Music is such an important part of my life. It always has been. The few pleasant memories I have of my father are some summer afternoons when I was home from school with him and we would pick my mom up from work. It was about a 30 minute drive from way out in the country where we lived into the next town over, where she worked in a factory. So he wouldn’t have to talk to me, he always turned the music up too loud on our drive there. It never bothered me, in fact, I loved it. It was the only time I wasn’t uncomfortable being alone with him. I wasn’t going to be in trouble for doing something wrong, I wasn’t expected to do anything other than just sit there and shut up. I was more than okay with that. It was usually some kind of classic rock, Rush being his favorite, but I always silently cheered when we would listen to Pink Floyd. Not that anyone cared what music I preferred.
Music became something that comforted me in a way nothing else would, or could, I suppose. Being so sheltered, I really had to work at finding new albums and things to listen to, and because my family had this bizarre religious/not religious thing going on, I wasn’t allowed to listen to much. So I hid it, like Footloose, only considerably more white trash and less endearing. If it wasn’t some old white dude, I wasn’t supposed to listen to it. Welcome to the Midwest in the early 1990’s.
In Junior high, when we started selling shit for school I could not have been more excited. Not candy or sweets. Cassettes! The catalogs with the available music in them were the coolest things I’d ever seen. This was before I’d gotten ahold of a Columbia House catalog. Hello first foray into debt! Anyway, my family was poor, so I worked my ass off to be able to buy some cassettes of my own. I had to hide them with my Walkman at the end of my driveway where I waited for the bus. Nirvana, NIN, and Jewel all hiding in a tissue box in an old tractor trailer. That sounds like the beginnings of a terrible joke, doesn’t it?
There have been so many instances in my life that music has either encouraged me, been that blanket that wrapped around and soothed me, or the fire that pumped fuel into my veins and made me feel like I could do anything. I’ve always felt music. It has always been this direct line into my brain that I could maneuver depending on what I was listening to.
Music has a way of bringing people closer, that’s no secret. But even on a small scale. When my partner and I met eight years ago we spent a lot of time bonding over albums, Carter IV and White Pony played on repeat, most weekends we spent together.
Even RockBand’s been a pivotal part of my family’s bonding. It’s always been a sure fire way to get us all together having fun and laughing. There are few games we all enjoy playing together and RB is definitely one of them. Over the years, it’s made dynamic changes in mine and my son’s confidence and ability to let go and have fun.
I’ve been struggling lately. Life’s a bit challenging right now, and that seems to be the theme of this year. I realized I don’t get to spend much time listening to music. Hiding myself away in it. We gave away our car before we moved here so I don’t get the “roll the windows down and crank those tunes” opportunity anymore and I really miss it. I also don’t pop on headphones very often because I have a toddler in tow most of the time, and there’s no way I can’t not hear what he’s getting into.
One of our mics broke and we didn’t bring the Rockband guitars with us when we moved, so we haven’t got to blow off steam and rock out as a family. I also couldn’t remember the last time I danced until my thighs ached or sang until my lungs strained. I’d lost my musical way — my musical muchness, if you will.
Yesterday, when I got the opportunity to turn the music up and clean while I danced and shook my ass, I took it! And it felt fucking fantastic. I threw some headphones on and just got lost for a little bit. Letting that bass soak into my soul. Giving them time to get reacquainted, like long lost lovers and friends.
I have to make more of an effort to bring music into my life again. It’s something I owe myself and my mental health. My being needs music. It needs to dance. It needs to sing. Love may be my religion, but music is the fucking gospel.