This new release from Cassie Fireman, "Chase", brings to light a fear of marriage. While some people hope to get married in their life, others are fearful about it for personal reasons. Cassie speaks out about her influence and inspirations.
Not only is she a musician, Cassie hosts the Balanced Guitar retreat in Mexico. A small group gathers for relaxation, music, yoga and to rebalance.
Take a few minutes and gather some insight from Cassie about love, life, quirks and balance.
What prompted this song to take shape?
I wrote this song during a challenging period in my marriage. It was right around when the pandemic hit. We moved in with our trombone player for a little while. All our gigs were canceled and it was a crazy time for all of us.
With no shows/work, I had a lot of time to reflect. I realized while my partner and I loved each other very much, I needed space.
It was confusing because the chemistry between us that led to us building a business, and being in a band together, was starting to morph into anger and resentment and I couldn’t understand it. I just felt like I was stuck on a train picking up speed, headed nowhere good.
Writing this album in some ways really saved my ass. It allowed me to disappear into another world. Music gave me something to focus on and space to explore all the emotions that were surfacing.
Growing up, I didn’t have great examples of what healthy communication looked like and for a long time I was afraid to express my needs because I didn’t want to bother or upset anyone. Looking back, that sounds like an insane way to live but I operated like that for years.
Today, identifying my needs and communicating them in a loving way to my partner is still challenging. Yep, I’m still working on my reactions (every damn day) but the difference now is that I’m a lot kinder to myself than I used to be.
One of the perks of learning to accept my imperfections is that it's also made it a lot easier for me to embrace others more fully, and knowing this, kinda helps me relax and enjoy the ride…bumps and all.
As someone who has felt like I lost myself in a relationship, I connect with the message in this song. What would you say is the hardest part of retaining your sense of self?
Wow, what a great question! Thanks for sharing your connection with this message. It’s a tough one but I think that feeling of losing ourselves inside a relationship can be pretty common.
Particularly for women. We’ve been receiving messages over and over in multiple ways that we’re secondary to men and that our needs don’t matter as much as theirs.
Constantly being told to look, act and behave in certain ways that don’t nurture or actually support my needs, is not only exhausting but boring and doesn't leave much room for authentic communication.
How can we expect to build a stable foundation in our relationships when we’re hiding from each other?
When anyone is trained to ignore their needs, especially at a young age, it can make it difficult to understand and distinguish what their needs are in the first place.
And if we never take the time to get in touch with our needs, how will we ever know what they are? And if we don’t acknowledge our needs, how can we communicate them? How will we truly learn to care for ourselves and to appreciate and respect other people's needs?
Overtime, I’ve learned that when I stop nurturing myself in the ways that help me grow and thrive, I start to shut down and I stop being able to hear that gentle voice inside, there to guide me.
I end up crawling back into my dark little cave, where I feel comfortable blaming others for what I don’t have the courage to ask for, do or Be.
And after all the fun-numbing cave dwelling festivities (overeating, overdrinking, over-crushing) wear off and stop distracting me in the juicy ways they used to, I start to feel like I’m being eaten alive and crave real medicine for my soul…and that’s when I go make music.
I guess that’s a long way of saying I think the hardest part of retaining our sense of self in a relationship is doing the work to remember that we have one :)
Just pretend you are a plant who requires lots of sunlight and regular watering to stay alive and you can’t help but grow. Even if your sense of self feels nonexistent or like it’s floating way out there in outer space somewhere…if you nourish it, bit by bit, it will gravitate back to you.
I still hang out in my cave sometimes eating Dorito chips, but I’ve learned to say no when I mean no, and to ask for what I want.
When I remember to put my oxygen mask on first, before trying to save the day (as cheesy as it sounds), I’m able to stay in rapport with myself and can be a more present partner, lover and friend. That’s all I can really hope for. I mean, I hope for a lot… but that’s what I most hope for. Yes, that’s right…what I hope for most!
The line about not belonging to anyone is sharp. Why do you think some people lose their sense of self in a relationship?
Well I’m no expert, but I’ve noticed that when I stop nurturing what brings me to life, I start to lose touch with the things I care about and what’s more important to me. I stop seeing and hearing my partner and they stop seeing and hearing and when that happens, it can feel really lonely and hard.
Today, a lot of people lack basic communication skills. It’s pretty scary. That’s why I think it’s so important to practice being patient with ourselves, we need to have our own back ya know?
And then again, it’s ok to lose our sense of self. Maybe sometimes that’s the only way to find it again. “Not all who wander are lost”. Isn’t that JRR Tolkien (and also a Lana Del Ray song)?
For example, I’ll take you on a small tangent and share that I married a famous Venezuelan Bullfighter while living in Mexico in my early 20’s, and I definitely lost my sense of self. I was nowhere to be found in this short lived adventure. My sense of self was smashed somewhere inside a barbie doll box version of who I thought I should be.
And when sexy passion turned to scary passion, it was time to go. But there were many comical moments in those couple years of figuring out who I was, who I wasn’t, and what I’d put up with.
While it took everything in me to leave, I made it out alive and now have a handful of fun stories to tell. Plus, I learned to speak Spanish!
So ya, the line in the song “I am the property of no-one, I belong to stars, moon and sun” is meant to be sharp with a sassy finger snap at the end.
The video concept for “Chase” is an interesting one. I mean, it starts out with someone in a mask proposing, and then the colors are so vibrant. Where did the idea and story come from?
The music video is quirky and might not make sense and that’s ok. But, since you asked…
I wanted to create this playful world where I could explore my fears around monogamy. My whole life I’ve been afraid that marriage would be the death of me. My relationship to long term commitment was pretty black and white. The words marriage and happiness didn’t belong in the same sentence.
Even though I swore I’d never get married again, the second time, things were different. I felt free to be all of me in a way I had never felt before. I wanted to celebrate this new perspective in the music video by creating another world, full of color. An abundant world, bursting with magic and possibility.
We spray painted our wedding gowns in the parking lot before filming the roller coaster scene. I felt like a kid drawing rainbows on walls I wasn’t supposed to. I wanted to represent somehow that nothing’s perfect, it’s ok to be messy and even though loving someone can be terrifying, it can also be beautifully intimate and fulfilling.
Marriage can be a fearful step for some people. What have you learned that helped you move past the fear and get married?
Well, Ben and I did some quirky things at our wedding in Mexico to make it feel more unique. I swore if I ever married again, it would be because I was choosing to, not feeling pressured to.
We swung at a piñata busting open all the fears of matrimony. I came riding in on a white horse I’d become friends with on the beach the night before, and instead of taking family photos we surprised everyone with a live Mariachi band who played “La Bamba '' while we stripped off our clothes, ran down the aisle and jumped into the ocean.
Later that night we sang an original song and performed a hip hop dance that ended with a synchronized move called… The Worm (and if you know this move then you know it takes work… when you are no longer 5).
I think the point is, we made sure that our wedding reflected what was important to us and looking back now, I see that working together to plan all those silly things brought us closer together, and I think it was that kind of creative, “let’s do this” energy between us that had me say, “Oh ya, I think this’ll work”.
What advice would you give to someone who is living in fear of something?
I think if someone is in fear of being physically harmed, they should reach out for help and remove themselves from the situation if possible.
But if it's any other kind of fear that doesn't pose physical harm then I would encourage them to lean into whatever is coming up, to let it out, write about it, share about it with a friend.
I’d remind them that it’s ok to be afraid of whatever they’re going through, to be kind and gentle with themselves and to try and not judge themselves for whatever they might be thinking or feeling.
I always find it helpful to get outside. Finding a tree to lean against, feeling the breeze on my face and going for walks helps me to relax and let go.
There’s something about walking in particular that feels really comforting. I like to focus on the rhythm of my steps and just looking around and noticing what I can see, smell or hear.
Sometimes it just feels great to cry and listen to music.
But after giving yourself a little space, I think it’s important to reach out to someone. Being alone for too long makes it easy to slip into dark rabbit holes so being sure to pop our heads out to connect with someone else, even if for a few minutes is usually a good idea.
Also, we never know what someone else might be going through and by asking for help, we could be helping them too. A little bit of effort and small gestures can go a long way.
Is there anything in your life that you still fear?
Oh ya! Taking care of my parents when they’re old, not being able to die when I’m old and wanting to, unexpectedly hitting a deer while driving…oh gosh, I’m afraid of a billion things but I think if I lost my sense of humor that would be the absolute worst! Living in this beautiful but totally nutty world as a very serious person would be… really hard.
What can you tell me about your Balanced Guitar experience?
I’ve been co-leading and producing these retreats with Ben and our best friend Richard Miller and Freddy Bryant for 10 years now. We go to Costa Rica every January. We’ve also led this music retreats in Panama and Nicaragua. Next year we might go to Brazil.
Ben leads yoga in the mornings, Richard & Freddie teach guitar every day after breakfast, we eat amazing food, we surf every day, and I lead body work and songwriting workshops. It’s a really special experience and I’ve met so many amazing people who’ve come.
How did this take shape?
Ben, Richard and I were all in a leadership program together. Richard had led the first Balanced Guitar retreat in Costa Rica all by himself and needed help producing it. The three of us started having business meetings every week to get the ball rolling and it’s been going on ever since.
Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica brings me to life and that’s why I love it so much! Nicoya, Costa Rica is a Blue Zone, which is an area of the world where people live the longest. The jungles are full of life, the waves are perfect for surfing and I love speaking Spanish.
I’ve built some special relationships with the locals from going there for so long and Costa Rica feels like a second home. Also, my dad was in the navy so we moved around a lot and as a kid I lived in Hawaii and San Diego so I still enjoy that warm weather.
At the end of the week, what do you hope the participants take away with them?
We hope the artists and musicians who come on our retreat walk away with a new sense of freedom in their bodies, a lightness of heart, renewed confidence in their craft and a deeper connection to themselves and to nature.
What has been the most rewarding part of hosting these weeks?
The connections and bonds we all form hanging out and making music together. I absolutely love hearing new artists play their songs for the first time. It feels like a little sneak peak into their soul.
It’s also an opportunity to collaborate and create music with new artists. Mid week is pretty rewarding too. We like to take a day off to go visit the Howler Monkeys, zipline or skinny dip and howl at the moon.
I enjoy lyrics that hit just the right nerve. What is it about songwriting that moves you?
When I hear a lyric and it hits my heart and I feel something right away, I get so excited! It reminds me that we are all humans on this earth having different experiences, yet we are all deeply connected. It makes the world feel a little less big in that way.
What would you like to tell the people hearing this song for the first time?
First, I just wanna say thanks so much for all your thoughtful questions. I really appreciate them!
I guess what I would say is that you can be scared and brave at the same time. Not to let fear stop you from possibly experiencing something truly magical.
And that when life feels like you’re walking down a dark tunnel… to just keep moving. Remember to breathe and stay open to what’s possible. Like shooting stars, ya wouldn’t wanna miss bathing in all the light beaming through the cracks and holes.