Monday, August 23, 2010

Takin' it Back

Music. Besides smell, music is one of the biggest triggers for memories of your past. As of recently, I considered this a curse. It seemed every time I got in the car to drive to work certain songs that to express everything I was feeling at the time kept playing (of course, logically, I know that this is why Linkin Park was so popular during my 'teen angst' years, it expressed what *everything* is feeling at the time). It's been no secret that I haven't been in a good place lately, not for lack of trying. However, through a series of events surrounding songs that brought on negative emotions, I came to a conclusion or two:

It all started the first time Mdin617 came to visit me.

I plugged his iPhone into my radio to charge--it plays whatever playlist you were on/listening to last.

All I needed to hear was the first couple of notes and I *knew*. Frozen, tense, I asked, "What song is this?"

"Great Gig in the Sky-Pink Floyd" he answered, looking at me. I closed my eyes and swallowed, the song being confirmed seconds before it started really going into instrumental intro.

As Clare Torry started belting out her wordless lyrics in ways that have always made me feel near orgasmic, I wrestled with myself while lying next to Md.

"I may have to change this," I announced simply, every nerve in my body going haywire as the music continued. He looked at me, concerned, but not saying anything. I met his eyes finally and explained, "It's a *thing*".

One word was all I needed to say to describe that this was something special between me and an ex--namely one that I was not over at the time--and still had an affect on me.

I will spare the who, what, why's for all other parties involved, but rest assured knowing it was kinda a REALLY BIG *thing*.

At that point, a few months ago, I was tired. I was tired of still feeling pain, I was tired of the depression, and I was ready to move on. There's only so much healing you can force, but you can help a lot. I'd been proactive about it after the initial shock, I tried to put myself out there as an educator, loaded myself up with modelling gigs, purged things through writing, focused on framing things in a positive light, stood on my own two feet, and at that point, started gradually dating again. I really did not *want* to stew in those negative feelings that I still haven't seemed to shake completely. I'd been *doing* something about it since day one.

So why, now, was I going to let my emotions become victim to a song? I had very little control over how that *thing* played out. I couldn't control that the song came on *now*. The one thing that I could have some sort of control over (just a tiny bit)? Well, my response of course.

I leaned into Md. "Let's make it not-so-much a *thing*. Let's make it a *new* "thing"," I suggested. Like that, my blood pressure slowed, my near-hyperventilation halted and I was (almost) able to lay there and enjoy the song with him. I'd taken control. I'd taken it back.

I applied this new-found epiphany elsewhere. For a while, I couldn't hear a minute of Jakob Dylan's voice, namely from the album "Bringing Down the Horse". Why? Well this may give you a clue: (though, I'm not sure how long that link may be up since it's A.) a blog from YEARS ago B.) not my website C.) Perspectives on certain things were different at the time). Abridged version: at 13, I was raped by my best friend's dad while he was driving me home--it was that album that'd been playing over and over at the time.

I remember the last time I'd heard that particular song. I was with my S.O. du jour at Sporting Goods store trying out jump ropes to maintain my physical fitness and to aid in his. It was some time after that blog was written and posted.

It started playing over the loudspeaker and without explanation, I'd run out of the store, lighting up a cigarette in the safe silence outside only to have to scramble to explain why to him after. He didn't get it at the time.

Which is why, about a month ago, when that freaking song played on the radio, I went to change it--and the instance in the Sporting Goods store was part of the memories that had flooded me. In fact, while part of me relived the horrors of that night those were a bit removed, as if I weren't reliving them, but watching a movie. What really stuck out in my mind was the feeling that had me jettisoning out of the store that day-- and how that feeling of fear and might *just* be something I did have control over. By catering to it and changing the channel or running away every time I heard that music, I was continuing to be a victim. I was reinforcing that idea, in fact. Yeah, I was a victim of something horrible, but I was choosing to *continue* to be a victim to this day, 11 years later.

I wrote that blog 3 years ago-- that last line: "And here’s me, going on with my life, but I won’t be the victim anymore..." a half-truth. Until now.

I stopped myself from changing it, I focused on my workday ahead, my plans for that night and (nearly) jammed to that song.

The 3rd bout of my epiphany happened only a few weeks ago at a Goo-Goo Dolls concert. In the 6th grade, my two favorite bands were Goo-Goo Dolls and Aerosmith. I had a pretty healthy obsession with both, listening to the albums often. My fandom died out over the years, particularly after Dizzy Up the Girl. Most know the song "Iris"- that is one of their most popular. It's a gorgeous song with beautiful lyrics and notes. One I've loved since I lived out West.

A S.O. dedicated that song to me during the course of our relationship. It was my ring-back, so I heard it often. Soon, anytime I heard it, my thoughts drifted to him when we were apart, my arms drifted to him when we were together. It was *our* song.

That relationship ended as amicably as-- well-- let's not go there. I'm not angry, just sad that I couldn't salvage some sort of friendship. So whenever I heard that song, I got somber in remembrance of the good times: not because I regretted leaving, but because, while the romantic relationship wasn't meant to be, I felt a loss at the lack of any sort of relationship and even more hurt at this person's negative feelings toward me.

There was only so many ways I could try to salvage some sort of friendship. It took me a long time, but I realized that I couldn't force it and exposing myself to the ire was actually doing me damage. I eventually decided, no more. But there were still a few things that made me sad--namely, the song.

When the tickets to the concert were purchased for me, I knew that the Goo Goo Dolls were eventually going to play that infamous song. That's what made this epiphany very clear: I could A.) When that song played (most likely near the end) have it affect my entire time as it brought on the waves of "what if" and my pensive thoughts on how I could have achieved a better outcome or B.) I say "It is what it is, it's not my damn fault that things are the way they are now, and this has been my favorite song years before I met so-and-so".

I decided not to feel down/sad/bad/etc. DECIDED. And it worked.

The moral of the story is, bad shit happens. I couldn't control half of the things that I listed above. But I *could* control my continued reaction to them. Yeah, the songs will still inspire a knee-jerk sad, anxious, even angry response, hopefully one that will fade and mayyyybe even disappear over tim. But the more power I give them, the more power the hurt and those who caused it deliberately (example #2) have over me. Things can hurt you, but you can be proactive in whether or not you're going to keep letting them hurt you.

People say that you can choose to be happy. While I now ascribe to being an instrumental part in the formation of my perspective in life and realize I'd given that job to others for way too long, it will take a while until I can find my truly happy perspective again. That's how pain works, unfortunately. But I'm not going to just sit here and let it happen, I'm going to go and find my happy.

And I'm *certainly* not going to sit here and be a prisoner of my past.

So those songs? Yeah, I'm takin' them back.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you - I often say that I have my own "soundtrack" and regardless of what role that song plays in my soundtrack I know in the end, I'll be happy because only we can decide if we are happy or not.