Looking through my journal I see how much time I put in listening to sad song radio. I think I have mentioned this before. I have a channel on Pandora that I call sad song radio. I used to have (I am sure it is still rattling around here somewhere) an iTunes play list with the same name. I am just not good at crying, and sometimes need some inspiration to bring on the tears. Don’t misunderstand it isn’t that I never do it, it just doesn’t come easy. Which is a shame because I always feel better after a good cry. I well-up from time to time but that is about it. I am also not saying it is the way to be. It is just who I am. If I have cried in front of you it is either because I have stubbed my toe or it’s because you’re important to me, I feel safe with you. I love you and know that you love me.
I think music is the most powerful force on this here earth. I mean come on – it can make ME cry. Seriously though, music moves my soul, it is as essential as water and shelter. Okay that sounds dramatic but it is the truth. There is road trip music, party music, everyday cleaning the house tunes, and yes sad song radio. Let’s not forget the age old and best tribute to love – the mix tape. I am not ashamed to say that I miss the days of the mix tape. I have loved more deeply the mixed tapes I have been given than the boys who gave them to me. Damn I miss the mix tape! I digress… again, it’s my blog right.
Any way – I am always searching out music that resonates to me or sometimes speaks for me. Music that says the words that I want to say but can’t seem to summon. Of course I have yet to find the exact perfect song. Most songs have parts or portions of what I want to say or I think are telling my story … but there is always one line or stanza that doesn’t quite fit. When I am looking for music to put me in a particular mood I just over look those not quite perfect fit parts. Take for example Miles by Christina Perri. This song has certainly been in high rotation. The song is almost perfect except the part where the love story ends. So I loudly and passionately sing:
Kiss me on my shoulder
Tell me it’s not over
I promised to always come home to you
Remind me that I’m older
To be brave smart, sweet and bolder
And don’t give up on what we’re trying to do
Oh and this part:
We made it out
And all the other people are asking how
This doesn’t even sound like truth
To grow from a bruise
But one day we will realize
How hard it was, how hard we tried
And how our hearts made it out alive
I have no idea what this song means to Ms. Perri. Music is art and we all see art differently. With that I just kind of hum the parts I don’t like. There is a part about not making it alone – obviously that part isn’t me. Then the love story part ends bad, I don’t relate to that part either. The first part speaks to me – who doesn’t want to be told to be brave, smart, sweet, and bolder – who doesn’t want to be brave, smart, sweet, and bolder? I do! The next part.. well that is how I feel right now – that all the good in my life (and there is so much good, great, and wonderful) has come from a bruise. Albeit bruise may be understating it a bit, but it reminds me that bruises heal. That I have healed. That the heart is resilient and will do its best to fight and most often (when you are willing to make the fight) that you will come out to the other side. So great song, speaks to me, parts could speak for me. Close to perfect.
Albums are a lost treasure, they are often created around a theme or story the artist is trying to convey. People don’t usually buy full albums anymore, or listen to the music in the order the artist intended. Lonely, also on the Miles album by Christina Peri, is a song about loss, maybe not death, but in some cases loss is loss. When I was floundering and was “a ghost of a girl that I wanted to be most, a shell of a girl I used to know well” this song seemed most assuredly how the future was to be.
I remember spending a lot of time in the first year just wanting to rush through it. I kept thinking – once I get to the end of the first year that there will be some tremendous relief (there wasn’t). I had to balance that with reminding myself that (for me) it was best to take everything as it came. To work through, and not rush through it to ensure that I was healing. I spent hours searching for music that would serve as the soundtrack of my recovery.
The song November by Azure Rae was certainly an anthem of the first year. November is both sad and yet recognized that I still needed to be strong and “find it within myself.”
Then the day came that living caught up in the grief became too much and I said – I just need five minutes of sun. Five minutes to be someone else. Five minutes of not being sad, of being anything other than who I am. A place to escape – and while it may not be the most “happy” song, pandora in that moment gave me the Beatles Blackbird. I have always loved the Beatles and this song. I don’t know what played next because I shifted to my iPod and listened to Blackbird on loop. I sat there on the bathroom floor in tears, in 4 day old clothes, for probably an hour. It was a different type of cry, and when I stood up and climbed in the shower I half expected to see a different version me sitting there on the floor when I got out.
The hot water didn’t wash away what happened or the grief, but it did help me wake up to the fact that it was time. Time to try something a little different. I knew that my body and mind could not handle being “there” any longer. That at some point I hadto become part of the healing process. All of the salves (my friends, family, dog, and therapist) were helping but I had to be part of the process too. I had to want to heal. It took a long time but something happened on that random day, in that not planned hour to take even the tiniest of steps forward.
I remember putting on clean jammies after that. I have no idea what time it was but it was early in the day. I changed the sheets and went back to bed. I slept in a dreamless, sound way I hadn’t in a very very very very very long time. I wish I could say I woke up refreshed. I didn’t. I had cried in my sleep. It was dark and I was a little disoriented. Sabina and I both needed dinner – and wanted dinner – a good sign. For me. She always wants dinner. But that night when I sat down I turned on Pandora I dialed in my best of 80’s radio instead of sad song radio.
I still retreat to sad song radio every once in a while. However the song on loop today is Another Day of Sun (Lala Land Soundtrack), Sara Bareilles I Choose You, and Brandi Carlile’s The Story. Lets be real here – anything by Brandi doesn’t just make me smile, it fills my soul; even the sad songs.
Just one turn of the dial. It wasn’t huge, but then again t was. Music had transported me, rescued me – again. My earliest memories are of music, I assume my last ones will be too.