Monday, February 13, 2012

Music of my life

Isn't it strange how a song, a book, a movie can take you back in time and be a part of your past, connect to your experiences in a way you've never known? Whitney Houston was one of the first singers I ever "picked" for myself to listen to. I liked her not because my mother did or because my brother was a fan. This was my music. I remember playing "The Bodyguard" soundtrack CD  borrowed from my brother's girlfriend on a loop and then making a tape copy I took to my class' school trip. I recall how singles from that album dominated the MTV charts with multiple entries at a time. And it got me to think how prominent music has always been in my life. How when my mom would massage me, stretch me out or have me do exercises for hours, the music always played. I find it strange now that I think about it, that I never complained. The routines were repetitive, took forever everyday, would sometimes get painful and take me away from other things I wanted to be doing. Yet, oddly I don't remember ever thinking: my able-bodied friends don't have to do it and I never asked myself: Why me? And - although I knew I can't chase and run like my friends do in their spare time I don't think I ever felt excluded.  I remember walking around our apartment in leg braces and with sticks listening to Pet Shop Boys and Sandra. I would have to do 10 rounds around the house daily. The braces had metal rods in them and were quite heavy, so it would  take a while. Yet, the music made the time flow faster. I used to read a lot as a child. Whenever I had to be in a 24/7 rehabilitation facility I would swallow books whole in the spare time.  I guess perhaps it was my mind's way to detach from the boredom of reality but the things that I read and the music I listened to made me  dream of great adventures I would have when I grow up. I've had a vivid imagination, I could turn anything into a game and when I was really small my favorite toy was a tape recorder. I liked my childhood, although a lot of time was spent away from home. Years in Hungary were probably the better part- I've also had a few painful surgeries at a very early age. But the sounds, the words have always made it better.

And I guess we never realize how the art and pop culture infuse our lives. It's been quite a while since I listened to anything by Whitney Houston and she's just one of many people who made the soundtrack of my life. Still, at one point she touched me.It's one of those things you don't notice until they're ripped away from you, part of your past. And then I got to think about my own quest for inspiration and how I always believed you should help others and make the best out of the time we have. It takes some thick skin to be famous and it feels like a lot of talented people recently turned out to be too fragile and tormented for their own lives. We've lost some inspiring people of culture recently. And I just couldn't stop thinking when I was reading on Whitney Houston's death, how different it was from the passing of Wislawa Szymborka, literary Nobel prize winner who died at 89.  Szymborska died peacefully, in her sleep after  having a long life full of accomplishment, yet quiet and respectful.  She even indulged in some of her addictions until her her death. Houston peaked too soon, burnt out too soon and now gossip press is after every detail about her final hours they can their hands on. There's not much respect in that.  

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