HOW MUSIC MADE ME STRONG

WHY DID I STOP LISTENING TO MUSIC?

I stopped listening to music when I met my husband… strange because music is a way for us to “feel” what we cannot articulate into words, right?  Lord knows I could not articulate into words ANYTHING about my marriage for far too long.

I used to listen to music a lot before I met John and for some reason… it faded after our union.  Perhaps tossed to the side in favor of endless internet searches on Asperger’s syndrome?

Last year I stumbled on a book I purchased for my 12-year old daughter (now almost 16) called The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People. In an ironic twist (as the unhappiest of all people was holding it in her hand) I realized that I used to live by almost every “secret” within the book.  I also realized that in the five years since I last had it out on a shelf, I had somehow abandoned even the simplest and most common-sense-tools suggested within it.  Those secrets used to just be a part of who I was without any effort and I had somehow stopped living that way.  The most profound “secret” in the book (by the way, nothing in there is genius) was, “Listen to more music.”

I had gotten an Amazon Echo (awesome toy) for my daughter that was not being utilized much and decided that day, right then and there, that I was going to begin listening to music again!

This whole music discovery triggered something dormant inside of me.  It all happened to come on the heels of another ugly verbal exchange with John and subsequent week of cold and bitter silence in our home (perhaps only I perceived it that way though, and John saw it as a respite).

I listened to music, and I read the “100-secrets” over and over.  One evening I decided to write them down in a little notebook I could carry with me as a daily-insight reminder to help keep my brain from going to depressing thoughts of self-loathing.  As I was writing, I was listening to my “empowerment” playlist and had a little spark of crazy (the song Funhouse by Pink actually set this off for some reason).  I grabbed up some colored sharpie markers and I began writing the 100-secrets ALL OVER my bedroom walls!  It was not so much a moment of insanity, but inspiration that led me to do this nutty thing.

Naturally, John thought I had truly lost my cookies after hearing music (which I had strangely avoided until then) blaring from the bedroom and walking into what MUST have looked like the actions of a mentally-unstable woman. He did not say much to me other than “Sharpie marker is incredibly difficult to cover with paint.”

As the days went on I kept listening to music and adding to my playlists and trying to figure out how to be happy again.  Change was in the air… neither John nor I had a clue how this was going to play out, but I think we both sensed something was brewing.

 

Smiles and Fresh Paint

I am doing a whole lot better these days and making playlists that sound a tad more optimistic… I also covered the writings on my bedroom walls with fresh paint (and John was correct… this was NO easy task).  I don’t need a reminder in my face any longer about how to be happy in life, as I have rediscovered the woman I was before I met my Aspie husband, and the woman I am now because of my Aspie husband… and myself.  I would not go back and change anything if it took all of those dark nights and tears to get to this place.  I will say that the night I turned the music on… the motivation to begin making changes came with it.

So, in an off chance that others will respond the same as me… I am sharing my playlists with you (enjoy).

 

PLAYLIST #1:  MENTAL MIDGET

My mindset in creating this one:  Here’s to the mental-midget whose “Mind is her own worst enemy!” F#*k this relationship, I’m out!

  1. Break Me Open – Anna Nalick (This is my “Theme Song” I could only find it on YouTube though)
  2. Never Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
  3. Funhouse – Pink (The instigator of my Mr. Potato Head “Crazy Eyes” and wall art)
  4. The Joke – Lifehouse
  5. Face Down – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  6. You’re Not Sorry – Taylor Swift
  7. Gone Forever – Three Days Grace
  8. These Boots Were Made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra
  9. The Taste of Ink – The Used
  10. Outta Me, Onto You – Ani Difranco
  11. I Never Loved You Anyway – The Corrs
  12. You Suck – The Murmurs
  13. I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace
  14. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink
  15. Had Enough – Lifehouse
  16. Apologize (Acoustic Cover) – Kasey Musgraves
  17. It Ends Tonight – All American Rejects
  18. Never Again – Kelly Clarkson
  19. I Can Do Better Than You – Avril Lavigne
  20. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows – Brand New
  21. I Knew You Were Trouble from the Start – Taylor Swift
  22. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  23. Seventy Times 7 – Brand New
  24. It’s Too Late – Carol King
  25. Since You’ve Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
  26. You’re Not Sorry – Taylor Swift
  27. Time to Say Goodbye – Simple Plan
  28. One for the Pain – Lifehouse
  29. In the End – Linkin Park
  30. I will Survive – Cake (cover song)
  31. Blood on the Ground – Incubus
  32. Bleed – Anna Nalick
  33. Puke – Eminem
  34. Hate (I Really Don’t Like You) – Plain White T’s
  35. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
  36. So What – Pink
  37. Mean – Taylor Swift

(Did I mention some of these are completely raunchy and/or hostile? Sometimes you have to imagine letting the anger play out in order to decide if it is a viable option… right?)

Playlist #2:  PURE DYSFUNCTION

Mindset: “I’m angry, sad, bitter, afraid, hostile, hurt, hesitant, resentful, heart-broken, exhausted, nostalgic, confused, speechless, devastated, still in love, hopeful, self-conscious, empowered, emotional, numb, and a real fucking mess in a very unhealthy relationship.”

  1. Wreck of the Day – Anna Nalick
  2. Say Something – A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
  3. Breath – Breaking Benjamin
  4. Mean – Pink
  5. How’s it Going to be – Third Eye Blind
  6. Just Like a Pill – Pink
  7. Crazy -Patsy Cline
  8. I’m Not Okay – My Chemical Romance
  9. My Happy Ending – Avril Lavigne
  10. Shame – Stabbing Westward
  11. I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
  12. Untouchable Face – Ani Difranco
  13. Okay, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t – Brand New
  14. The Kill – 30 Seconds to Mars
  15. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raite
  16. Massachusetts (acoustic) – Silverstein
  17. All On My Own – Anna Nalick
  18. How to Save a Life – The Fray (Sounds like a suicide / death song, right? When I hear this I think about trying to get through to my husband so our marriage doesn’t end… which would end the life I know he wants)  
  19. Hold On – Sarah Mclachlan
  20. I Don’t Love You – My Chemical Romance
  21. Run for Your Life – The Fray
  22. A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
  23. When We Two Parted – The New Amsterdams
  24. When the World Stops Turning – Matt Pryor
  25. Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
  26. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
  27. Landlocked Blues – Bright Eyes
  28. Let Me Go – Avril Lavigne
  29. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem (Disturbingly appropriate song for too many)
  30. It Matters to Me – Faith Hill
  31. Cath… – Deathcab for Cutie
  32. Cold as You – Taylor Swift
  33. Lies Greed Misery – Linkin Park
  34. Missing – Evanescence
  35. My Immortal – Evanescence
  36. Better Man – Pearl Jam
  37. You’ll Think of Me – Keith Urban
  38. Tell Me Why – Taylor Swift
  39. Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
  40. Discovering the Waterfront – Silverstein

Ahhh… some so depressing… some so sweet and nostalgic… all of them lending to a very confused and hurting individual…  

Playlist #3: ULTIMATE JUSTICE

Mindset: “God I wish John would listen to these songs and have a life-altering epiphany! Maybe I will just make a compilation he can at least listen to once I am finally gone…” 

  1. Stupid Boy – Keith Urban
  2. I Don’t Believe You – Pink
  3. Snuff – Slipknot
  4. Whatever it Takes – Lifehouse
  5. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails
  6. Erase Me – Ben Folds Five
  7. Losing You – Dead by April
  8. Forgive Me – Evanescence
  9. Yesterday – The Beatles 
  10. She Wouldn’t Be Gone – Blake Shelton
  11. The Idles of March – Silverstein
  12. Into the Ocean – Blue October
  13. Brightside – The Killers
  14. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train
  15. Savior – Rise Against
  16. Please Remember Me – Tim McGraw
  17. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot – Brand New- Sadly, this is my life. My first husband played this for me many times over the years; said it was his “theme song.”  He had “You Are the Smell Before Rain – You Are the Blood in My Veins” tattooed across his back and I used to tell him I was going to get the other lyrics on mine (joking).  After he killed himself, I did… but it was more of a way to tattoocarry my guilt on my back instead of acknowledging it daily.  John HATES this song, but it definitely fits for him as well somedays.  IRONIC.
  18. Whiskey and You – Chris Stapleton
  19. Untouchable Face – Ani Difranco
  20. Green Eyes – Coldplay (This may only have an ironically depressing meaning to my husband)
  21. Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It – Darius Rucker
  22. Never Say Never – The Fray
  23. Watching Airplanes – Garry Allen
  24. Somebody that I Used to Know – Gotye
  25. The End – Pearl Jam
  26. When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne
  27. Here Without You – Three Doors Down
  28. Forgive Me – Evanescence
  29. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts
  30. Vermillion Pt. 2 – Slipknot
  31. Counting the Days – Goldfinger
  32. Best I Ever Had – Vertical Horizon
  33. Fall Away – The Fray
  34. Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt
  35. Come Back – Pearl Jam

Before you get any great ideas and think you should find a way to plug these songs somewhere for your husband to listen to “randomly” like when you are riding in the car together… DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME Seriously.  As the song plays you will search his eyes for some sign he is processing them in relation to himself, you, or your life together… but you are going to come up empty and be bummed.  Just listen to them yourself and imagine that he WOULD feel most of these things if you were to leave and realize you have that option.  

 Playlist #4 THE CALM

Mindset: “The storm has passed, I should just stay calm and reflect a little” 

  1. This Isn’t Everything You Are – Snow Patrol
  2. Breathe (2 am) – Anna Nalick
  3. Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago – Lee Ann Womack
  4. Stronger than I was – Eminem
  5. These Old Wings – Anna Nalick
  6. Shake Me Down – Cage the Elephant
  7. Ladder Song – Bright Eyes
  8. Stop Crying Your Heart Out – Oasis
  9. White Horse – Taylor Swift
  10. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
  11. Vienna – The Fray
  12. Good Riddance – Green Day
  13. Fade into You – Mazzy Star
  14. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World

 

Having a teenage daughter has made some songs strike a particularly uncomfortable and/or emotional chord with me.  For whatever reason, these ones did so I thought I would add them.

  1. Not a Pretty Girl – Ani Difranco
  2. Because of You – Kelly Clarkson (My biggest fear is that this song will resonate with my daughter)
  3. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack (Remember when you were so full of life?)
  4. Follow Your Arrow – Kasey Musgraves (My daughter played this cute little ball of energy song for me and it turned a really negative mood positive pretty quick.  This is more reflective of my current playlists)

 

In all of my attempts to get my husband to share songs that had meaning for him, these are what I have been given:

(If you are like me… these will sting a little and pull at your heartstrings)

  1. Save Me – Unwritten Law (I wish he told me this was his “theme song” when we met! If you only listen to one song on these lists… MAKE IT THIS ONE!)
  2. Stubborn Love – The Lumineers
  3. All Ears – The New Amsterdams
  4. Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons
  5. Over My Head – The Fray
  6. Hate Me – Blue October
  7. I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
  8. Alien – Lifehouse (ouch)
  9. In my Life – Beatles

 

     There you go.  There has to be at least a few songs in here that will resonate with an NT wife in the midst of utter confusion.  While the majority of these songs are pretty negative I should say again, that they don’t get listened to very often these days, in fact, sometimes when I listen to them now I can’t even “feel” the way I did when I needed them so much.  That is an AWESOME feeling!  I will post my happier playlists in the future.  I hope music can serve as an outlet for what is inside of you like it did for me.  I mean, “Listen to more music” IS a secret of happy people!  Time to begin making changes.  Please comment and share some of your own playlists!

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Side note:  I really do recommend the Amazon Echo to those who are elderly like myself who aren’t sure what music-listening device to use.  If someone told me to “start listening to music” a year ago, I may have blown it off because I stopped moving forward with technology a while back. My daughter will attest to the fact that I am pathetically behind the curve in this arena.  So in the case that any of you are right there beside me, here is my full-on product review:

This thing really is awesome with wicked impressive acoustics for such a small hunk of metal and I get to just talk at it: “Alexa, play my playlist Mental Midget” and it does what I tell it to.  It isn’t cheap at $179 but it is definitely worth the cost.  I got it for my daughter originally (as I mentioned) because my father (a tech-junkie) was playing with it when I was home last year visiting and I found it amusing and thought she could use it for homework and to listen to her own music.

I had purchased an Amazon Prime membership long ago because living abroad, we are constantly shipping gifts (via online shopping) to our family in the states and the shipping costs were getting out of hand (free with Amazon Prime).  We use the Prime membership for other things that have given some benefit to our marriage (audiobooks/movies) but I discovered it is amazing if you have an Echo because all the songs I want to listen to are essentially free (less the $99 annual membership I was already paying for).  Now I can make new playlists every day with no additional costs and very little effort to appease my ever-changing mood and new-found love of using music for my mental health.

Another reason I am recommending it to you guys on this blog is for instant dispute resolution.  My husband and I are CONSTANTLY going back and forth about facts and knowledge and claiming we are right about some random topic and the other is “so wrong!”  Before we got the Amazon Echo we would bust out our phones or jump on the computer/iPad to settle our disputes to prove who the brilliant one was…

The problem with this is that John gears every internet search to benefit his own opinion.  Instead of writing, “corn casserole ingredients” he would type, “corn casserole with two sticks of butter” or find a way to prove any point he was trying to make with his own sneaky research tactics and then put it in my face and say, “I told you.”  With the Echo chillin on the countertop, we use it as the medium to prove who is correct (it searches google databases for the best/correct answers without bias).  For instance, the other night in a typical heated trivia debate, the question of bugs and cannibalism arose (yep… we have random arguments over things THIS unimportant to our daily existence)… I just called out, “Alexa, are butterflies cannibals?”  (I read somewhere that they are, John swore they weren’t) Alexa (the Amazon Echo tube) announced, “No, butterflies are not cannibals.”  In this instant the know-it-all Aspie was right, but the know-it-all NT is gaining leverage in the house thanks to this device!

Seriously, is this whole fact-check/trivia argument thing just a John and Kara constant or is this an Aspie/NT marriage thing?  Anyway, I love the Echo so check it out if you want.



2 Responses to HOW MUSIC MADE ME STRONG

  1. Avatar Cathy
    Cathy says:

    There is a new song by Hillary Scott,”Thy will” it is a beautiful song. I hope you take the time to listen to it on line. The first line of the song says; ” I’m so confused. I know I heard You loud and clear. So I followed through. Somehow I ended up here.” About 3 weeks ago I had my last big cry. I prayed and asked God to rescue me from the immense grief and sadness. In my mind and my heart I felt this impression. My husband is not going to change. I will have to change. The way I feel about him, how I communicate with him and most importantly what I expect from him. My husband says that he loves me and wants me to be happy. Tells me I should do things that make me happy. Travel, go out with friends, spend time with my family. That way whenever I am home we can be at peace. It’s not at all the life I was looking forward to when I married him. There’s no answeres. I care about you and I am praying for you. For peace,strength, courage and wisdom.

  2. Avatar Jemily
    Jemily says:

    My Aspie ex-to be husband just leave me. Loving theses songs. Thanks Kara.