Fear and loathing

I’m back from vacation trying to forget how much I hate reality checks. My coworker has a sign in his office that says “my reality check bounced,” and that’s pretty much the truth.

I’m listening to the new Jenny Lewis album for the fifth time through and trying to decide if I’m going to go through with grad school or not. And if I’m really going to move to Seattle. I’m trying to reconcile my need for a life of no obligations with America’s insistence on workaholic tendencies. I’m trying to research a career with happy animals. And what all-inclusive resort would be best for our 6th anniversary.

Mostly I’m trying to make my bounced reality check fix itself so I can stop being so frustrated at real life.

Kids, don’t ever grow up. Stay young and free forever.

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beelzebub has a devil put aside for me

I swear to god I want to start blogging again. I really do. I’ve just been really into music these days, which is a really asinine statement because I’ve always been into music, so that’s no excuse. Sometimes I just don’t know if I really care about anything in life because I know that nothing I do or say or try is ever going to be as good as music is. In fact, I’ve been on Prozac since I was 15, and I kind of feel like it’s almost because of music. Because I feel like nothing will ever feel as good the way music feels.

I think my teenage years were wasted over searching for a real life feeling that would feel as good as music. I thought my relationship with this kid I never fell out of love with would feel as good, but it never did. I thought anorexia would or college would or marriage. I really had my bets on marriage. Nope. Not so. Not so, Amy Morby! Nothing feels as good the way music feels.

I played the violin for 11 years, which happened after I realized I had an insatiable and fiery love for The Beatles. I got “Revolver” for my 8th birthday, along with a pair of floral GAP overalls, and I listened to “Got To Get You Back In My Life” on repeat for three months straight. I asked my dad to let me take violin lessons after I felt the same tinkle in my proverbial musical pinkle with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor. We had an Encarta CD-ROM that was the 1995 version of the internet, and I listened to the Mozart lessons over and over and over and wondered why the general vicinity of my heart and lungs felt so puffed up and tingly and fluttery. It felt so good, and I never wanted to stop feeling it.

I got the same feeling when my brother gave me two Radiohead albums for Christmas when I turned 12. He gave me OK Computer, and so many moments in my life revolved around “No Surprises” and “Paranoid Android.” The first time I realized I hated myself. The first time my heart was broken. The first time I felt like I couldn’t breathe because everything hurt so much. The first time I realized I loved somebody. There’s a Radiohead album for every formative chapter in my life. OK Computer is hating my body for the first time. Amnesiac is the breakup I never got over. Hail to the Thief is waiting outside of Media Play for him to get out of work. And then breaking up again. In Rainbows is hoping the next one will do the trick. King of Limbs is regretting rushing into things.

A good song makes my chest ache. It makes it difficult not to sing along even though I’m deathly ashamed of my man voice and secret desire to be reincarnated as Linda Ronstadt. A good song makes it difficult to keep working. Makes it impossible to pay attention to my chat conversation or the email I was in the middle of reading. I would take a night at home curating playlists over a night with friends any day. Music is constant, and music is one-sided. Music is full of three-part harmonies that make your arm hair stand up, and it’s full of chord progressions that make my brow furrow in the best way possible.

Silly songs do this to me. Billy Joel’s “Always a Woman to Me” and Harry Nilsson’s “Without You.” Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and David Bowie’s “Soul Love.” I will always stop to listen to Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” and “Hey, Jude” is a song that is so significantly everything to me that I don’t even know if I can talk about it.

I loved Weezer so much in middle school that I turned my room into a shrine. I idolized Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith and took guitar lessons because all I ever wanted was to be a smidgeon as cool as Joni Mitchell or Jenny Lewis. Oh my god, Jenny Lewis. She’s up there with Radiohead–taking every single formative, heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, ridiculously happy moment of my life and turning it into a CD that I knew I could always pop in whenever life had me down.

And then I found Tame Impala and Here We Go Magic and realized that Jim James’ voice made me hornier than any smooth move ever could. And then I rediscovered Queen and shed a little tear every time I thought about Freddy Mercury. Bohemian Rhapsody got me through high school, and I will sing it at karaoke any time, anywhere, any circumstance, and will most likely cry when I do. I even get sentimental and warm fuzzy about it when I watch Wayne’s World. Sue me.

I turned into a better person when my brother gave me “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” and I owe everything good in my life to Beck and The Cure and Simon and Garfunkel and James Taylor and Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. I will always turn it up when the BeeGees’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” comes on, and I will always credit Cat Stevens for my stellar performance in all things academic.

Sometimes I worry that I can’t keep living because music has made everything seem unattainable. Nothing will ever make me feel the way Radiohead’s “There, There” makes me feel. Or “Let it Be” or minute 2:16 of “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” And nobody really gets that. Unless they’re a bleeding-heart apostle and devout disciple to all things musical. If you are one of these, I salute you. We live half lives with one ear in the headphones and one outside, living a half-assed semblance of life. Trying to feel like any of it is worth our time. Most of the time I don’t think it is. If I could live inside a velvet-tinged smoke-hazed world of a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song I would. But that’s ridiculous. Kind of like this entire post. But that doesn’t mean it’s not how I feel.

Music will always trump reality. And that’s ok. Because headphones are always there, and playlists always need to be curated for various occasions. And I will someday do that full-time. But until I find that heavenly job, I will keep listening to music 23 out of every 24 hours of the day.