A Song That Ignites More Than 23 Feelings
Paying tribute to Heather for sharing her love for country music with me!
I am writing this post from my childhood room, in my childhood house, in the heart of London.
Carolina In My Mind is playing in the background.
Ironic right. A Londoner, living in the birthplace of Grime, lover of Dizzee Rascal and I am listening to James Taylor, the king of Country music...
A song is just a song though, right? On the surface, yes.
Songs play isolated in a shop while your browsing, they show up on shuffle, or play on in the background through the radio.
Songs can be just songs... But that would be to miss out on something powerful.
A song is a not so little thing.
Songs are like metaphorical freight trains that travel from continent to continent - though somewhat more elegant - the concept is that they can carry metaphorical "baggage". Some are empty, some laden down with baggage upon baggage. And I am talking about emotional and experiential baggage here.
Do you remember the song you and your ex would always sing along to? The song that was played when you won that championship game? The song that was chiming on your way to that beach trip you will never forget?
Songs are a carrier.
They transport feelings of confidence, joy, loss, loneliness, experience... the list could go on.
They also prime you. There's no wonder Dreams and Nightmares has become an all-time greatest pre-match song - because it hypes you up, gets the blood flowing, and reminds you that you're about to go to battle on the field.
Priming is a form of preparation, that many often don't acknowledge, yet can have a big impact, if used correctly.
Looking at a song, as merely a compilation of notes and words would be to undermine the impact it can truly have. To not acknowledge the big impact, this little thing could have.
Listening to Carolina In My Mind reminds me of my time at the University of North Carolina wearing Jordan's number, 23.
Reminds me of the time when I first arrived in America and I stubbornly refused to listen to country; to the time I opened my eyes to it because my boyfriend was a big fan; to the times a friend of mine and I would listen to country radio on the way to a Saturday coffee date; to the time Heather O'Reilly and I drove to the beach with it on repeat and singing; to the times it would play as the celebration song in our stadium in Chapel Hill North Carolina - whenever we would win a game with the UNC Women's Soccer team!
Country music has become a favourite of mine (check out my Carolina Country Playlist)!!
So, when I ironically blast country (more specifically the song Carolina In My Mind) it is not to be laughed at or annoy the neighbours - but to bring back a flood of emotion and experiences; for that freight train to barge into my room bringing along with it all the baggage too!
I acknowledge that a song can prime me for happiness. I appreciate the way it can do more for me than just fill the silence. I apply it to my life by attaching meaning and experience to it. I act on the emotions that it creates for me - most often I listen to it before a training session with Arsenal to get my adrenaline and energy going.
Think of the emotion you feel when that specific song plays when you hit shuffle on your phone...
What impact does it have?
If it makes you sad, skip it!
Makes you feel confident? Add it to your pre-game or pre-date routine; it is a game-changer! And when someone asks you why you have your headphone on, tell them, you're priming for what is to come - whatever that may be!
A song is a little thing, that can have a not so little impact.