Storytelling Through Music

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Happy Sunday, everyone.

In nearly the month that has past since I last wrote, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to deal with some restrictions in my life and why I must also reflect on how the restrictions themselves are a temporary experience while the overall situation–the risk of COVID-19 infection–brings with it the possibility of permanent losses. Given my past experience serving in two different phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom and my job in the Marine Corps, I’ve felt more equipped than others for our present reality. When I look at the scope of death involved, I know I must moderate how much information I consume just like anyone should moderately consume high fat, high calorie foods. I know it’s bad for me to know too much. I am an empathetic person and it’s difficult knowing I cannot do much for others to keep them safe other than to stay home.

I also underestimated how much our home “confinement” would cause me to think about my way of life. I felt weird not shaking hands with people I met, like the day I met one of my neighbors for the first time. The Marine that I am, I felt like I was doing a disservice to the foundation of our newfound relationship to not have a proper handshake as part of our meeting. I also feel weird watching how much I cut back on interacting with people at the grocery store. Instead, I watch them with odd curiosity and sometimes, frustration. While I might normally chat with a mom as she apologizes for her small child cutting me off in front of some merchandise, I work on keeping a respectable distance for my safety and theirs. Or this past grocery shopping endeavor, I felt like criticizing two women–clearly friends–who were blocking the aisle with their carts and bodies as they chatted within a more intimate personal distance than the 6 feet we are requested to keep at this time. It would have been one thing if they accidentally broached the distance guidelines as I’ve watched it happen over and over again as shoppers do a little tango to get out of each other’s way, but I was pretty agitated they were blatantly disregarding the current social practice to visit with each other and more so, cutting off everyone else’s access to the grocery items with their lingering presence.

When these little frustrations start to creep in–or I feel I need to be more productive–I notice I seek out listening to music. Normally, I try to make good use of my work from home time and listen to several podcasts during the week. There are several that have helped me think more critically about my money habits and how to design our home so it serves us better without it also potentially being a regret later when it comes time to sell. Right now though, I don’t feel like I can listen to some of these podcasts with as much attentiveness as I’d like so instead, I focus on music.

In fact, I found it amusing today that the movie we watched, Trolls World Tour, brought up some of the same things I’ve been thinking about how music is often about expressing ourselves and where we come from. The idea is nothing new to me, but I did enjoy seeing it discussed in the movie. With our daughter close to turning ten years old, I do feel it is important for her to understand music is as faceted as other aspects of our society and differs greatly across societies.

Much of what I grew up listening to would not resonate with her, but that type of music brings me back to specific points of my childhood and my relationship with my siblings, parents, and friends. I also don’t feel l have anything that speaks to me about my first college experience, but so much that brings me back to certain parts of my Marine Corps career and my life the last few years. I’ve grown up more than I expected because I failed at numerous things and been rejected in a variety of personal connections. These things have taught me to find the people who make up my tribe and to accept what has felt as flaws at times are not flaws at all.

I am at a better place now with the uncertainty surrounding us because I think more about what I listen to during my day to feel empowered and educated. The music I am sharing today I intentionally split into female artists and male artists vocals. This decision was centered around attempting to view how women are accepted both in their work and their viewpoints. The sound was equally as important. There are times when I feel like listening to women who have gone through some of the same things as me gives me the courage to share my own voice on those matters.

I know you can upload audio to WordPress, but I don’t know the legal implications of sharing others’ music. Please don’t be disappointed that for this reason, I’ve taken the simple approach to provide an image of my playlists instead. I figure anyone who is interested can replicate it on whatever site they use to listen to music. 

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The male vocals, specific lyrics, and song titles are no less important. They are just important different reasons. Some of the songs have been favorites for a bit due to the energy being perfect for my workout routines or I want something to get me through what feels like a long workday. As well, like their female counterparts, men are in a position now in society to talk differently about their respective experiences and reflection on social issues. The latter issue I feel is best represented by the tone of their voices.

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As we continue to fight the fight from our homes or in our workspaces, I hope you find some music that resonates with you and if you’d like, feel free to share what you’re listening to during these days. I enjoy listening to the messages and voices of the storytellers.

~Cheryl