I imagine the artists would be flattered to hear I get lost in their music.
And in and of itself, that is not a bad thing. But what I have found happening in the past few weeks is a song triggers a memory. The memory is often pleasant, but many times it’s painful.
I try to ignore most of these thoughts by singing along.
But the memory crowds in and begins to block out the song. Soon, I am focused on the memory that was triggered by the music. And off my mind goes into the past, reliving in vivid detail, some past event.
Events intertwined with a charged emotional state are historically the most vivid when I recall them.
Reliving my past events, even if pleasant, is not my goal when I listen to Pandora on the way to or from work. Hearing songs I love, gives me the chance to sing along. This I often do with both the radio and my singing at full volume. There was a time when I would turn the music down and stop singing aloud when I had to stop at a traffic light. Sitting stopped at an intersection, with other cars around, I would be too embarrassed to play my music.
And I was too embarrassed to sing aloud when others were around.
While I occasionally still feel that way, most times now I just let it play at whatever volume I was using when I was driving. Yesterday morning I approached the traffic light at the shopping center in Elkton. There was a car beside me that was slowing as the light turned yellow. Being too far back, I had to slow and stop instead of speeding up and getting through the intersection just as the light turned red.
We both stopped at the light.
I had Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4 blasting from the truck speakers. And I was singing along. “Sitting cross-legged on the floor, 25 or 6 to 4 or, or, oh yeah.” It dawned on me that I might be heard by the car stopped next to me. But I continued to sing aloud, unconcerned about the driver in the car next to me.
As it turned out, when I looked to my right, the driver in the other car was using the break from driving to apply makeup.
She was oblivious to me and my loud music. As I drove away when the light turned green, she was unaware that the light had changed. In the rear-view mirror, I saw she finally stopped primping and pushed on the accelerator.
This morning I realized why I am enjoying Audible.
Listening to books while driving takes more focus and attention than listening to music. That’s why you can hit a button on the app and replay the last 30 seconds. Sometimes I am not 100% sure of what I heard and replaying it can clarify sentences.
Books on tape have another quality I appreciate.
With music, my mind wanders. When listening to a story being read, my mind needs to focus and hear what is being said. To stay with the characters and their actions, my mind needs to stay in the moment. As soon as it begins to wander, I lose track of the story.
When I listen to a book while driving, I become immersed in the story.
If hints of my own past experiences flash into my consciousness, they quickly fizzle. I cannot entertain time-traveling into the past while listening to a story. My mind must follow the storyline and keep up. Plus, I am still driving, which requires a certain amount of my brainpower.
Recently, I found myself a cheapskate when it comes to Audible book credits.
I get one book per month for $14. Over the past 6 months, I would take advantage of their email deals to purchase additional titles. That way, I would always have a new book to look forward to.
Depression is getting jealous and is finding ways to make me feel guilty for spending a few dollars for additional titles.
This way, depression can at least push me into free Pandora music, where it can find ways to have me conjure up painful memories. Then it can lay the framework for me getting into should a, would a, could a.
I resent depression’s distorting of the music.
It turns out depression always has a new trick to deploy. As soon as I find a release that I enjoy, depression labors to develop thoughts it can share with me. And these thoughts are designed to move me back towards the abyss. The object is always for depression to be seen by me as the only answer, my only true friend.
Everyone else is the enemy, who doesn’t have my best interest at heart.
And turning music into a version of unhelpful thinking has been a recent scheme depression is using to turn me back to the dark side. Singing has always been an enjoyable activity. Yet my depression has found a way to use it against me.
Now that I am on to depression’s newest program to separate me from everyone, I can attack it.
But for the moment, I will get on the Audible app and select another book to listen to. Despite depression’s ideas, I know I am worth it.