I have not listened to music in nearly two years.
I’ve listened to the occasional song in the car, the focus-chill playlist with no words, and our family plays a game where we pick a theme and then go around the room so everyone gets to play their musical interpretation of the theme. That’s fun. I’ve played that, but I have not listened, like in my office with my music since my double mastectomy.
I listened to Harry Style’s Lights Up on repeat for weeks before my surgery, but then I woke up in a hospital recovery room and stopped. I’ve listened to audiobooks and podcasts since. I’ve watched a few movies and a video on ten iPhone tricks I never knew, but no music.
To highlight how significant this is, I will say that I am a music person. I have loved and listened to all kinds of music my whole life.
Receiving difficult news is weird. It sends your world into freefall. Coupled with the challenges of everyday stuff, even when you think you are coping, it can become too much.
Some people find solace in music. It’s comforting—a distraction.
For me, music lives in the lyrics. It’s a lens to examine my own experience and know I am not alone. It takes me places, makes me feel.
Not listening wasn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t realize I’d stopped it until I talked with Katie two months ago, and she asked, “Are you finding inspiration in your playlists?”
“I don’t really listen to music anymore.”
She seemed a bit stunned. “Why not?”
I didn’t know then. I do now.
The brain is a fascinating business. Faced with struggle, it seems to do what it must to keep the body healing, moving on to the next day. But, if you push it too far, it can break.
I would like to hang onto my mind for as long as possible, so I’m easing myself back into feeling. I’ve started listening to music again. I’m still a bit cautious. Limited James Taylor. Very limited Sara Bareilles, and oddly Fall Out Boy is rough.
If a song or playlist makes me cry, I shut it off.
For two years, feelings were a luxury my mind apparently couldn’t afford. I understand. I’m happy to see we are making our way. Not to who we used to be because there’s no going back to that version. We are different. We can only move forward.
My mind knows that. So far, it looks like music is allowed wherever I’m going, and for that, I am grateful.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Lullaby.