The power of music to stir memories in me occasionally catches me off guard. A song can pop up on Spotify and my mind is transported back in time and my imagination swirls around foggy images of the past and potential futures that will never occur (at least not in this reality but almost certainly in a parallel universe). These memories are almost always focused on a person and the relationship I had with them.
Sometimes, the person or relationship was a relatively minor character in my story. For example, anytime I hear “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down I think of a girl I had a crush on in high school. I don’t remember her name, I may have never known her name, I just know she listened to that song and I found her attractive. I wouldn’t be able to recognize her in a yearbook but she was important. In my mind she is superhuman, she is an archetype for my hormonal love that burned hot, quickly, and often throughout my adolescence. That song brings her to mind and her memory brings me back to my high school worries that I’d never find love or that I’d never be found attractive. It was also a time when I saw beauty in every girl I saw and fantasies of marriage and raising kids with them all bounced around my mind when I should have been paying attention to my teachers.
Sometimes, the person or relationship was an incredibly major part of my life. Whenever I hear a Dropkick Murphy’s song I think of a woman I loved in college. She was my first, real, adult mature love that could have become a lifelong relationship. With the exception of my current partner, my connection to her was stronger than any other and I still love her. A quiet sadness comes around when I think of her because I think about what could have been. We were compatible, the sex was great, and we helped each other grow… but the timing wasn’t right and our lives were on different paths. To stay together would have required compromise which would have lead to resentment and a bitter breakup. Instead, we parted ways and the sadness I sometimes feel always turns into optimism. Our relationship ending was an important lesson to me, that there is no “one and only” and that true love is not reserved for one person. We can love many, be happy with many, and it is better to stay true to who you are than compromise out of fear that you won’t find someone else.
Music is a beautiful art form that swirls inside of me and allows me to think about and digest my own life. It brings about random periods of reflection that likely wouldn’t occur without it. I try to continue to listen to new music and explore new genres, but I also try to stay true to my past and listen to the music that was important during different phases of my life. Whether it is the Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, dc Talk, Green Day, Saves The Day, Flogging Molly, Social Distortion, Flobots, William Elliot Whitmore, Bad Religion, Kid Rock, Kesha, Krewella or the Top Hits from each decade of my life, music is an important part of my existence and my mental health. Without it, I would have a much more difficult time dealing with and healing from my past.