Oh how I remember sitting by the radio trying to find the right mix of music to tell some girl that I liked her. An evening spent borrowing music from some people, waiting for the DJ to play a track I just had to have. So much effort put into a little piece of myself that you would nervously hand to someone the next day. Partially because you worked so hard, partially because you didn’t want it burning a hole in your backpack from any delays. The friends who might have helped you, egging you on, or possibly sending you to your doom.
Most of the people I meet these days have some connection to the hospital and therefore know a little more about me than the average person might learn. The ups and downs of dealing with life written on all of our faces. Lots of people plugged in to headphones listening to something that takes them to a better place, a different time when they might not have been forced to wait.
My tape would be a mix of melancholy and crazy. Even in those tapes/CDs/iTunes playlists I like to throw in something crazy just to get the “What the heck is he thinking!” reaction. My go to track would be P.D.Q. Bach’s “My Bonny Lass she Smellith”. For those who are wondering what the Bach connection might be, there is none. Just a guy who was a fan and created a persona. But that track has been present in at least 5 different tapes over the years.
Lately I’ve been listening to a sing called “Paradise Lost” and as you can tell someone who reading too much Dante before putting pen to paper. It’s about how foolish pride caused a person’s downfall. Well, that captures me lately. My own mistakes coming back to kick me in the backside.
There would also be Genesis’s “Land of Confusion”. The video is pretty funny, that’s the one with the puppets! Some days I have picked left when right was the easier path, a simpler way of handling things. Being so wrapped up in not knowing how to proceed some days, or even if I can proceed has left me without solid footing.
“Along For the Ride”, the theme of having been a parent, child, friend, uncle, all of those things. Sometimes there are those times when you just have to learn that things are going to happen. They are going to be wonderful and horribly scarring, possibly at the same time. Life gives you more than you can handle at times, but as long as you accept that there are going to be these bumps in the road, you can get through it. A life lesson I’m trying to understand myself.
Another of those Dream Theater tracks that are going to have to go on “As I Am”. This is a lesson I tried to learn, but failed in spectacular fashion. Learning to accept who you are, with all of the warts that goes with it. Trying not to fight someone because you believe something, that you’ll never change their mind because they are who they are as well. Being close minded to life, never learning that something different might be available, that’s a whole level of paralysis I fought for years.
A companion to that track would need to be “Answer Lies Within”. Overcoming all of that self-doubt, trying to convince yourself that moving forward will keep you from getting stuck in the mud, just plain trying. It a hard lesson when you are surrounded by people who at times tell you there isn’t much time to do certain things. The longer you wait, the harder they will become. But I’d like to think of a future that is by my side, walking hand in hand with me.
Let’s just call this side A of our cassette and leave it at that. Introspection seems to be on the calendar today, maybe teaching someone around me that there are positive outcomes even when you are experiencing the worst that life has to offer. My mother told me last night that she wishes I saw things differently, wasn’t so dark and damaged. Quite a statement for her to make. Maybe there is one last track I need to would be “Learning to Live”, looking for the innocence that life once provided, a voice in the darkness leading me towards better things. How I once reached for love, but now I need to reach for life.
Damn maybe this is the tape I should give a therapist. I would love to see the picking apart of my brain following that listening session!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mix Tape Masterpiece.”