Music saves me from my madness. It’s a bold statement but not untrue, not that I was going mad, not really it just felt that way. Music set me free. Like reading a book helps you escape reality, and I will often escape into the pages of good book but reality will still be waiting. Reading a book is like hiding but music is standing and fighting or at least it is for me.
My love of music helps me to survive, it doesn’t solve all my problems, it would be wonderful if it did but rather it’s my companion, my friend – I play the songs I need to and I feel like I am sharing my problems and the best thing is I choose the topic, I can switch off whenever I want to and I will never be judged, music doesn’t judge me and that cannot always be said for people. The songs can change and so you can never sound like a broken record, never fear you are boring someone with your problems, it sounds harsh to say bored, perhaps it’s the wrong word, but you see I am not much of a talker, I would get bored of the sound of my own voice, I am a good listener and I’ll be the first to say if you want to talk do so, I won’t judge you, but I would never take my own advice. I think it comes because most of the time I cannot explain what’s going on inside my head or maybe because if it was said out loud it might make it real, I’m not sure I just know I don’t do it.
Instead I play songs, makes sense I am a good listener considering I love music. The songs I play usually give out the words I want to and that’s how I communicate where I am at. If I play a song constantly on repeat it is probably singing about the exact emotions I am going through at any given time.
I find it therapeutic though, it puts it out there and I know there will be no come back because no one heard it said directly. I sometimes find things are said and then sit like the elephant in the room, the words cannot be unsaid or unheard and so over time I learned to keep my feelings locked away.
At times when I need a fresh outlet I will think of a word that relates to how I am feeling, ‘inner demons’ for example and I will put that word in YouTube search and look for song titles to grab my attention, I’ll have a listen, reading the lyrics and letting the music wash over me. If it resonates deeply enough I will add it to my playlists for future.
I have many different playlists for many different purposes, they reflect my mood or my actions and they change daily. I’ll have a playlist for days I struggle, I’ll have one for running and strength training, a carefree chilled background one and a love playlist to name but a few. Sometimes when I’m not feeling anything I will put my entire library on shuffle, it doesn’t take long until I know where my head is at.
I have thousands of CDs and LPs, I would have a piano in my living room if I could, not because I can play anything apart from the odd couple of notes, but I think I’d quickly learn, I dream of sitting and losing myself in the solitude of music. Music is my everything but I have no incredible talent for it, unless knowing thousands of songs and memorising lyrics is a talent?
It is a powerful entity is music and I think it is often underestimated. How often have we heard a song and it’s transported us somewhere else? Sometimes our heads get so baffled with thoughts we don’t know which way is up and it’s hard to focus, the right song can I pick your mind and clear your head. I will flick through my music collection and find what I want to listen to, I will discount many but as soon as I come across the right song I press play and it lets me know how I am feeling, it sounds nonsense perhaps but it is all about mood. I am not a person who if feeling sad plays a happy song because I believe rightly or wrongly that if we admit those feelings then they can be dealt with, we embrace them and then we can move on rather than bottling them up. I don’t mean one play of a song and all is well with the world, but wouldn’t it be lovely it that was the case.
I have also found many songs that are uplifting but if you listen to the lyrics the message behind them isn’t always quite so upbeat, so painful subjects don’t necessarily mean depressing songs. If lyrics resonate with you and I think songs are like poetry, interpretation is different for everyone, but if they resonate with you then they probably resonate with others and the message to take from that is ‘You are not alone’. The song is poignant for a reason and it’s probably because it’s about feelings that everyone at some point has felt.
It’s not only negative thoughts I use music for, it is not all doom and gloom, music can communicate any emotion and when words escape you playing a song, similar to reciting poetry is a good way to get a thought across. I’ll find songs to describe the love I have for my husband, I’ll listen to them over and over and fill my heart and my head with those emotions, that warm fuzzy feeling and if only for a little while they can block out darker thoughts. Not that I only ever do it for that purpose.
I will find songs I used to hear when I was growing up, songs to take me back to a time when life was simple and carefree, but these songs can be happy songs, sad songs or love songs, any genre any artist but it’s not about the music it is about the memory.
Songs transport us to a different time, a reminder of the past, some we want to remember and some we possibly want to forget but that is the power it has. A first dance at a wedding, a song played at a funeral, a holiday song, a party or a mixed tape, it will be just one song and it will take you on a journey in your mind to that exact point in time as clear as if you were right back in the moment.
I don’t avoid songs which make me sad because I don’t want to forget, I want a link to a person, a memory, an experience. I want to remember all that I have been through and why I am still here.
Certain songs I play because I want to expel the anger from my mind and far better to let the anger out in a controlled manner alone than have someone on the receiving end because I snapped at them unable to control my mood, I am sure we have all been there at some point. I prefer to turn my pain and my anger inwards, unhealthy I know but as I said I give the good advice, I don’t take it. That is why music plays such a huge part in my life, without it I would feel empty and my head would be scrambled.
I cannot give a definitive answer on what it takes for a song to catch my attention, my taste is wildly eclectic from jazz to heavy metal and everything in between, I have genres that I possibly listen to more than others but I could never say I disliked anything for definite. Some songs I like because they bring me alive, I think of fun on a summers day, laid back and carefree, others have a catchy beat and just make you want to move but even those songs won’t lift me up if I want to wallow, I embrace the pain so I control it and that’s the power music gives me.
I cannot pick a favourite anything, not a favourite song or artist or album, I just cannot do it. It’s an impossible ask. Pick a favourite or be shot I was asked once, and my reply “I’d take the bullet”.
I am always looking for new music, new artists and new songs. I probably only ever go a few minutes without some form of music, be it playing in the background or me singing or humming a tune. Obviously when I’m asleep there is no music, but turning the radio on is the first thing I do as I wake up, probably before I’ve even opened my eyes! Music is with me wherever I go.
It gives me confidence, strength, peace of mind, it allows me to cry the tears I’ve been holding back. It’s the spark of light in the dark, the forever friend. We truly can get so much from music, we just have to listen.