I’ve been listening to John Mayer’s “Who Says?” a lot these days. Peeling down the country roads home from three very long and difficult appointments at the hospital the other day, I found comfort in the lyrics.
“Who says I can’t be free?
From all of the things that I used to be
Re-write my history
Who says I can’t be free?”
I love this song. I love that when I listen to it, I feel something. Whether or not the subject matter is truly relevant to my own personal battles, I can interpret them in a way that makes me feel justified in seeking my own truth and my own happiness. The best music does just that- allows me to apply the lyrics to my own life, to seek solace in the rises and falls of the melody. It sends shivers up my spine, allows me to lose myself in the notes. It sings my troubles and my triumphs. I’ve often found music to be the best therapy, whether I’m listening to it or singing it. A well-crafted song can lift me up from a deep hole of darkness, or even just allow me to cry. Instead of telling my story, I’m feeling it. Something I do too often is push aside my troubles, numb myself to the feelings, and run through it. Later on, I find that my anesthetic has worn off, that I’m stuck with these feelings, and that as hard as I try to flee, they will eventually catch up. It often takes a good song to allow myself to feel, to cry, to laugh. My story dwells in lyrics written not for me, my life plays out in a crescendo of notes crafted for someone else. And that is the beauty of music- no matter who you are, no matter where you are, and no matter the intention of the artist- somewhere, there is a song for you.