(photo cred: forwallpaper.com)
I am not a musician nor do i have the most eclectic and well-rounded taste in music but i do love music. I am the friend who will walk around and bust out into random songs because a moment just calls for it. I am the person who learns the ad-libs to a song before the actual lyrics. I am the person who will randomly belt out “Effie I’m tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired” to describe how tired I am instead of just saying how tired i am. I am also the person that will hum a bass line to a song because that’s what makes me feel good.
With that being said, i tend to attach music in a strong way to all of my life’s situations. I can usually remember where I was when I first heard a song I really like and I am usually inclined to intense nostalgia while listening to music. I guess I’m just wired this way.
Mother’s Day last year was such a mixed bag for me. I had the joy of being around family and friends and making my Mama smile, all the while trying to shoo away this nagging feeling that something I was not going to like was about to go down and be the icing on a painful cake that had been baking for months. In fact, I told two of my friends who were with me that day how I felt and like good friends they tried to assure me otherwise. But I know what I felt…and unfortunately I was correct.
All it took was one conversation for the timer to go off. One conversation. All of a sudden, music wasn’t the same to me anymore. Songs that once confirmed the goodness of life were now painful reminders of the way life had evolved in ways that I had not expected.
I did not listen to the radio for weeks. It seemed like every song called attention to one wound or another or exacerbated mental scenarios of what else could go wrong. Music had died down in me. It was a dark time.
It’s been a year. When I remembered on Friday, I had an emotional moment(s). So many different things have happened in my life since Mother’s Day 2013 and when I think about it all, I guess I can’t help but get emotional. I almost gave up on myself within this year and that was scary. There were some moments where I felt too close to the edge and all i could manage was to whisper out loud to God. I spent many mornings commuting to work through the tears, not wanting anyone to see how much anguish i was feeling, feeling crazy for feeling too deeply about life and its happenings. I tried to “man up” and got deflated several times and finally had to accept that this was me, all of me, and that’s how i was designed to be.
As I went through the process, I finally got myself to ease back in to listening to music. When I tell you that I rode around for the longest in silence, this is no hyperbole. At first I found myself listening to a core of songs over and over again – my safety music. Then, I tried to venture back into listening to the radio again, which was cool once I stopped changing the station every other song. I was still afraid for anything to connect too deeply to the feelings I was already swimming in. But at some point I decided that I had shunned what had once made me smile and dance long enough – it was time to heal. So I began to allow music to explore all those emotions that I had tried to hide from myself that I was feeling about life…and though it was so uncomfortable at times, it got better. Music was alive again for me. I was ad-libbing again and welcoming the nostalgia while simultaneously anticipating the new moments.
So when people see me doing silly dances to songs or loudly and purposely singing off key to my favorite jams…or when they see me quote lyrics or listening to the same song over and over again obsessively – i know they have no clue what all that means to me. But I survived one of the hardest years of my adult life with my ability to love people and things in a largely uninhibited way still in tact – I think that deserves a good ad-lib.