Like comforts from home

Music has always been a powerful driving force in my life. I’ve always focused on it & tuned in, despite the fact that I have little musical ability of my own. In grade school I was a mediocre clarinet player at best. After college I tried playing bass. I could be OK at it if I practiced, but the inherit ability is just not there. My talent lies in listening, perhaps. I always have music in my head. But unlike a musician, the music in my head is always someone else’s. I love the music. I feel it. I wish I could see it too, but that is for others as well…

Like mom’s favorite baked mac & cheese recipe, my favorite music is always what provides comfort, something familiar and cozy. I reach for music in times of need, it’s dependable like that. It could be a very happy time, a trying time, an exciting time, a sad time, or just because, and the music never lets me down.

So when it came for my Very Big Day: the day of my brown belt test in kenpo karate, I needed some familiar comfort to help calm my nerves. This was a big milestone, something I’ve worked toward for more than 3 years. At the same time it was just the beginning of my martial arts training. I can remember back as a white belt, looking to the upper ranks, and being so impressed at all they’ve learned and all they could do. How could I have finally made it to that point? A point that seemed so daunting when I was starting out on this journey. It was very significant and I didn’t take it lightly.

As it happened I woke up with Gin in my head and as it happened I really needed something to keep me from freakingthehellout. I listened to the song and was focused mostly on it’s soothing rhythm. I listened to it several times through my morning, feeling it envelope me like grandma’s afghan, and all was good. I knew I was prepared, I just had to keep my mind from thinking too much. The music gave me something else to focus on, because I am my own worst enemy.

There were a few moments during my belt test when I had a few minutes to wait before I had to perform or defend myself. I didn’t have to listen hard to hear that Gin was with me during those 2 1/2 hours. I could focus on the song in my head, and it put me into a nice, calm zone. It was for the most part, effective. It was nice to have Gin there for me, and what struck me then was that I couldn’t hear the words. I know the words when I’m listening to them, but during my test I just couldn’t hear them as distinct words. I heard Kristin singing in my head but it was just sounds – that vocal instrument I’ve been hearing more and more of with these latest songs she’s writing. That’s another post for another day, but for now, I’ll just thank Gin for saving my ass.

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