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When Words Fail Me, Music Speaks

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One of my absolute favorite things is music, whether it’s listening to the radio, or a CD, or watching musicals, or music videos at home. Music lifts my spirits and can often pull me out of a “downer” mood. This is especially important when I am stuck in depression or I am triggered by someone or something. My whole life, music has been there to help me through really rough or stressful times. As a teen, it helped me through childhood trauma. Even today, music is what I turn to when my anxiety is high during a therapy session. Last week that happened and I spontaneously started singing. It brought me to a more peaceful place… and sometimes my therapist sings with me!

I also enjoy singing — at home, karaoke, church, or even walking through the grocery store humming along — or singing along… yes, I do do that! I also have the gift of playing the piano. It gives me the opportunity to put my heart and soul into my music, creating different moods just by how I play!

There are also times when I can’t really find words to express what I’m feeling. It’s in these times that I can rely on music to find the message for me! What does music do for you?

When Words Fail Me, Music Speaks

So what does this mean — to me?
There are times when words easily fall onto my paper
They just come pouring out, unfettered
As “stream of consciousness” writing
Sometimes words tumbling over each other
As they flow out of my mind, getting twisted and mixed up
Yet creating something beautiful as they hit the page

Then there are times when words just plain fail me
When I’m triggered, when I’m dissociated
My brain is empty of any logic or reason — or words
My memory is wiped clean — empty, hollow, a nothingness
I try, I struggle, I am frustrated, yet it goes nowhere
Something needs to “come out,” but it’s stuck somehow
So what do I do then? I may fumble hopelessly, but then…

Music speaks to me…

These are the times when it’s a relief to find the right song
The right lyric, the right melody
To express what’s deep in my mind
Yet unavailable to me at that moment
It may be just a phrase of that song that speaks to me
Or the whole message of the song
It may be the lilting melody that captures me

All I know is that music speaks very strongly to me
I sing the melody along with the singer
Or I harmonize, finding the right notes that balance
To fill in the empty spaces in the song
Giving it a rich blend of melody and harmony
Creating new beauty in that precious song
Making it a new entity, with new embellishment

Songs that express the pain I am feeling
The intensity, the angst, the cries for healing
The lyrics telling the story in the song
The challenge faced by the hero of that song
The cries of sorrow, asking for salvation
Longing for the healing desired and yearned for
Sometimes never satisfied, sometimes given with ease

Songs longing for connection or friendship
Relationships that often miss the mark, a disconnection
Crying in loneliness, or lost in despair
Looking for that relationship, that connection, bringing people together
The one to lean on when times get rough
Or the comfort of consolation when fear overtakes
Someone to rely on in desperate times

Songs about young love that hit between the eyes
Romance bursting hearts with timeless love
Young love found, bound together forever
A connection that can sometimes be so sweet and wonderful
Or crush one into tiny bits — love lost, broken hearts, deep mourning
So many songs about all kinds of love
Doesn’t”love make the world go ‘round”?

Then there are songs that cry out in faith and joy
Songs that shout out to praise God
To convey the beauty of the world
Or the wonder and joy of a new baby
Gratitude for being alive, for living a blessed life
Music is a spiritual connection with others
With God, with the universe

Music of power, triumph and victory; sadness, loss and defeat
Touching the heart and the soul and the mind
Creating moments of mystery or suspense
The listener hears so many moments of life created in song
Having a visceral response that resonates
Feeling the music with every part of the body, mind, heart and soul
Then crescendo in the mind with immense emotions

There are so many stories in a song
From painful and lonely, to joyful and peaceful
Each one having a life of its own
Sharing a message too important to stifle
But must be shared with others simply for the joy of music
Wanting to stretch out that joy to touch someone’s heart
So they too will burst with excitement

What does music mean to you?
How does it touch your body, your heart, your soul, your mind?
It stirs up emotions… sorrow, loneliness, love, joy
It stirs up excitement, anticipation; it gives the soul rest
It creates an image of the forest, or waves in the ocean
It creates moods of darkness and of light
It tells of the wonder that living is more than just existing

“I’ve been alive forever
And I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs”*

* “I Write the Songs,” performed by Barry Manilow, written by Bruce Johnston, 1975

If you too are on a trauma healing journey, visit The Tie Dye poet’s website to see more of her work, and check out her book here.

Originally published: January 5, 2022
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