(This is Part 2. Read Part 1 at Leave it to Good Music to Put Us Together, Pt. 1)
“Put us together, keep us together, keep us “together”!”
And here is where we get to what music really does for me. It keeps me ‘together’. That good friend (whose comments started all of this) even said me more than once, “Music has saved my life on more than one occasion.” I soget that. No, I’d never gotten to a point where I would have even considered ‘ending it all’ but I have been so low that I never wanted to get back up, and it was music that helped me through.
I have my own version of what I call “Music Therapy”. The playlists on my iPod start off broad and generic (80’s, classical, blues, etc.) and then get narrowed down first by tone and then by moods. I have 3 versions of my “generic favorites”: one, the broad list: a second one that narrows it down to the more special favorites; and a third tighter list narrowed down to the must-haves, that I listen to over and over. That tightest list grounds me. I have a playlist for when I’m angry and totally pissy, one for when I’m angry and feel powerless, one for when I’m angry but still feel somewhat positive. I have playlists of music that allow me to wallow in self-pity when I feel I need it. I have playlists that give me energy and make me move. I have a playlist for every possible mood I could have, pretty much. And they are ALWAYS playing. I hear them when I am not even plugged in. I even have playlists for activities, like driving, walking, working out (ha!), and for other moods, like silly, empowered, mean, sleepy, sexy and reallysexy. Some songs even ‘cross over’ because they encourage/invoke different moods depending on what I’m feeling at the time.
A special friend of mine passed less than a year ago. For the first month I was constantly plugged in–as in, iPod in back pocket, headphone cord up the back of my shirt, one earbud in with the wire wrapped around my ear hidden under my hair. Nobody knew. The music was just low enough for me to be comforted constantly and I could still talk and function and work. Sort of a white noise that kept me sane. I think I only listened to four songs that month. Then I worked my way up to seven, and then a playlist that was more ‘normal’ for me. I still go back to that playlist every now and then, as needed.
I could be in the car listening to music and hear a song that hits me just right, for whatever reason – it could even be pulling up creative ideas—and I will play it over and over and over again, until I feel I’m done with it. Depending on my mood, my playlist could consist of only one song up to thirty or a hundred or more, playing on a continuous loop.
My most precious moments involve music. My best times with my family involve music. The best way for me to relax and unwind is to take off in my car with whatever mood music I need blaring at me. Singing at the top of my lungs also relieves my stress better than any physical workout could do for me. A special moment for me was when I was in my car, in my “zone”, and a special friend was sharing music with me that I didn’t know and he was dancing and singing as much as I would’ve been if I’d known the music. I’m thinking, “That’s me!” And laying down next to each other, talking about music and singing together. Sharing music is a personal thing for me. If I share music with you, it’s because I want you to get the same feeling from the music as I do. I also receive music from people that way. I read into both the tone of the music and the feelings it evokes, as well as the lyrics (I even make it a point to look them up). Music speaks for me in the way I can’t (and I have no shortage of words and no problems using them). This is not exclusive to members of the opposite sex. My best friend needed some CDs for her car and I put together one for her of music that is special to me. I wanted her to feel that same special-ness from that group of songs as I do.
Sometimes I waffle back and forth about which is more important, the music or the lyrics. I am a bit of a word-girl, after all. (I even have songs in my playlists that I actually can’t stand, but the lyrics are so good—to me—that I have to keep them for when I need them!) But it’s truly the combination. There are even some songs I listen to just for a specific note, or bridge, or combination of notes that just hits me where I breathe, and I only listen to the rest of the song because it’s there.
There are some songs that are only done justice by when listened to at a very loud level. To feel the music vibrating through you as it washes over you at the same time. Some songs I listen to in bed with my eyes closed and just feel the song. A tiny fantasy of mine is to be at a concert with someone special, in a small venue where everyone is standing together in front of the stage (possibly even standing next to the speakers for the full effect), he’s hugging me from behind and that special music can be felt pulsating through the both of us as we start swaying… yeah, I’ve got a wishlist/playlist for that. Certain music just hits me that way.
I even sort my friends and music. If I’m going to hear classical music, I go with friends who I know would enjoy it as much as I would. I won’t just go listen to music with anyone, anymore. It is too special to me.
Whether I’m plugged in or not, I always have music in my head. My fingers are always tapping out some rhythm or another. I dance to that music, and sing along. I dance in my kitchen. Sometimes I just stand there with my eyes closed, listening and feeling it. This is what grounds me, even on my flightiest of days. My medication, my therapy. My memory trigger…oh yes, I can recall any moment with the right song.
I really, really wish I played an instrument… someday…
If you ask me who my favorite artist is or what my favorite type of music is, my answers would change depending on what my life is like at the time. Tears for Fears will always be a top. They’ve been there for me for a loooooong time. And now Todd Rundgren. I will forever be grateful for having his music shared with me… some of his lyrics are killer, and one of his songs has already made it up to the ‘fantasy’ wishlist/playlist. Outside of them, I would have to say my favorite genre is 80’s (I am an 80’s queen!), but there are some days where I’d be listening to the 60’s or 50’s, or classical or jazz or blues, or metal or rap. The only genre I can be consistent about is country music, as it is the one form I am probably never listening to. It just doesn’t hit me as rightly as everything else (except some of the much older country music). I’m never alone because I have music. And what I’m listening to from moment to moment really does depend on my mood.
And music is there for EVERY mood.