be an advocate for autistic people and autism related matters. I'll always be an autistic person, of course - this never changes because it's part of who I am. A positive is that there have been some advances made, in terms of autism awareness, and this continues to develop, though we have a ways to go.
I always knew there was something different about me, growing up, and in short, this often lead to confusion, pain, suffering, and trauma. I used music, poetry, creativity, and learning about various special interests to cope.I had a particular gift for music, inventing tunes and rhythms, taking influence from several of my favourite songs and visually "throwing it in a washing machine" to make my own. I would get lost in this world. I was a strange bird - a geek and a wallflower. I joke that I was like a mix of Matilda, and Olive from "Little Miss Sunshine" .. earlier on, I really would dress try-hard "funky", and sing in front of the mirror to the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Ace of Base, with my buck teeth and my chubby belly.
Because of bullying at school, I eventually developed a lot of insecurity and self doubt, and didn't think I'd amount to much. I had just a few friends, who were also rather strange like myself, and other than that I was really in my own world, until later on, as an older teenager, when I learned how to better play by social rules. However, it was tiring, and confusing, and I relied too heavily on self medicating, which was then a problem. Retreating back into my solaces was something I felt I could never really get enough of.
Though my experience an an autistic person hasn't been easy, and has caused me much pain, difficulty and grief throughout my life (mostly because of being in a world that, for the most part, doesn't understand) I am not ashamed of being autistic, and I'm proud of the gifts it has given me. This would especially include my music. I think my music composition abilities come from the way that I think. In fact, i know they do!
However, things got tough as a verbal autistic adult, trying to navigate the healthcare system to get help for the onset of a condition considered very unusual, complex, poorly understood, and lacking in access to the right treatments. The reality of a painfully difficult, oppressive, unequal world, riddled with confusing double standards, unwarranted injustices and (often petty) social conflicts - a world that I didn't fit into (without stress) was profound. It was something that had to be faced and coped with. Then the gradual onset of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome crippling my body made it so much harder. But I have survived through.
I had, and still have, a rough time being acknowledged and treated fairly with my EDS, because it's a condition which is poorly understood by most doctors, and by society. This is why I've had to fundraise in hopes of getting the help I need. This day and age is proving very tough for "zebras" (as people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome call themselves) everywhere. Doctors become intimidated by the uniqueness of EDS, and shut down, not wanting to learn about it or be willing to help. It is even difficult to get a diagnosis.
All this is costing some EDS patients their lives, and it nearly has cost me mine. many of us continue to hang on as we gradually develop grassroots human rights activism movements, to hopefully make change happen. We need Ehlers-Danlos awareness amongst society, so very much. Raising awareness brings public concern which brings fundraising for much needed research. (view a What Is EDS brochure *here*)
In the mean time, I hold on tightly to my work, my music, poetry, blogging, and grassroots type advocacy, to cope. I hold on to the love I have for my family, too. My boys. I have always turned to what I love most, my passions, to cope with the pain of this incredibly difficult illness itself, and the situational depression associated with it, which I openly admit to battling with.
My music and mission are what keeps me going, what keep my hope for change alive. It represents my own dream, which is for world change, for social change, and to be a part of this through my own brand of Artivism. In spite of it all I love life, am larger than life, and I am grateful to be living and breathing today. I am really living to dream in the best way I can. I do what I call 'steal joy' - seize opportunity as I can, when I feel better enough, to take in some things that I love and am able to do; hanging out with my kids and/or hubby and watching shows or movies, cook something nice, taking a walk in nature, going to the beach or mountains, collecting and fashion, dress up, creative cosplay etc. It's not always that i can do that stuff but I do what I can of it. I hope I can continue to "live to dream" and to be here for my loved ones. I hope to keep being able to share my message, and most of all, I hope that I might reach the right help for my quality of life to increase.
I believe that Artivism - the use of various forms or art as a vehicle for activism and advocacy - can be such a powerful an beautiful way to propel diplomatic, and even peaceful, change. I now share with you my own brand of it, as DreamerQueen.
I hope that my music and my message may inspire you, give you hope, help you to (as I like to say) 'steal joy', and of course, make you wanna dance!
Love and Light
- Rose G.