well, i started this story in the middle of the page . . .

sugarbuzz, marvelous 3

The day before my birthday, I shared the first four months of the 2013 soundtrack—an undertaking you can read more about the origins of in the original post. On the eve of twenty-two, little did I know how much differently I would perceive not only the year, but the soundtrack that had been already created as 2013 closed off. The dawn of a new year is the subject of an upcoming post, so while you can read the original responses in the post linked above, I am starting the journey again from scratch—same songs, new songs, fresh slate as the story continued taking on life.

The Resolution, Jack’s Mannequin.

This song has woken me up nearly every day for the past year. Originally a call to self-change, intentionality and hope, as the year progressed it became more of an anthem as Andrew McMahon from Jack’s Mannequin had perhaps intended it—an anthem of survival; and an ironic foreshadowing.

there’s a lot that i don’t know, there’s a lot that i’m still learning / when i think i’m letting go i find my body it’s still burning / and you hold me down, and you got me living in the past / somebody pick me up: somebody clear the wreckage from the blast.

Line two: “when i think i’m letting go, i find my body it’s still burning”. These were among the last words moving through my head as I was medicinally lulled to “sleep” with two IVs in my arm and a mask suffocating me, mere hours after being pulled off the ER bathroom floor and into resuscitation. These thoughts are the ones that reverberate in my mind: the survival is what has me preoccupied with rewinding these moments.

i’m alive, but i don’t need a witness to know that i survive / i’m not looking for forgiveness—i just need light, i need light in the dark as i search for the resolution.

There are very few songs that the next piece hits me as hard as the first: The Resolution is among that rarity. I’m not looking for forgiveness. As I’ve written about, guilt is not uncommon being sick. It’s not just recovering and getting back to life physically. It’s realizing that despite having no control, the things that happen to us as individuals affect many people around us. Figuring out how to shed that guilt—or decrease it—is huge.

I still need that light: I’ve found the physical resolution, but the emotional one is a harder obstacle to climb over.

and the bars are finally closed so i try living in the moment / till the moment it just froze and i felt sick and so alone: / i can hear the sound of your voice still ringing in my ears / i’m going underground, but you’ll find me anywhere i fear.

This—this is the aftermath. No longer being able to find distraction encompassing enough to escape the reality constantly following me—unlike most situations, I simply can’t take a step back from my own body. Every quirk, oddity, and even normalcy after having this fairly sudden resolution to months of medical turbulence can be extremely confusing.

it’s a long way back from hell / some stories i will never tell / and i’m almost home.

This resolution: it’s not a goal, a wish, a hope. It is a process. I am living the resolution.

Even If It Kills Me – Motion City Soundtrack

Simply the title of this track is really reminiscent of the medical aspects of my year, but it made it to the soundtrack sometime in late January at about four AM being the only sober person at a party. It was also sometime in the span of time I was having the psychoeducational assessment done. There’s a lot of aspects I can’t really speak to, but so many pieces were just very, very relevant.

i’ve got a lot of things to do tonight / i’m so sick of making lists of things i’ll never finish […] / since early 1995 all my shit has been in boxes / but if i had a little more time to kill / i’d settle every little stupid thing, yeah you’d think that i would. / but i’m too tired to go to sleep tonight, and i’m too weak to follow dreams tonight: for the first time in a long time i can say that i wanna try to get better and overcome each moment in my own way.

That last line was a big one: overcoming moments in my own way. Which once again became a really important thing to underscore after my ADHD/LD diagnosis.

winter is a killer when the sun goes down / i’m really not as stubborn as i seem, said the knuckle to the concrete.

i’m not saying that i’m giving up, I’m just trying not to think as much as i used to: ‘cause never is a lonely little messed up word—maybe i’ll get it right some day. 

i so wanna get back on track, and i’ll do whatever it takes: even if it kills me. 

 Feeling Good – Muse (cover)

I can’t paint the original picture of this song choice any better than May’s post: “There was a span of time that I allowed certain people to control my thought process, and I expended far too much energy on this–I struggled to let go of something that I had created that had become not what I had visioned and out of my control, trying to help people change who did not want to change. As soon as I was forced to let go of it . . . my life, my thought process, improved further in so many ways. And for that, I am grateful. Each day is new–and that makes me feel good.”

The new moment that unfolded, however, was when I had my final meeting with my former gynaecologist, the man who “oversaw” my care through three blood transfusions. I truly believe tried his best, but thank God somebody else’s best was better. 

it’s a new dawn, its a new day, it’s a new life for me: and i’m feeling good.

Because there’s something really kickass about running down three flights of stairs and barely being able to get your earphones in quick enough to make the moment complete with the right song about moving forward.

when the day is done: and this old world is a new world and a bold world for me. stars when you shine, you know how i feel.

yeah, freedom is mine, and you know how i feel.

Typical – MUTEMATH

Even now, as soon as this song comes on, I am quickly transported back to March as I wrapped the learning assessment process and got ‘the verdict’. Rather than deviating from the social typical, it was really about moving out of my own variety of typical—and, as I said to the accessibility services assistant Monday, “working with [circumstance] instead of against [it].” If anything, I just wish I had the process completed sooner, because I think it would have changed a lot of outcomes—but, maybe then it wouldn’t have changed me in the right ways either.

come on can i dream for one day, there’s nothing that can’t be done / but how long should it take somebody before they can be someone? / ‘cause i know there’s got to be another level / somewhere closer to the other side / and i’m feeling like it’s now or never: can i break the spell of the typical?

because it’s dragging me down / i’d like to know about when—when does it all turn around?

Workin’ It Out – Hilary Duff

This one, the cause for a deviation from a five-year Hilary Duff hiatus, was really about persistence and finding answers to questions, and how much that process, which really was defining of my year, sucks—while the implied theme is relevant, the lyrical mediocrity is quite unfortunate.

some days it all makes sense to me / some days i just don’t wanna know why. / i’m not giving up, no. / gonna stand up and shout it: no way / i’m not slacking off, or backing out, or cracking up with doubt: i’m working it out. / sometimes, i’m just surrounded by friends—sometimes we’ve never met.

That last bit about friends I’ve never met? Those are among the most important people in my story this year. I am blessed by so many amazing people who I only know through this crazy thing called the internet—who were among the biggest sources of support through the craziness I have made my through this year.

The Year of Discovery – Tess Dunn

A very fun, poppy tune, this is extremely reminiscent of my year: figuring things out, working with little new but more being uncovered, and taking time to trust the process.

so we’re calling it the year of discovery / but i haven’t found a thing / but don’t you worry, ‘cause i’m not far behind. / i’m not trying to keep up with the times, i don’t really see the point / the new year’s ringing loud and clear…

i searched the whole world to find all the missing pieces of me / but they were already there, not put together properly / i gave my all up and i hoped for something more / and even though everything’s missing, i’ve never been happier before.

there’s always something missing, can’t seem to put the pieces where they belong / but now for once, i don’t feel incomplete / this is my year of discovery.

I can’t say much more to it: it’s about finding answers to unasked questions and ending up more complete because of it—“she had answers to all the wrong questions / it’s funny, these answers are all that i need.” (caldecott tunnel, something corporate).

Caves – Jack’s Mannequin

This song, seven months later, can still actually be really tough to listen to. Eight minutes of piano, melody, and words that fit the feelings of those moments almost perfectly. I spent an inordinate amount of consecutive hours listening to this track on repeat in the darkness of the back corner of the emergency room, achieving little sleep between the atmosphere, my nurses taking vitals and changing my IV bags between blood and fluids, and the constant need to go to the bathroom induced by the Lasix and dragging my IV pump alongside me. Once again: my circumstances and Andrew McMahon’s were very different—but they both came down to anemia leading to treatment, being reborn by donors and doctors. And, the music being what pulled us through…

i’m lost somewhere in between alive and living a dream / no peace, just clicking machines […] the walls caved in on me.

 and she stings my arm in the night, i lay still—still i’m ready to fight / have my lungs, but you can’t take my sight. / the walls caved in tonight. / and out here i watch the sun circle the earth: marrows collide in rebirth […] / the walls fell and there i lay saved.

the walls are caving in as far as i can see / doors got locked for sure / there’s no one here but me / beat my body like a rag doll […]

 The words are deeply resonant: the piano solo is what was most explanatory this chaos at the time. In finding the resolution, however?

 i fought a war to walk a gangplank into a life i left behind / windows leading to the past, think it’s time i broke some glass, get this history off my mind.

 More didn’t hit me until September:

everything’s a piece of everyone. as far as i can see—walls are caving in, doors got locked for sure, but i see these doors have keys.

The blood of the donors that saved my life on multiple occasions? The cells may die out in four months, but my body’s physiological response to it lasts far beyond: I doubt I’d be alive right now without the beautiful people that chose to donate blood, and I cannot convey my thankfulness enough. This song, unlocking those doors, and connection—they persist beyond the hell I spent more than eight months climbing out of: I’m still on that journey.


Removed track: Stronger – Kelly Clarkson.


i’m alive, but i don’t need a witness, to know that i survive, i’m not looking for forgiveness—yeah, i just need light, i need light in the dark as i search for the resolution . . . 

To be continued.

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