Music Soothes The Savage Beast…


I know we had no money…but I was as rich as I could be…in my coat of many colours…my mama made for me…

Music soothes the savage beast or so they say….

I find, in me, it evokes emotions I had long since forgotten.

Well, maybe if I am totally truthful with myself, it evokes emotions I have long since hidden away and chosen not to think about. Because its simply too hard and much, much too painful.

Music and writing have always been my escape in life. Ever since school. When other kids around me excelled in maths and cooking? I excelled at english, drama and music. Imagine my mothers shock and (I must grudgingly say) admiration when she heard me sing for the first time. Then when she found out I could play not only the flute but also the piano she was stunned. As was my father. And the kicker was that I could write as well.

I wasn’t stupid. I was just creative. But I had no outlet for it. Until I met a music teacher at my school who encouraged me and taught me to overcome my shyness. Yep, me shy. Whoever would have thunk it eh?

I think harshly of my parents for what they’ve put me through as an adult. But when they found out that I was creative, they did all they could to foster that talent. My mother worked extra hours so that I could not only have flute lessons, but also piano lessons AND voice lessons. All which paid off. I only wish now, even that we are estranged and I dislike her for her choices when I was older, that I could thank her for her sacrifices.

Seeing your arthritic 40 something year old mother coming home from work at midnight and getting up again at 6am to go back to work, so *I* could have the chance to learn and craft my talents is quite humbling to remember now at my age. I know she thought we never saw or knew how tired or worn out she was. But we did, but we were kids and we knew no different. If I had that time over? I’d have been more grateful.

So even though she’ll never see this or read it.

Mum. Thank you. For the sacrifices you made and for what you gave up so that I could learn what I loved. You, are the reason I made sure my daughters had that opportunity as well.

So whats brought about this post LJ, I hear you all ask?

As I said, music evokes emotions and memories in that I have buried and chosen not to think about. Over the years a lot of my music collection has gone missing. But lately due to the wonderful world of iTunes, I’ve been able to get it back. So today, I’ve been wandering down memory lane.

Each and every song that I have listened to today has a memory that has stayed with me from the moment I first heard it, up until right this very moment as i write this post.

Some are free and happy memories. Many are dark and twisted. Some make my cry. Others just break my heart.

And that’s where we are right now…

Waltz for Bella is a beautiful instrumental piece by Hennie Bekker. It brings me to tears every time. Its so strong and stirring and it reminds me of when I was in a place where I felt was alone and had nobody by my side. I listened to this song every night. It was the song that put me to sleep. And to listen to it now, I see a multitude of memories of my girls growing up and of some good times in my life and of course, a bundle of bad. But still, the beautiful melody draws me in with every single chord.

When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek. It was my let go song. I was finally at a place where I was ready to let go of the person who had been my support network for the longest time. “And I’ll be on the other end…to hear you when you call…angel, you were born to fly…if you get too high….I’ll catch you when you fall”. I felt like a newborn who was about to take her first steps and I did and I never looked back. Well, not for a long time. And when I finally did, it was too late. Our friendship was done and I regret letting it go. So again, another song that makes me melancholy and fills me with emotions that I don’t quite understand.

If I had to pick a song that sticks with me and truly, truly breaks my heart whenever I think of it or hear it, it would be Scarlett Ribbons by The Browns. Most people have never heard of it considering its from 1966. Its simple, its beautiful and it was the song my dad used to sing to me all the time. Despite all the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father, I still remember the man who used to sing to me, the man I adored and idolised. I’m sure he wasn’t always the way he turned out to be was he? He couldn’t have always been like that? I remember the man who came to my school plays and was so proud of the fact that I was his daughter.

So I’m sitting here in my little sanctuary, listening to the soundtrack of my life and trying to piece together the fragmented memories of what I do remember. Be it good or be it bad. If I can remember it, then I have a chance of dealing with it and moving past it and healing don’t I?

My dad is gone now. I never got to say goodbye before he died. I never got to go to his funeral. My family is scattered to the winds. I speak to a small handful of my cousins (and I mean a tiny handful) because they too know exactly what I feel as they have struggled with it themselves. One of them in particular (whom I won’t name without her consent) has been incredibly supportive, as has her husband and she has managed to come out of the other side of her trauma with incredible results, so I know there is hope for me.

So while my dad is gone, I can’t make my peace with him by having my say. He wouldn’t accept it anyway. So I need to find a way to reconcile it with myself. And that there is a work in progress.

But my mother.

That is a subject that eats at my heart.

More than I care to admit if I’m truthful.

Most daughters want their mothers love and approval don’t they? They all want their mothers to hug them and tell them they love them? I know my daughters do. And I do. I don’t care if its in the middle of the supermarket, if they want a hug then they can have it. My mum, as cruel as this sounds, is very emotionally closed off woman and thats not my fault. I know it isn’t. But that little girl deep inside of me wants to put a band aid on it and try to fix it.

But I cant.

Not now.

Not ever.

My mother in law (she died last year), she loved me from the moment she met me. Her son brought me home, pregnant with somebody else’s child and she didn’t care. She adopted me and when my daughter was born, that was her grandchild. To her, I was her daughter and that never changed. Even when her son and I split. Right up until she died. She loved me like her own. Even with all my faults.

Yet my own mother?

Can’t stand me.

Because I told the truth.

How I wish my mother in law was still here.

I miss her every single minute of every single day.

My mother is getting older. I know she is. Because I am. How old is my mother? I don’t know.

Ask me when her birthday is? I don’t know that either.

THAT is how far apart my mother and I have always been.

I know, that its only a matter of time, before the rumour mill contacts me and tells me that my mother has gone. And then what? Then I have no parents. I’m an orphan so to speak. I know to some people that would be a blessing in disguise.

But to me, for some fucked up reason, it strikes terror into my heart.

There is so much that I want to say to her. So much I want to know the answers to.

So much I want to thank her for. And so much I want to vent at her for.

But most of all. Even if we don’t ever make peace I just want to know that there is no hatred there.

I don’t want to know that both of my parents have left the earth while I had conflict with them.

Its going to be hard enough to know that my siblings and I don’t speak and that I won’t be able to go to her funeral, let alone knowing that she dies not knowing how I really feel about her.

Despite the fact that she didn’t defend me against my father. Despite the fact that she didn’t try to stay in her grandchildren’s lives. Despite the fact she didn’t want better for our family than she had for hers. Despite the fact that I can only find ONE photo of her and I together. Despite my anger over all of this?

I just want to sit and talk to her.

About what I don’t know yet.

But I know she’ll say no.

Because that’s just the way she is.

I do know I want to thank her for the good things she did for me, because there were many.

But right now there is nothing I can do.

Except write here.

And listen to songs from my childhood and try to remember the parts of it that were good.

And always remember to never, ever, make my children feel like I am emotionally unavailable to them. To love them and cherish them and make them know that they are the reason I breathe and smile every single minute of the day.

They say music soothes the savage beast?

Yeah right….it just confuses this one….and this is why I chose to write..

Until next time, be what you believe in..



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