I have always loved music. It started out with exclusively country, then broadened out to songs I knew at least the chorus to and then from there it just kinda exploded to anything that was appealing or I knew all the words to. Music has had the words to express whatever I was feeling when I couldn’t express it myself, which is quite often.
In a lot of ways, music is the only tool I have to cope with the world and explain myself to the world. I don’t make friends easily, but in middle school I was popular for a whole two weeks after the first dance because I could whistle to Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger. It dwindled because at the time I didn’t know all the words, or have the foggiest of who Maroon 5 was. That song in a lot of ways was the song that brought me away from country music, which for me was a big deal. Because today I can proudly say I know almost all of the words to every Maroon 5 song.
For the rest of middle school I dabbled in Pop mostly, there was some top 40 rock and classic rock but that was about my extent. By the summer of 8th grade I had Spotify, and that opened up a whole new world (if I may borrow that from Aladdin). That whole summer I made up for lost time, I listened to everything from Frank Sinatra to Guns n’ Roses to OneRepublic.
I didn’t just listen to the music, I learned everything I could about the bands, and the songs themselves. I became this walking encyclopaedia of pop culture. By the spring of Freshmen year kids who were once impressed I could whistle to Maroon 5 but disgusted I didn’t know who they were, lined up to ask me to coach them on their sound for the Talent Show.
Looking back I realize that no sane person does what I did. Nobody makes it their goal to learn everything about a band and every single one of their songs by heart. But that’s what I did, because I was not in a good place. Middle school except for one class had been hell. I bobbed in and out of ‘friends’ who never even asked about my life and just expected me to fix all of their problems and spit out wisdom and advice like a fucking gumball machine. I tried to hard to be Teacher’s favourite that I had no social standing. And to make matters worse I hadn’t read Harry Potter. The bottom of the apparent social ladder didn’t even like me. To put it simply… the homeschooled kids who I went to church with barely tolerated me until I got my shit together.And during all of that, I my Grandpa died. And I had to help everyone around me grieve and morn, so I never got to.
I latched on to music because it gave me the tools to process through the hell 3 minutes at a time, and I could stop whenever I wanted or needed to. And because of that year of blind obsessiveness. I can be friends with musicians and actually help. I can give people playlists so that they can process through their shit 3 minutes at a time. I can understand people on a level most people ignore because that is the only level I truly function in. I can talk people down off of a ledge by quoting The Script, because I talked myself down to many times to count.
In more ways than I can count music has saved my life. And when I look back on the best things to have ever happened to me, finding music was one of them.