Monday, April 3, 2017

My Music Nerdiness and My Spiritual Life Aren't Friends

Music was my first "real" love. I'm pretty sure I danced before I learned to properly walk. As a little gal (maybe 3-4 years old), I used to strum a chord on Mom's guitar (hidden in one of our closest) and then run away, laughing at the mischief I was causing while simultaneously giddy about the "music" I was making.

As I grew up, music became my thing. I sang in school choir through middle school. I participated in a talent show my first (and only) year at a public high school where I sang. I grew up learning how to dance a number of different styles. I learned how to play a bit of the piano but the guitar was always my preferred instrument so I learned as a teenager and still play to this day. I was even majoring in Jazz Studies before I switched to Religious Studies for my first Bachelor's degree. When my father died, music was the thing that helped me through the first couple of weeks. I admittedly stopped playing the guitar for about 5 years following his death -- part of that comes from remembering how he promised to buy me a new guitar right before he passed away -- I eventually returned to it because music and playing (and singing and dancing) is a very big part of who I am and how I express myself.

Although I didn't choose my confirmation saint like most people do -- I was confirmed when I was 13, in Mexico where you don't choose confirmation saints -- it's no surprise that I ended up adopting St. Cecilia as my confirmation saint (I was confirmed on her feast day, at a church named after her). Patroness of music for a music-obsessed gal? It makes total sense.

I can tell you which songs and artists I liked growing up. My first purchased tape was a compilation of classical music. My first purchased CD (with my own money) was Jimi Hendrix's greatest hits. I still remember how I fell in love with jazz after listening to the version of "Summertime" sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong when I was a teenager and how it remains one of my favorite songs.

Listening to "You and I vs. the Sun" by Phantom Planet and "California" by Rufus Wainwright reminds me of my freshman year of college, especially the drive to Santa Monica College on the 10 freeway. I used to take my guitar and play Jack Johnson's "Sitting Waiting Wishing" and Ben Kweller's "Walk On Me" in between classes. During my favorite (and last) year at Santa Monica College -- before my reversion -- "So Says I" by The Shins and "My Favourite Game" by The Cardigans were on heavy rotation. I think I might still have the CDs on which I burned the playlists to listen on my Discman (I was late to join the iPod/mp3 party).

Most of my friends have songs associated with them; songs that remind me of them in one way or another and vice versa. The four songs my closest friends associate with me (that I've been told of) are "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin, "Sing Sing Sing" by Benny Goodman, "Georgia on My Mind' by Ray Charles, and "Dream a Little Dream (of Me)" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong -- especially that last one because it suits my old fashioned romantic personality.

"My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison reminds me of the last time Dad and I drove out to Santa Monica (for a farmer's market); "The Universal" by Blur reminds me of the time I accompanied him to the hospital to get a device surgically placed on his arm for his chemotherapy prior to his passing. I was listening to Adele's version of "Make You Feel My Love" a few days before he died so I can't listen to it or Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" (link is to Nat King Cole's version) without crying because they remind me of his last week alive.

I can tell you that MuteMath's self-titled album was on heavy rotation when I reverted and how "Chaos" was my jam during that time... how I played Hunter Hayes' self-titled debut album when I wrote my senior thesis as an undergrad... how "All The Pennies" and "Mi Ancla," both by Mindy Gledhill, have been my most played songs in the past week. (side note: here's also the English version of "Mi Ancla" -- named "Anchor." The lyrics are sweeter in Spanish.) This doesn't even scratch the surface when it comes to my taste in music; not even close. Sure, I'm mainly a jazz and classical gal but, oh, I like most of it. Oh, and if you want to get vinyl at Hollywood's Amoeba Music, you take me and I'll find what you're looking for in record speed. A friend from college and I once went to get her fella blues music and we were out of there in no times because I know what you need and where to get it. I mean, you get the point -- music nerd: party of one.

It's amazing how so many memories -- good and bad -- are attached to music. As I was reflecting on this, I realized that there's only one area of my life that doesn't have music attached to it -- and it's my spiritual life. Like I said, I remember becoming a big MuteMath fan around the time of my reversion and the first Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack reminds me of Dad driving me to confession (I love that soundtrack) but that's about it. I love Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" when I hear it played at weddings and I cry every time I hear it. I've also often dreamt that myself singing it. That's about it.

I love Gregorian chant and have played it when I study or pray. I love hymns. I adore the choir at the parish Mom and I go to when we attend Latin Mass. Such beautiful music... but, for some reason, I can't associate it with any particular time of my life. It's like my spiritual life and my music nerdiness can't find a happy medium; they can't coexist for some reason. I think it might because my spiritual life and, really, my faith is more sacred to me. Yes, I love music (and probably more than the average person) but it's something else. I know God is not constricted to our timeline -- that He stands outside of time -- but is it possible that our spiritual life is also like that? Does anyone else have this issue? I'd love to hear if you have because I can't make sense of this.

Anyway, this was just a random blog post with a random thought that popped into my head and had to be let out into the world so it's not bugging me when I'm trying to study. I have an exam on Saturday so I really need to concentrate on that. :)

Alright, I'm going to see what mischief I can get into... errr... I mean... what productive and totally not procrastinating things I can do. ;)

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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