Song of My Heart

Music is such an integral part of my life. Songs come on and I am immediately transported to a different time and a different place…music is like a time machine and listening to songs on shuffle creates an emotional Russian roulette for those of us who are so impacted by music’s effect.

Possum Kingdom (The Toadies) will always send me to Comm School, when I was 18 and fearless, sitting in a classroom with the instructor across the room playing different songs for the class… but I knew he would choose them to see my reaction. I would catch AJ’s eyes watching me over the computer. There wasn’t a song he would play that I didn’t immediately know the words to (he thought he could trip me up with Oldies and Motown…ME, who grew up listening to Fox 97!)…twelve years later and we have a playlist on Spotify that we add songs to randomly…we are up to 638 songs in two months. I miss you, AJ, and I am glad we can talk through the playlist (Jameson Jams, readers). You and I always connected on music…

Hold Me Now (Thompson Twins) will always bring me back to me and Nick in a cryo-chamber, naked but for the oven mitts on our hands, occasionally rubbing each other and singing as we danced in a circle to distract ourselves from the cold. Or Ali in the Jungle (The Hours) playing as he got ready for a Three Peak Hike we had spent months training and raising money for. He put on all of the stuff he needed, getting pumped for the climb, grinning at me while I watched him warm up from the bed.

September (Earth, Wind, and Fire) played during my first ride in a Tesla…Justin let me sit in the front seat (shocking, honestly), and we (along with Jake and Chris) sang at the top of our lungs…perfect harmony coming from the group of us. I was the DJ…we all sat and grinned at each other once that song was over. Then we went and shoved tacos in our faces.

Evil Woman (ELO) was playing at an orgy in Oceanside…I was much too in love with John to participate in any activities (sorta, haha) but I remember the drinks and watching quite a lot of people enjoy themselves. The mood lighting was perfect, and now that song just makes me laugh and think of innocent 19 year old me getting exposed to the “underbelly” of society….and the divorces I have seen from the participants in the years since. And that song reminds me of my second lap dance at the same house….Nine Inch Nail’s Closer (so hot)…where I was so inspired by her moves that I tried to go upside down on the stripper pole and almost broke my neck. Don’t drink and pole dance, folks.

Gangsta’s Paradise takes me right back into Leo’s bar in Japan, where I took the microphone and sang every word of “Amish Paradise” over Coolio’s rendition. Everyone grimaced or cheered, depending on their own personal relationship with Weird Al. But this song also shares space with me dancing and singing in Nick’s living room while he and his son watched as a very white girl tried to rap…

Defying Gravity puts me in the backseat of the Honda Element, on the way up to Venice Beach with Matrix and his wife…and she turned around and looked me square in the eye and said that I had an amazing voice. It was the last time I hung out with them before I deployed and she broke his heart.

And don’t get me started on orchestral music… close to two decades of playing songs puts you squarely INTO the songs. You know every beat, every instrument, every crescendo and decrescendo, every flaw of the players around you as you move and breathe together….

Greensleeves reminds me of Alan Fowler’s father dying and the song that was composed in his honor that we played…and how everyone in the band was sobbing by the end. Let me tell you, playing an instrument that requires constant solid breath-work is extremely difficult to do when you’re shaking and crying.

As I list these songs and am reminded of the memories I have…I realize that all of the songs that have been ruined are because they are tied to a person who isn’t just me. My favorite song, the one I can play on repeat and be perfectly fine with it, has memories with just me. While it brings sadness, it also brings happiness and solitude. I am becoming exhausted with music and the people I am reminded of when I hear songs. I am playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun these days. Of course, I could take Nick’s advice and make better memories of songs with new people. He told me this after watching me cry when he played Bon Iver…and he pulled me close to him and held me while we listened to Holocene and I cried into his chest…and he turned out to be a giant fucking asshole so who knows. Hundreds of hours of songs on the road trips we went on…and he took all of these good songs from me, held them in his hands, and threw them on the ground, grinding into them with his heels as he told me, laughing, that he would never love me. How can a 41 year old man ruin Christina Aguilera for a 30 year old woman?! Haha, such bullshit.

So how do I get back the songs of my heart? Playing the songs on repeat doesn’t help, but my tear ducts most definitely get a good workout in…

I dunno, folks. Music was a comfort…hopefully new people will not ruin future songs and hopefully I can reclaim Hold Me Now and End of the Line (Traveling Wilburys)…or maybe I’m putting another bullet in the gun…

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