The power of art

I first heard, truly heard this song when I was in the car one Sunday afternoon, driving my girls to meet their Dad.  My kids tease me rotten at how easily tv commercials, kid’s movies or songs made me cry and this was no exception. Sylvie really probed as to why  this particular pop song was making me cry big, fat tears. I just couldn’t get my words out. Sylvie laughed harder. She wasn’t being mean. We’d been through this routine a hundred times. It was a game to us. A knowing look passed between Ruby and I. She got it. This wasn’t my typical response. This wasn’t the ending to Monster’s Inc or the first 10 minutes to Up. Bless that kid, she quickly distracted Syl with her phone and I was able to calm myself down. Later on, I sat down with them both and tentatively broached the subject. Explaining how evocative song lyrics can be and why those particular words affected me so intensly in that moment.

But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

That verse. Ooof.

It gets me every time. Every single time. I decided to read up a bit on Sia and discovered that she had a pill and alcohol addiction in her past and suffers with bi-polar. I was not surprised. I knew the person who wrote that song was writing about their own personal pain.

Have you watched the video? Jeez. It blew me away. So did this one..

Art speaks louder than words. Sia‘s viscerally-fueled brand of creation recently came under fire with the release of the Shia LaBeouf-starring “Elastic Heart” music video (co-directed by Daniel Askill). Also featuring Dance Moms‘ Maddie Ziegler, the clip manifests inner demons and the struggle of overcoming. “I thought it would be interesting if Shia was working with Maddie as if she’s one of his self states, maybe his inner child or maybe one of his demons. We switch between her representing some of his self states,” the singer says in a brand new behind-the-scenes featurette (below)—released by DanceOn Network as part of their new The Edge series’ second season bow.

(Above snippet from an article written by Jason Scott for pop

I defy you to watch both videos and not be moved.

There was a period in my life where I didn’t listen to music. I stopped reading books and watching tv. It was when my brother was dying. I had shut down so much that the flutterings of any emotion -positive or negative- was too much. Music was a massive no-no. I created a near silent world for myself. The only thing on the tv would be kid’s shows that I could tune out. I didn’t read a book for 3 years and I am a voracious reader. I didn’t want to feel anything. I took no risks.

In the evenings when the kids were in bed I would just surf the internet. I would take 100s of photos throughout the day. Of the kids, or of myself and spend all night editing the best ones and posting them on Flickr.  I would sit in silence, emotionless.

Pick a photo -edit it – post it.   All on auto-pilot. I was abusing speed for much of this time so I would be up all night repeating this action. Hour after hour, night after night. Weeks and months of filling my waking moments with this meaningless activity. Not giving myself any breathing space to think. My poor kids. When they were awake I tried to be present but looking back my heart wasn’t in it. I was acting. I fed them and bathed them. I read to them and helped them with their homework but the tv was my co-parent in a BIG way and as soon as they were in bed I could stop with the ‘normal person’ act.

During these years of numbness I didn’t dream.  I have always had vivid dreams and remember them clearly so this was really strange for me. My sleeping brain adhered to my awake brain’s wishes. No dreams = no feeling evoked.

I distinctly remember the first film I watched after Luke died. It was Big Fish by Tim Burton.

I was in pieces at the end of it. I hadn’t felt so much in so long. I’d been so scared to. I began to introduce music and literature back into my life. It has been a gradual process. Especially with music. Once I started reading again, I was hooked. I sometimes read 2 or 3 books a week. TV was easy to get back in to. Before I met Rob I would easily binge watch a series of Breaking Bad in a week. Rob refuses to watch more than one episode of any show in one day. It’s maddening. He sites the Binge watching linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety study.

Letting music back in has been harder. I can be moved by the most random piece of music. After my last stay in hospital a Jackson Five tune kept making me cry! It’s more often than not, a happy tune that breaks me.  For a long time, any piece of art (song/tv show/book/play) would crush me because all I could think was-

Luke won’t ever know this. He won’t hear this. He won’t see this. He won’t feel this.

And so I didn’t want to either.


I’m not sure how I ended up here. I intended to write just a short piece about Sia and the power of song lyrics. I might write more later, today has been a good day.


3 thoughts on “The power of art

  1. I too am touched by art. My kids are always watching to see if dad is going to cry at this part. They know I am a sap. I think addicts are very sensitive beings and end up using to dull the pain. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a Flickr addiction. I took photos of my expensive dolls in human like poses. Sounds weird but they looked amazing. So many talented photographers out there. But I spent hours on there, it was addictive. Editing, photographing and commenting . Not present for my kids. Lost in Flickr.

    Liked by 1 person

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