Of music and breathing

I must confess. These past few months I have been struggling with the ever-changing frame of mind I constantly find myself in. Some days, I feel one thing, and then on others, I feel completely different. Then there are days when I feel such a conflict of emotions that I stare at the ceiling or at the wall and I just have to take deep breaths.

I’m not sure exactly when it all started, but I do know what triggered it. But that’s a post for another time.

Right now, I just want to share a few songs. The last time I wrote a similar post, my mood was a lot happier than how it is now. But the gist is the same.

Music keeps me going.

There’s only a few things in this world that can put back the gleam in my eyes, and music is one of them. When I strangle myself with life’s worries and the pressure to meet the world’s insurmountable standards, music helps me breathe.

Maybe some of these songs can help you breathe too.

I fall in love with this song every single time I listen to it. It reminds me that no matter how many times I fail or get lost or feel like crap, I always have a home to return to. And, I guess, in a world where loneliness and detachment are all too common, being reminded that you belong somewhere is always a blessing. I listen to this and I breathe a little better because I know I’m alright, and I’m alright because I’m not alone.

This isn’t my favorite version of the song; I like the version on their album better. But anyway, OneRepublic has always been my favorite band and it’s because of songs like this that make them my favorite band. I played this song on the morning of my graduation day, on the night I resigned from my first job and basically every time I’d feel like letting the entire day pass me by. This song doesn’t just help me breathe easier, it picks me up and pushes me to keep going.

I’ve been single for about three years now, and I’m always being told by so many people that I should start going out and looking for a guy. And to be honest, there have been days when I’d feel lonely or insecure. But for the most part, I’m alright. I am firmly holding on to my belief that the greatest love stories don’t begin with me going out and looking for someone to have that with. I really do think great love stories just unfold on their own. And listening to this song reinforces that. It also warms my heart because I know that someday I’ll be having a love story that will be worth writing a song about.

Every time I go through bouts of fear and uncertainty, I always feel so incredibly small in terms of my faith. I forget that God is bigger than me, that when compared to Him, my fears and uncertainties are absolutely petty and insignificant. This song reminds me of that. It reminds me to pause and allow God to take the weight off my chest. Because, really, He’s the only one who can.

This is the live and shortened version of the song, and the only available copy of the song on the band’s YouTube. Again, the one in the album is much better. Whenever I play this song, I close my eyes and imagine God, my family and my friends singing this to me. And it lifts me up. Because I know that amid the pressure of accomplishing the goals I set for myself and the fear of not being able to do it, I am loved by some extraordinary people.
That’s it. Some of the songs that help me breathe. Do you have any songs that help you breathe?

A song that uplifts my soul

These past couple of days have been difficult. It feels like I’ve been drifting aimlessly in this dark and empty void. And instead of trying to find a way out, I find myself being more and more okay with getting stuck here.

Then I listen to this song, and it lights up my weary soul for a second. But it’s a second that keeps me going. I can’t tell you how much life this song gives me. I just hope that, if you find yourself in the same place I’m currently in, you’ll find some comfort in this song as well.

When a song saves me from myself

Every now and then, I have a bad day. Granted, such days are few and far in between, but when they happen, I feel… burdened. Yes, that’s the word. Burdened.

I feel like there’s this big, heavy hand on my chest that’s trying to stop me from walking any further, and that it takes an extremely enormous amount of effort for me to even take a step forward. And this doesn’t depress me nearly as much as it tires me and weighs me down.

I had a bad day recently. I can’t even remember why anymore – that happens a lot, doesn’t it? I have a feeling it had more to do with me and less to do with what was happening around me. But I do remember feeling just okay right until I stepped into the car. You know how an angry person slams the door so hard that the glass breaks, right? It’s kind of like that except the glass didn’t break; it was the thin layer of just okay-ness that did.

It was like the car was suddenly filled with water and I was drowning. But I wasn’t struggling to breathe. I was just sitting there, waiting for the windows and the windshield to break to flush out the water. But there wasn’t even a crack.

Some twenty minutes later, I found myself in the driveway. I didn’t feel like getting out of the car – that would take effort I couldn’t seem to muster. So I sat there and stared at the wheel, still waiting for the freakin’ windows to break.

And then I realized something. The freakin’ windows weren’t going to break by themselves. So I took out my iPhone, connected it to the player and tapped play, hoping one of the songs in there to be the hammer that would cause the windows to crack.

Then this came on:

Kris Allen’s Out Alive was not that hammer. It was the wrecking ball that smashed the car to pieces, but left me unscathed and whole.

As the song played, the words that echoed in my head found its way to my heart. I felt uplifted, for some reason, by the song’s honesty and its humble dose of hope. The first thing it tells you is that you’re going to have your heart broken, but it ends with you hearing six words that can change everything: Maybe we’ll make it out alive.

And I guess, when we’re experiencing the worst of it all, that’s all we need to help us live through another day- a maybe.

In a previous post, I shared a couple of songs that made me fall in love with life even more. This isn’t one of those songs. In a way, it’s better. Because it reminded me that life is worth falling in love with in the first place.

When a song makes me fall in love with life even more

I have these moments in my life when nothing is happening. Nothing wonderful or special, nothing painful or depressing. It’s not the numb or apathetic kind of nothing. Just the ordinary nothing kind of nothing.

You know, when you’re lying in bed and you realize there’s nothing in your life at the moment to think or write about. Nothing interesting to you, much less to others. Or, when you’ve already refreshed your Twitter a thousand times or scrolled through your Facebook timeline til you’ve reached posts from the year 2008 and you still keep doing it over and over again because, really, there’s nothing else you feel like doing?

I have a lot of those. I don’t hate them, nor do I suddenly feel depressed or “incomplete.” I just look at those moments straight in the eye, shrug, and wait for them to pass me by.

Sometimes though, something absolutely invigorating happens – as was the case moments ago.

Music, people. Music happens.

I honestly believe that music – the lyrics, the melody, everything – is even more magical than magic itself.

That moment when you come across a new song or a song you haven’t listened to in ages that just refreshes you, that makes you fall in love with life even more, if not all over again? Precious.

So here I am, with a goofy smile on my goofy face, typing this while singing my happy heart out and hoping no one will get pissed at me for doing so… although I probably won’t care if someone does get pissed.

I’m not entirely sure if you would actually want to know the songs that inspired me to write this. But here they are anyway:

Stubborn Love by The Lumineers – What I love most about good music is beautiful lyrics. “It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all. The opposite of love’s indifference.” And everything else about this song is just as beautiful.

Miss Me by Andy Grammer – No, this isn’t because of some personal experience. I just love the idea of telling that to someone who treated you like dirt. “As long as you live, you’re gonna miss me.” Damn right, you are.

Ships in the Night by Mat Kearney – I know, a rather sad song and a happy heart don’t go hand in hand but I can’t help it. Mat Kearney is one of my favorite artists and this song is a big reason why. “We’re just fumbling through the grey, trying to find a heart that’s not walking away.”

Offbeat by Clara C – If that last one is sad, this one is the exact opposite. Even if I’m very much single, this song and its music video make me happy happy happy.

Living in the Moment by Jason Mraz – And basically the rest of his songs on his album Love is a Four Letter Word. Mr. Jason Mraz, you are a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. Just, thank you.

There we go. Five beautiful songs, albeit entirely different from one another, on repeat to keep my happy lonesome happy. 🙂

This is what the combination of listening to Backstreet Boys and doing thesis does to me.


Dear Thesis,

I’ve already mentioned this from THE CALL we had but let me say this again. I know I’ve treated you less than EVERYBODY. But every time I try to leave you behind, I always end up CRAWLING BACK TO YOU. I’ve come to realize that you’re not just a bloody pain in the butt, you’re MORE THAN THAT. Your effect on me is LARGER THAN LIFE.

You’re THE ONE, Thesis. I’m DROWNING in you. Without you, I’m INCOMPLETE, literally, in terms of academics. I don’t want you to SHOW ME THE MEANING OF BEING LONELY, or the feeling of not graduating.

I promise you that AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME, I will go ANYWHERE FOR YOU. I’ve already given you ALL I HAVE TO GIVE and have shown you the SHAPE OF MY HEART.

So please, QUIT PLAYING GAMES WITH MY HEART. Let’s GET DOWN to business already. You know why? Because I WANT IT THAT WAY, you abominable school requirement!

With lots of pretend love,