25 September 2011

the soundtrack to my life.

"Wouldn't it be nice if we had a soundtrack to our lives?" Kaitlin hopefully asked as she watched a Jane Austen movie this past Saturday. Even though I was immersed in yet another book and was tuning out the dialogue, I was still absorbing and enjoying the melody that transpired softly in the background. I sighed and agreed, taking a second to reflect on how intriguing it would be if we each had our own personalized soundtrack identifying with our every move throughout life. The truth is, while we don't have a unique playlist that accompanies the rhythm of our life, despite Pandora's attempt with its Music Genome Project, we can choose to identify with certain melodies, harmonies, lyrics, and vocals.  

As I made my hundredth effort to lighten my life and organize the catch all storage closet that barely closes this weekend, I came across a box overflowing with old pictures, journals, and cards permeated with nostalgia. Delicately, I picked up a journal I had not written in, nevermind even picked up since I tied the fraying string that sealed its cover over three years ago. I flipped through the dusty old thing, eventually stumbling upon a passage in which I wrote "I feel our society does its best to remind you of your heartbreak...constant 24/7 overly repetitive reminders that break you down and suffocate you from all angles. Where do these reminders come from? Music. After all, 'music is what feelings sound like (anon).' For the past month I've been hearing my feelings constantly." I was at an admittedly low point in my life, where a series of events had evoked more emotions than I knew I was capable of owning, let alone expressing. I was consumed with frustration, guilt, disappointment, and anxiety. While I had the support of some truly amazing friends, I still found myself turning to music, at times as a crutch to feel sorry for myself; other times as a ray of hope to pick myself up from the mess I had created. Certain lyrics spoke straight to my heart, as if the words existed solely for me. Looking back on this time, it's no wonder that it was so easy to identify with the songs that overflowed my playlist. I was the one selecting the songs. After a few months of wallowing in a ominous blue pool of depression, I grew tired of the burden that was weighing me down. So I made the choice to create a new path for myself without looking back. And with this, the soundtrack of my life changed for the better. As I surrounded myself with friends who brought out the best in me, the music that I gravitated toward lifted my spirits and renewed my soul. I was finding peace from within and learned to love myself again.

I recently made the choice to open that heavy door I so vehemently slammed shut three years ago. It opened with ease, as I found that time had healed my broken heart. I was finally ready to let go of the past, while able to relish in the beauty of the memories that resulted. The past had pushed me to find myself and in doing so, I embarked on so many adventures; some solo, some with newfound friends, and many with the fabulous friends and family I've already been blessed with. I didn't just step out of my comfort zone, I ran out of it with open arms, ready to explore all that life has to offer. I tapped into new interests; became more open minded, not only to myself, but to others, and in doing so, found an absolutely mesmerizing side of life I had been missing out on.

Quickly ascending to the top of my soundtrack for the past few weeks is Adele's increasingly popular Someone Like You. During times of solitude, the song is often on repeat, her words speaking volumes about my life experiences. "Regrets and mistakes are memories made." Surely these words can be interepreted more than one way -- to each their own -- but for me, the mistakes I've made, the regrets I've held onto and learned to let go of, created lasting memories and, more importantly, paved the path for more memories to fill my soul with. Because, isn't that the best part of life? Having memories to hold close to your heart, knowing that you've fully lived and soaked up all that life has to offer. How nice of music to remind me of this.

So as my mind drifts back to Kaitlin's wishful thinking, I know that music will never simply take a natural presence in the background of my life. But I also know that a life without music would be terrifyingly dull. Fortunately, I have the power to create my own soundtrack as I navigate through this crazy life. One that helps me through a heartbreak, provides serenity when sadness sets in, complements my happiness, or simply combines the perfect melody and vocals to feed my soul. And for this I am forever thankful.

07 September 2011

the little green book.

"Everything is going to be OK," the cover of my recently acquired book whispered to me as tears trickled down my cheek. "Everything is going to be OK."

I first stumbled upon this book at a teensy tiny boutique tucked away in the Marina District of San Francisco a few months ago. I immediately fell in love with the concept of the book; the use of art and simple words to serve as reminder of the power - and beauty - of optimism. Tight on money (as the bank of Courtney always is), I only purchased one copy, and bestowed it upon a darling cousin of mine, who I was absolutely certain would appreciate the celebration of inspiration and happiness offered by this book.

A few months later, I found myself idly perusing the shops of Detroit International Airport, hoping to make the time between my flights go by just a tad quicker. Nestled amidst a Starbucks, McDonalds, and your standard airport convenience store was a humble little shop that couldn't be more out of place than if it were in the middle of a football stadium. Its whimsical knick knacks and sundries apparated me from the hustle and bustle of the airport to a place more befitting to a scene in Alice in Wonderland. It was just what I needed to lighten my mood and brighten the gloomy day that taunted me from the vast windows lining the terminals. Longing for more inspiration to shake me out of my funk, I saw a familiar little green book staring at me. Its bold white letters practically screamed to me, "Everything is going to be OK." Without hesitation, I plucked the book off the shelf, made my purchase and tucked it securely away in my carryon.

I keep the book by my bedside, propped up like a picture frame, its simple presence a gentle reminder to embrace all that is positive in my life. I often find myself flipping through its pages, absorbing the powerfully candid words that break the cycle of my hectic days, allowing me to come up for a breath of fresh air. I am reminded to "be present everyday" and that "things are looking up." I read that "it is okay for me to have everything I want." There are days when I thumb through every page and then there are the days when I flip directly to my favorite quotes.  Some words are more empowering than others, some more humorous, some more sentimental; but all of them speak to straight to my heart.

So as I sit here tonight, with tears trickling down my cheek, I once again turn to my book. The little go-to bible for a 20 something year old girl, lost in a little place called life. I read through the book once, then a second time for good measure. And deep down in my soul to the farthest depths of my heart, I can just feel that everything will be OK.