Now, I try not to talk about this here, because it's embarrassing (and it's annoying to hear people complain, so I try not to), but the truth is I'm extremely emotional. To my credit, I've gotten a lot better at dealing with my emotions over the past decade. But, I still cry every time I see Mufasa die in the Lion King and I bawl my eyes out every time Holly reads a letter from Gerry in P.S. I Love you.
In 2010, I cried about things more serious than sappy movies. Back then, things were rough for me.
I was juggling full-time courses, along with full-time work hours, and a number of other things.
Then, thanks to Google, and a phone call with a family member that I didn't speak to very often, I discovered that my grandparents (from my mom's side) had passed away. Years earlier. No one had even bothered to tell me. The last real bloodline connection that I had to my mother was gone.
Something else I've never gone into detail about here either is that, when I was 14, my mom passed away.
After my mom passed, my grandmother (my mother's mom) kept my mom's ashes. I kept saying I was going to get them from her one day. Andrew was even willing to drive me to her place, to not only get the ashes, but to see my grandmother.
My grandmother was from Lithuania though and, although she lived in Canada, she didn't speak much English. I worried about a communication barrier and I also worried that she wouldn't know who I was; the last time I saw her, I was a child, so I made excuses not to go.
When I was notified of my grandmother's passing, I was finally able to collect my mom's ashes. The problem was that I had no idea what to do with them and receiving them opened up new wounds that I thought had healed.
I became frustrated with school, work and with Andrew. I had no idea how to confront these emotions and he had no way of understanding what I was feeling.
Years earlier, I had discovered the artist Lights (her February Air, Old Navy video, to be exact. You can watch that here). The moment I discovered her, she immediately became my favourite artist. Not only was she from my city, but she was real. She wasn't a sell-out artist and was extremely loyal to her fans. Her music spoke to me. Her music got me through those difficult times.
In 2009, she released the album The Listening, and at a surprise birthday party that Andrew set up for me, my dear friend Mike gave me the album as a gift. I loved the album, as a whole, but I clung to two songs: The Listening and Saviour.
With The Listening, I felt like I could have written the lyrics myself:
Please excuse me, I'm not thinking clearSaviour, I think, was meant to be taken on a religious/spiritual level, but I didn't see it as that. I once again felt like I had written the lyrics myself:
It must just be stress
But I likely shouldn't be here, I'm such a mess
I never really ever know what to say
When all of my emotions get in the way
I'm just trying to get us on the same page (Wish I could explain)
I always get it better right afterward
When all the wrong impressions are said and heard
How come I can never get the right words, I need to convey
Wish I could explain The things that I have to work out
The night is deafeningI was desperately trying find answers with what I had lost. To me, "down on my knees" meant I was surrendering. I was giving up. I was looking for something and I couldn't find it.
when the silence is listening
and I'm down on my knees
and I know that something is missing
because the back of my mind is holding things I'm relying in
but I choose to ignore it because I'm always denying them
I remember sitting in the library on campus, trying to write an essay, but instead, I'd write these lyrics out, over and over again.
While writing the lyrics, I felt relief. I don't know what Lights personal reference to her songs is, but for me, they brought peace. They made me feel like I wasn't alone. They gave me permission to have emotions, but on a personal and individual level. I could express my emotions alone without feeling alone.
Music has always had this kind of impact on me, but Lights really helped me get to where I needed to be.
In case you're wondering, I still have my mom's ashes. I realised that I wasn't ready to let them go and there's nothing wrong with that. When I'm ready to, I will.
I also no longer feel the need to write lyrics out, and, the emotions I felt then, I'm at peace with. I can conquer each day, without a doubt. As long as I have music by my side, there's nothing I can't get through.