My Lifetime Relationship with Music

There was a time in my life I considered myself a “music” person. No, I was never good at recognizing random “indie” artists and never filled my weekends with three-day music festivals, but I always had music on. This week during the #bebetter52 challenge, I reflected on how the music I listened to during certain periods in my life mirrored the events and feelings going on at that time.

Joshua Radin and Duffy

My first dependence on music happened when I tried to heal after a serious break up with a boyfriend of 8 years (yes, you heard that right, eight years). It was after graduate school in 2008, and I was pretty broken up as I struggled to figure out my identity without him.  During the first month, I walked around like a zoomie, tears constantly streaming down my face at all the inappropriate moments. The only time I felt able to constructively reflect was while listening to music. It was the type of sad music that would make anyone cry, but for some reason it made me feel connected to others. I liked that others could relate to the pain I was feeling.  That summer, I decided to book my “travel-the-world-and-find-myself trip.” I started in the Dominican Republic (where I meet a sailor from Mississippi), continued to Ecuador for the month (to learn Spanish), flew to Germany (to visit a friend), and stopped in Kenya (where Mississippi boy met up with me) to volunteer with Kenya Keys. Mississippi and I continued our travel escapades to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The months traveling were accompanied by headphones gently playing music which became the soundtrack to my journey. Now whenever a Joshua Radin or Duffy song comes on the radio, I transport back to this life-changing year that forced me to heal. For many years, 2008 was not only the most difficult year of my life, but also the best year of my life.


Interestingly, my taste in music changed the second I met my husband, Cory. The need to listen to sad reflective music vanished, and the soundtrack became reggae, artists like Fiji and SOJA.  Living in Newport Beach at the time, we jammed out to light-hearted music during trips to the beach with my goofy Goldendoodle (dog child), Tucker. Cory wooed me with his rendition of Jack Johnson while sitting on my bedroom floor with his barefoot and salty blond hair.  These flirty courting moments turned into true love as we moved to the lighthearted beats of the music we were listening to. Cory walked down the aisle to take me as his bride to the song “Chant of the Island,” by Fiji. It was perfect.

You are my Sunshine

In the hospital while waiting for baby Cooper to arrive, I vividly remember a comment made by my mom. She was surprised I hadn’t made a soundtrack to play during my labor. I said, “My attachment to music isn’t as strong since I’ve meet Cory because I am happy.” The nurse overheard the comment and sighed a big ‘aahh!!’ It was true. I no longer found myself in deep reflection because my life was fun, easy and full of so much love. But after the intensity of Cooper’s birth, the emotion of being a new mother, in addition to the traumatic event of almost dying, my need for music came rushing back. During those first weeks of motherhood, the sweet chime of baby nursery rhymes playing gently in the middle of the night became the soundtrack to my healing. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”  We listened together, and I would cry, my heart flooding over with gratitude. Music became a necessity again.

Today’s music:

This week, I made a conscious effort to turn on music in the morning and in the evening instead of the TV for background noise. I discovered I enjoy lyrical music way more than instrumental, especially classical music. For some reason, classical music has the reverse effect on me; instead of relaxing me, it makes me want to rip out my hair. So I played instrumental music both Coops and I liked. Conclusion: We love Hawaiian music and smooth jazz. We started our morning by practicing our hula moves in the kitchen. At the day’s end, we listened to a little calming jazz during her bath time.  I would be lying if I didn’t mention that the middle of our day was jammed packed with Disney songs and sing-a-longs. But today, I turned on my Pandora shuffle and crossed my fingers, hoping a little Joshua Radin, Duffy and Fiji came on so I could transport myself back to all the moments that made me who I am today.