It’s All in the Lyrics

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If you know me or have followed me on social media you have probably seen that I like to play around with singing and music. Considering I focused on Music when I was in high school, you would think that I know my stuff but I really don’t. I enjoy it and I manage to be in key slightly more often than I am out of it, but I am far from the most talented musician I know. I’m not even the most talented musician in my marriage! Even so, music has been an incredible outlet for me since my injury.

Music can be a huge source of healing. While I can appreciate beautiful harmonies and amazing guitar riffs, it’s the lyrics that really get me. I’m sure it’s incredibly shocking that a girl who loves to write can fall head over heels for some words in a song – but I don’t think I have ever claimed to be unpredictable. I love how lyrics can resonate with countless people for vastly different reasons. And while the lyricist has their own story for the song that they write, the ability that the words have to connect people with their emotions fascinates me.

For instance, I don’t think any of the songs I have related to since my accident were written about a spinal cord injury. While I sometimes like to believe that Ed Sheeran wrote the words “when your legs don’t work like they used to before” solely for those of us whose legs don’t work like they used to before, I’m fairly certain that he did not. Even so, it has become one of the songs on my mental SCI playlist that I associate with this strange journey I have found myself on. The playlist is a large one, but I wanted to share a few of the lyrics that have really resonated me while dealing with this injury as well as the places my mind goes to when I hear them.

The Loss

That Could Still Be Us – Keith Urban

That could still be us
‘Cause it still is sometimes at night when my eyes are shut
Wish I could say it don’t get to me but it does
And I know I probably think about you way too much
But that’s because
That could still be us

Music can be a huge source of healing
Missing this version of myself.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this song is about an ex-lover. However even if this particular lyric was meant to portray someone agonizing over a lost love, for me and my journey it takes on an entirely different meaning. These lyrics bring to light my past and the way that I find myself aching for it. And I wish – oh how I wish – that I could say it doesn’t bother me and that I don’t long for it. But I do. I miss my life. And I find myself, in quiet moments, lost in the loss and imagining what my life might look like had something been different. If one thing had changed, then maybe that would still be me.

This particular way of thinking can be a vicious cycle as the end can lead right into the beginning again. When I feel myself stuck in this chorus I begin to think about the sexual connotation that the lyric has and the more intimate changes that have come to light because of this injury and I go around again. I think the lesson out of this is that loss is loss and there is a universal desire to sometimes go back to those places in our life that felt good and fulfilling and brought us happiness. At the same time, it is a blunt reminder that we cannot go back and what was once so good is no longer. Our only option is to create something worthy out of what we have now. Even still, I probably think about it way too much.

Moving On

I couldn’t narrow this category down to one song as there are phrases from two songs that I really identify with when I think of me on my own personal journey to healing.

 Trying to Drive – Zac Brown Band

I guess everything I had to give
Just ain’t enough
I’m trying to make the most
Out of what it’s not
‘Cause darling I can’t give you something I ain’t got

This song is clearly written about a couple trying to keep their relationship together through the trials that inevitably arise when you join your life to someone else’s. While I can relate my marriage to many lines in this song, this particular lyric is just for me. It is like a sucker punch to the stomach every time I hear it (or sing it incredibly off key to myself in the car – it’s a hard melody!). To me these lyrics aren’t me speaking to my husband, they are me speaking to myself.

I feel like I have given all that I have; that I am trying my best. Some days it feels like no matter what I do, it isn’t going to ever be enough to allow myself the exact life I envisioned.

It is then that I am reminded that sometimes we need to alter our dreams. There are things in my life that have been changed forever and holding myself to certain standards that are no longer achievable is only setting myself up for disappointment. Yes, there are times I am sad or angry I cannot participate in a particular activity – or participate in the same way I would have before my accident. But the point is that I do what I can with what I have and that I thrive in all of the ways I am still able. Because I can’t thrive at something I cannot do. It is that simple.

Whole Lot of Heart – Ingrid Michaelson

There’s a whole lot of heart in me
I feel it under my skin
And I know and I know and I know
There’s a whole lot of heart in me
It takes a whole lot of heart to see
Everything’s coming down roses
And I know and I know and I know
There’s a whole lot of heart in me

I do truly believe that everyone has a resilience in them that they don’t know exists. Even so, witnessing my own hidden resilience materialize in the scariest and most difficult moments of my life has felt like a personal triumph. When it comes down to it, I am the one who chooses to keep living my life. I am the one who focuses on the positive and keeps finding ways to compartmentalize, deal with and fight through the negative. I have help when I need it and I have other people who give me purpose, but it is me (and only me) who can control the way I see my life and how I portray my life to others. And I know I have something to offer.

My Children

Music is a huge source of healing

Sweetest Devotion – Adele

I’ll forever be whatever you want me to be
I’ll go under and all over for your clarity
When you wonder if I’m gonna lose my way home
Just remember, that come whatever, I’ll be yours all alone

Now I know for a fact that Adele wrote this song about her son so I’m not far off when I relate it to my children. I have loved this song since the first moment I heard it but it took on new meaning for me after my accident. From the first seconds after I fell, my thoughts were of my three little people and how I needed to be alive for them – they weren’t going to lose their mother. Since the accident we have all had to adapt to my injury and my wheelchair but I have been steadfast in my determination for my children to know that I will be here for them in every possible way I am able. I will give everything I have so that they are able to process the events of that day and the changes to our lives that those events inflicted. I will do whatever I can to in order for them to have clarity and closure.

As I think of my children growing up, I know they will start to understand more about how this injury changed my life. I know that when you love someone you worry for their well-being and I have never attempted to shield my children from my sadness or my tears. It is ok for them to know that this makes me sad sometimes. However, as they age and begin to understand the complexity of human emotions I can see them start to wonder if I will give in to the depression and anxiety that has been very real in my life and can linger surprisingly close to the surface some days. I don’t want them to worry that I will lose my way. I want them to know that I will always fight to find my way back because they didn’t lose their mother that day and now it is my responsibility to make sure they don’t lose their mother because of that day. I am theirs.

My Husband

Choosing lyrics to share with you about my husband was the most difficult. Love songs are a dime a dozen and I could probably find a line or two in every single one of them that could bring a smile to my face as I think of Ian. I have chosen two that have really stuck with me through this phase of life we are in.

Hearts Don’t Break Around Here – Ed Sheeran

That every night I’ll kiss you you’ll say in my ear
Oh we’re in love aren’t we?
Hands in your hair, fingers and thumbs baby
I feel safe when you’re holding me near
Love the way that you conquer your fear
You know hearts don’t break around here

First of all, I know I’m not the only one who feels like Ed Sheeran is looking straight into their soul when he writes his songs. He has an ability to write in a way that allows you to see a situation in your own life differently than you ever have before. This entire song is beautiful but, if I allow it, the chorus above could bring me to tears every time I hear it.
The intimacy, trust, respect and love in our marriage all wrapped up into six lines. Our

Music can be a huge source of healing
Sasha Blaney Photography

relationship is full, intense, sexy and intricate. Sex is a time where you leave yourself vulnerable to another human and where, since my injury, I can feel even more exposed. But there is a safety that I feel with him even in my most defenseless state. There is a sense of admiration for the courage that has emerged because of this injury. We have a mutual trust in the love that we have always had along with the common goal of protecting that love.

There is one other short phrase in the song that I couldn’t leave out.

Well I found love in the inside
The arms of a woman I know

This line reminds me that in so many ways, we are still the same two people we were before this all happened. After the dust settled, Ian and I were able to catch our breath and venture out of survival mode. We found that the people we knew so well were still there. Paralyzed or not, our love didn’t go anywhere and we still knew one another better than anyone else in the world. Understanding that so much was the same between us was a huge step in us finding our way.

This last song I want to share with you does not require much explanation. If you have followed me for a while now you may have already heard our recording of it. This song was introduced to us shortly after my accident and every single line rings so true to our marriage through this SCI adventure. I’m not going to write all of the lyrics here and as difficult as it was to choose a favourite phrase, I have included one of them.

Stand By You – Rachel Platten

And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you

I chose this one because it highlights that we were both suffering but would be there for one another regardless of the circumstances. If you would like to hear our recording you can find it here (stick it through to the end to hear the kids join in).

Our Song

After all of the music that has made such an impact in my life, I tried my hand at some of my own lyrics. It’s taken me a long time to share this song and it isn’t perfect by any means. We wrote it about six months after my accident and if you listen to Midnight I imagine you will be able to see a lot of the parallels to my own life and hopefully maybe some to your own as well.

If you have made it to the end of this post I am impressed. I knew that these songs meant a lot to me but writing about them was incredibly cathartic and liberating. What are lyrics that have stuck with you in your life? Made it easier to come through a tragedy or elevated a celebration? There is so much power in music; it can really sweep you off your feet if you let it. Just try not to land on your back.

 

 

2 comments on “It’s All in the Lyrics”

  1. Your clarity and ability to convey that is remarkable. I’ve laughed and cried with for several months now and applaud your courage – not only that you share your writings but that you dig deep and write.

    An unexamined life is not worth living. ~Plato

    Liked by 1 person

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