I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled novel writing session to post here. I’m working on sharing more of my thoughts and experiences as the mood strikes so I’m not always sitting on ideas and feelings. (Turns out that repression is not so healthy.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about bravery. I wish I could be as brave as I was when I was in my twenties. I used to be comfortable sharing my opinions, telling my stories. Something changed. I let myself be silenced, but I am learning how to be open on my terms. I do not want to be silenced by anxiety. By fear. By depression.
If I’m constantly tamping down my ideas and second-guessing myself, if I’m always afraid to speak up, then my writing is never going to truly flourish. (Maybe that’s why I needed to write this now. Sitting with my writing is hard. Being emotional and raw and vulnerable is hard, in writing and in life. Like I said, I’m learning.)
After taking a walk in this morning’s oppressive heat to pick up coffee and get some work done, I came home feeling…strange. I needed to feel centered. I needed to feel like someone understood.
I needed to listen to Fiona Apple’s Tidal.
This is an album that has been a comfort to me for nearly twenty years now. I remember finally getting the CD and listening to it on my Discman. Curling up on the couch in my darkened living room, playing the entire album from start to finish over and over and over again. I hated crying when I was younger. I hate it now, but I’m more emotionally available now than I was as a scared, frustrated teen who wanted nothing more than to just have some peace and happiness. I hated feeling weak. With Tidal, I could cry. I could feel sad without having to explain why. I could feel angry without having to hold back to make others comfortable. Listening to Fiona Apple was a radical act that gave me permission to feel. To be.
When Fiona Apple declared, “This world is bullshit!” at the 1997 MTV VMA’s, she said the very thing I had been feeling for a long time, something I still feel often.
“Days like this I don’t know what to do with myself/all day and all night/I wander the halls along the walls/and under my breath I say to myself/I need fuel to take flight/And there’s too much going on/But it’s calm under the waves in the blue of my oblivion”
–Fiona Apple, Sullen Girl
Before I listened to “Sullen Girl”, I didn’t really know how to express the sadness and anxiety I felt, but this song came along and I felt a little less alone. A little less frightened. Sometimes, this world is bullshit, but there’s always art to at least help you process the pain and the crap you’re going through.
“Never Is A Promise” is another one of my favorites. It’s one of the bravest, most beautiful songs I have ever heard. To be that vulnerable, that honest…I’d like to get there again. Someday.
Go on. Be brave.