April 9, 2010
Let Me Live
Tonight my thoughts are tripping over each other struggling for expression, overflowing the delicate vessel of my mind and spilling out into words – words inadequate, unreliable, unpredictable. If only words could capture the true essence of thought, of emotion, of meaning. If only words had the universal power of music in their ability to convey the spirit of what is intended – communication in its purest form. Less subject to varied interpretation than poetry or art. Dance is one step closer I believe, but still unparalleled to sound purposefully organized to resonate in the very soul of the listener – setting particles in motion, inspiring feeling, painting vivid mental pictures, conveying a story through the combination of tone, rhythm, and measured silence.
Take, for example, Beethoven’s Symphony Number 7 in A, Op 92: II. Allegretto. The first time I heard it, I wept. It would be an iron-souled person indeed who was not compelled to feel – and to feel deeply – the angst, the desire, the passion that Beethoven is able to infuse in the very heart of the sensitive listener. I cannot listen to this piece without feeling my spirit being lifted into a higher realm, where emotion is experienced more deeply, tinged with a surreal sense of otherworldliness. I envy the ability to create such music. I don’t believe I would ever feel the need to speak if I had such a divine power. My music would speak volumes, and would be more than sufficient to communicate the true depth of my feelings on pain, on love, on despair, on joy, on the ebb and flow of life.
I am sitting in my room. It is completely dark except for the light shining from my computer monitor. The draft from the ceiling fan mingles with the coolness of the night air drifting through the open window, creating a pleasant and calming breeze. Beethoven’s genius permeates the darkness surrounding me. Looking outside my window, I can see the willowy forms of the gray shadows that have followed me about today. I am not afraid of them now. Armed with the strength of music and the spoken word, I will use them for my own benefit. I shall let them inspire me, not torture me. They are under my power now, to move and to speak and to act according to my will. With the force of my mind I command them to dance a mysterious dance in time with Beethoven. Twirling, leaping, tilting, swaying… Now gone. The weary shadows waltz each other away into the blackness of the night. I shall miss them, perhaps.
What is it about the night that inspires me so? Why is it that in some moments, I beg for sleep to overcome me, to numb my feelings, quiet my mind, and paralyze my body into blessed stillness? Why is it that at some times, I pray for the angel of rest to pass by my door, too fascinated by the magic of the night to yield to sleep’s unconscious stupor with its muddled and sometimes frightening dreams? Insomnia is at once a curse and a blessing. I drift in and out of phases of chronic vigilance, in which I am held captive by the clutches of sleeplessness, plagued by the lack of refreshing respite from the cares of the day. I lie wide-eyed in the darkness while others bask in the throes of unconsciousness. Many things, both dark and disturbing, inspiring and enlightening, lurk in the corners of my mind as the ticking clock propels me closer to morning light. Weep for me, oh ye fully rested ones who slip into dreamland the moment your heads alight upon your soft pillows. And yet, despair…for only such as I hold within their weary souls the secrets of the night…
I am staring at the tiny white Seroquel pill and glass of water in front of me. I know I should take it, but I don’t want to. It makes me sleepy, and I want to be awake tonight. Free from dreams, free from endless tossing and turning, free to do as I please with this quiet solitude that is all mine. I wish I were brave (or foolish) enough to go out for a walk. The air is crisp, the sounds of the night coming through my window enticing, and I long to mingle with my fellow nocturnal creatures. But here I remain, in the safety and comfort of my little room, listening to my music, hiding from the Sandman.
I am alone, but somehow… I am not lonely. The gentle breeze wraps its arms around me, the music cradles me in its gentle embrace, and even the darkness seems soothing to the yet raw and aching wounds of my soul. My head aches and my eyes are bleary, but I am no longer numb inside. The icy chill in my heart has at last been thawed by the fiery strains of the music and the softening ambiance of the evening. Sometimes I think it is better to feel sorrow than nothing at all, better to feel pain than that cold, empty, hollow, dreary numbness in which there is no saving spark of fire, no glimmering undercurrent of hope in the sadness. Of course, it is far better than either of these things to feel joy, but when that cannot be attained, I’d take any emotion that carries with it some kind of soul-moving ache than over the deadness that seems to eat through your heart and mind, creating a vapid nothingness where every color turns to gray and every thing around you turns to dust.
And then, sometimes, I’d rather feel nothing at all than experience the pain. Or… I’d rather feel the pain on the outside than on the inside. I guess, still, that is preferring pain over numbness. I was born to feel. Without it, I do not exist.
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
So sing to me, oh violin, cello, flute. Stir my soul into feeling when nothing else will. Satisfy my longing to feel alive. Comfort me, oh night, oh darkness, oh solitude. Let my very breath vibrate the air with a subtle music of my own. Let my every atom resonate with love, with light, in tune with the universe surrounding me. Let me cry in agony, let me sing with joy, anything… Just let me exist, exist with every particle of my being. Yet, not merely to exist… Let me be alive. LET…ME…LIVE…
I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh, come make me cry… just make me feel alive.” ~Joey Lauren Adams