Friday, February 06, 2004

it's more of me than i am of it. i can't win. i can't win. i can't win.

music is the tightening rope around your heart. it's invincible. the tighter it's pulled the harder it throbs. music is the first time you really knew your dad. him, coming home and immediately putting a record on, before he even loosened his tie. you, scared of him, but he was different when there was music. the cars. the talking heads. blondie. the allman brothers. the ramones. ac/dc. the band. simon & garfunkel and 'listen to this,' and things were better. not better. amazing. he turned it up so loud that you had to fight not to plug your ears. in those moments he was a rockstar. he was the best father in the world. music is the reason you still can't listen to 'dreaming' without wanting to run through the house, hair flying. it's inside you. music is the only thing that understands. when you're twelve and you have braces and all you want is to look like emmylou, music is what transforms you. in the hallways at school you're invisible but inside your head is the never-ending cadence of favorite songs. music is your first kiss. it was quiet at the lake when wet lips touched but in your room after you can't stop listening to bohemian rhapsody. you don't know what they're saying but it seems urgent, as urgent as what just happened to you, and that kiss is even sweeter because as you play it over and over again in your mind, it transcends even you. it becomes the song. music is when you're fifteen and your dad takes you to a green day concert. you can't believe what you're seeing. your first real concert. your older sister is wearing a lime green dress and striped stockings and loses you as soon as you're far enough away from your dad. you're standing as close as you can, drinking everything in. you're sweating and people are bumping into you, hard. your ear is a foot from the right speaker and you mimic the head bobbing of the older kids. in this moment, you belong. you don't know that this is the true beginning, this is where you will begin your own obsession with music, apart from your sister or your dad. the music is what helps you understand when your father leaves. it is strangely nostalgic songs like 'the end of the innocence' and 'take a load off fanny' that allow you to let him go. you don't know why but the music tells you it's okay. music is taking your little brother to his first show. he loses his glasses but you have never seen him so happy. so free. music is the reason you started writing. you find yourself in abandoned houses. somebody's living room. the street under the overpass downtown. a loading garage. a goth club. an apartment clubhouse. the clearing in the woods. all so you can see bands who have only been together a month, who are playing their last shows and moving on to start new bands. you know them. you kissed the drummer, your ex is the lead singer. you are racing to hear more. you can't clearly explain what is happening to you. you begin writing it all down in bursts. you will read it later and get a lump in your throat. music is why you can't sit still. the songs are driving you and you can't stop. you go to new york city. france. spain. austin. atlanta. gainesville. every place is marked by what you were listening to. ida reminds you of new york in the winter. jeff tweedy's voice will forever be linked to walking home over the bridge on the loire, late at night, after too many kirs, when you couldn't help but stop and watch the river moving under you. music is when you first realized the deepening chasm between you and your best friend. you are sitting outside of her dorm telling her how much you love the song 'we are scientists!' your hands are flying, your eyes are wide. you are telling her how a good song makes your mouth water. you look at her and realize she doesn't feel the same way. you are very sad about this but you know you're right. music is why you can look back on a breakup and laugh at how stupid you were. the songs that used to make you cry are old battle friends, scarred and shaky, but you love them even more. music is driving in your car at night, alone, and you have to cry, because the song is so good. you listen to it over and over and each time there is something new. your friends hate this about you but you can't help it. music is the cycle of life for you. you become weary and wish for release. the release never comes, because you are already onto some new band. it goes on and on. music is the reason you know you will be okay. you are alone and sometimes unhappy and scared and messy. but there will always be the times when you hear that first chord, and you know what's coming, and for a moment all is quiet inside you.

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