Quite often when I think of the Food for Through prompt for the week’s I provide them (May and I take turns for those who haven’t visited us yet) I pick topics that I want to hear YOU write about, entirely forgetting that I will have to write about them too. This week’s prompt of Music On! World Off! Is no exception to that.
Ever since I was a babe in arms music has been part of my life, which I why I often include music videos at the end of posts, I also enjoyed the week’s the Wicked Wednesday prompts were song related and of course why I’m definitely on board with Mrs Fever September Song project. How with so much music to choose from do we narrow it down when we want to write about music, or alongside music, or be inspired by music, the choice is just so beautifully vast.
When I chose the title Music On! World Off! For F4T I was thinking of those times in life where we escape with music as our companion. Sometimes that happens alone, sometimes with a lover, with friends, with family, the people we can enjoy musical escapism with is as varied as the music we can choose to listen to. Those moments when it is just us and the music I think for many of us are some of the most memorable and beautiful moments we have in life.
I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life
Push the door, I’m home at last and I’m soaking through and through
Then you handed me a towel and all I see is you
And even if my house falls down now, I wouldn’t have a clue
Thank You by Dido
I’ve had many of those times in my life, where sitting and listening to music with someone was just perfect. Which meant picking my favourite Music On! World Off! moment was proving tricky, then this weekend, chatting with Bakji post kink, funnily enough listening to music I asked a question I hadn’t previously asked in four years together. My question was has he ever had ‘a song’ with any of his previous partners. His answer was yes, mine was yes too, our answer as a couple is no, we do not have ‘a song’.
With my ex-husband, it was Teenage Wedding by Chuck Berry and Change the World by Eric Clapton. I didn’t have ‘a song’ with any of my other dalliances, but there was one person with whom it was a song but an entire album and that is who and what this week’s post is about for me.
When I was 15 I fell madly in love with a girl from school. I am 35 in two months and I haven’t seen this girl since I was about 17, but I still think about her often. Which should give you some idea of how I felt about her at the time. First love is brutal in my opinion and even more so when it doesn’t end well for the person who felt it hardest.
We used to spend hours together after school and at weekends watching movies and listening to music. I couldn’t tell you a single movie we watched together, I suspect I spent most of them wanting to kiss her (which I did often) and do the things I did to her which made her moan (which I also did often). Music though, I could be more present for music while also being extremely focused on her at the same time. One of the albums we listened to more times than I can remember was No Angel by Dido.
Those days I spent with her from the summer of being 15 to the summer of being 16 felt magical. The love and lust I felt was a heady mix and everything in the world seemed glorious when viewed through the lens of first love. Despite seeing the complexities of relationships play out around me many, many times growing up, I had no idea what anything felt like in terms of romantic relationships other than love and lust. Which meant I felt everything I felt for her without any apprehension or concern for what would happen if she no longer felt the same.
I didn’t hear you leave
I wonder how am I still here
And I don’t want to move a thing
It might change my memory
Oh I am what I am
I’ll do what I want
But I can’t hide
And I won’t go, I won’t sleep
I can’t breathe
Until you’re resting here with me
Here With Me by Dido
When I was still in a place of wanting her really fucking hard, she decided she was done. We were going to college in the September and I think lots of thoughts combined in her head to make her think it was best if we weren’t entangled when we got there. It is the one and only time (so far) that I have been on the receiving end of being told it’s over and it was not a pretty sight how I handled it.
That album that was so loved by me got locked away in a box, along with a bunch of other stuff that was related to her. I cleared her from my surroundings but she was wedged into my heart and my mind like a knife, I couldn’t free myself from her and I just wanted to lie in bed with the hope that it would all just switch back to how it was if I didn’t move my life on too much. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep and it seemed to hurt to breathe. I wanted her back so badly it physically hurt.
Any affection she had for me though was apparently long gone. When we went to college, despite having gone to the same school and clearly knowing all the same people she seemed to go to great lengths to prove we weren’t close. Even though nearly all our school friends, and in fact the wider school community had pretty much figured out we had been up to.
Her intention wasn’t to hurt me I don’t think. Even at that age, I was quite comfortable with my sexuality, even if it has fluctuated since, as it tends to. She was clearly not in the same position though. I think she just wanted to go to college and fit in and I don’t think answering questions about potentially being a lesbian were really something she wanted to be doing, partly because I doubt she knew herself where she fell on the spectrum of sexuality.
Hurt me she did though, over and over. One lunchtime she actually decided to talk me, one on one. It was perhaps a couple of months after she had smashed my heart into a million pieces and despite the brave face I was putting on at college I was so excited to be sat chatting with her, a feeling which didn’t last long.
The intention of that conversation was to confirm that she was not open about what we had done together and she’d appreciate me also keeping it to myself. She was aware that I was openly attracted to girls and that I made no effort to hide that from our friends, both new and old, but she did not want to be part of that conversation. She said people wouldn’t understand and she didn’t want to talk about it with anyone, so could I please not say anything.
I was absolutely gutted. I felt like all those times we had shared together were meaningless. I wanted to hate her, but my god, I still loved her. I did eventually stop loving her, but I can’t tell you how long that took. Even now, with the benefit of a much more varied life behind me, when I think of her it is with a strange pang of affection and regret for it not going differently.
I thought long and hard about whether or not this was the story I wanted to share with you for this week’s F4T, even abandoning writing it and contemplating other ideas. I’m sticking with the story though because of what happened to my Dido CD after she made it clear we were done.
I took that CD along with a few other sentimental items I had from our time together and I locked them away in a box. I did not listen to a single one of those Dido songs until this week when I wanted to write this. All this time those songs were linked to her in my mind, the idea of listening to them without her was just unthinkable. They were ours, they were a shared experience, they had no place in my life without her. I don’t think this is because she was the love of my life, or anything quite so dramatic, I think it just reflects how powerful music can be and what happens when music infiltrates into our hearts and souls.
There are endless songs that remind me of Bakji, songs that make me think of my son, even two that make me think of the little baby I never actually had. Of course, I have songs that make me think of my Mum and my Dad and I have loads of songs that we share a love of and as I mentioned earlier in the post the songs I shared with my ex-husband still have a special place in my heart too.
All the connections I have made between music and people though have all come after I had learnt just how powerful that connection can be. In the midst of loving her with that album as our soundtrack, I was beautifully oblivious to how time and circumstance could change the way you view something you so dearly enjoyed.
Has this stopped me associating certain music with certain people, absolutely not. I’ve ruined lots of perfectly good songs by attaching sentiment to them and then rather regretting that further down the line. I have entire playlists on Spotify filled with songs that make me think of Bakji. One in particular that I have been collating since we first started doing rope together in 2015! Some of those songs I really, really love, so he’d better not be planning on breaking my heart any time soon because I’d pissed off if I had to ditch some mighty fine tunes. Also fucking sad, because she wasn’t the love of my life, but that just means that person and that song is yet to be found, which isn’t that sad at all.