I often wonder how people get through the day without listening to music at least once. How one physically can get themselves through the entire day without hearing a melody, listening to lyrics, and feeling music throughout their whole body. People do this every day — I am not one of them. I am someone for whom music is my constant, my escape, and my stability.
People have often asked why I write songs, or how I write songs. I have been writing songs since I was 10 years old, and I can tell you exactly why I started. I had a crush on a boy in my math class, and I would constantly journal about it. One day I was writing down words about how I felt, and those words came out in verses and choruses. It just happened.
It doesn’t matter what has happened to me in life. I could have had a perfectly normal day, and I can write a song about it. Putting melodies to words and moving them around so that they make hooks, and verses, and choruses, help me figure out what I am feeling about something or how to go about something problematic in my life. I’ve written songs about my friends’ lives, my own life, my relationships, my friends’ relationships, and I’ve made up stories about other people’s lives in song.
For me, songwriting is my healing process. It is my way of decompressing from the day and the things I am confused about or have very strong feelings towards. I’ve always loved words. So making a feeling I have about someone I have a crush on equivalent to moments that add up like Polaroids is something that makes me about as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. Songwriting is how I figure my life out. Some people journal, some people go to the bar, some people read a book. I write lyrics and melodies.
Isn’t this why music is so powerful for us? We relate to music because it says all the things our hearts are screaming that we are too distracted to listen to most days. There are songs you cannot listen to because of the pain it brings you. There are songs that make you smile because your heart is happy. There are songs that make you cry because for some reason, they resonate with something deep inside of you.
I think one of the most important things in life to learn is to let music affect you. Let music take a hold over you that you wouldn’t normally allow, because it will heal you more than you think. I had a friend perform an original song that talked about a relationship with a father. I had never heard this song before, but one chorus in and I was so close to sobbing in a public place I had to tune out the lyrics and the melody so as to not embarrass myself.
Looking back, I should have just let the song affect me. We spend so much of our time now pretending that we don’t care, that nothing hurts us, nothing makes us emotional, and nothing makes us feel much of anything. I spend a lot of my time doing that. The only time I am really in touch with what I am feeling and I confront my emotions is when I am writing a song, performing a song, or listening to music in my bedroom alone. And it’s taken me 21 years to finally come to the realization that hiding my feelings does no one any good. All it does is leave my emotions there to simmer and stew and then when I finally admit things, it comes out in a, “I’m giving this 200% of my effort because I’m so used to denying everything and sorry if it freaks you out and scares you away” way.
Recognizing your emotions is okay. It is okay to feel things, and it is okay to cry, and it is okay to be so happy you can’t stop smiling. That way you feel when your favorite song comes on the radio? It’s okay to keep that feeling with you the rest of the day. In fact, if everyone were more open about how they felt and were more candid with their emotions, it would be easier to communicate with people. You wouldn’t be scared to have a conversation with someone.
Take a moment the next time you hear a song that makes you feel something. Take a moment and remember that feeling and allow it to really sink into your entire being. And carry that with you when you’re in a situation that calls for you to talk about or confront emotion. You’ll find music can probably make you speak more easily than anything else.