This week I have been mostly…

Been having too many feelings. It’s been a busy old time on the emotional front. There have been a bunch of triggers that I’m not going to go into, but the result has been a pretty messy me. I’ve done what I always do when I don’t think I can trust what I feel; retreat whilst I decode. I’ve spent a lot of time with myself listening to music that either comforts or acts as a conduit for those emotions. Thus I present, all the tunes that I’ve been hitting repeat on.

Teenage Talk by St Vincent is simultaneously sweet & deep. It’s wistful sound is definitely aided by the harpsichord & the fluid tone of St Vincent’s voice. The song pours over you like tequila smoothly warming your insides. The lyrics capture the both the nostalgic way we view the past & the reality of why our youth is so alluring. As the song says, our teenage years were before we made any terrible mistakes, but our golden days are also probably much more mundane than we remember. I like the hope that realisation brings. Simpler isn’t always better.

I first heard Strangers on Graham Norton, which is probably a sign that I am very old, but the nevertheless I instantly loved it. I just really like the sound of Sigrid’s voice, so I suspect I’ll like anything she releases. The changing tempo of this one is very pleasing. The sort of ‘anti romance propaganda’ of the lyrics paired with heartbeat like bass is incredibly appealing. I’m loving it.

I’m mostly loving this next song because if I close my eyes when I listening it transports me to warm blue waters & floating peacefully. After a few listens of Lana Del Rey’s, Get Free the lyrics sunk in & spoke to me. Being ‘crazy’ can feel like being stuck on a ride that you can’t get off. Even in recovery I often need to remind myself that sometimes I can press stop. I like the imagery of stepping out of the black & into the blue. I also very much enjoy sinking into depths of its instrumentation.

You know sometimes you hear a song & it feels like it was written just for you? That’s how I felt when the first time I listened to Lorde’s Liability. In fact, it took me quite a few plays not to cry. In describing her own very different situation she perfectly summed up how I feel about by interactions with other people. Through a combination of mental illness, physical illness & just being a pretty weird person I have learned to feel that I’m difficult to love. The lyrics of this song sum up my internal thought process perfectly. I’m the kind of person who can be exciting & different. My weirdness seems fun, my crazy a little wild, but the novelty always wears off. In the end the whole package is trouble. I’m too hard & my charm wears off. In short,

‘I’m a liability. A little too much for everyone’

For a long time I was completely convinced that summation was 100% correct. Then as I got stronger I began to believe that maybe it wasn’t true at all. Man, that negative voice in my head is strong, though. So, honestly sometimes I still feel like liability is a spot on description. Sometimes I think it’s only half true. Other times I just can’t decide what’s true at all. Regardless, it’s a beautiful song. Soft piano based sections spelling out sadness. Extended phrases that almost make you run out of breath as you rush to complete them; just like the panic you feel when you realise someone is leaving you. It’s a stunningly painful song. That leaves you hurting in all the right ways.

Snowy trees viewed through a window

The Guillemots are incredibly underrated. Their songs invariably hit all my spots & I don’t feel amazing now is no exception. From the second the song starts the music & lyrics are expertly entwined. The slowly rising chords are the perfect aural interpretation of the lyrical plea for help. The beautiful honesty of just admitting, I do not feel good is refreshing. The combination of wanting to be left alone, but also really needing someone to take your hand and make it ok is too familiar. The surprisingly hopeful note in such a despondent song is again emulated in the introduction of steel dreams to the orchestration. It lifts the song onto another level & has me hitting that repeat button time & again.

‘Just take my hand & stop the moonlight fading

Just take my hand & lead me up the stairs

Just take my hand & make me feel amazing,

‘Cos I don’t feel amazing now…’

This week I have mostly been…

Spoonie life can be tough. Meds only do so much, which means you have to discover your own coping strategies. 

Music is one of the things that helps me when my symptoms are unmanageable. Specifically, I like to lie in a completely dark room & play loud soothing music. I try to imagine the room flooding with the sound & let it wash over me. Obviously i am attracted to beautiful music, but for me, I’ve always needed lyrics that speak to me too. In particular I gravitate towards songs that express emotions I am wrapped up in. 

All of this leads me to introduce some new content. I hope  to regularly share with you the tunes that are easing my path. 

This last week has been dominated by women. My choices have been perhaps a little sombre, but that also have a dreamy quality. Without further ado, this week I have mostly been listening to,

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to find Laura Marling, but I am so glad I did. I heard this song, Darkness Descends, in a hospital waiting room & had to shazam it. The lyrics seemed designed for me, as though someone had climbed into my head & taken notes. This song is the musical embodiment  of autum. When I listen to this I feel like I’m wandering out in the crisp, fresh chill of a perfect September day & that’s a nice escape from reality. 

  
Next up is a bewitching offering from an old favourite. Firewood by Regina Spector sounds so gentle, but is really a rousing kick in the arse. With chronic illness there are times when life is too hard. In the midst of a flare when you feel horrendous every moment of every day, you can start think it’s just not worth it. Firewood is basically saying I know it hurts, I know it’s impossible, but you’re still breathing & you have to live. Spector manages to articulate this message without being patronising or dismissive. I love it. 

Spanish Harlem is a song I’ve been playing since childhood. It’s a tune that always made me feel bright & breezy. Rebecca Pidgeon’s version takes it to a new level. The tone of her voice & the more floaty arrangement is lush. I also like the gender switch, these words sung by a woman have a much less possessive feel.

This week’s final earwig is Lana Del Rey’s treatment of Once Upon A Dream. I first heard this when I took my niece to see Cinderella & haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The original Disney version is too sickly sweet for me, but Lana’s dark & twisty take gives me all the feels. This song perfectly fits my brief; it allows me to feel totally immersed in the music. 

  

with my red nail polish…

Painted nails have always been my thing. Growing up, I never saw my mum without immaculate nails. In fact many of my friends should to think she was very glamorous in part due to her beautifully manicured & painted nails. So, I suppose that’s where I caught the bug. Gorgeous nails are a big part of my personal brand.
Now, pretty as my hands are, my darling little sister has taken manicures to the next level. Her nail art is amazing (you can check it out here). Her creativity has inspired me & I invested in some nail brushes. I am far from skilled, it’s going to take some practise, but here are a few of my first experiments.

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