Led Zeppelin’s live version of “In My Time of Dying” gave me freedom from the fear of death.
Well, not totally, but it definitely helped.
I am not a religious woman. I attended a preschool attached to the church where I was baptized at the age of 4 as a … Protestant? Don’t quote me on that one, it might’ve been Lutheran — who knows?
So, no, I didn’t do the whole confirmation business, I don’t know any gospel songs or prayers — except the Lord’s Prayer because I went to a Catholic college prep high school and they made us recite it before sports games, but I’m definitely rusty, so don’t ask for a performance.
What I do know is a collection of eclectic songs, way too many facts about Green Day (due to a middle school obsession), the backstory for the lyrics to “Hotel California” and all the words to “Blowjob Betty” by my Bay Area prince, Too $hort.
This might seem in no way equivalent to the peace and clarity that I know some Catholics feel about Mass or how Christians feel about a great group song-accompanied sermon dedicated to the Lord and Savior, but for me, it’s more than enough.
I like to be alone — a lot. Like, to the point where some people think it’s weird or maybe even concerning. But I have a huge internal world, and I basically live up there in my mind. If I don’t get enough time to myself to hang out in the luxury car of my train of thought, I’ll zone out in the middle of important conversations and assignments alike.
In the name of responsibility and efficient time allocation, I carve out time to be on my own — well, on my own with my music.
I have 153 playlists on my Spotify. I have made all but 34 of them. The first is from when I was 14, and the latest was from this week. Those are the scripture scrolls that make up my Bible.
When I’m sad, I turn to tunes that let me sulk around, then gradually make my way up to the tracks that make me feel like it’s going to be just fine, and then I dance around to some songs off my hip hop playlist so I can go back to feeling like a badass and get on with my day.
When I’m happy, it’s some funk music, Grateful Dead and whatever else I can sing off-key to. That’s totally clear to me.
Music isn’t just something that plays in the background of my life — it’s a guiding force that pushes me to be a better version of myself everyday.
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It’s more like the soundtrack to my days that adjusts based on how I’m feeling, or I can even adjust my feelings based on the songs.
From what I heard between zoning in and out of religion class lectures back in the day, that’s how God is supposed to make you feel — like you’re not alone, you’re not supposed to be perfect and there’s always something beautiful to find if you just take the time to be still with yourself and listen.
So, yeah — I know the “Ten Crack Commandments” by The Notorious Big better than I know the ones from the Bible, and I don’t care.
I’m not a religious woman. But I’m spiritual as hell. I believe in a higher power, and I know we’re all connected to something bigger than ourselves.
Some people access that connection through church, or temple, or levels in Scientology, and that’s great … except for that last one — you guys really need to chill out.
This is my way of getting there: listening to music all by myself and letting it seep through my ears and flood my mind like holy water. Though, for the most part, I prefer sparkling.