When is the last time you fell in love with a song? What song was it? And I mean fell in love… where you want to scream out and let the entire world understand just how magnificent the song is… but at the same time know that no one will ever understand.
That happened to me a few weeks ago. I’m obsessed with P!nk. It goes beyond her talent (more on that later). I thought I knew every song she has released since 2003. That is until November 11th, when I stumbled upon a bonus track from Funhouse that I heard for the first time. This was a bonus BONUS track – I have the CD, it’s not on there. Or I just never needed to listen to it as much as I did when I “found” it.
It’s called “When We’re Through” and I have listened to it at least once a day since I found it. Not only is she incredibly talented, but she sings and writes from a place of truth. That’s why I’m obsessed with her. Every album release of hers comes with a song that feels like it’s straight out of my head. She is incredibly underrated when it comes to being a lyricist.
The lyrics of “When We’re Through” read like a blog post that I never got around to writing. They are extracted from feelings I couldn’t articulate, conversations that I never had, moments that were experienced in solitude. Everything that I want to say said through a vessel that I just didn’t send out myself. She says it best in her song when she says “Janice sings to me just like she’s sitting by my side and I wonder how many times she sat like me and cried.”
In every interview, P!nk talks about writing very matter of factly. How do you do it? What’s your inspiration? She answers in a very honest and innocent way… I let myself feel all of my emotions and just write what I know.
She isn’t just my favorite artist (of any form) but my constant inspiration as well. No, I don’t write music. I don’t even write poetry anymore. But that’s irrelevant. Her music is just the format that she chooses… her ability to write vulnerably from a place of truth is what I constantly seek.
Sometimes I write for myself… but honestly, I write a lot for other people too. I write what I’ve experienced, thoughts I have, feelings I feel, in an attempt to connect with someone in a way that I do with P!nk. In that “I never knew anyone else thought this” way. To give that comfort that comes with knowing that your solitary thoughts aren’t lonely. I benefit from it just as much as my readers/audiences. The sense of comfort I feel when someone emails me to tell me that they felt like they were the one who wrote my post on grief is one that I can’t articulate. The pride I get when a director tells me that they know exactly what I set out to say after seeing one of my sketches is incredibly satisfying. It shows me that I’m doing what I set out to do – write what’s true and hope that someone else can connect.
Writing (or saying) what’s true isn’t always easy. Most times it comes with the fear of looking weak, hurting someone’s feelings or appearing conceited… like you know more than everyone else when you’re really just trying to figure it all out. I feel those feelings a lot. I feel selfish, I feel manic, I feel fake, and I often feel hypocritical.
The hardest part of writing what’s true is that I have to sometimes admit that things aren’t okay. That part terrifies me. I’m the type of person who extracts happiness out of every single thing I can. I love to love life. I’m no longer the type that enjoys being a victim or being hurt. I know that there’s a limited amount of time left in my life and I want to enjoy most of it. However, that’s just not how it is. That’s not what is true of life. The truth is that sometimes things really suck and sometimes you’re really depressed. Sometimes you can’t change how you feel… everything around you can be wonderful and you still are crying while listening to NPR at your desk.
I went through a bout of depression this fall. I go through that kind of shit every now and again… but I’m the type of person who aims to pick my head up, remind myself that things will be okay, look around at all the good, put everything into context, take a deep breath and be happy. I saw nothing wrong with this. It came and went like waves. I wrote about it, let myself cry when I got home and figured that tomorrow would be better. That worked fine. Until tomorrow wasn’t better.
So what do I do when I can’t shake it myself? I’ll reach out to people in my very discrete and “I’m fine but hypothetically…” way. Most times people tell me everything will be okay. That I’m strong. That I’ve been through worse. But my current friends don’t do this. They tell me that sometimes things won’t be okay. That I just need to sit in my shit and not worry so much about having it all together. That I can’t control my emotions and in trying to, I’m just wasting energy. And while this is a much harder thing to hear, it’s what is true. So I stopped fighting them and telling them they’re wrong and tried being upset and being vulnerable. What happened? I survived. I learned. I’m still learning. It’s really fucking hard and I really don’t like it… but it’s honest.
In P!nk’s song, she says: “My friends have asked the question, Baby, will you be okay? I wanna tell them yes ‘cause I know that’s what I should say. But I’ve got no crystal ball and I can’t bring myself to lie and why should I?”
That line hits me hardest… I can’t bring myself to lie and why should I?
Why write anything but the truth?