music that pulls at the right strings

ButMusic… where to begin? It used to be my happy and safe place. That’s what favourite musicians and bands do. They make you feel safe. You see them live – 1-2-3 times, maybe even more. Safe. Always safe. Until you don’t feel comfortable anymore. Until you listen to that voice, you heard so many times whisper in your ears, becoming a distorted and uncomfortable torture. I never thought the day would come when music equals torture. When the soundtrack of your life, of your formative years, becomes the sound of your deepest sorrow.

Now, where did that come from? It comes from a dark place. A place I have been before and where I am headed to again. I was advised to not write and think for a while. I was advised to write it all out and not think for a while. Of course, I am headstrong, and I am doing what I want. What I need. I write and think. That’s what I do.

I thought it was a good idea to take this week off. I thought there would be wounds to nurse. I didn’t know they would feel like this. I don’t like to be ignored, rejected, invisible. But it seems that I am. I know that you see me right now. But that’s not what I mean. When we say that we aren’t seen, we have someone in mind who is supposed to see us. To hear our silent screams. When we reach out, it doesn’t matter who tries to catch us, if it is not the person we want us to catch, we are still falling. And falling. And falling.

The other day Nate Maingard (look him up if you don’t know him, great guy) wrote a blog post titled “The only thing missing in my life is me” and I thought, bloody hell, I know these feelings so much, I am kind of feeling them right now. If everything is perfect, why don’t I feel perfect? Why do I feel like a fraud? Why do I feel as if I am failing at life? Why do I feel as if I don’t belong? Why am I ruining this? Why am I ruining me? And then, I read this tweet:

And, Aiden is right, you know? He does great work with a clothing brand. He gives half of the proceeds he gets from In Music We Trust to a charity. Mind Charity. They care about mental illness in the UK. An important cause. So yes, he is right. No matter how dark it is and how blind I am… I made it through it all. And even if it looks as if I am not doing anything, I am not giving up.

And as I took a drag of my Luckies, I had to laugh. Out loud. Here I am. In my guest room. On the couch. Music in my ears. A book next to me. My phone close by in case someone wanted to reach me (and what do you know – of course, work calls while I am off…). There is an incense stick burning down… And I am doing what I am doing. I am being hard on myself. On top of that, I only smoke when I am not well, and it is self-sabotage, isn’t it? It’s like I know that it is destroying me and not good for me – and yet, I am doing it. But it is better than cutting my skin. Isn’t it? It’s been two weeks since I last felt the need to carve a memory into my skin. A memory that didn’t happen and that sits at my wrist now as a pink reminder that it didn’t happen. I have regrets, and I don’t have any regrets. There are reasons life happens the way it does. Maybe it wasn’t the right time for that memory to be made just yet.

A memory that was made last week was when I went to a concert of Anathema in Luxembourg. I went on my own. For the first time ever I went to a thing with a big crowd all by myself. It was scary as fuck to be there. At the same time, I was proud of myself for going. I mean, I am 34 and confident enough to take the space I need. I saw a good gig. I enjoyed myself, as much as I could. I stood in the back, between the mixing desk and a pillar. All without a drink. It was a clean experience. For a moment, I felt a complete lack of emotions. Scary for someone as emotional as me, right? I felt disconnected in a way. None of my favourite songs was played, maybe that was a reason too, but who am I to complain? These guys have played 50 shows, 11 in a row. And still, they are performing and doing what they do. And then they played The Beginning and the End – still not my most favourite song (again, who am I to complain about their setlist when a band plays for two hours straight?!), but it was the most amazing that night (for me). And as I left the venue with the crowd, I heard people talk. Some were disappointed and ripped everything apart – from the sound to the energy on stage, to the guitarist smoking without a care (and honestly, who fucking cares about that?! Let him smoke all he wants). Some were on that high you only get when you see the most amazing and brilliant music being played on stage. Me, I felt emotionless. I walked through the cold November rain and sat in my car for a while. I just sat there. And I waited. I can’t say what I was waiting for. But I watched the rain on my front window. I watched cars leaving the parking lot. And I was paralysed. My mind was totally blank. And I began to cry. Another good ten minutes passed before I finally was on my drive back home. I didn’t listen to Anathema then. I listened to Tim Buckley. Couldn’t have chosen anything more different… Goodbye and Hello.

Yes, memories were made that night. None of them was immortalised in a picture. It’s all in my head.

Being is hard. Existing is hard. Breathing feels like suffocating sometimes. It really does. But through it all – I am still there. I trust. I feel. I am. I will never be who I am not. I can only be me.

The cigarettes are smoked, the incense stick burned down. The phone rang twice. And music is still playing. The same music. No torture. No soundtrack of my deepest sorrow now. Just there. Pulling at all the right strings.

Thank you to everyone mentioned above. You matter to me. That’s all for now.

Cathy

4 thoughts on “music that pulls at the right strings

  1. Wow, such a powerful post, Catherine! I have similar feelings from time to time, so I perfectly understand how you’ve felt disconnected to the point of engaging in self-destructive behavior. I think it’s often what people do when they’re depressed. And I like that you quoted Aiden Hatfield. I also follow him on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

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