Music is one of my favorite things in the whole world. There isn’t much in this world that is better than having a song that you really connect with. A song with lyrics that speak to you. One that sounds like it could have been written  about your life. As human beings one of the most important things is finding a connection. To me, one of the most honest connections is one I have with music.

One of my favorite things is the way that connection changes through time. The best example for this, for me, is “Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos. Here are the lyrics for reference:

Excuse me, but can I be you for a while
My dog won’t bite if you sit real still
I got the Anti-Christ in the kitchen yellin’ at me again
Yeah, I can hear that
Been saved again by the garbage truck
I got something to say, you know, but nothing comes
Yes, I know what you think of me, you never shut up
Yeah, I can hear that

But what if I’m a mermaid, in these jeans of his with her name still on it
Hey, but I don’t care ’cause sometimes, I said sometimes I hear my voice.
And it’s been here silent all these years

So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts
What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts
Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon
How’s that thought for you
My scream got lost in a paper cup
You think there’s a heaven where some screams have gone
I got twenty-five bucks an’ a cracker
Do you think it’s enough to get us there

Cause what if I’m a mermaid, in these jeans of his with her name still on it
Hey, but I don’t care ’cause sometimes, I said sometimes I hear my voice
And it’s been here silent all these

Years go by, will I still be waiting for somebody else to understand
Years go by, if I’m stripped of my beauty and the orange clouds raining in my head
Years go by, will I choke on my tears ’til, finally there is nothing left
One more casualty, you know we’re too easy, easy, easy

Well, I love the way we communicate
Your eyes focus on my funny lip shape
Let’s hear what you think of me now
But, baby, don’t look up- the sky is falling
Your mother shows up in a nasty dress
Hmm, it’s your turn now to stand where I stand
Everybody lookin’ at you, here taken hold of my hand
Yeah, I can hear them

But what if I’m a mermaid in these jeans of yours with her name still on it
Hey, but I don’t care ’cause sometimes, I said sometimes I hear my voice
I hear my voice, I hear my voice, and it’s been here
Silent all these years. I’ve been here silent all these years
Silent all these, silent all these years

 

And the song: Silent All These Years

Let’s dive into the back story. This song came out in 1992. I didn’t hear it until around ’95, when I was in high school. The last 2 years I was in high school until I was about 22, I went through a major depression. I dealt without a recurring nightmare that escalated from once or twice a month to once or twice a week. My mom and my step father were fighting constantly. My step father was constantly blaming me, very loudly, for their failed marriage. I was a bitch and a failure, and I heard that constantly. It wasn’t easy. I was suicidal and actually attempted once in the shower. While I knew the words didn’t exactly fit my circumstance, some of the lyrics spoke to me. Especially that first verse. The line “boy you best pray that I bleed real soon” is obviously about getting pregnant, but I equated it to me wanting to die. It’s funny how lyrics can be so subjective.

Listening to the song now, it’s more about my life than I could have imagined. The words have changed meanings for me and I truly have a deeper understand for them. “I’ve got something to say, you know, but nothing comes.” I lived this for so long. So many years of wanting to speak up, but just not having the words. Or not wanting to cause an issue by saying something. That’s what abuse feels like. It’s remaining quiet even though you want to scream to the world. It’s knowing that what is going on is wrong, but being too afraid to make the words come out. It’s listening to someone constantly berate you and just standing there and taking it because you know it would be 20 times worse if you say even a word in your own defense.

“Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon.” Then there’s the pregnancy scare. I was 21 and scared as all get out. In the end, I decided becoming a mother was what I wanted, and I now have an amazing 16 year old, but I won’t pretend I didn’t dwell on it a lot. Same lyric, different meaning. Amazing how that works.

I won’t detail every inch of the song, but it’s still my go to when I need to relate to something. When I’m feeling lost, like no one in the world understands, it’s there for me. Reminding me that I’m not alone and that things like this happen to other people. It speaks to me and helps me stay grounded.

Music speaks to the soul. All you have to do is listen.

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