Where did the music go?
Music was always a part of my life. I grew up in house where people sang. My parents were both in an amateur operatic society, and later in a choir which I also joined in my teens. I started piano lessons at 4, I learnt the violin at primary school, and at high school switched to the oboe, which I played in the church worship band. I did dance lessons for a while. In my teens I had a record player in my room, and eventually a CD player. I listened, I played, I sang, I danced. Music was everywhere, adding colour and extra flavour to my life.
Somewhere along the way I lost it.
A friend on Facebook recently asked people to post which songs they listened to for different moods. I was stumped. I realised I couldn’t remember the last time I actually bought any music. My life hasn’t been silent. It’s just that none of the music I’ve listened to for a long time has been of my choosing. When the kids wanted to choose the music it was easier to just let them, especially on long car journeys and I just sort of gradually forgot that I had a choice too. That might sound silly, but I think one of the characteristics of depression is a sense of unworthiness. Why would anybody want to speak to me, spend time with me, listen to me, or to my choice of music? So I got used to listening to the kids choice and my husbands choice, and kind of forgot about the music that I would choose.
Also, as seems to be the way lately, my phone had it’s part to play too. Previously there were times, especially when I had the house to myself, that I would have put on some music and danced or sang around the house. Maybe doing a bit of housework as I went, but enjoying the music, feeling it. Now I can’t help myself, my phone demands my attention, and once I give it I am drawn in, and have no concept of passing time.
When the post came up on Facebook the first thing I did was to open up Spotify on my phone and look at the music I had downloaded. Most of it, un-surprisingly, was stuff I had downloaded for the kids, some of which I do quite like, but I am unlikely to listen to the soundtrack of Mary Poppins Returns or Trolls when they’re not around. I also had a couple of my husbands playlists and the song list for the choir I sing in. The only thing I had downloaded because I actually wanted to listen to it was the soundtrack to the True Detective series and a Sia album from 2014. I listened to both that day. I sang along and got nothing else done. And then I was sad that something that had previously been a big part of my life had been so constricted.
I am apt to brood on things and not actually do anything to improve them, but I am in a better place currently, so I have been trying to rectify this. I was already on the path – having joined a gospel choir in September, I am at least singing again. But I have been choosing to listen to music this week, when I might otherwise have scrolled through my phone. And, when the chance arises I am choosing to just listen. To let the music wash over me, and to hear the melody, the harmonies and allow myself to feel the music. There is great power in music, and I could really do with some of that in my life!
I didn’t realise that you’d gone
I don’t know when you went
I am sorry that I let you go
You crept away so slowly
You stole such pleasure away
You left a hole so glaring
It is only in hindsight that
I realise what joy and beauty
You took with you