While watching the Australian Open this last week, they played a short clip of The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights as they cut to an ad break. Both G and I started singing and continued even as the ads began to play.
“This song is addictive,” I said as we arrived at a place where we no longer knew the words. I googled it and brought it up on YouTube. “I can’t explain it but it gives me the same feeling as Robert Miles’ Children and Darude’s Sandstorm. It’s compulsive. As soon as I hear it, I have to play it on repeat until the feeling subsides. Do you know what I mean?”
We tumbled down a rabbit hole of 80s synth and 90s dream trance as we tried to find other songs that filled us with the same feeling. I still don’t know what it is about the composition that makes this music so compelling to me, I just know it floods me with memories I’m not sure I have–flashbacks of nights in clubs, dancing like I’m the only one on the floor, laughing with dates in coffee shops, screaming as I ride rollercoasters at Disneyland for the fifteenth time that day, having friends in my 20s, being liked by people; a life I only imagine.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t have friends, I didn’t go dancing and I didn’t ride rollercoasters–but there is something in this music that drives a nostalgia I cannot name. And I wouldn’t want to. It’s enough just to feel it.
For some reason, YouTube seems to be showing me a flashback of my playlist in 2010 as I search for music tonight. It’s almost impossible to fathom that eleven years have passed since I changed the course of my life. In early 2010, I began treatment for an eating disorder that had comforted me on and off for almost fifteen years. I left a marriage that was nominal only; my husband far more interested in women inside his computer. I had no idea what I was doing. And I was so ill, there was no guarantee I’d live to see the end of the year. So eleven years feels like some sort of achievement.
In December last year, I hit a personal record for the longest time living in the same house. At the end of May this year, I’ll reach another milestone–seven years with my beloved–and not one “break” or break-up. These things may seem trivial but when our future–indeed, our present–has felt as precarious as it has in the last eight months, they are my touchstones. So tonight I’m remembering the woman from 2010 who was brave enough to seek help, brave enough to leave, and brave enough to live. And I’m saying thank you. These songs are for you.
Songwriters: Aaron Short / Alisa Xayalith / Thom Powers
After seven seemingly endless months, we are finally home.
There is a house built out of stone Wooden floors, walls and window sills Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust This is a place where I don’t feel alone This is a place where I feel at home
‘Cause, I built a home For you For me
Until it disappeared From me From you
And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust
Out in the garden where we planted the seeds There is a tree as old as me Branches were sewn by the colour of green Ground had arose and passed it’s knees
By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top I climbed the tree to see the world When the gusts came around to blow me down I held on as tightly as you held onto me I held on as tightly as you held onto me
And, I built a home For you For me
Songwriters: Jason Angus Stoddart Swinscoe / Patrick Watson / Philip Jonathan France / Stella Page