Beyond The End

I never in a million years thought I would write the post you’re about to read. I was planning something different. I was planning an end. I was so low that finally there was nothing left of me that had any strength to keep clinging on with nothing to actually grasp. My existential crisis became more of a… decision, and I made the call to buckle under its unrelenting persuasion. I couldn’t find anything tangible. Couldn’t think of anything realistic to hope for. Was so defeated (hate using that word), so full of a (pathetic) despair that I was willing to do anything just to stop feeling so unwell for a moment. I wanted a break from a reality that I could no longer cope with, and could find nothing to help me handle. That’s not a luxury life grants often.

And then one of the girls I met at the Bastille concert asked me for my email address. It was late. I gave her my email. Shortly afterwards an email popped up in my inbox entitled “Bastille Union Chapel” which is where I’d seen them on the 22nd of May and also where my heart had rendered me a useless heap on the floor while they performed. It was from one of their management. I opened it. After a short “we heard you had to leave” message was a link. I clicked it. A video came up. A couple of members of Bastille sat in a room on chairs, and said hi to me. They said they were sorry I had to leave, they wished me well, and said I could go to any show I wanted. This was confirmed in a later email, and it doesn’t even matter that I can’t afford tickets.

I was (and still am) completely baffled. I wasn’t expecting anything like that to happen EVER and also I just really don’t feel like I deserve something like that because well… it’s just me, and my self hatred tells me someone else should get that experience in my place. 

Suddenly though, there was this genuine smile on my face, and this weird feeling so pleasant and foreign it was almost uncomfortable – happiness. I was happy. I still am. It felt like this huge thing built up within me fighting against the doom and gloom, and finally all the things eating me alive burned away and I took off. It felt like flying. It felt like freedom from chains my health had placed around my mind. I had been so empty and full of desperation and despair I was ready for the end, and suddenly there’s this smile that won’t leave. There’s something to hold on for, an end goal, a reason to the pointlessness it felt everything had become. I didn’t think I’d find that. I didn’t know how to be happy. I thought my heart had ruined everything. It feels weird to be happy. It feels wrong. It feels kind of unnerving but I can’t help it. I get to see that music live again. The thoughtfulness kind of hits me more than anything – that this girl I’d only just met messaged their management and made this happen, and it turns out my friends had been emailing and tweeting people too (I thought they were joking). 

Now suddenly I want the heart surgery to work, where before I’d been hoping the guy would slip and just set me free. I have this great thing to look forward to beyond the void I have to go through first. They’ve given me something to hold on for. 

People keep telling me I deserve this but I don’t. Far worse things happened in the world that night and it’s hardly the band’s fault that I had to leave, but this has happened at just the right time. Spooky. Undeserved. But SO AMAZING. I’m beyond grateful. Beyond appreciative. Beyond the end that I’d been planning.

Bastille – 1, Skippy (my heart) – 0

Oh how the tables have turned. Turns out Skippy couldn’t wreck things after all.

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“An Act Of Kindness”

I’m kind of embarrassed to say that things lately have been becoming increasingly… tough (I hate the ‘t’ word, because I’m not sure I’m justified in using it to describe my circumstances EVER). It feels as though I’ve been watching every element of my life slip away around me, with not enough hands or enough strength to catch the parts worth saving. I’m always very aware that I’m lucky (incredibly so) that my life isn’t awful. There is a huge capacity for it to have been much, much worse. I always use that attitude to drag myself up out of the places my mind gets stuck, tell myself I’m an ungrateful idiot, and move on. But things pile up. Normal 21 year old things, the impending doom of exams that I’m far too unwell to prepare for (and may not even be able to sit, as they are only next week), a crime committed against me in my own home, the huge emotional mess that existed before and after that, family disasters, and all the health stuff etc. etc. Not the end of the world, and maybe manageable one at a time if I wasn’t so mentally exhausted. But I kept going at the thought of heart surgery, at the thought that it might fix everything and I’d wake up an entirely new person.

For most of yesterday my heart rate refused to dip below 150. With all the marathon headlines floating about, Skippy (my heart) seemed to think we were running a marathon. I slept most of the day, not by choice, but because I couldn’t fight it. I couldn’t catch my breath. Eating was a strenuous exercise. So strenuous in fact that I almost passed out in my dinner. I was a dizzy heap of pathetic incapability that infuriated me. Skippy just said no. He hurt in extraordinary ways. My left arm went dead. I could barely function. Surgery was not meant to do that to Skippy. It was meant to appease him and every aching moment of his freak-out was an anchor pulling me back to the reality that things hadn’t worked. In fact, things were significantly worse. And that… That was a bitter pill to swallow. It made all of me sink.

Then I got a message. From Portsmouth Uni Friend. She told me she had a surprise, and sent me a link. To this. A small charity gig, featuring none other than Bastille. In Islington (an area that just reminds me of the hospital Skippy and I used to go to near there). On the 22nd of May. She knew how much the music of Bastille has meant to me through some pretty tough times, what it stood for, what it got me through. And she said, “shall we go?” And then another friend messaged, saying she knew how much that music meant, and she’d even buy my ticket. With the track record of things that seemed too good to be true turning out to be… hopeless hoping, I didn’t think anything would come of it.

So I went to bed. I was up all night, and I was scared. I stayed up until 3am, with Skippy racing the entire time, feeling almost as tired as I was in the end. For some reason, if I sat up and turned the light on, I was sure it would stop him from stopping. It was irrational for me to think I might never wake up, but after surgery Skippy is a beast I no longer know. He’s different now. Alarmingly so. I drifted off. Palpitations woke me from sleep. Chest pain stopped me drifting back off. Over and over again. I’d sit bolt upright and just hold my chest and oddly enough… Talk to the freaking out ball of muscle beneath my sternum. Skippy didn’t listen. It didn’t stop me telling it ssshhhhhh, it’s alright, over and over again. I was too wired to sleep. So I put in my headphones, and listened to Bastille’s Pompeii on repeat, because from the first time I ever heard that song, it has never failed to calm me down. I haven’t had a night like that in a very, very long time. It was draining. I was scared by it, stunned. I hadn’t expected it. I woke up almost afraid to stand.

With my heart in such a state, I naturally began thinking about the consequences. My exams start next week, and I would be in no state to sit them in my current situation. Then what happens to my third year of uni. Come to think of it, with a heart like that, how would I ever get a job? I wouldn’t be able to go for a walk, and I’d certainly never run again like I dream of being able to do. And my thoughts frantically raced around my brain trying to find something that might be unaffected, and there was nothing. Skippy has a hold of everything, and when he rebels, I lose it all. So I was searching for something to wake up for, to carry on for, to motivate myself with… And I just watched everything slipping away. Stupidly,  I couldn’t find anything left. I was so tired. With all my health issues. But mostly with the idiot inside of my chest. Skippy in his current condition isn’t going to kill me, he’s just “limiting your life” in the words of my cardiologist (which tells me that there isn’t really any reason to be significantly bothered because hey, the thing could be about to kill me and it isn’t). But still. I ground to a halt.

And then this morning, at 10am, with Skippy still shaky and determined to misbehave and me trying and failing to focus on revision through his aches and grumbles, I got a message. Two tickets to see Bastille at a pretty small gig. Me and Portsmouth Uni Friend. HK Uni Friend adamant that I would not pay a penny for my ticket. I was, and still am, astounded by their kindness. Completely. Astounded. In fact, it all seems a little surreal. They simply said I needed a reason to be happy. They said I deserved it. They said my life was unfair. I don’t deserve such awesomeness, and there’s nothing unfair about my life at all; in fact, I’d rather me go through all of this if it means that somebody I know or care about doesn’t have to go through it in my place, and I am frequently thankful for that fact because I think that’s… Fair.

And now there’s something to look forward to, something Skippy can’t take away, because even if I have to crawl, I’m going. My friend pretty amazingly said that even if we go and I end up unconscious (as I did on my birthday when we went out), it will be entirely worth it. And that’s pretty much my view. Skippy is wrecking a lot of things at the moment, and right in the middle of the void that has created, there’s now something to aim for and look forward to and… Be on the planet to witness. A calm, right in the middle of the storm.

And that’s all I needed. Something to look forward to. Because nothing seems bad anymore. I have perspective again. I’m sat here with Skippy still being an idiot, waiting for an arrhythmia nurse to call and… I’m lost in this awesome little bubble of happiness where fear cannot find me. I have something that makes me feel 21 again instead of 80, and I kind of live for moments like this. Where normal 21 year old things happen. I just suddenly have this overwhelming feeling that things will be ok.

It all works out in the end, I guess.

You don’t appreciate solid ground until you’ve been lost at sea.

(Also, yes the title of this post is also that of a Bastille song. Very fitting today. My friends are… well, I don’t deserve them at all, but they mean the world to me).

Comfort of… Bastille?

“As the world falls down around us

Give me something to remember

I am holding on

In the back of my mind

For dear life, dear life

Holding on

In the back of my mind

For dear life, dear life

Oh I, Oh I

I am holding on for dear life

Oh I, Oh I

I am holding on for dear life”

Bastille, Comfort of Strangers

Words fail me a little bit at this current moment. When I heard those song lyrics, I stopped dead. Everything melted away, and my brain curled up in those words like a comfort blanket. I had been fracturing, bursting at the seams, suppressing emotion that I couldn’t allow myself to feel but was most definitely there. I was torn. I was on the edge of letting it all go, of falling apart. And then I got a message from a friend asking if I’d heard Bastille’s new song. Immediately, I almost laughed out loud. Whenever I hit a tough time or get bad news or something, Bastille (the band whose music ended my emotional isolation in the back of an ambulance when I was… 16? if intrigued, see this post) seem to drop a new song or a new album.

I searched it online. Hit play. Listened until the chorus played, and this song just… took me. A total calm rose up and engulfed me and had I been alone, I may actually have shouted YES at the top of my voice. It was the same feeling I got when I heard Pompeii for the first time in the back of an ambulance, when I heard Good Grief for the first time as I walked out of a hospital ward after almost dying and being told that waking up everyday was pretty much like playing Russian Roulette… the same as I felt when they dropped a new album a day or two after I’d had surgery and was laying in bed writhing in pain until that haunting voice played  through my headphones and removed me from the world for the entire length of time it took to listen to all those songs.

I’m pretty sure this latest song is written about being in a relationship with another human (I may be way off there), which I most definitely was not, but the beauty about all forms of art is that people are free to interpret that art in any way they want. I have no doubt that this song said something to me that it was never intended to say when it was written. But it sort of woke me up to myself, it gave my brain an ally, it gave me words I could twist and put to something I couldn’t verbalise or even accept before. It was like a “Eureka” moment… It brought all the guards in my brain down and finally let me admit that I am not ok with how things went, I am not “not feeling” all the things I think I should, I had simply, as my counsellor noticed I do often, dissociated myself from the things that hurt too much to go near.

On the surface yes, I can ignore how I feel, I can tell myself I’m not disappointed yet, I can try to ignore the fact that three (wait, how many days ago was Wednesday?) days ago I had heart surgery (and not only did it not work, but I somehow feel worse, and the second part that needs remodelling if we have to attempt again was too close to my phrenic nerve so… asdfghjkl… and I have no idea what to do or where to go and it changes all of my imagined plans because is this all I am now? A tachycardic, fluid retaining, coughing, breathless, swollen, oedematous mess?) but in the back of my mind I am in the middle of a storm, clinging to this tiny shred of something that remains. Hope? Maybe. And I am being battered by emotions (not only from the past few days, not only from my health. There’s a lot hanging around and churning around back there), torn apart, ripped apart, withering, worn out, exhausted, beaten, probably ready to throw in the towel and walk to the Grim Reaper with open arms. In the back of my mind, in the part I ignore, there is a battle, and I am holding on for dear life. Paralysed by it all, completely lost, completely terrified, and just clinging to anything. That anything, right now, is this teeny, tiny hope that there is something that can still be done. And I didn’t realise that, couldn’t accept that, couldn’t work out why I wasn’t entirely happy and felt tense and bothered (or even admit that I was any of those things)… until I heard those lyrics and my great big deluded, ignorant conscious mind turned around and went, “oh yeah.”

And then… click. I am disappointed. I am falling apart. I’m devastated. I’m terrified. I’m wondering if I will ever be able to have a job, what will happen about the final year of my degree. Will I ever be able to go for a walk again? In the back of my mind I am still feeling all of the things I refuse to let myself acknowledge, and they have been burning slowly, like a fire. Those flames have silently eaten away at all the foundations that held me up. And the thing is, before I can rebuild, I need to crumble. Just demolish the wreck that is left and build something new to take its place, before the rot spreads. That’s kind of how I work. But I’m really great at pretending to everyone, including myself, that I am fine.

And then along comes a song, written by people who I never have or will meet, about a situation I probably can’t relate to at all… And it says all that needs to be said. Enough for me to stop hiding from myself, to let down the barriers, to accept what I am trying to shield myself from and have in doing so let silently destroy me. Weird. Awesome… Bastille.

Medicine saved my body. Music saves my soul. In ways that nobody and nothing else can. (Hey, it moved me enough to post twice in a few hours rather than twice in one month). It kind of brought me… Home.

I was so lost, and I didn’t even know where to turn or what to do or how I felt or what to reach out for, I was just crumbling and trying to pretend I wasn’t. And a song I’d never heard before just shut me down. Totally. Shut all of that. Down. No idea how long for.

This is why I never go anywhere without headphones.

 

Back At It Again…

The night of the 8th of September. I was laying in bed, pleading with the minutes to pass so that I could take some more medication and attempt to reduce the pain that was keeping  me awake. I got to a stage where I almost didn’t know what to do. I held where it hurt, curled up in a ball, and soon found myself unable to stay still. I had one of those moments where you can’t imagine how pain like that will ever get better, how it will ever go away. I tried to remember what it was like not to hurt, and how it was possible to hurt so much so relentlessly (oh right – because my nerves and blood vessels and a couple other structures had been traumatised by a surgical team).

I have previously mentioned my love of Bastille’s music and the things it has come to mean to me. I discovered their music in the back of an ambulance during the worst night of my teenaged years (well, at the time it occurred it was the toughest I’d faced emotionally up until that point). I leant on their music from that moment onwards, playing it over and over through headphones as I laid in various hospital rooms and wards wondering if I’d ever be free to go back out into any sort of a normal life again; a week before I turned 18, I celebrated getting through it all by seeing Bastille live, and watching them perform the songs that had become as familiar to my eardrums as the heartbeat that fuelled the body they belonged to. When I was in hospital (had just nearly died, and knew I was being let out to imminently end up in the same situation again earlier this summer – just before, a week later, I very, very nearly died while on holiday with my friends) right as I was about to crumble under the futility of carrying on, Good Grief (at the time their newest single) began to play over the ward radio. I heard it for the first time as I walked out of that place, carrying battle scars that nobody could see, and I stopped in the corridor and smiled, wearing a strange relief in place of the tears that had been preparing to storm my cheeks.

When I was in intensive care in Norfolk, and my PTSD was being triggered by the sounds and smells of the hospital environment, leading to terrifying nightmares and flashbacks… An ex-army nurse told me to listen to music. The first proper night of sleep that I got in that/ any hospital (other than when I was unconscious or seriously seriously ill) was thanks to the music of Bastille. When nightmares pulled me away from sleep, I woke to the sound of familiarity playing over fresh terror, and immediately knew things were ok, that I wasn’t where my brain had thought it was. I lost myself in the comfort of those songs instead of drowning in the fear. For the first time, I went right back off to sleep. The panic was calmed almost instantly.

When I sat in Winston the wheelchair outside the exam room earlier this summer, stranded until my friend appeared, and convinced that I’d epically failed my exams, the same old songs provided a welcome distraction. A few weeks ago, when I found out that my consultant wants me to go through hell on earth for one health hiccup (STILL can’t talk about that one, sorry), Bastille (Bad News – an awesomely appropriate song which among others) played in the background as I cried my way through London.

And then, in the first minutes of the 9th of September, it happened again – music (specifically that of Bastille) made things manageable. It comforted me when there wasn’t much else that could.

I laid there, a little dopey from the medication that wasn’t working enough to take away the pain, and then I remembered that the great thing about the 8th of September was that it was going to become the 9th of September. And that meant the release of Bastille’s new album. A few minutes later, midnight happened. I was in a really weird place where the pain was bothering my dopey mind so much that I didn’t know how to relax, which meant that the pain stayed pretty ridiculous, and I stood even less chance of getting to sleep. I was by this point rocking. Just laying there rocking. And then, at 2 minutes past midnight, I hit play (the wifi took a while to decide to work). And the recognisable and distinctive sound of the band who seem to release new music at particularly crappy points in my life (usually when I’m in hospital… seriously it’s SUPER weird) filtered through my ears. I don’t know if it’s possible to be haunted by a song you’ve never heard before. I don’t know how a sound can make you stop dead. But I did.

I uncurled from the little knot of pain I had curled up into, my furrowed brow became smooth again, and I went limp as I relaxed for the first time since I’d been dragged from sleep by the pain. I hurt, but I was separate from the hurting because I was focussed entirely on something else. I’d never heard most of the songs, so I listened intently to every word, and managed to somehow zone out and detach myself from… myself. My mind latched onto some of the lyrics and buried them away within its thoughts, taking comfort in lyrics that were written about entirely different situations to the ones which it related them to. And everything was just ok. For 45 minutes I just laid there, completely still, no tension in my muscles, finally able to close my eyes. And then when the music stopped, the pain was still there, but I was calm enough to figure out how to sleep with it.

I now know most of the lyrics to pretty much all of the songs on that album. Until yesterday I listened to nothing else. I even played it to next door’s chickens (I had to look after their animals the other evening). In a weird way it made the pain worth it, because yes the pain sucked but hey, here was some more music that not only sounded awesome to my brain, but also struck a chord with it with a few songs that said things I’d felt (at my health, at other people, at my doctors, at myself, at the world, at the people who bullied me through school…) or that my brain could twist into fitting situations it was familiar with.

I live in Mile End. Well I do when I’m at uni. It is home to me. Mile End isn’t too far from Brick Lane (actually a short walk from where some of my lectures are). In fact, they share the same E1 postcode. Tonight Bastille announced that there’s a free “popup event” going on at Brick Lane tomorrow between 2 and 8pm, presumably involving… Bastille… I spent my entire day today (once I was awake and had got on top of my pain) piling up the stuff I need to take back to London when I move into my new accommodation on Saturday. I didn’t think I could want to be in London any more than I did after seeing all my stuff waiting there ready to go back, and then suddenly there it was. I would catch the train and go to London, but my mum and I are going away together tomorrow for a two night spa break near BIRMINGHAM. OF ALL THE DAYS FOR BASTILLE TO HAVE A POPUP EVENT it’s the one time in the next few MONTHS that I can’t be there. I hoped to get tickets to see them at the O2 arena in November but they are far too expensive for me to afford. It’s weird to think about how many times I’ve nearly died, and all the stuff I’ve been through with their music playing in my ears.

For me, my love of this band is all about their music. I’m not the type of person to obsess over band members and talk about them as if I know them – to me that feels really weird to do when I’ve never even spoken to a person and therefore have no idea what they are like. I kind of think the way an artist/ band should be judged is by their music. I base my respect for them upon that. And in a weird way, I have a lot of gratitude as well. Because honestly, it sounds so pathetic to say, but I don’t know what I’d have done if that song hadn’t played in the back of that ambulance, if the ward radio hadn’t played that song as I was about to break down, if through the recent toughest moments of my life that music hadn’t been there… Well, I don’t know what I would have done, but I do know what I would have been aiming for, and what the end result would have been. So I kind of don’t need to see Bastille live, because their music already gave my soul a little bit of life.

Music is there when people aren’t.

It is also there when I don’t want to be.

It is a more helpful medicine to my mind than laughter will ever be (not quite as helpful as running again will be, but hey). I was, as you can see, very recently reminded just how awesome music can be (Julien Solomita vlogs also entertained me for hours over the last week, and have been pretty important over the last year especially, but they shall get a post another day – unfortunately you may have to endure reading about that too).

For now, no way but tunes (yes I actually just typed the words no way but tunes. I am actually cringing at my screen right now. What is my brain even doing? Sorry for this post)

Bastille: The Music That Showed Me The Power Of Music

I was in the back of an ambulance on my way from a specialist hospital in London to the children’s ward of my local hospital (where I had been living for almost a year). It was dark. Winter. Very late. I had just been told that afternoon that some of the best doctors in this field in the country (who were in charge of my care at the hospital I had just been rescued from) had no idea how to fix the particular health hiccup that was keeping me in hospital, which meant I would be “in hospital indefinitely” on continuous infusions of IVs. I was 16. I was replaying those words over and over in my head, my heart sinking lower each time I did so, my eyes heavy with tears I refused to let fall. I stared into space in the back of that ambulance. And then we passed a cinema, and outside in a huddle, laughing and shouting, was a group of teenagers my age. My heart lurched then. The ambulance man looked at me,

“Do you like the radio?” He asked. I nodded politely. He called to his colleague who was driving, and told him to put on the radio,

“You like Radio 1?” His colleague called back to me. I nodded again. If I opened my mouth I knew I would cry.

He turned on Radio 1. He turned up the volume so loud the whole ambulance vibrated to the beat. We couldn’t even hear each other when we shouted. Couldn’t hear the sirens. I could feel the sound running through me. And then, almost at midnight I think, on came Pompeii. The chanting at the start of that song instantly calmed the emotions rampaging through my brain. I stopped, distracted from my thoughts, and I listened to every single word of that song. It had me from the first line.

“I was left to my own devices | Many days fell away with nothing to show…

But if you close your eyes | Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? | And if you close your eyes | Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before? | How am I gonna be an optimist about this? How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” – Bastille, Pompeii

I had never felt such a connection with a song (even though I think it was actually written about the eruption of Vesuvius and the citizens of Pompeii), because in that minute it did feel like nothing had changed at all, and I had been here before, and I didn’t know how to pull any positives from the situation. I was at breaking point, and just as I let go, that song, those words… Caught me. I didn’t feel alone any more. I wanted to listen to that song over and over again. As soon as it had finished, I found it online and listened to it on repeat. In my hospital room that night, I walked around the room with tears streaming down my face, dragging my IVs around with me, listening to that song over and over and over just to make things feel ok. Eventually, I fell asleep to it. It was all I had, my only companion. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t heard that song. I had no hope left, I was going to give it all up.

I listened to Bastille all the time when I was in hospital (I still do, although now other artists join the playlist). I went through some awful times with their music in my ears, eventually an entire album of it. It was my pre-surgery soundtrack, my post-surgery soundtrack, my shhhh it was just a nightmare go back to sleep soundtrack… It gave me hope when I thought all was lost. It picked me up when I was down. A while after my closest friend (who I eventually discovered had been planning on asking me to be his girlfriend, and who I then realised I loved far more than a friend) died following a transplant, Torn Apart was there in my headphones. When I was angry, happy, scared, sad, lonely, bored… It was there. A constant soundtrack in my life, to the point that some songs from their first album now trigger the flashbacks they then save me from. I listened to their songs on repeat as I laid battling septicaemia, when we thought I might die. I have never met these people and yet their music moved me in ways nothing else could. I had heard songs before, but never had one made me sit up and listen like Pompeii did in the back of that ambulance.

A week before my 18th birthday, and I had just beat septicaemia again. I was stunned to be alive and couldn’t really comprehend the fact that I somehow was. I was fragile, my health was scarily deteriorating, I felt forgotten, and PTSD had just started to become a major issue in relation to hospital admissions. Bastille were in concert at Alexandra Palace. I went to see them, with my best friend from childhood (brother friend, remember him?). An ambulance was nearly called for me because my heart (which was by that stage becoming a major issue) had a huge hiccup, but we just pushed into the crowd and got lost. And then there it was. The battle was over, I was free from hospital, I had almost made it to the end of my childhood, and standing in front of me on a stage were the creators of the music that got me through it. I stood there, and once again the music was so loud that it made everything vibrate and I felt it run through me. I listened to the songs that had got me through, and a wave of relief washed over me. I had made it full circle, I’d made it to an age I didn’t think I would see… To the sound of these songs, to the music of these people (which would probably never have meant so much to me without the horrors that it got me through). It was so symbolic, that this horrific, traumatic  chapter of my life should end to a live performance of the music that had picked me up right in the middle of the worst of it. I sang along to every word.

Their music was the first to mean so much to me. It introduced me to the power of lyrics, and was the first music to get me through a hell I would not otherwise have made it through. I can’t say anything about these people, I don’t know them, but their music… Their music will always have a place in my heart, because it is part of the reason it is still beating and unbroken enough to function.

“Bad news like a sucker punch, what do you say? | Air knocked out of my lungs want you to stay | When you hear something difficult don’t back away | Some people say nothing, good ones engage 

Don’t turn your back on me | Don’t bury your head deep | Just ’cause you don’t know what to say…

It’s true | That it kicks you in the teeth when you are least expecting | Bad news | Oh it beats you black and blue before you see it coming|

Bad news like a sucker punch moving your way | People fill the streets like nothing has changed | … | Planes fly overhead like any old day …

Maybe I just want some words of distraction | I feel like I’m being consumed | Maybe I’m expecting the perfect reaction | To pull me back…” – Bastille, Bad News

(I listen to this song after every bad hospital appointment, or when I’m in hospital and learn the extent of the health hiccup that put me there. In situations such as that it is often the only thing that comforts me as people usually don’t know how to react, aren’t there to support me through such difficult times, let me down, or avoid me because they don’t know what to say)

I totally relax to the sound of this music. This was the band who showed me the true power of a few lines of words. I once bought an albatross necklace and wore it around my neck as a reminder of all the crap I was carrying around. I listened to a track with the lyrics

“There’s an albatross around your neck | All the things you’ve said | And the things you’ve done | Can you carry it with no regret | Can you stand the person you’ve become

Your albatross, let it go, let it go | Your albatross, shoot it down, shoot it down | When you just can’t shake the heavy weight of living…” – Bastille, Weight of Living (Part 1)

And as I did so, the chain on that necklace broke, and my albatross hit the ground (seriously that thing now won’t stay on any chain I attach it to and it isn’t even heavy… I lost it eventually because it fell off somewhere. If you’re wondering about an albatross being worn around a neck, read The Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner).

When I listen to their music, the albatross never matters. It takes off and sends my mood into the sky with it. Without fail. Always. Suddenly I don’t care about the person I’ve become – I am someone else, somewhere else… Always. Such is the power of music.