I never meant for this blog to become a personal narrative, but all it takes is one clumsy misstep to cross over that ominous and imaginary line in life. In the past month, I’ve garnered a concussion via kitchen cabinet, allowed my heart to be broken more than once by the same dude, fallen up the stairs countless times (not at all out of character for me), and slept far too little. After accumulating multiple self-induced injuries, I think I just double-dutched the line into getting “too personal.”
These broken fragments of life are personal, just like another side of life that is near and dear to my currently mending heart. I’m promoting music – independent music, more notably – through my academic career. It’s also extremely interwoven into the personal. It’s there with the heart breaks and headaches. It’s often there when you don’t want it to be (y’know when you can’t get those five words of a song out of your head?). Music is there for inside jokes with your best friends, holiday memories with your family, and moments alone to be introspective; creative; mopey or energetic. Music is extremely personal and it’s extremely public; it’s communal and it’s interpersonal. It’s all about perceptions.
So why share my perceptions of music? It might allow us to communicate a little better and in my Miss America grand plan for world peace, if people felt the ability to share, it might make the world a better place.
My life is dictated by music. Broken records of harmonies and choruses frame my days, seasons, and years. I know who I was with, what was happening in my life, and how I was feeling based on what song I was listening to. Music creates mantras in my mind. Choruses are constantly on repeat and create stories for my personal history.
The first time I remember hearing the Doors was on a road trip to the Oregon coast with my dad and brother. I was eight or nine years old. I couldn’t stand Jim Morrison’s voice. When my mom called to tell me my sister’s white blood cell count was low and more tests needed to be done, I was listening to Iron & Wine’s “Boy with a Coin.” I can’t listen to that song anymore. “World Sick” by Broken Social Scene will forever remind me of sitting on the top deck of a bus in Brighton, England headed home from my first yoga class ever. “Alive with the Glory of Love” by Say Anything is a Route 66 road trip in a December 2010 snowstorm with a boy I just met.
Whether it’s a band that framed a stressed-out bike ride to work; an artist my best friend introduced me to or one a dude and I saw live; a jam I sang my heart out to in the car, or one that followed me everywhere around the world, music has always played a crucial role.
Music is one of the most personal experiences on the planet. So is my favorite hobby and other topic of discussion: yoga. Unless you understand these experiences on a personal level, how can you understand them at all?
Having your heart broken is a lot like Kirtan and a lot like yoga. Throughout an hour-long yoga class, you often have to repeat the same few poses over and over (and over and over and over) until you’re either sick of them and never want to hear their uncomfortable foreign namesake again, or you crave them and the desire to perfect their most minute physical intricacies.
The Virabhadrasana, or Warrior, series in yoga is like this for me. I will never perfect it. I might make it look pretty, but I will always repeat the words of my first teacher in my head.
“Sacrum in!” she would yell as she poked my tail bone under my butt with her hand, raising both my arms level. Vira II is a love hate relationship, complete with my legs burning and my drishti floating across the room.
Love is like that. Heart break can be like that too. Joy is the pain of the broken record repeating in every tendon and fascia of the being, willing it to shift and change; to evolve. That’s the mind and body changing. Is that the same as what love, yoga, and music are, in essence? Movements that shift, change, and evolve with time, attempting to be perfect? There is no perfection, though. That’s the pain of it; that’s the beauty of it. In the end, we find beauty in that pain.
After a 3 a.m. flight from Portland, maybe this is the exhaustion, airplane fumes, and coffee talking, or maybe I’m onto something. I’ll let you tell me.