We all have a soundtrack to our lives. Sometimes I forget how powerful music can be. Like smells, or photographs, hearing even a snippet of a certain song can bring me back fully to a place I’d long forgotten, for good or bad. One song can make me cry, laugh, feel more powerful than a queen, or even cringe in memory of something I always wanted to forget (Madonna’s Crazy For You and Joey P! Ugh!). Well, music has also helped get me through some of my darkest days.
Sometimes things are timed so appropriately that you wonder why you ever questioned the existence of a higher power or an overall organization to the universe. Actually, I rarely question anymore, I just try to appreciate it when it happens. Here I want to discuss just one example, but it was twofold—the music, but it was wrapped in a perfect package.
During my (eternal, painful and very trying) divorce, a new show was piloted on HBO. It was highly rated and highly anticipated, and at that time I was ravenously sucking up any form of diversion that I could find. Since I couldn’t read (I think stress activated a latent form of ADD!), I began to devour TV shows while I was working out. It kept my mind occupied and my body busy. So began my obsession with The Affair. It was Just. So. Good. Even the most seemingly perfect relationships had cracks and flaws and potential for disaster. The grass is never greener. The story line was told from all angles, and really blamed no one person for causing problems, and held everyone accountable for cleaning them up.
I could probably analyze this show for hours and apply it to my life in many ways, but there were a few highlights that stood out. The first thing this show did was drive home the idea that there was passion out there for me, no matter what my age, and for some people (of which I am one) passion is vital to living fully. And I’m talking about something far greater than sexual passion! Being free from the confines of MY marriage was the only way I could begin to find it. So, even if that alone was the ONLY reason to divorce, it still might be justified. The second was that someone out there really did understand how it felt to be betrayed (in ways that weren’t always obvious), alone, responsible, powerless, and freaking angry about it! And as I related hard to the spurned wife, one song in one scene latched itself right onto my soul and immediately created an imprint. Oh my God, I had to hear more. I searched the song, the artist, found more, sucked it up, blasted the music full force for days. It was better than drugs. It helped boost me to the surface for some much needed air and gave me the hope that there was possibly something more than the black that I had been blindly feeling my way around for the previous six months.
Thank you, Lucinda Williams. I’m not sure if it’s you or your writers, or if you really get me, or if you can just belt out an awesome song that makes music speak to me. Whatever. It’s not far from the truth to say that you saved my life. (Or at least you saved my ex’s life;) I had friends who listened, sympathized. I had friends who told me to get over it and move on. Some friends even told me that I had no right to feel angry or hurt. Some told me I might need to find new friends who were more aligned with my new position in the world. Hm. Lucinda told me screw them all, you deserve respect, passion, support, love. Don’t settle for less, and don’t let one bad experience stop you from putting yourself fully into future relationships. It’s their loss, but don’t let them take a piece of you with them when they go. Yank that shit back and save it for the one who does deserve it!
A TV show and a song. It sounds almost too simple, but their impact was profound. They may not have been THE panacea I needed to get me out of that black hole, but they certainly were needed drugs on my road to recovery.