“Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.”
― Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Last night saw the revival of my 7-year-old iPod (above), opening an emotional floodgate of memories tagged to songs from another lifetime. Despite being in a badly scratched and battered state after years of abuse in the studio, it played just fine. I recall purchasing this as a fresh undergraduate who had just fallen so hard for dance and was ready to give up the world just so I could dance forever. On days when nothing else made sense but songs and movement, I was plugged into my iPod, lost in beats.
At 19, I was a dance instructor earning my keep. Pretty much everyone I knew joked that I was the part-time student and full-time dancer. I would skip classes for show rehearsals, then stay up all night after dance classes to do a half-assed job on assignments. I neglected a lot (of people and circumstances) just so I could dance. When I bothered to show up in lectures I was the hard-to-reach girl perpetually in baggy Tees and flashy dance shoes, who never stayed to chat with my Professors as I would be rushing off to dance. I’m blessed with parents who never questioned my passion even on days when I got home after rehearsals at 3am and had to be up for school in 5 hours.
Music was my high and music was my low. I danced hard out of passion. It was a vent for all my frustrations and a channel to my joys. In itself a process and not means to an end, I enjoyed dance rehearsals more than the actual showcase. I didn’t dance for fame – I was and am just as happy grooving in my own bedroom, eyes closed. More ways than one, dance is a bridge to emotional states I could never quite cross.
Eventually when I got my psychology degree, I knew my love affair with dance was to end. During my final semester reality struck hard – I was never meant to be a dancer. I was too ambitious and scared to be led by fluffy, unstable dreams. Much as I am passion-driven, I would first and foremost be a logical being with my emotions suppressed. A lot of decisions I now make are rooted in that part of me.
Last night, realization struck that I’m not the same person I was 7 years ago. Just as I often did I was in an open space, plugged into my old iPod, yet the familiar highs and sorrows evaded me while listening to songs I once loved. I used to be so harsh on myself – I would never allow myself to forget a step. Yet I don’t feel a sense of loss now at not remembering dance steps which once branded my muscles like a memory or a scar. Memories fade, as do priorities. Many things which once mattered so much to me, or even once meant the world to me, didn’t matter any more. I had playlists marked ‘To Learn’ or ‘Practice’ with music which were once looped over and over. Now they no longer made any sense. Other songs were sectioned into playlists by genre, mood and artistes, including a playlist just for ‘Recorded Lectures’ which I taped when my heart and soul wasn’t in the classroom with me Even in an inconsequential iPod my life was logically compartmentalized.
Logic speaks for the mind. Even with evolving circumstances and passing time, I would always be reduced to a state of logical reasoning. Above all, my thoughts overcome my heart. At certain points in time we’re bound to feel lightning flashes of passion and heat – but could they endure the endless wintering of time? Or are they only good at offering escape and a state of trance.
Food for thought on this Sunday night.
I still miss.