Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Music in Me

There are songs that immediately take you to a long-ago place, that make up the soundtrack to your life.  And then there are the songs that didn't just play in the background, but actually were your life.  The ones that changed you.

The friendships of 10-year old girls are intense love affairs, and when my best friend since kindergarten dropped me for a cooler model, it was my first and worst experience with heartbreak. The intense bullying and rejection that followed crushed me and I never really recovered.  I worked through my grief by listening to Amy Grant's song Stay for Awhile over and over, and knew I was moving on when the rewind button on my tape deck stopped being blurry with tears.



Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home didn't equip me with much in the way of social skills.  When my classmates found out I was TV-less, I might as well have been wearing a sign that said "FREAK!".  Hiding in the basement with the lights out on Hallowe'en, I knew my family (or maybe me specifically) must have done something terribly wrong to make the world hate us so much.  When MC Hammer released the song "Pray" when I was in seventh grade, there were a few shining months where I thought there was a chance I could fit in.  Maybe God wasn't the equivalent of cooties after all.


I debated leaving this next song out, because my tendency to overshare only goes so far. However, I'm alive today partly because of Newboys' song Elle G, and the anchor it gave me to hold onto in the hurricane my teenage hormones made of the depression and anxiety I've dealt with my whole life.



Fast forward to university.  I'm kickboxing and working out 7 days a week, in the best shape of my life.  Partying with my roommates and out dancing every Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sat in between exams.  I've discovered ceramic flat irons and the braces and glasses are long gone.  For the first time, I feel powerful. Hot. And hips swivelling to these three songs, I belong.


You Can Do It by Ice Cube
 
Dirrty by Christina Aguilera
 
I'm a Slave 4 U by Britney Spears

Five years of university and another year of hard-core studying while working full-time at an accounting firm have brought me to the final hurdle to getting my designation as a Chartered Accountant.  A three-day professional exam - five hours the first day and four hours the next two days and I'm exhausted and terrified.  But this is it - the golden ticket that I've worked so hard for.  As long as I don't choke.  Driving to the exam centre every morning, Eminem's Till I Collapse and Lose Yourself remind me that I'm strong, and I can do this.



In my last trimester of pregnancy last spring, I would listen to For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert on the way to work and S. would happily kick along.  When J. went back to work a week after S. was born, I steadily slid toward that old familiar precipice of depression, S.'s newborn screams speeding me along.  Until one day I popped in my Adam Lambert CD and S.'s big brown eyes widened and she paused mid-squall.  From that day forward, we spent a lot of time dancing in the living room, and these brief moments of non-crying gave me just enough strength to pick up the phone and call for help.


These are the songs that made me who I am today.  What's your playlist?

27 comments:

  1. I love all kinds of music! I have a playlist on my blog that is a random bit of what I listen to. I think back to what time period in my life songs relate to as well. Just evokes so much emotion sometimes. Loved your post!

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  2. I love how you broke down your life by song. It is funny how music can touch us! I enjoyed reading your post and we have many of the same songs on our playlists! I’m a new follower Happy Sunday!! I would love for you to stop and take a look at my blog as well! Thanks!
    http://heavenlysavings.blogspot.com

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  3. I don't have a playlist, but love yours. How clever.
    I agree with you about 10 year old girlfriends and how heartbreaking it is when they find a cooler model. When mine moved, I cried for months.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. It was nice to have you. :)

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  4. What a great idea of a 'playlist' I don't know all of these of songs, so can't wait to check them out. Stopped over from Comment Love Day. Have a good one!
    http://texagermanadian.blogspot.com/

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  5. I love that you relate all these songs with your real life stories. I can sometimes relate my life stories with some songs and they all end up being my favourites. Stopped over from FTLOB Comment Love Day. Happy Sunday! =)

    Isabel @ www.mummysletters.blogspot.com

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  6. THAT was an awesome post! I hear a song and I am totally brought back to a time and place. I was very (am very) in to music...and it really sets the mood of my life. It can either sit with you in a moment of tears...or lift you out of a blah mood. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  7. What a wonderful post!!!! Haha I giggled at Britney's I'm a Slave 4 U - that would be on my playlist, too!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog =) Happy Sunday

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  9. My play list would be too long to list but it would include the entire Astral Weeks album by Van Morrison, Nina Simone's Feeling Good, the entire Blood and the Tracks album by Bob Dylan - throw in Beatles, Stones, and lots of random 70's rock and a lot of Alexander O'Neal, George Benson and Chakka Khan and it covers a little of it I guess. More recently I'd include the play list on my blog. ;)

    Just popping by to thank you and welcome you to my linky Monday Madness community. I thoroughly enjoyed your post - well written and emotive. Great. Shah ,x

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  10. Love Amy Grant. So glad to know that I am not the only one who knew the mc hammer pray. My husband thought I was nuts! Stopping over from comment love.

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  11. My list would start off with Everything I Do by Brian Adams. And it would have to include songs by Starflyer 59 and the Prayer Chain from my teen years. American Music club, Morrisey and the Cure remind me of dating Jason and Sinead O'Connor's song 'In this Heart' brings back our wedding day. Wild Strawberries played non-stop in those early days of wedded bliss. Coldplay's first album takes me back to my first weeks of motherhood, as does Radiohead's 'Pyramid Song'. Belle and Sabastian made up the soundtrack to a really rough patch in our marriage and Timber Timbre fills me with happier memories since then.

    I really enjoyed this post, Ilaina. Thanks for sharing your soundtrack.

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  12. Thanks everyone for sharing your songs/artist. Many of them are meaningful to me too, but some I don't know. I'll have to check them out - I love finding new music! It was hard to pick so few songs when I was writing this post and now I want to make some mixed CDs of my favourites. Although now that Limewire's gone, it's really hard to find my older favourites - ITunes is pretty mainstream and I think DRM is a rip-off anyway so we'll see. Sigh...I miss good old Napster!

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  13. Music is indeed a great tool for a timeline of life. I love so many types of music and so many artists, it would be difficult for me to think of my personal playlist. I may copy your post idea and write my own playlist one day (if you don't mind, I will definitely give you a shout out on my post when/if I do)! I know that I loved me some Amy Grant when I was about 9 or 10, and Michael W. Smith (a song called Friends). Recently, my CD player in the car contains One Less Reason (definitely check them out), Lifehouse, Theory of a Deadman, StoneSour, Colbie Callait, and Cavo.

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  14. Hey, hey ixy! I am awarding you with the "Stylish Blogger" award! You write with such flair and have such a great, quirky personality in your style...you deserve it!

    If you would like to accept, please visit my blog and pick it up!

    http://the-knight-life.blogspot.com/2011/03/oh-so-stylish.html

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  15. Britney Spears reminds me of university, too, but I think of her first hit, "Baby One More Time." That came out right around the time I graduated. The beginning of my college days would sound more like the Spice Girls' "Wannabe." High school sounds like Hole, the Smashing Pumpkins and The Velvet Underground.

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  16. Ah yes, Today and Soma by the Smashing Pumpkins have a vivid imprint in my high school memories too.

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  17. I love this. Putting your life to music.

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  18. This is a great post. I spent the first 5 months of the year listening to every song on my iPod and writing about it. I'm impressed at the way this one post does what it took me 5 months and many posts to do.

    It will be hard, but I'll pick two songs:
    --The Ocean Blue's "Between Something and Nothing" is like a soundtrack for my freshman year of college.
    --The Innocence Mission has many songs that bring to mind times from my past, but "Lakes of Canada" reminds me of the time right before my wedding.

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  19. I really like this! Music is so personal, you cannot help what touches you or moves you and what doesn't.
    I am so tired right now, i can't think of anything in particular. But there are songs that put me back in my mom's old brown LeBaron, age 17yo, driving my Bff to the beach; songs that I danced to the summer my husband and I first were together; songs that I watched videos of when V66 premiered in Massachusetts when i was a kid. Crazy! It brings me back...
    Came from the Lightning-Bug linkup.

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  20. This was fabulous, reviewing life through song.
    So many moments linked to artists and lyrics...I could go own: Oasis, Pearl Jam, Semisonic, Van Morrison, Sarah Mclachlan, Springsteen, Meatloaf, U2, Linkin Park...
    Hmmm, I'm hoping someone is taking notice and using your post as inspiration for a prompt!

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  21. Love. This. Post. Oh, my gosh, I just LOVE the idea of setting life to a playlist. And I adored your's, because I saw so much of myself in it. Maybe our songs are different, but the moments you described really resonated with me. From that first broken heart over an idiotic best friend to the days when glasses and braces were shed and you came into yourself...to the slippery slope of depression.

    Great post! Thanks so much for linking up :) I always get so excited to see your name in our link up list!

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  22. I've always thought it would be more fun in I could hear the soundtrack to my life ... and it would appear that you have one! Fun list and wonderful insight into you.

    Visiting from WOE.

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  23. I loved learning about your playlist. I have a long long list. Youve inspired me to make a post that chronicles like this one, so glad I came to visit today!

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  24. FUN post.

    My kids bought me the Adam Lambert CD last Christmas. He is Stunningly Gorgeous. I want to shop w/ him and maybe kiss him!!

    Madonna is Always on my playlist. We grew up together...in many ways.

    Xx

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  25. Great post and topic! My playlist would be filled with songs from an earlier time, but I really related to each of your life milestones and the feelings you described. Well done!

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  26. I have a long play list for different periods of my life. Currently, it's Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. I'm going to play it over and over until I believe that I am, beautiful.

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Lend me some sugar!