I know that I have a need to let music embody me for enjoyment. It’s also a distraction for loneliness or wanting to feel nostalgic about a memory. And sometimes just headbanging intensely with a good AC/DC tune is good for the soul. There are quite a few artists that I like and for so many different reasons. My tastes run a wide berth, and across all time and genres.
Reflecting on my teenage years, I realize I used music quite heavily to navigate some of the emotional chaos in my life at that time. Shaking off the demons accompanied by music was quite cathartic for me then. In my youth, whenever I required a release of pent up emotions, I’d turn on the record player. My go-to album was Genesis – A Trick of the Tail. I’d start by playing the song Ripples and let all the deep, sobbing emotions rise to the top as I simultaneously cried and sang out all the angst. A sort of purge, if you will. Next came A Trick of the Tailto set my mind on a path of a take-charge, purposeful freedom. Lastly, Los Endosto take all the heartfelt emotions which erupted with the first song, allowing them to build again into a fever pitch of strength and control. Feeling them explode with the crescendo of the song, emerging spent and empty, that was the goal and what saved me from going deeper inside. This was my process when living became all too much. It allowed me to escape from my own destruction. And kept me from being committed.
It’s interesting that I find peace and quiet are what I relish most being a grownup. But maybe tapping into such a focused release might do me some good in my older years too.
Our DNA tells us we come from a past of leaning into our impulses. Where combats and aggression were a part of the natural order. It is an instinct to survive. We were animals; we still are. It’s how humans are classified – Kingdom – Animalia, Genus – Homo, Species – H. sapiens.
But we aren’t animalistic anymore. Or are we? How often have we run into people who treat others with a “You get what you get, deal with it?” , “Fight or die” or “Fuck you, I got mine?” operating mentality? Having evolved is the reason we seem to have a conscience and a brain. Doesn’t that mean we should treat each other better? I want to believe that the majority on this planet don’t give into their base animal instincts and behave reasonably acceptable in our society. But then I watch the news or review social media. It’s not pretty. And then I think about my behavior. How do I react to people and certain circumstances? I’d like to think I’m not stuck in that gear of just instinct. But if I’m honest, I have to say I do sometimes respond with some of that piss and vinegar.
When I reflect on who I want to be, my wish is to emulate and radiate loving, nurturing behavior all the time. But being the descendant of a long line of beings running on basic instinct means that I realize that it takes effort and a desire to feel opposite of my nature. Sometimes the motivation isn’t there. Especially not in the face of belligerence. My capacity for understanding tells me my initial reaction might be to behave like an animal but also that I can make a conscious decision to not give in to that instinct. It does, however, require a commitment on my part every time my instinctual reaction rears its ugly head. We may be animals, still, but being in possession of a brain which has progressed and is armed with a conscience, it should not predispose me to act animalistic. We are capable of rising above our natural tendencies. And we understand that. But we have to wantto be more than what our past dictates.