I don't know about y'all, but music is a huge part of my life. It has never failed me; whether I need a laugh, some comfort, a memory, or to forget, music is there. Everything from Bach to Korn, with a liberal peppering of Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, and Ella and Mama Cass in between. My favorite childhood memories are those of waiting until it was just me, my sister, and my mom- we would race to the record player, pick one, and dance. And sing and laugh. Big, loud, shrill child voices and the kind of belly laughs that you can feel the next day. I can still hear us; can still feel the skirt of my sundress swishing around my legs. It is a memory that never fails to make me smile, and one I would love to start with my own family someday. It's one of the best mental hygiene plans available. I've always said (you know, throughout my long, looonnngg life) that I don't trust people who do not have some kind of music collection- any kind- for there is something wrong with their souls. I first came to this conclusion upon the lucky dissolution of my engagement. Before he met me, my briefly intended-husband owned no music. ZERO. No cds, mp3s, nothing downloaded illegally, not even an old cassette from middle school (look it up, youngsters). Nada. Then he sort of adopted my (albeit brilliantly eclectic) musical taste. That should have been a warning I picked up on sooner. Lesson learned, music gods. Lesson learned. Moving on to new, more interesting mistakes. The point is, he was a... flat... person. One-dimensional, intellectually and spiritually. Not to mention his personality bore a striking resemblance to a can of over-boiled, unseasoned hominy. Ew. I truly believe that the lack of interest in music is a strong indicator of such personality anorexia. (As a side-note, I can all but hear my best friends howling with laughter and "we told you so" exclamations of support!)
There are certain songs that speak to you more than others at different times in your life. One that always comforts me is "Let it Be," by the Beatles. It seems to always come on when I really need to hear it. It may be trickery of my own mind, but I don't care. It is powerful medicine. And who could argue with John and Paul??? Another song that has been vital to my musical therapy is "You Can't Always Get What You Want," by the frenetically brilliant Rolling Stones. The lyrics, by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, are fantastic and timeless, the guitar licks provided by Keith are soul-rocking, (Bill, Jimmy, and the rest of the crew are no slouches, either), and the nothing less than heavenly support of the London Bach Choir turns genius into transcendence. For me, at least; and for these purposes, that's really all that matters.
While the song, like any piece of literature, started with it's own distinct meaning, the beauty of words is that they have a power that is specific to the listener. We can each be moved in a unique, profound way, which is needed by and matters only to us. The part of the song that touches me and soothes me the most is:
No you can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you want... But if you try sometime you find... You get what you NEED.
Simple. Elegant. Applicable to us all. It is something that we should all remind ourselves of as often as possible; it is necessary to our survival and to living our lives well. There are so many hurts in life that we have to suffer, and we have to learn to get through. The things we think will destroy us while they're actually happening often turn out to be just a painful lesson we unfortunately truly needed to learn. Much like that fiancé I mentioned earlier; at the time, I thought that breakup was it for me. I was devastated. Now I understand and am so very grateful that it ended before I was more tangled up in it than I already was. Now I can laugh about most of it. My oh my, I am so thrilled not to be permanently tied to that family and that can of bland hominy!
In the past year I have 'lost' three people who I thought were dear friends, a man-like boy I had hopes for (as a friend and maybe more), as well as an intense personal loss I was not prepared for. But the thing is, I'm still here. I'm still me. I've just gotten better at crying like a lady... and hopefully I'll get better at making certain choices. I wanted things to work out differently, but I couldn't make them. You can't make people do what they should or be who they *could* be. Sometimes potential is just potential- it doesn't always go somewhere. And that doesn't mean there's something wrong with me. What I have learned (with the help of Keith and Mick) is something so simple that it probably sounds silly outside of my head, but here it is:
I existed before I met these people. I existed after this happened. And I still do. The best part is, I still sparkle. And I don't intend to ever let that change.
Thank you, Stones, for your support. It really is true, you know. You really can't always get what you want, but sometimes, y'all, you get what you need. Say it to yourself regularly. Sing it loudly. When you're having a bad day, blast it in your car and sing into your steering wheel like you're Mick and you're wearing bizarrely tight pants. If you're talking to someone who dulls your sparkle, pretend that all your responses are backed up by Keith and his guitar. Trust me; it works. I do it all the time ;-D
***Please feel free to share the songs that matter to you in the comments. It's always a great conversation to have. And ask your friends; they may surprise you!