She was fifteen when she first heard the song that changed her life and became path and direction of her journey. Music had been a distraction and a companion for most of her isolated childhood and youth. Being subject to emotional abuse, she had found somewhere safe to hide in her mind when music was playing. When silence reigned in her bedroom, thoughts threatened to destroy her fragile mind. Once in a while, her older sister took her to the city. They browsed stores for clothes and, her favourite part, for music. Their shopping spree always ended with an obligatory trip to the newsstand. Her sister bought the latest teen magazine, and she invested the last of her money in music magazines that came with free CDs.
On the bus home, both girls looked out of the window, trying to find ways to ignore what was awaiting them at home. The older one retreated to her own bedroom as soon as they walked through the door; the younger one was greeted with new chores that were added to her list and verbal abuse when she was not able to do the things she was commanded to do. She was not innocent though, she replied to every insult thrown at her with another insult. Inside, she broke apart, but she refused to show it to the outside. They would love to see her cry, and she was not willing to grant them this victory. Once done with everything, she too found her way to her sanctuary, where the first thing she did was putting on some music. But the music she listened to made her angry. Angrier than she already was. Her friends had suggested those bands, and for once, she had wanted to fit in, and something was appealing too, but she was beginning to see that those friends were morons who weren’t able to see past shallow lyrics and worshipped ugly minds and ideas. This was not her. She was too open-minded and free-spirited for this hate and ugliness. She had enough of those at home already, and she wanted more; needed more. Somehow she always knew that she deserved more.
She unpacked what she had bought, new CDs to put in the stand next to her stereo and listen to one after the other; a new black top with a large white and silvery bird, and the magazines from the newsstand. She wanted to give the new music on the free sampler attached to the magazine a listen first. Awaiting rejection, she knocked on her sister’s door to ask for the laptop they were sharing. With relief she saw that the older girl was not using it and with a warning to bring it back within an hour, she could take it. Once everything was plugged in and mounted, she was in for a surprise.
4 minutes and 42 seconds were about to change her life. The CD started on its own accord, and the first sounds she heard was an acoustic song by a band that was unknown to her. She didn’t know much about music, but she knew when she was touched by something good. She looked at the screen in front of her and was intrigued by the two men she saw with their guitars. One was sitting on a chair, strumming and singing; head slightly bowed. The other lay on the bed cradling his guitar like a lover; eyes closed. A myriad of emotions ran through her mind and body, too many emotions to place them and all she was capable of doing was sigh and smile. Wow! The song ended. The screen faded to black and she, she released another long breath. She was mesmerised by what she had heard and seen. Before the next song came on, she had to play this one again. The repeat button was the only option there was. This time, the smile was there from the beginning. As soon as the song had ended a second time, she knew she needed more; more of this beautiful and sad music. She was greedy, but this music, these lyrics, and the men somehow too, they had touched something deep inside her. Something was born and awoken in those few minutes of having listened to the song. In a frantic nearly obsessed way she browsed the internet to find out who this band was. They were brothers and part of a band. The clip of them in the hotel room was made to advertise their newest release. This British band had been around for a while, and she made a point to purchase as much of their back catalogue the next time she would go to her preferred record store. It was 1998; she was fifteen and deep inside, she knew that this band had just changed her entire life and thoughts.
She was twenty-six when an unexpected bout of depression hit her. It was the first time she felt helpless, hopeless, obsolete. Friends had long gone; only a couple had survived and morphed into adult friendships. Life had changed; she had moved on with a family of her own. She had a house, a husband, and two kids. Her mind had changed too; of course, it had, she was not a child anymore but an educated and intelligent woman. The music she listened to had changed, as well as the meaning it had in her life now. The band that had changed her life in her youth was still there and had stayed the same; more or less, releasing new music regularly.
It was 2009, and everything looked good on the outside; to some her life was perfect. But inside; inside everything was different; she had lost hope. She had forgotten how to have hope for a better future. She had no dreams, no goals, no future. She was existing, but not living. No one had ever promised anything to her. No one had ever punished her for dreaming. And yet, she was bruised by the daily struggles. Hurt by her own high expectations and standards; and yet she couldn’t change. She was powerless. Hope was lost.
She sat in front of the computer. It was silent in her room. Just she and her tormenting thoughts that became louder and more vicious with every passing sleepless night. She clicked YouTube links by the dozen to distract herself from the noise in her brain, but the music didn’t bring her peace anymore. The songs were filled with melancholy, and they all made her want to cry and hide from the world even more. Until seemingly out of nowhere, the song came on that had changed her life a decade ago appeared in a random playlist. The exact same version. With both men in a hotel room and the camera focusing on the guitarist who lay flat on his back playing the intro to the song. Forgotten Hopes.
The song that had changed so much such a long time ago was doing it again. She didn’t smile once when it played. She just watched. Frozen. Her mind was empty, devoid of thoughts. This hadn’t happened in a very long time. And when the screen faded to black to begin playing a new song, she paused the playlist and buried her face in her hands. She finally cried. She cried the tears she had kept in for years, and when she was all cried out, she felt freer than she had ever felt. Snot was running down her nose, and dark dots that used to be warm tears adorned her shirt, but it was okay. Her head hurt from the sudden release of those locked up emotions. But that too was okay. And once again, this song, this band that was ever-present in her life, had changed her train of thoughts. It was okay. It was okay, and everything would be okay. Music was healing her mind.
She was thirty-two in 2015, and after supporting one of the musicians of the band that had been her longtime companion in a crowd-funding campaign, she received a personalised song. It was the most unique gift she could ever receive. Forgotten Hopes, and it was sung just for her. It took her a couple of tries and a lot of headshaking and worrying, but in the end, she dared to send an email to the man whose lyrics had guided her through her life and whose words were inspiring her own creative mind. She thanked him and told him briefly how much she owed to him, his lyrics and his passion. He had touched her in all the right places, and now she wanted to touch him too. Give back a little. And by doing so, her life changed again. And maybe, his did too. For her, it was Important that he knew and understood that his presence on this earth had saved her, that it mattered. In her mind, every artist deserved to know that their light gave hope.
Forgotten Hopes. A vivid reminder to her to never lose hope.