The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

What Songs Get You Through?

I sometimes save things in Google reader that have interesting titles and that I want to read later. “The Wrestler and the Cornflake Girl,” written by a wrestler who fell in  love with the music of Tori Amos, is one that I actually did read later. I think it’s because of the the “WTF” factor — my reaction to a wrestler/Tori Amos fan made me realize I was totally stereotyping, something I detest and don’t want to do.

Sure enough, reading proved my stereotyping all wrong. I haven’t listened to much Tori Amos, but I completely understood how deeply Mick Foley was affected by Amos’ song, “Winter.”

And then there was “Winter.”

…Again, though, why that song? I think it comes down to confidence. In all four of those matches, my anxiety was high, my confidence low. All four matches offered not only the possibility but the near certainty of injury. And in all four of those cases, I sat down by myself, rocking back and forth slowly, letting that voice take me far away from my doubts and insecurities. “When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do?”

Most listeners would interpret “Winter” as a song about a father’s love for a child. But the question in the refrain always appealed to the scared part of me, the part that believed I wasn’t strong enough, or big enough, or good enough. It never made me think of doing wild and dangerous deeds inside a wrestling ring. It helped me believe that I was strong enough to do the things I already knew needed to be done.

As I read Foley describe how “Winter” got him through difficult moments and personal challenges. I’m not sure what term describes songs like this. But I’ve had several that have done the same for me at different times.

Some of them still stop me dead in my tracks now. And a number of them are on an iPod playlist that I fire up when I need a boost. For example, Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” gives me a real, sometimes much-needed lift.

After that, I’m probably not quite ready to take on the whole world, but I’m not ready to give up either. The words “No one else can feel it for you, only you can let it in,” and “Today is where your book begins,” kind of do the same thign for me that “Winter” did for Foley.

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