I’m struggling to believe that Jagged Little Pill is twenty years old this month. How can two decades possibly have passed since Alanis first got angry? More importantly how the hell did I get so old?
Jagged little pill has always been special for me. From teenage not quite angst to bonified adult pain, Alanis has had my back. So, I thought I’d pay tribute to an epic album & the journey we’ve been on together.
Let me take you back to the start. I’m 14yrs old & life is good. I have lovely friends, great home life, I do well at school. There is no teenage misery for me. There is however, frustration; a sense of being on the brink of life. I’m beginning to build a picture of what I want from life. I’m challenging some the things I’ve been taught & I don’t feel like my life view is taken seriously. In amongst all the vexation is an excitement. Possibilities are starting to fizz, I am aware of the power of youth & I can’t wait to weild it. I see right through you encapsulated all that I was feeling & I took every opportunity to sing it at the top of my lungs.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve finally extricated myself from an unhealthy relationship. I’m heartbroken & angry. Angry that someone has been so cruel & furious with myself for allowing it. It’s Alanis to the rescue, I am certain I’m not the only woman who played You oughta know at full blast, cried her eyes out & felt a little better.
I had some dark days in my twenties. Dealing with the trauma of miscarriage & resultant depression whilst trying to hold my life together took it’s toll. I became really ill & eventually had to ask for help. The lyrics to Mary Jane really touched a nerve back then. The realisation that I had to admit I wasn’t ok was a hard one, but there was some relief in listening to words I could relate to. It’s amazing how powerful just not feeling alone in your predictament can be.
Anyone who has experienced difficult periods will tell you that it makes you really appreciate good times. When you’re fighting through bleak lows of severe depression the first glimpses of being ok are beautiful. The relief of finding that right now in this minute you are content makes you want to sing & dance. Hand in my pocket is the perfect tune to accompany this feeling. It’s not about joy or any of the big feelings. It just perfectly sums up the sensation of knowing you can make it. It feels good to believe that ‘everything’s gonna be fine fine fine’.
A big part of maintaining happiness is knowing when to put yourself first. I have not always been great at this. Knowing when to say no was a hard lesson to learn, but such a valuable one. Walking away from toxic, all take & no give relationships was like shedding dead weight. Suddenly Not the Dr made so much sense. Reaching the conclusion that I was not responsible for other people’s happiness freed me to enjoy the peope who mattered. Sometimes you have to let go.
You learn is bitter sweet. It signifies getting to a place in my life where I I’d learned from all my trials. It’s nice to feel in control. In an unfortunate twist of fate mastering one set of problems coincided with the onset of others. This song also represents my chronic illness. The notion of a jagged little pill brings to mind both the handfuls of meds I must take & the metaphorical swallowing of hard to digest facts.
After all that serious stuff this post needs a little love. Head over feet celebrates that moment when you know for sure that you’ve picked a good one. There is something wonderful about the kind of love that comes without a fuss. Head over feet is all about the bliss that comes with being with someone who treats you right.
There you have it. Jagged little pill has been my musical friend for many years. There aren’t many thing in life that you love as much at 34 as you did at 13 & this is one. Every time I hear this album I still get all the feels & for me that’s the mark of a classic.