Exploring Depression and Anxiety Through Music

For the past week I have been so excited, so happy and so into Chastity Belt’s new album I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone. It’s not officially released until this Friday, June 2nd, but NPR so graciously put it up to stream.

This album is no doubt about depression, anxiety and those occasional moments when it all goes away and you’re “feeling like a real champ” (but for how long). And for once I feel like I am listening to an album that has no gender identity based around the identity of the band members. It is instead stripping these issues that can sometimes seem “female” or “male”, down to the core of just human. This album wraps the experience of being human into one.

I appreciate all of this so much from musicians, and it’s something I hope I achieve through my own songwriting. Music gives us the ability to communicate through a collective consciousness and help each other figure shit out, even if we don’t know each other!

I could cite half the lyrics on this album and talk about how they resonate so hard with me, but I recommend just going right into it (and the band’s previous works). If for nothing else, it’s because you’re intrigued by their name.

Thank you Chastity Belt.

Advertisements

I AM A WARRIOR

Chronic pain is a lot of things, and it obviously makes you feel a lot of things, but most of all it’s just an annoying little bitch.

I could go into the depths of my pain, but quite frankly I’m tired of talking about it and would like to just get on with things. I don’t think humans are designed to fully understand each other’s pain. It’s a unique experience; solitary.

Piggybacking on last week’s Bad Ass Book List, I thought I would dive right into another list. This time I’d like to share the music I listen to that makes me feel powerful and hopeful in times of pain. I feel like sharing what we love about music is a really positive thing to do, and I think it’s really important to spread little bits of positivity about whenever possible.

POWERFUL:

Warrior by Aurora

From my favorite album of 2016, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, Aurora suggests a kinder approach to being a warrior; a warrior of love. Aurora exudes love not only in her recorded music but also in her live performances. The chorus of this song also makes for a really great pick me up whenever you need a boost.

 

Cool Slut by Chastity Belt

Chastity Belt take back the word slut by making it fun and positive. That’s powerful. “We just wanna have some fun, try to bone everyone.”

 

People Have The Power by Patti Smith

This song is actually both powerful and hopeful, because people have the power to redeem the work of fools (YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN)! Patti makes the world make sense.

 

HOPEFUL:

From Nowhere by Dan Croll

It’s not so much the lyrics in this one that make me hopeful, but the music and what Dan created as a whole on his debut album Sweet Disarray (and what is to come on his upcoming second album). As an added bonus, I was introduced to him live, opening for none other than Aurora. At the time I was not feeling very hopeful about anything (probably because this was the weekend before Election Day in the USA), so you can imagine my renewed sense of hope after letting Dan into my heart.

 

Lucky by Aurora

Another track from the wonderful  All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, Aurora sings about troubles past, present and future, but with an understanding that she is simply just lucky to be alive.

 

Serenading In The Trenches by Sondre Lerche

I just love Sondre’s new album Pleasure so much I wanted to share what might be my favorite track and video. Sondre himself sump up the video best: “I wanted to play out romantic relationships, sexual relationships, even a father and son type thing – to really have us touch on almost any kind of deep relationship that two men, or even a woman and a man might have. We [Sondre and his drummer Dave, who co-stars in the video] know each other so well, and we enjoy each other so much, I thought it would be really beautiful for us to take on all these different relations in a video.”

Bad Ass Book List

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the beauty that is the public library. I read a lot, and without access to free books I don’t think I would be able to do so. The opportunity for anyone, at any age, to learn about pretty much anything is life changing. Here is a list of some bad ass books I recently read courtesy of the public library, in handy subcategories, with links!

Feminism:

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran – An amazing take on what feminism actually means. Skeptical? Then take this quiz from the book:

“So here is the quick way of working out if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.
a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran – In this most recent collection of columns from The Times writer, we get a fantastic read on a broad spectrum of topics. From misogyny on the internet, to Benedict Cumberbatch, Syria, how the Oscars are evil, wind energy and of course, her very own manifesto.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay – In this collection of essays, Roxane points out that it’s totally OK to suck at feminism sometimes, because at least we’re trying.

Punk Rock:

M Train by Patti Smith – My guiding light, Patti, invites us into her life of cowpoke dreams, a beloved cafe, routine solitude and detective shows. I loved this world so much I was sad when I finished it in a few days. I have since read it again.

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus – Music would not be where it is today without the women and girls of the Riot Grrrl movement. I bow to them whilst loudly playing my electric guitar.

Memoir:

Just Kids by Patti Smith – The story of Patti’s beautiful relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe in 1960s and 1970s New York City. “I imagined myself as Frida to Diego, both muse and maker. I dreamed of meeting an artist to love and support and work with side by side.”

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – There can be only one man on my list, and that man is Trevor! In his first book, the comedian tells us about his early life of being born during Apartheid in South Africa to a black mother and white father. It is a wonderful story about identity, solitude, the power of language and loving your mother. He grew up to be a really great human.

Fiction:

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran – The first novel from my love Caitlin was slightly inspired by her own British working class upbringing, and very nearly makes me want to go back to being 16. It is a true inspiration at any age, really, about being yourself and having a bit of fun along the way. “You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself.”

Awareness:

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson – When I’m not smashing the patriarchy, I’m trying to protect the environment. Actually, I do both of these things all the time, every day, with every ounce of my being. Bea has helped me become further aware of the problem of waste and how to change it. Yes, we can all make a difference! It starts with you.