I should totally be doing my homework, but I know if I decide to wait until after the reading my brain will be fried and in ‘accounting mode’ and will be totally useless. See, I’ve been inspired by everyone starting Nano today, and I wanted to write too. Calm down, I’m not writing a novel, I learned early on in my life that don’t have the attention span for that, but I had an interesting conversation with a faculty member today about music. During my drive home when I do the recapping of every conversation I had throughout the day and analyze everything I said and everything they said and every reaction they had to what I said and if my response to what they said was the proper, intelligent response, I stopped on that conversation and spent more time on it than the other conversations I’d had today.
I’ve always really loved music. Which I guess is a weird statement because I assume everyone loves some type of music. I love music and food. But food I didn’t grow up loving because food and I had a rocky start, but music has never let me down.
I used to decide how my day was going to go based on the song that was playing when my alarm went off, what music videos I saw while watching MTV while eating breakfast in the morning, and what songs were on the radio before I was dropped off at school. This can be broken down to, if Nsync didn’t somehow show up in the first hour of me being awake, well I might as well scrap the whole day because it was going to be a disaster. But I was also very much on it had to just happen. I couldn’t play Nsync, Nsync had to just play. If Nsync didn’t play and something bad happened in my day, well it was because MTV didn’t play the “Gone” video that morning.
I let music dictate my life quite a bit, I get so involved in scores of movies and songs playing in the background of events because I love that feeling when you hear the same song later you immediately remember where you were when you heard it.
Recent example, we were at the Cornell Homecoming fireworks show a couple weekends ago. The fireworks started and we had this group of 12 or 13-year-old girls behind us dressed in tulle skirts from Justice, absolutely adorable. And they knew the words to every song that played with the fireworks, and then a Shawn Mendes song came on. I’d heard the song before but had never been that much into it, but the chorus came and these girls sang so loud and with the fireworks and the lasers and the energy from the people around me, it was this great feeling. I’ve since downloaded that song and it’s one of my favorites right now because every time I hear it I’m back in that moment.
Another big one is “Greatest Time of Year” by Aly and Aj, aka best Christmas song ever. With this one, I’m in a crowd of thousands on the Streets of America waiting for it to be dusk. And I know what’s coming but not everyone else does, and there is all this excitement and everyone is wearing plastic Christmas lightbulb necklaces and Mickey ears and silly hats and drinking hot cocoa and eating churros and candied almonds. Everyone is looking up and around and looking at their watches and suddenly the booming intro starts, a lucky kid flips a huge light switch, and the Streets of America lights up so bright and everyone collectively gasps and cheers and the music starts and the lights dance and everyone starts dancing while the soap snowflakes fall. It’s one of my most amazing music moments. I used to love working the first night of the lights, I would stand in the back with my glow necklaces, wearing my blue shirt and yellow bow tie and my flashing Mickey headband, waiting for everyone to see the lights turn on for the first time. Then I would walk up and down the street and dance with people I’d never met and would never see again, and we’d sing and take pictures and the kids would yell “She glows just like the lights!”
Of course, not all songs bring along good memories. As you all of course know I love my girl Taylor Swift. Basically, anything she does I love. But any time I hear “State of Grace” from her Red album I feel a heavy weight in my stomach. I remember waking up in the morning to go to work and feeling so much dread that I felt sick. I would count down the minutes of every day, constantly feeling a tightness in my chest and my throat and feeling like I couldn’t breathe, my anxiety was the worst than it had been in a long time, I had attacks constantly and it was first time I finally decided to go to a doctor for it. I felt so uncomfortable with myself and my body and everything around me. Needless to say, I don’t listen to the Red album much. 1989 though? All. Damn. Day.
A few other quick ones, “Bye, Bye, Bye” is my bedroom in the basement, frizzy pigtails, baggy Aeropostale cargo pants, bandana headbands and glitter eye shadow, cutting letters for song lyrics out of construction paper and taping them to the door and talking to my best friend over the phone about fan fiction ideas until the cordless phone battery died.
“What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)” is the school bus, extra-large concert t-shirts and khaki flares, my portable CD player and flimsy headphones, wondering if I’d ever have someone love me like that guy with the Beatles haircut loved Princess Mia when she had frizzy hair before she knew she was a princess. Princess Mia will always be my movie doppleganger. You can teach us to straighten our hair and pluck our eyebrows but the weirdness and awkwardness remains.
“Sexyback” is the drive to community college, windows down, feeling free for the first time of the obligation to have tons of friends, act a certain way, try to be cool, try to fit in. Seeing that Disney sign on the way to class wearing sweatpants and fake UGG boots and a huge hooded sweatshirt with my headphones in.
“Promise” is Epcot, it’s our first date, our engagement, our wedding, it’s eclairs and chocolate mousse and ham and cheese croissants and giant pretzels. It’s sitting on the cement with our backs against the fence talking about our day, watching people walk by with sleeping kids in strollers while the sky grew dark. It’s that drive home with my mom that January, counting the cows from Florida to Michigan wondering if the last six months had really happened and my aunt checking in earlier in November asking, “Do you even plan on coming home?”
When I first started at the college here, the girl who sat at the desk next to mine used to listen to music that sounded like what they play in Future World in Epcot. Some days I didn’t mind, other days it made me homesick for my Wonderland.
This morning I listened to Charlie Brown Christmas on my drive to work. That song is winter in Michigan, me reading a Goosebumps book in the living room while my mom cleaned and made brownies, snow flurries blowing outside, the fake fire DVD playing on the television. It’s her bringing up the Christmas decoration tubs one at a time, and us watching her intently as she took the items out of the tubs one by one and looked around for a minute before finding just the right place to put them. It’s my aunts doing the Charlie Brown dance, my dad doing his crazy dance, laughing so hard my eyes water and my stomach hurts.
Ya know, sometimes I still let the music I hear in the morning dictate my day. Except now I pick the song I want to wake me up for my alarm (Why you no have a shuffle option Apple?!) and I have a perfectly sculpted playlist for my long car rides. I start to get nervous though, when I get close to work and I haven’t heard just the right song. I start scrambling at stop lights to find one that I feel like will set just the right mood for the day. This can depend on the weather, the day of the week, or what I know is planned for the day. If I need to kick ass, I need to make sure I have Demi telling me I am a Warrior.
Not this morning though.
This morning I wanted dancing lights and soap snow, fresh baked brownies and perfectly placed decorations. I wanted to glow. Just like the lights.