During this pandemic, we’ve all been rushed into our homes and been told to stay put for god knows how long. Initially, I appreciated the newfound quiet I found in my life, the chirping of birds in the morning, and the stillness of being awake during the witching hour. As days turned into weeks and weeks turned in months, time began to pass in strange ways. On one hand, quarantine feels like forever, and memories of being in crowds are growing faint; however, on the other hand, April passed in what literally felt like a blink of an eye. Days have begun to merge and nights are a blur. The whole world has retreated indoors, leaving the natural sound of the world to creep back in. If only we had our windows open to hear the birds and the rain, but most of us don’t. We all sit in the deafening quiet, waiting, without realising we’re slowly losing our minds. But then again, why not just turn on some music and save ourselves from mental destruction?
I thought I couldn’t live without music before, but now I simply don’t want to live without it. Lately, I’ve been listening to hours of music daily, it’s proven to be the ultimate escape from reality. One second I’m at a concert bopping along to A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and King Princess and the next I’m in my feels singing along to Imran Khan’s Bewafa*.
Initially, music was something I did solo, a time I spent enjoying my own company and lounging on my bed. At first glance, I was rather happy, I didn’t have many responsibilities, at least compared to my usual life in Boston, and I wasn’t overly worried for my family’s health because everyone has and continues to follow quarantine procedures. This quickly changed when I started listening to the music I had previously enjoyed with my friends this past year. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic and somewhat resentful that I wasn’t enjoying spring in Boston as I’d initially planned. Everyone has music that reminds them of their memories, some good and some bad, but then there’s music that reminds you of everything and nothing at all. Sunset Lover by Petit Biscuit** was this song for me. When I heard it again for the first time during quarantine I remembered dozens of memories from the past year while also feeling so anchored in my current situation.
What proceeded has been a whirlwind of emotions, through which I have come to the conclusion that music is one of the truest forms of intimacy I know how to use. When I refer to intimacy, I don’t only mean that between two people but also that between oneself. Music has undoubtedly helped me form bonds with other people however since this pandemic it’s evoked a sense of intimacy with myself.
Prior to quarantine, I had already used music as a way of developing relationships. After all, if you can’t vibe to the same tunes, or at least appreciate the similar songs, then you’ll probably find a boatload of differences in the rest of the friendship or whatever be it. Trust me when I say you don’t want to spend hours driving with someone who shits on your music taste (even though what they listen to could be classified as noise rather than music. And that’s being generous).
Becoming a recently single (and thriving) young woman I decided to start focusing on me; who I am, what I want, and how I chose to get there. Over the last few months, I’ve read books, meditated, taken care of my body and soul, and focused on my goals. But the one thing I seemed to have forgotten was to take the time to fully absorb everything I was learning and changing about myself. Like most things, growth takes time; something I’ve always complained I don’t have enough of. With all my newly founded time I’ve been able to digest all the changes in my life. I’ve also begun the search for new ways to care for myself, music being the most rewarding. I’ve used it to cheer myself up when I need encouragement and to help myself come off the “high” I get looking at the sunset. It’s been a tool to fill all the moments in my day and help me cope with feeling trapped and cornered.
Developing a sense of intimacy with myself might be the biggest thing I do during this quarantine. And though I may not be able to add it to my resume, I know its effects will last years, if not decades. And with that, I implore you to add music to your repertoire of fostering intimacy both with others and within yourself. If you’re anything like me, it’ll be the best thing you do for yourself.
*I cannot say I didn’t take an hour-long break to listen to Bewafa on repeat because I most definitely did. Go listen to it here and tell me it doesn't put me in your feels.