Soundtrack of My Life

January 14, 2013
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Soundtrack of My Life
The car, the supermarket,
A party, a classroom,
My house, my bedroom,
My head.

These places seem vastly different,
Nothing could possibly be the same between them.
But there is.
And it’s something that is part of me like
The frame keeping the pieces of a puzzle together in
One unified picture.

Five letters. One word.
An endless void of thoughts and connotations.

It goes from sad to happy, angry to peaceful,
Over and over again.
Kind of like emotions, right?
Sometimes life feels like one playlist that is stuck on repeat.
And that isn’t necessarily something to be upset about.

Music has been in me since I can remember.
I can trace my own childhood and growing up through music,
Like my own “rite of passage” hidden in lyrics and vibrations.

As an infant, I remember my family going to mass each week.
The masses were long, we’re talking way over an hour,
But not because of a long speech or homily,
But because of the endless music that rang throughout the high ceilings,
Tickling the stained glass windows, sounding in ears, and lifting hearts.
It was beautiful, inspiring, and special.

As a child my musical knowledge was composed of the CD’s in our car,
Which were namely composed of:
Lou Bega: “Mambo No. 5”
Santana: “Supernatural”
Stevie Ray Vaughan: everything
Bonnie Rait: “Silver Lining”
As you can tell, my parents wanted to feed me
The nourishment of good quality music from a young age,
They knew what was good for me.

In my middle school years I had a CD Walkman,
Which of course eventually morphed into an mp3 player
And eventually even an iPod,
But for that moment in time,
The smell of the plastic on a new CD as I opened it up
And began to flip through the pictures and lyrics behind the cover
Gave me a giddy sense of happiness as I popped it in as I began to learn the lyrics.

Regardless of the specific device I was using, my music was with me
For every long car ride to some relative’s house.
But even more important to my discovery of music
Were those nights driving home after being picked up by Dad, listening to the radio together.
Dad always listens to the radio in the car, whereas Mom not as much.
The radio became our thing, at least to me.
He would sing low, just loud enough for me to hear but not being obnoxious,
Unless of course it was a favorite tune from high school or college—
That usually had a story attached with it—
Ones that I loved hearing, feeling like I could get a glimpse into the days
That I could never travel back in time to see,
Trying to picture my parents singing with their friends to these songs.
There was even a game attached with the radio.
It would sometimes start with a question as a song was playing,
“Dad, who sings this song?”
But after a while, as I broadened my ear for music,
I was the one who received the question,
“Kiersten, do you know who sings this one?”
The ultimate challenge—and with the correct answer came the
Ultimate satisfaction of music worldliness.
Occasionally, when it’s just us in the car with the radio on,
I assume the role of my pre-teen self, and engage in a conversation about music.
It was only through these nights listening the radio
That I came to know and love all of the music that came before
John Mayer, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera…

Now I’m in high school,
Actually gearing up for graduation
—To my constant astonishment—
but music is so much more than just hearing and recognizing.
Through finding a passion for instruments,
Music became a way of expression for me,
A new way to perceive.
It became clear through playing,
What music really meant and how feeling and meaning
Were just as important as the sounds, notes, and technicalities.
Every lyric and sound has a meaning behind it,
Just like set of eyes conceals a meaning.

With the emotions that come with music come those songs that always make you happy,
And always make you cry.
These have defined my life as if they were the soundtrack and my life was a movie.
I don’t know if your familiar with Tracy Chapman,
but she sings a slow, powerful song “The Promise”
That makes my eyes glisten every time.

At the same time, the songs I remember from my childhood,
Like Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” or Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Tick Tock,”
Bring a wave a happy nostalgia like you wouldn’t believe.
It’s like I’m three and a half feet tall again,
Mouthing the words that don’t mean a thing to me
But are catchy all the same.

And yes, there were love songs too.
Michael Bublé was there for that,
And his Sinatra-esque ballads and tunes
Still get to me.
These songs that were with me as I grew up
Revealed truths to me,
The lyrics are still in my head,
Always there, reminding me and coming back.

Would you know that music is so important to me if I didn’t tell you?
I don’t know, maybe.
I’m always singing in the hallway, I can usually be seen carrying a mysterious bag or dark form
That may or may not contain a ukulele or flute.
But music seems to never stop playing in my head.
And on the off chance that my head is silent, it’s like I’m turned off,
Shut down,
The lights are off, everything subdued.

And yes, I’m ‘one of those people’ that randomly bursts into some song
That popped into my head as you were talking.
I can’t help it, the lyrics just fit right into the topic of discussion.

I remember once in the grocery store I was with my mom,
Pushing the cart down the aisle, looking for crackers or tea or something,
And Michael Bublé’s “Save the Last Dance For Me,” came on,
And to put it plainly, I love that song.
But instead of just humming along or even singing along a little,
I’m actually doing the tango steps as I make my way to the frozen foods,
Totally having a good time, ignoring the weird looks other people are giving me because
I’m sure they are just wishing they were having as fun of a time food shopping.
Music moves me, and that’s not something I’m afraid of.

Do you ever wonder who made the first music?
Was it cavemen on rocks and with different objects from nature?
Whoever it was, I thank them.
But more than that, I thank all of the people
Who have been shaping and changing music,
Not jut so we can enjoy the potentials of music today,
But also to appreciate the different stages all along.

In a way, we all go through those changes.
And they never stop,
They can be played over and over on repeat,
Or even covered completely with a new sound.

I’ve focused a lot on the past,
And how music is threaded all throughout my memories.
It’s hard to picture where music is going to go in the future…
What will my favorite songs be from college that I’m sharing with
My own children, driving with the radio on?
Only time will tell, I guess.
Until then I look forward to what music will give to me,
Just like it has in the past,
And who knows,
Maybe I can even give something to music.

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