It’s funny how my musical tastes are so influenced by who I am now vs. how good the music is itself. Other than the fact that I no longer listen to CDs, there’s an additional reason why I no longer listen to the music of my youth. (Not that I’m old now, per se, but I’m certainly not in the first blush of youth.) I am no longer that person.

A lot of the music that spoke to me and called deep into my soul is what I would now call, “Slit my wrists” type of music. You know, they call it emo these days (or something of the like). Tori Amos. Radiohead. The Cure. The sadder and more melancholy, the more I loved it. I would wallow for days, listening to certain songs on repeat. (At least that hasn’t changed. I still listen to one song at a time for weeks on end.)

Don’t get me wrong. I think that music is beautiful and haunting and there’s a reason I loved it. I still do, in many cases. However, I am no longer that sad, pining person and often, the music brings back that sad feeling I no longer have the luxury in which to wallow. It’s hard enough to take care of a 14 month old boy – can you imagine being depressed out of your mind?

Of course, I still love the wistful notes of Fake Plastic Trees or Winter, but it’s really hard for me to separate in my head, the beauty of the music itself from the all-permeating sadness the lyrics and melodies can evoke. They’re like what walking into a bar would be like for an alcoholic. It puts me in the wrong headspace. Not to say that I don’t listen to it every now and then, but I do notice a distinct alteration in my behavior afterward.

Strange that I would equate wallowing in sadness and self-pity with a luxury, but I suppose it is! After all, only folks with endless amounts of time (with no small humans demanding their attention) can afford to waste even a moment drowning in depression. And really, melancholy can be a drug, making me happy even as it makes me sad. There’s something falsely noble and feeds into the lie that I believed for too many years of my life, that broken equals beautiful when really, broken is just broken. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

The older I get, the more I realize the words from the Bible about guarding your heart are very true. I guard my heart against horror movies (after all, who needs to see more blood and guts and gore and scare the living daylights out of myself?), lusting after other men, getting inappropriately emotionally close with other people – why not sad things? This is not to say that I do not feel sad or push away and stuff down my feelings if I am truly sad. But why borrow trouble?

Again, I am an addict to the melancholy and wistful. It triggers certain emotional responses in me and I actually derive pleasure from being sad. How messed up is that? I am, however, much happier now that I don’t go courting disaster. I am so glad I’m no longer in my twenties.

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