Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Just Breathe (are we suffocating?)

“2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to”
--Anna Nalick, Breathe (2AM)

3AM and I toss restlessly in bed. I can’t fall back asleep. The covers are closing around my neck, as though they have a savage purpose of their own. The night that wraps around me activates my thoughts—sparks of ideas firing around in my brain—ideas I’ll never retain until morning. I try my usual repertoire of mental sleep strategies, no luck. Over and over in my head the chorus of Anna Nalick’s Breathe whispers in my head.

I finally get up; Aaron remains breathing peacefully, rhythmically—despite my repeated surreptitious attempts to rouse him. The dogs follow me into the den, their feet padding like little tap dancers behind me. I fire up the computer—maybe I’ll write. I want to hear Breathe so I access iTunes and search for the song. There are currently well over 50 songs with the word “breathe” as the title, or factoring strongly into the title. There is also a group called Breathe.

This gets me wondering about all these poetic attempts to encourage breathing, to remind us of this basic function. Are we all suffocating? What is constricting us? What makes my life so much more animated at night, in the confines of my over-burdened imagination? How many times a day do I realize that I am holding my breath, that I must make a concerted effort to release the holding? Do we do this less when we’re children, when we lack adult self-consciousness?

Anna sings:
"'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable

And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe"

I download the song, beautiful songwriting, beautiful singer. She’s living her art. I want to live my art, but the risk makes me store it instead in my head—maybe to be intentionally forgotten. What hurts more, singing out loud off-key, or just listening to the music in your head? My ex-husband used to sing off-key in church, loudly, proudly. I remember hating him, rather, for his healthy abandon as I just mouthed the words.

For complete lyrics to Breathe follow this


At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Kara said...

Irony. It's 3am and I can't sleep. The Breathe song was running through my head, so I googled to find the lyrics to post it on my blog. In doing so, I found your post. It's exactly my night tonight. Hope you got some sleep. Maybe I'll be able to fall asleep soon, too.


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