Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tattoos of Memories

They say the strongest sense tied to memory is smell. I beg to differ. I've noticed that when I listen to music that I have been listening to for months or even years, the music moves me the same way it did the first time I heard it.

Alanis Morrissett's Jagged Little Pill: I remember my dad and I jumping around the living room when I must have been, I don't know, 12? We screamed the lyrics out loud and hopped around the living room together banging our heads and kicking our feet. Laughing, high-fiving, grinning so hard you couldn't see our eyes. I still see the lines in the corners of his eyes and his mouth because he was smiling so hard. He was embracing my music; he was embracing me. I started going to Border's to buy cd's more often after this.

Sublime's Title Album: I used to listen to this whole CD on repeat while I played Diddy Kong Racing on my N64. I can still see the little go karts speeding around corners as I picked up balloons and dodged oil slicks. I was the shit at that game. I loved being a kid. The only thing I needed to worry about at that age was getting good grades and playing softball. My parents worked hard long hours to bring in the money to allow me to, when you really break it down, play a game. I devoted my life to perfecting using a stick, to hit a ball, to get squares. Plain and simple. If only I knew that life would never be that simple. Ever again. Either way, this was my soundtrack then.

Matchbox Twenty's Yourself or Someone Like You: My mom and I used to listen to this. I was in high school. My parents were splitting up and for the first time I didn't see my mom as this invincible superhero. She ached just like I did sometimes, she was only human and was doing the best that she could for me given the circumstances. Trying her damnedest to make sure my life didn't skip a beat; all the while hers was being picked up and shaken upside down like some change tray out of an old Datsun. She was kind of starting her life over and unsure, just as much as I was, of what tomorrow would bring. All we knew was what we knew that day. I can still see the side of her face as she drove our 1992 Toyota 4Runner. The way it looked as she sang along. The way her eyes focused on the road and her heart focused on the lyrics. We never really talked when this CD was playing. We both knew that each other was taking from the songs just what we needed to get by. We sang along together as if to say to each other "I know".

Dave Matthews' song Break Free: The feeling of a true love for me. Before things got messy and life got in the way. The pace of my breath, the pounding of my heart, the rhythm of my step; that same beat is brought back again and again. I wouldn't change the feeling I get in my stomach or the inevitable grin I can NEVER hold back when I hear this song, for anything in the world. I used to think I needed that person to feel that way still. Held on tight until my hands ached. But once I let go, they still rocked my world through this song as much as they had inspired me to hit repeat and sing along loud, and all obnoxious-like, parked in front of Walgreens so long ago. There are no more questions of what might have been or what went wrong. I don't think they know how thankful I am for the life they pumped through my veins at a time when I thought my life was going to hit a brick wall doing 130. What's left is the good of us in this song. At least for me...

Green Days' song Time of your Life: Many people in my life know the significance of this song for me. Green Day was a hidden gem in my friend Ashley's CD collection. I ganked it from her and played it on the stereo at home. One night I stumbled upon my dad listening to this song. He was sitting in his recliner, eyes closed, head back, feet crossed at the ankles and bouncing with the beat of the song. He started crying. I don't know if he knew I was there sitting on the couch when he started crying, but I just sat and watched. He was crying for the strength he thought he had lost, for the life he thought he was letting slip through his rough, hard working fingers. But all of that was sitting on the fucking couch right in front of him. I hope he found all the answers he wanted in this song. I wanted to tell him that it WAS worth all the while. To me HE WAS worth all the while. I chose to play this song at his funeral. And as luck would have it, a couple months later, this song was chosen by my peers at school to be our graduation song. When this song started to play after everyone had walked across the stage at Memorial Auditorium, I saw his face and thought "thanks for showing up".

And to think, every song has its own beat that is brought back to me again when I listen to it. The way I felt, when I let that song consume me for the first time however long ago, is still fresh. There are so many other songs I could write about. Like how every time I hear Don Gon Do It by the Rapture I see Winter's face and hear her reminding of how at 2:40 she simply loves the clapping. Then raises her hands, looks to her right and claps the beat. Or how I see Melissa's face and leg kick every damn time I hear Tony the Beat by The Sounds. That leg kick is followed by a "Heyyyyyyyy let's kick it".

I have a lot to be thankful for, huh?

*answers self by nodding* Absolutely.

-J

10 comments:

jessica said...

I LOVE break free by DMB

Donielle said...

You're right, you killed me with that post. I am so glad you ordered extra tissues at the office. You really should share that one with your mom over email or in a card.

Love,
D

jescas said...

:]

kelley said...

Okay, I'm crying...

I loved your dad, and I know you were his little girl. He was the best...I'm so sorry.

Elizabeth said...

:)

I know exactly what you mean.

You really have an amazing way of saying things, you know that?

Noha said...

Ok thats it. Lets wed.

Brita said...

I'm glad you got a new ipod but i'm sad that I only discovered your blog today...I feel like i KNOOOOW you!!

I love, love, LOVE music and you're absolutely right, songs are synonymous with memories. Music is the soundtrack to my life, most songs have some sort of significance--good or bad, to me.

th-Inker said...

goddess damnit!! you're one of the most beautiful souls i've met through this crazy box of wires. I wasn't really looking to cry today, but I guess the best things in life are unexpected. Also, the hottest went up a click with the diddy kong racing mastery....

Carolyn said...

I stumbled across your blog from Daily Lesbian. I used to ask my sister when we were younger if we were the only people in the world who linked music to people or times in our lives. Thank you for making me feel like less of a freak. Abba - reminds me of when I would play the very first mario brothers on super nintendo. Meatloaf - reminds me of so many roadtrips with my dad. Reba McIntire reminds me of cleaning the house with my mom on a spring morning with my dad out of town. Thank you for reminding me. And I guess for making me cry. lol

jescas said...

carolyn,
i know what you mean. when i hear songs that are tied to a memory, i feel that age again. i hear sublime and i want to bust out my n64.

i guess it's good to feel this much. to really be moved by something so simple as a song. it was so worth that 9.95 i spent on each of those cd's. because now i have a lifetime of smiles and memories i could never recreate :]