I was driving to work this morning listening to music.

Not really a different thing for me. The only reason that I don’t run my car off the road on a daily basis driving to and from work everyday is because I know that I can spend 30 minutes (read: 60 mins) listening to music and singing my heart out. It’s literally my only saving grace. And if I’m being really honest, the “singing my heart out” is usually paired with my mind going crazy and thinking. The drive to and from work are usually where I process and think through/out things. It really is one of my favorite times. The traffic sucks. I don’t love that. But the time I get to either pray/talk to God/talk to myself/walk down memory lane/plan/dream about the future is really something that I don’t take for granted. I’m not sure many people allow for that kind of stuff to happen in their daily lives.

Sometimes I laugh at myself (as I’m sure that other drivers think I’m totally nuts), sometimes I make myself cry as I relive certain times of my life. Some songs come through the speakers and automatically bring up stuff. I was thinking about that today. I was wondering if a majority of people experience this. I tend to pair songs with certain times of my life.

Madonna – This Used To Be My Playground. It’s weird. This is probably the first memory I have of music affecting my emotions. I was 10 years old. Geena Davis and Tom Hanks’s movie “A League of Their Own” had been out for about 5 years and I was in LOVE. Along with music, movies played a pretty big part in my childhood. I was always watching them! Usually the same ones over and over, until I broke the VHS tape. “A League of Their Own” was no exception. But there was one time when I was 10, that I watched this movie and something was different. See, my dad moved out of our house and left our family when I was 10. I’m not exactly sure where in the timeline this story falls, but the transition in our family was definietely something that was fresh in our minds. I was sitting in one of the bedrooms in my grandmas house. The house I was brought to right after I was born. A League of Their Own had just finished and as the ending credits and montage of old pictures moved across the screen, this song began to play.

This used to be my playground 
This used to be my childhood dream
This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a friend
Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

Don’t look back
Keep your head held high
Don’t ask them why
Because life is short
And before you know
You’re feeling old
And your heart is breaking
Don’t hold on to the past
Well that’s too much to ask

And as she began to sing, tears began to spill from my eyes. I remember looking at a picture of me and my dad and feeling so much emotion: Sadness, pain, anger, rage. And as the song played, as I looked at that picture, I found myself taking a pen and scratching his face out. I think about this now, and it makes me so sad that a 10 year old was capable of feeling such emotions. I’m not entirely sure a 10 year should have to know what anger and rage and pain feels like. I’m sure more 10 year olds feel these things than I will ever want to know. I know that I was already angry and hurt, but this song…this song brought it out of me. I’m not convinced that 10 year old Jessica knew what the lyrics meant. I’m sure there are many theories as to the meaning, but at 10 years old, I didn’t care. All I knew was that it struck a chord with me. It made my heart contract.
And still to this day, that song brings back those same memories. I’m not filled with rage and I don’t scratch out people’s faces when the lyrics start, but I cannot sit through that song without balling my eyes out.

Music has this amazing ability to penetrate the heart and head. For me, lyrics are everything. They will absolutely bring me to tears. And the memory of that lasts forever, so every time I hear that song it brings back those memories and feelings. I know some people might hate that. I actually love it. So many people think that I hate emotions. I mean, I do. I don’t like feeling stuff. Not even happy stuff. I just don’t know what to do with all of it. But more than anything, I don’t like showing my emotions. Happy, sad, scared, hurt, excited. Nothing. But feeling them? It reminds me that I’m human. We were made to feel. It what makes us different than any other creatures on this planet. The ability and privilege to feel. Music makes me feel. No matter how much I don’t want to, it does. It brings out emotions and helps me process through difficult, or challenging season in my life. It urges me to dance and laugh and celebrate the happy and exciting moments. It’s like magic. Music=Magic.

That about sums it up!


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