I guess the biggest thing I don’t understand is quite simply – myself. I know these are the years where I’m suppose to be getting to grips with who I am and building the adult I’m going to be for the rest of my life…but I well and truly have no shitting idea how the fuck I’m suppose to do that when I do not understand one single thing about myself.
I don’t understand why some days I am a warrior and others a complete mess, why I take pleasure in breaking myself down but try my best not to let anyone else get too close. I don’t understand why the outside world terrifies me, almost as much as the confines of my own house. I don’t understand how I became ‘The Girl of a Thousand Chances’ or how my body ended up shaped like a doormat. I don’t understand the choices I make in who gets to step on me and who I try to keep at arm’s length. I don’t understand how someone can work so hard to stay here and still have no drive to move. I don’t understand how I can be filled with so much passion for so many things, but possess no ambition to reach out and take. I have no idea what I’m doing with my time, my day or my life.
I don’t understand how I’m supposed to build myself in to a functioning member of society when these are the building blocks I have.
I don’t have a favourite song. I know everybody says that, but I really don’t. I have a collection of songs that have always meant a lot to me over the years, there are certain songs I dance most to and songs that relax me. There are songs that pull me back in to my memories and songs that make me think about the future. There are new songs in the charts that I can’t stop listening to and old songs that I rediscover every once in a while. There are songs I grew up with and songs I found purely by accident. Actually, I think my music taste is made up from just a large collection of my ‘favourite songs’ – but then, isn’t everyone’s?
So…I’ll go for a song that I love at the moment.
How to Save a Life by The Fray. Like REM’s Everybody Hurts people think this is one of those pointlessly depressing songs. Well, if you think that then it means you’ve never needed a song like this – and you should think yourself lucky for that. The truth is that this song actually contains a lot of hope. If you’ve even seen the video you’ll know it goes through some of the steps of experiencing and recovering from loss, depression, sorrow, guilt etc. It’s a comfort, really, almost a sort of ribbon that ties together those lost in themselves and those who feel left behind. If you’ve ever lost someone close you’ll know that no matter what the circumstances of that loss, you feel a tremendous weight of guilt. This is one of, if not the only (mainstream) songs I know of that addresses that feeling. There are plenty of songs for those still clinging on, but this track is a beautiful and real apology for those who feel like they didn’t reach their hand out further enough.
I know a lot of people think that listening to ‘sad songs’ when you’re going through something traumatic and hurtful will only hinder the process of recovery and drag you down further, but that’s not the case at all. These so called ‘sad songs’ are often the ones that bring us the most release. The words can push things in to your mind that you’ve shoved to the back for perhaps longer than necessary, forcing you to feel what you obviously need to feel.
How to Save a Life is real, honest and moving. It works for people in different ways, as music generally does, but for me it’s a reminder that I’m not in this alone, because no matter how we acquired our demons, we fight them off the same.
I find Salvador Dali (or Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domènech) to be a terribly fascinating human being, and mostly because he was and is such a mystery to so many people. From his quotes and interviews it seems as though he never did like to give clear answers, almost as if he himself wanted to appear as surreal as his work.
I’ve loved Dali’s work from a very young age. My dad had two small prints framed in our old flat, and I used to sit and stare at them, before I had any serious concept of art or its many variations, and wonder what could be happening. The piece I remember staring at most is ‘Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening’. My imagination, as young and limitless as it was, didn’t know what to do with such an image. Before I learned the title of the piece or its meaning, I used to wonder what this woman had done to anger all these strange creatures that were apparently after her.
As I grew older I began to look more in depth in to Dali’s life and work. Some of his early life was actually quite heartbreaking, and like most artists it was the parents that loosened the first few screws (I’m not saying Dali was crazy – just that his parents helped him get a little fucked up – as parents so often do). Despite this, he loved his parents a great deal, and when his mother died it tore through him with a pain I am all too familiar with. Art helped him to cope. It helped him to create his own world when the one around him made no sense. It was his escape. He could make up his own rules, show whatever side of himself he felt like and display his emotions with any imagery he wanted – without having to explain himself to anyone.
I can relate to Dali and his work quite a lot. Getting lost is something writers, like artists, live for. It’s our strongest tool but also our greatest downfall, and it can often be hard to keep a hold of yourself. He taught me to make things for myself, to not care if it made sense to anyone else as long as it made me happy. I live by some of his quotes.
“Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.”
“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”
“Everything alters me, but nothing changes me.”
I think Salvador Dali is one of the most fascinating artists and people who ever lived. He took the complexity of the human brain, of life and emotion and everything that makes a person move and turned it in to some of the most magnificent art.