For a brief moment yesterday I was joyful. A musician I follow on Twitter, @WeeLaura, had recommended the group Alabama Shakes. As I am always looking for new music and am particularly fond of independent musicians, I checked them out. I listened and was happily transported. The music took me out of my body, out of my mood to a different place. I was smiling as I chair-danced to the bluesy voice of the lead singer, Brittany Howard. I felt truly joyful. That it had that effect does not surprise me. In many ways, music saved me.
Music might not seem like a big deal to some, but it is to me. I have recently come through an intense, dark period of grief. Very little could lift my spirits during that time. I had lost my mom in July and all joy left my life. Well not just joy, but all emotion seemed to be gone. I shut myself down inside and would not allow myself to feel anything. If I did, a flood of grief would overwhelm me and shut me down so hard that it was difficult to function. And that could not happen. Life goes on and I had to be able to live in it. I had responsibilities to myself and to others. For those many months last year, the only way I could allow myself to feel was through music. I was particularly drawn to singers, like Brittany Howard, who could evoke strong emotion with the power of their voice. I think I learned to feel again through them. If I had known of her music then, I know I would have been playing it.
I have come back slowly. It does not hurt so much. I can talk about it and even write about it now. And I am having more moments like yesterday where I can spontaneously smile again. When you listen, it is not just about the music, sometimes it is much deeper.
In closing I would like to leave you with Brittany Howard and Alabama Shakes. Enjoy!