Saturday, January 31, 2009

Songs of the Soul

I've been writing songs since 6th grade. I remember my first song was called "You and I," a corntastic story of love, punctuated by the word "baby" about 48 times. Interestingly, around 8th grade, when life really began to turn sour, I penned this opening verse to what would become my first full song, called "Toward the Light":

Sometimes I feel so broken
Sometimes I feel so confused
Sometimes I feel so helpless
Sometimes I feel so abused

I know. Grammy worthy, right? But don't worry, the entire song isn't so predictable. But why in the world was I writing words like that at 13? Things certainly weren't that bad, right? Verse two explores some new vocabulary:

Sometimes I reach within my soul
Searching for answers to my life
I begin to question all I have
Wondering if what I've done is right

I recorded my life through these songs, and even if they all dealt with somewhat overdone, tired issues, they were remarkably fulfilling and cathartic. No matter how trite the lyrics were, they were always true to what I was feeling. Songs like "Stranger" revealed identity issues, deep secrets and a boy hiding something.

I woke up this morning
and looked in the mirror
I saw a stranger
buried in fear
I stood burning cold
Trying to breathe
I looked in his eyes
it was me

I even wrote a coming-out tune at age 15. Did I know it was about coming-out? Absolutely not.

I wish I knew how to tell you
What goes on in my head
All the things I've wanted to say
The things I should've said

I find these simple lyrics very telling, revealing distinct truths that, ironically, I had never even admitted to myself yet. Looking back now, it makes a whole lot more sense why my songs were always about truth, identity, lies and sorrow (Cliche? Yes. Forced? No.).

Danger lurks around my mind
Cold winds pick up from behind
The sun sets, leaving me with black
The world shifts, throwing me off track

Only time until there's a landslide
Only time before I've nowhere to hide...