There is a girl sitting on the edge of the fireplace, staring off while the others around her talk about their hopes and dreams. She half smiles here and there and talks about some of the things she’s thinking of for her future, but her sentences falter off the last few words - they never quite complete. I see her though. I see how she doesn’t know what life has in store, doesn’t have her “Five-Year-Plan,” and I see how this makes her feel less than the others. I see the slight flick up of her eyebrows, some hint of sadness, and the half smile that has no heart to it, like she’s trying to pass it all off as nonchalant. I write music for her, so that she might understand, so that she might someday know what it’s like to feel whole, so that she might first find glimmers of happiness before she worries about commanding the tide of life.
There is a toddler smiling up at people in the grocery store. Sometimes they smile back but sometimes they turn away because his almond-shaped eyes make them uncomfortable. He cries at playgrounds and eats wood chips instead. He knows over 200 signs and maybe after two years of pre-school he will be able to go on to the normal school track instead of Special Education. He has Down syndrome. (Though his mom likes to call it Up syndrome). I write music for him. I write music because I can see his spirit and I know it has beautiful things to teach the world. I write music so that maybe someday I can tell his story and give him some strength in a world that might only tear him down.
There is a man in a cubicle who works on a computer and goes to meetings. He works all day, works once he gets home, might fill his days with activity as a way of not thinking about it all. Sometimes, he wonders what it’d be like somewhere else, but mostly he prefers not to think of it. I haven’t been there - in a cubicle like he has - but I know what it’s like to numb yourself in activity, to go through motions quickly and never stopping, as to not feel. For if you stop, unanswered questions will catch up to you. I know what it’s like to be drowned in apathy. I write music for him, so that he might feel something, anything, no matter how contained. I write music so that he might clear the clouds from his head and realize there are many dreams to be dreamed, that he doesn’t have to be stuck.
There is a woman who tried to be a flutist. When her wrists failed her and her dreams were stolen from her clenched up, arthritic fists, she had to succumb to the American Dream she always hated. Complete with a husband, kid, and a question of sexuality 10 years later, she puts on a mask to hide all the emotion she hates feeling. I write music for her. I write so that she might feel something unworldly in her worldly life, so that she might know she has a purpose where she is, so that she might try to teach the world something of her heart.
There is a professional violinist who is celebrated and appreciated. She plays beautifully, but some say she never really liked to talk about the heavy stuff. One day, though, she read my poem, the one that said “we’ll try to save your kidneys,” and the one that ended better than it began. And that same day, she picked up her violin to play the music, and the red collected around her eyes. No longer was she laughing or joking. Just for that moment, she knew, or perhaps she remembered, something she had wanted to forget. I write music for her, so that she can feel her buried emotions, so that she can allow herself to cry.
There is a woman who works from home. She works on excel spreadsheets and makes power points about how best to spend money on marketing. Mostly, she is incredibly happy with the world and claims she is doing good work selling happiness, but openly admits her life has no meaning at all. She used to throw up after she ate because being fat wasn’t acceptable in her family. She used to dream of driving off the bridge with her two newborns because she was so stressed and couldn’t handle it all. Now her children are grown and she’s mostly better in that not-wanting-to-talk-about-it way. I write music for her, so that she might understand something of the world other than money and so that she might understand something of her inner heart more than the buried pain of her past.
There is a man who enlisted in the Vietnam War. He had his illusions about heroism but he returned only to fall asleep on the hard wood floor wearing his combat boots every night, because it was most comfortable. Like so many others, he heard things and couldn’t turn off that ever-panic. I write for him. So that he may hear the music that has meaning to him and so that he may shape a different meaning to it, a meaning from a place of compassion rather than a place of fear.
There is a man who finds it in his soul necessary to drive up to sidewalks and tell the girls holding hands that they need to take their “sick shit” elsewhere. I can’t assume anything of his upbringing. I know only the hatred that exists in his heart today and the fear he elicited of me, making me feel like my emotions were wrong. I write for him, so that my music might stir a feeling inside him, a feeling that is other than hate.
There is a man whose home is Uganda. Imprisoned for homosexuality, he was tortured and abused, made to dance naked in front of the guards, made to bend his knees and lick his blood from the ground. Finally escaping, he shared his story, but fears he never will be able to return to his home and family. I write music for him, so that he may see he is not alone in the world and that even strangers still care about him.
There is a man from Argentina who was among those “disappeared” during the military regime of the 1970s. Tortured by being perpetually held up by his feet night after night, his organs were displaced. He recovered eventually, and was only saved by the public attention brought to him. He lives to tell his story through art and literature. He speaks to younger children so that they can still maintain their sense of selves even in the most horrific circumstances. I write music so that my stories might be as powerful as his messages of peace and justice.
There is a beautiful being with a blue stag across their chest. They are a walking altar, a place where the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine both have an honored role, meet and roam through the in-between. They are all of the above and none of the boxes you have ever listed. Even in Boulder, Colorado of all places they are met with disdain, with those who think the outward expression of their soul is something to fear, ridicule, judge, or outright hate. I write music for them, so they might know their wisdom is infinite, so they might know their wisdom is appreciated.
So finally, there is a little girl who became a woman, a goddess and then them. They exploded into their identity, but it doesn’t stop the dark from seeping in, giving them pause, giving them subdued and submissive reactions to the world. They write music for themself, so that they might make some impact on the world, and so that they continuously ascend into all they know. Healer, Artist, Activist, Storyteller, Teacher, Hummingbird, Infinite Love.