Postpartum Voice of the Week: Afterbirth by @angiekinghorn


Music. The way feelings sound.

The above is a quote featured in a picture I shared at my Facebook account not too long ago. I believe in it, strongly. Music, for me at least, is one of the most powerful ways to enhance or change mood. It’s powerful, all-encompassing. Hidden in the beats, rhythms, and lyrics of certain songs, there are memories. Some blissful, others haunting and terrifying.

I blogged about overcoming the haunting memories which Linkin Park’s album Reanimation held for me. It’s the album I listened to as my then 9 day old daughter had major surgery for the first time in her life. It was while listening to this album I first slid under the waves of the sea of Not Okay and wanted to stay there, drowning in my terror at the hard swirling around me. It took me five years to listen to the album in it’s entirety.

Yesterday I read Afterbirth over at Angie Kinghorn’s blog. In it, she recounts how a specific song, “Lines Upon Your Face” by Vertical Horizon, holds similar memories for her. Angie writes, “I’ve tried playing it in small doses to get used to it, musical allergy shots, if you will, but the violin pulls my heartstrings out and flays them bloody every time.” 

Unlike me, she didn’t play this song purposely, it simply happened to play on her iPod as she sat in the dark in the nursery after a traumatic birth, her father in pain in his illness, and the fear it brought forth within her soul.

With each verse, she swirled deeper into the darkness, just as I did while listening to Linkin Park. The darkness was comforting for me, but for Angie, it broke her wide open, shattering her into pieces, ultimately leading her to the realization she needed help.

I’m listening to the song Angie listened to that night in the dark right now via Grooveshark. I understand how it could break someone apart.

Go read Angie’s post. Show her some love for sharing such a powerful experience with the world. It takes courage to fight your way out of the dark but it takes even more courage to share it as Angie has done at her blog.

Whatever Wednesday: When did I get OLD?


I remember Nirvana’s Nevermind album like it was yesterday. Holding the cassette case in my hand, the baby floating on the cover, the soft blue waves, slipping the tape into my Sony Walkman and pressing Play (sometimes several times because the button would never STICK all the way down unless you got masochistic with it) and drifting away as diesel fumes from the bus wafted in through semi-open windows. Kurt’s haunting voice straining to be heard over the loud engine as the wheels rolled over back country dirt roads. Those were the days.

U2’s Achtung Baby. Oh, how I LOVED this album. Mysterious Ways. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses. Even Better than the Real Thing. Trying to Throw your Arms Around the World. A definitive album for U2 and one which changed their sound and bonded them back together as a band. I also had the cassette for this album. I remember the smell of the hard plastic as I broke through the protective covering. Pulling out the cover and gingerly flipping it open all the way to read the lyrics as it blasted from my bedroom stereo.

Both albums released 20 year anniversary editions this year.

You can get them on CD now. I can even listen to them digitally through Spotify. No more cassettes. No more brown shiny thread surfing over the heads of a stereo. No more rewinding the cassette with the eraser end of a pencil. Nope. Not these days. Now, it’s all point and click. Mostly with a touch of your finger at that.

This morning I awoke to the news that the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Guns N Roses are all headed for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Wait, what?

Didn’t Licensed to Ill JUST come out?

Sweet child O’Mine isn’t that old, is it? November Rain? Welcome to the Jungle? Every Rose Has it’s Thorn?

Under the Bridge? Soul to Squeeze? Give it Away? Otherside?

What about No Sleep Till Brooklyn? Brass Monkey? Sure Shot? Or Fight for your Right?

I don’t remember trading in Fight for Your Right for a spot in Geriatricville. Do you?

As long as none of the band members are endorsing life insurance, Medicaid, Just for Men, “I’ve fallen & I Can’t get Up,” or Centrum Silver, I’m not gonna let this bother me. I’m not. Because I’m only as old as I let myself feel right? Right?

Today though?

I’m feeling it. Big time.

 

Whatever Wednesday: Without Music….


Music is so much more than “just” a combination of beats, instruments, and voices.

Music is anything but just.

It’s heart, soul, passion, sadness, desire, admiration, adoration, lust… it’s sex set to the driving rhythm of a drum. Or not. Sometimes it’s just a soulful voice bounding back and forth through the air – playing with your mind – pulling at your heart.

It’s a thought encapsulated with every strum of a guitar. Every stroke of the keyboard… it’s a wish lost to the haunting echoes of a piano or a dream shared through a flute.

Music is our hearts, exposed.

It drives us, pushes us toward peace, fills the silence around us with melodies of the desires of our hearts.

Music.

Where would we be without it?

Seriously.

Think about that for just a minute.

Imagine our world without The Beatles.

Without the Rolling Stones.

Without Beethoven or Bach or Mozart.

Imagine our world without rhythm. Without guitars. Without Slash. Without Jazz. Without… the silence of a world without music would be paralyzing beyond belief. There is a natural rhythm to life, a beat to our world. We live within this beat, between the percussion of daily activities, we live, we thrive. We start the day with breathing. In, out. In, out. We get out of bed. Walk. Right, left, right left. Water. It rushes. Changes when we interrupt it. The coffee maker. It gurgles, beeps, churns. Traffic. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Vroom. Office. Staplers, copiers, people, chatter, up, down, doors open, close. Our entire day is composed of music we ignore. Music we ignore because we consider it to be just life. It’s not just life. Life, like music, is never just anything. Life is. It’s a rhythm. It should be filled with passion, lust, heart, desires, admiration, adoration, compassion… life should never be just anything. Life IS.

Today, slow down. Listen to your life. Listen to the rhythm. I dare you. Find the beat. Dance to it. Embrace it. Sway in it and lose yourself within it’s warm embrace. If you don’t like it, change the station. Change the rhythm. It’s your life. It should be your rhythm. Find it and make it yours.

Don’t dance to someone else’s rhythm. Find yours.

Post a day 2011: Stranded with U2’s War


As if I needed more things to shove on my overloaded plate, I decided to take WordPress up on their challenge to post at least once a day in 2011. So far, so good. And as usual, I’ve been over-achieving. (I’ve already posted today)

While I’ve not usually blogged on their suggested topic as they don’t often apply to my blog topic, this one, about music, I couldn’t resist. It sucked me right in – a black hole topic.

Many of you who follow me on Twitter know that I’m a nut about my music. I have very eccentric taste…. all over the map. I listen to everything from Dr. Dre to Bjork to Shania Twain to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Cree Summer to Incubus to Pharcyde to Shakira to Flo Rida to Pitbull to Vieux Farka Toure to Sting to The Eagles to Jesse Cook to The Fugees to Big Pun to The Roots to Alicia Keys to The Fray to Sublime to No Doubt to 311 to Brandon Heath to Chris Tomlin to Sheila Walsh to Amy Grant … to U2.

U2 is a band very close to my heart.

I have been listening to them since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

All through my childhood, U2 was one of the few non-christian bands allowed in our house. I say non-christian but even then, three of the four members of U2 were dedicated Christian men.

My father and I listened to U2 for hours on end. We bonded over Boy, War, U2 live at Red Rocks recorded on Beta Max. (Yes, I am THAT old.)

I remember the crackling of the records playing, the way it would burst into the guitar riffs, Bono’s voice, and Larry’s drumming.

Just four men from Ireland who didn’t have a damn clue about music.

Today’s topic asked: If stranded on a desert island, and could only bring one music album with you, which would it be? What is it about this music that never gets old for you?

War. by U2. Hands down.

Why? Because it brings back such warm childhood memories. I lost a lot of relatives when I was younger. I would go in my room, turn on U2, and everything would be okay as I lost myself in their soulful rock. U2 WAS my solace.

In college, my dad and I finally made it to a concert in Anderson, SC. We literally met up on the road as he road his motorcycle down from VA and I drove up from Georgia. We had a blast. Rage Against the Machine opened for them – a band I had not really known until I saw them live. And man – that night? I also became a Rage fan. At the U2 concert? I was THAT fan. I cried. Dammit people – I cried. I am SO not like that … or so I thought. Until I saw them a few years later in Atlanta, again, with my father. And I went and cried again. Clearly, I AM that fan. I’m still quantifying that with myself. I will say that in Atlanta, I felt totally screwed. PJ Harvey was supposed to open. She didn’t. Nelly Furtado did. Live? She sucks. She has grown on me since then but ahem. I digress.

For me, U2 has strong family ties. U2 is solace. U2 has existed for not much longer than I have been alive. I have grown up with them intertwined with my life. But the one album I keep going back to is War. For me, it’s a definitive album. It’s the album when U2 burst forth from their shell and really grew their wings into a sense of self. They found confidence and have yet to let it go.

I leave you with my favorite song from the album, Seconds.

Whatever Wednesday: Grandma Jane’s Silver Bells


My Grandma Jane rocked. She was sassy, outspoken, brash, and overly compassionate. Doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it? ;-)

There were closets full of sweeping silky gowns, bedroom high heels, and real fur coats. We could dress up in anything we wanted to as long as it wasn’t in HER closet. Oh, the things I used to wear when we were at her house. (My cousin and I even got into her make up one year. Boy did we pay the price for THAT faux pas!)

She played organ at her church and had an organ in her living room on which she practiced. You know what that meant, right? We got to practice too. She would casually give us lessons too.

One of the songs our Grandma Jane loved this time of year was Silver Bells.

We would sit next to her at the organ as she played, watching every place her lithe fingers would land. Then it would be our turn. We would try our best to imitate her but all we could ever eek out would be Chopin.

This Christmas, every time Silver Bells plays, I am reminded instantly of my Grandma Jane. So I pause. In that moment, I feel the joy of sitting next to her at the organ, drinking in her perfume (remember Charlie?), her living room aglow in Christmas lights, delicious smells wafting from the kitchen, her perfume, and laughter of all the family members roaming about the house. In that moment, my heart is happy once again with her memory.

Then the song ends.

And I, I am left all alone until the next time the song is played.

I miss and love you, Grandma Jane.

This one’s for you:

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