The original post in this series can be found here—the recap of that discussion can be found here. The second set of tracks can be found here.
Previous tracks: The Resolution – Jack’s Mannequin, Even if it Kills Me – Motion City Soundtrack, Feeling Good – Muse (cover), Typical – MUTEMATH, Workin’ it Out – Hilary Duff, The Year of Discovery – Tess Dunn, Caves – Jack’s Mannequin, Twenty Two – Millencolin, Diane the Skyscraper – Jack’s Mannequin, Weightless – All Time Low, Watch the Sky – Something Corporate, I Swear This Place is Haunted – A Skylit Drive.
I cut the last post off in July—from the point of August on, even though the battle had yet to begin again in September and was nowhere near over, the vibe of the tracks shift to recovery.
Rise – A Skylit Drive
I wrote in mid-July about feeling like a grenade. Rise was a response to that–
some days i feel like a loaded gun / i paint a target on everyone […]
some days i feel like i’m fucking done / i’m waging war against everyone / it’s killing me, like it’s killing you / what’s done is done, what will you do?
–but also to freedom from that feeling, even if briefly. From February through September, August was the only good month—the only month that I felt healthy, like I could do what I wanted. Like things were falling into place. I went through August with no ER visits, no blood transfusions, and only scheduled doctors’ visits. I started Concerta for ADHD, and I could feel my world changing for the better as a result. I went to Vancouver—I left my surroundings, I felt more free than I had in months.
run / you think you’re running away: i think you’re running in place / i’ve never seen you this way.
do not pray for an easy life / search for the strength to walk the line / i see a hope that’s hard to find / so don’t run away.
this is the end.
Things were better, it could have been the end, things could have gone back to a better semblance of normalcy—I re-ignited the hope just to go into another battle.
Cars and the Pixies – The Rocket Summer
can i be honest? / i’m ready for this year to die. / can’t help but notice / every corner where something ain’t right / i’ll be honest, i’ve got the kind of mind right now / to not be modest / i’m sick of walking on eggshells / and i believe that life should be epic.
the cars and the pixies / and the cure ain’t gonna fix me.
September was when I finally realized that I needed the chaos that had been 2013 to this point to end—“ready for this year to die”. I knew that, slowly this time, I was on another decline health-wise and there was nothing I could do except wait—the hormone meds weren’t working and I was being told surgery to remove the fibroid was 2-3 months out—at the rate I was going, there was little to say I’d still be alive in 2-3 months. It was like being in a medical-system crapshoot.
the coin you call it / if heads we’re going back to the heartland / if tails it’s falling, you know, i think i could care less where it lands / i’m exhausted, and overwrought / i’m a message in a bottle, tossing, turning here out in the sea / i’ve been swimming so long, come on / i’m ready for you now to read me.
After nearly dying in September, after surgery… this was what became true:
this is the year we start living (the cure ain’t gonna fix me…) / who says it has to be a new year to start a new year?
Word Forward – Foo Fighters
goodbye, jimmy / farewell youth / i must be on my way, i’ve had enough of you […]
years that i’ve wasted, these i-owe-yous.
they’re just fucking words. / this is life or death. / it’s time to clear the air / you’d better save your breath. / say have you heard, the poison in my heart / the voices in my head? / years that i’ve wasted, these i-owe-yous.
i meant every word, for word, for word, for word.
but it’s only words. / i meant every word / they’re just fucking words.
“This is life or death” is among the only way I can represent what September was. There really is no single song that can do that moment justice, because that same moment where I was lifted off of the ER bathroom floor and wheeled into resuscitation was the same moment that the good started happening—and with the recovery, the return to life, came the real battle. (There were many times where David Grey’s A Moment Changes Everything felt appropriate, but really, it was the collection of moments that lead to the resolution, not a single one).
The ridiculous thing about medicine is a lot of it happens based on words—it’s based on your ability to articulate a situation, and usually it’s based on the fact that they care only about your symptoms, not your feelings. I left an appointment where I dropped an f-bomb in my primary doctor’s office vowing never to return (which I did, three months later after a terrible experience with a potential new doctor), because it didn’t seem to matter that I’d almost fucking died that I wanted a new gynaecologist—or that I needed a new one. It didn’t matter how I felt–I’d wasted nearly a year of my life, I’d almost fucking died and I wasn’t into the excuses. A week later I did a less-fabulous job reaming out my now-former gynaecologist, because he was so sincerely apologetic. I gave him a bit of a diatribe, I meant every word, and I left. Which is huge when the past five months of my life had basically revolved around this man especially. The thing is, I’ll never know if my story will change any of his patients’ outcomes—because they’re just fucking words, on my end and his.
New Skin – Incubus
Recovery, the healing process, is largely metaphorical based on a physical concept. It’s not physical, it’s all in the perception of the physical aspects. There’s little I can really articulate about the process, other than finding myself again—which is where this song comes in.
at first i see an open wound / infected and disastrous / it breathes chaotic catastrophe / it cries to be renewed: please renew me! / its tears are the colour of anger / they try to form a scab / to the touch, it’s stiff and resilient: underneath a new skin breathes.
it’s all been seen / with the exception for the right parts / but when will we be new skin?
as outwardly cliche as it may seem / yes, something under the surface says “c’est la vie” / it is a circle, there is a plan / dead skin will atrophy itself to start again / look closely at the open wound / see past what covers the surface / underneath chaotic catastrophe / creation takes the stage
dead skin will atrophy itself to start again
it’s all been seen / with the exception for what could be / when will we be new skin?
[…] fallacious cognitions / spewed from televisions / do mould our decisions / so stop and take a look / and you’ll see what i see now.
Not Right – The Rocket Summer
In more than one situation, but the medical situation that was 2013 being the prime example, it has occurred to me that the true impact of something doesn’t hit me for two months. That was early December (or, the very end of November if we want to be technical). It’s the point where I can’t distract myself any longer from what happened and I have to figure out a way to deal with it that works. I’m still figuring it out. I’m “blistered but I’m better”, I don’t know what it is, but off and on? I’m just not right.
But I’ll get there.
I found this song literally last week on iTunes and those moments where oh my God, this is my life? I had one.
sundown’s coming / don’t let it stop you from nothing / cause ahead i see that there’s a light on, a right on / break down in pieces / tell me all your secrets / you won’t get lost, i promise / there’s a light on, right on / there’s a light on, right on.
lately, been meaning / to let you in on some feelings / here i am, do you see them? / shine that light on, right on / there’s a light on, right on / a safe place to admit . . .
that i am not right / i don’t know what it is, i’m just not right / i need someone to untangle a couple wires inside / if we’re honest, i am not quite right
shine your light onto my weaknesses.
something cut me / there’s bitterness in my bloodstream / been holding on to dead things / shine that light on, right on […]
so heaven help me / meet me as fast as you can / of the corner / of the state and the maze in my head.
Avalanche – Sons of the Sea
There are many things that bring experiences full circle—the fact that in writing an e-mail to Jay, who encouraged me to engage in the soundtrack project, I was shaken by Avalanche (oh, literality…), was that full circle experience. This happened a couple months ago, however, it never really left my head. In a way that needs little explanation, I’m closing off December of this hell of a year with Avalanche.
I saw none of it coming—most of it is just debris that I want to leave behind, but memories that will never leave. An “avalanche in the blink of a year”.
avalanche / in the blink of a year / tidal wave of debris / unrelenting and free / on my heels and i fear / time, like an arrow in my chest / sent across salty air / as a child i didn’t care / now i bleed like the rest.
but there’s art / in that wave of debris / most eyes will see a mess / but good things coalesce / when yeasayers can see
so i’ll stand / face that liquefied hill / what i fear now the most / is the spectre, the ghost / of my past it hurts still
avalanche / an emergency / hence the chance to emerge / i’m a seed on the verge / of becoming a tree
And that . . . was 2013.
From the resolution to the avalanche . . .
It’s good to be alive.