There’s a line in Wilco’s song Sunken Treasure that goes “music is my savior.” This is something that has always resonated with me, as music has been my go-to in life. For as long as I could remember, I could find a song for any moment and any mood. To pick me up, calm me down or let me rage. To work out, jump for joy or bring me back to a memory and a place in time. But lately, it seems like no song is right, and every song has a meaning, or connection to sadness, loss and grief.
I realize that this can’t be true, that it is actually my mind making that connection, and perhaps that’s what makes it all the worse. The thing that I could always find solace in is working against me. I turn on my i.Pod and skip song after song. The same goes for Pan.dora, Spot.ify or the radio. And the thing is, it doesn’t even have to be a sad song. It could be an upbeat tune that any other person listening to it would classify as happy and cheerful. I’ll spare you from quoting lyrics and naming names of the songs and artists who are the biggest or repeat offenders, but suffice it to say, it baffles me how one can turn so many different songs into Tearfest 2012.
I know the logical thought would be, why don’t you just turn off the music? I wish I could. But the silence and empty space is deafening. It’s like a breeding ground for my mind to race—back to what happened, to what isn’t, and to what should be. My life these days is once again a series of distractions. I’ve been here before and have muddled my way through loss-induced ADD. Music is just another way to drown the thoughts in my head and switch focus. Only that focus isn’t going to a place where I need it to be.
I won’t give up on music. I still believe in its power as described by this Oliver Sacks quote, “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears—it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more—it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.” I’d rather you skip the neurological patient part rather than inserting some analogy to me, and just focus on the sentiment. To me, music IS a necessity.
Maybe I’ll have to turn to techno, heavy metal or hardcore rap. But I hope not, because I like my music. As I’m writing, Breathe by Alexi Murdoch just came across my Pan.dora…finally a song I can relate to as he’s reminding me “don’t forget to breathe. Keep your head above water, but don’t forget to breathe.”