Music of My Heart: Pt. 1

Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories.

And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it. 

-Stevie Wonder

Mr. Stevie had it right, y’all.  So much music colors my life.  A song comes on and within the first few notes, I’m transported.  Memories, bright and sharply focused, take me back in time.  Depending on the song, I could laugh out loud or burst into tears.  I welcome all the memories–happy and sad–that the music brings to me.

Starting today, I’ll post the artwork for an album.  Some are old; others are more recent.  Some brought me joy; others got me through the toughest times in my life.  All make up the soundtrack of my life, the music of my heart.

First up…

lemonade.jpg

Album:  Lemonade
Artist:  Beyoncé
Released:  2016

 

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Lemonade.  After a cruise celebrating my mother’s birthday I sat in the Detroit Metro airport, waiting for the flight to take me home.  I’d heard the buzz about the album–the controversy over “Formation” at the Super Bowl halftime show, the shock that she made a whole entire film to go with it (#whodoesthat #yourfavecouldnever #shesthegreatest)–so I had to hear what the Queen was talkin’ ’bout. I purchased the album on iTunes and listened to it over…

…and over…

…and over.

At some points, I openly wept.  In the terminal, on the plane–I couldn’t hold back the tears.  You see, I had a tough time recovering from abuse from my ex-fiance.  I felt betrayed.  I felt angry.  I felt afraid.  I was just coming to the realization that, even though I felt powerless, I was the one who controlled my life.  Lemonade spoke to all that betrayal, anger, and fear.  It let me know I would make it through and be a stronger woman in the end.

In “Sandcastles”, Beyoncé sings:

Dishes smashed on my counter

From our last encounter

Pictures snatched out the frame

Bitch I scratched out your name

And your face

What is it about you

That I can’t erase

When every promise don’t work out that way

Her voice breaks at, “What is it about you that I can’t erase?” and it was like she read my heart and turned my deepest feelings into song.  I wanted to forget my ex so bad–because he hurt me so bad–but he still haunted me.

Lemonade was my strength.  Even today, every time a song from the album comes on, I stop and listen.

 

(Special thanks to Eli W. for inspiring this series!)

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Black and Blue (unknown to you)

Blogger’s Note – April 28, 2015: I’ve been going back and forth in my head over whether or not to post this. It is deeply personal and, honestly, I was afraid to put the truth out there. God sent me a sign, so now I’m sharing this. Thank you to this blogger for allowing God to speak to me through you. I’m not afraid anymore. 

On the outside, I looked fine. 

On the inside, I was black and blue. 

The words he hurled at me left invisible scars. He called me stupid, ugly. He constantly picked me apart: my hair, my clothes, my weight, my job, my family, my friends. He said I deserved all the terrible treatment I’d gotten in the past. He said that no one else would want me. He yelled in my face until I was a puddle of tears. Once I screamed at him, pushed to the edge of sanity, “Why do you do this? Why do you always try to break me down?”

He didn’t say anything. 

He isolated me from my family and friends. If he could keep me from people who valued me, I would continue to feel worthless. I would continue to believe that all I had was him and the world he constructed for me: the feelings he told me to feel; the life he told me to live. 

No matter how hard I tried, I was never enough for him. And I did try. I stopped doing things I loved. I left people behind who had been there for me long before he had. I put him–his kids, his family, his finances, his feelings–before myself over and over and over again. He required–demanded–all of my time and attention. But it was never enough. 

I pretended. When I talked about my relationship, I was intentionally vague or only focused on the good parts. When asked how things were, my response was always “It’s fine.” “He’s fine.” “I’m fine.” But things were not fine. I felt like I was drowning and the person who was supposed to be my life boat was actually the current pulling me under.  

Thank God for the breaking point. Thank God for that night when He whispered to me, “Enough is enough. You were not meant for this,” and I finally heard Him. Too many times I had ignored His subtle revelations, but this time His whisper was a shout that woke me up. 

I’m a firm believer that God sends us trials to teach us. Not because He doesn’t care or wants us to suffer, but because He has a lesson we need to learn to get to the next level in life. I’ve learned my lesson. I will never forget it. 

“Enough is enough. You were not meant for this.”

On the inside now, I’m healing.