If I stare long enough into a mirror, I can convince myself that the bare patches on my scalp don’t look so bad. Keep my hands in my hair long enough and I can convince myself that I can pull out just one more. I know it’s not my place to say I’ve had a hard life, because, let’s face it, I haven’t. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a bed to sleep on when my body decides it’s had enough for the day. But the truth is, in two years’ time, I’ve learned more about myself then every year before. I am a trichotillomaniac. My life is not hard, but when it gets rough, I never could cope well. I yanked at each strand of sanity on my head, not being able to stop myself though I knew how bad my habit had gotten.
I needed help.
But it wasn’t a physical reflection that could better me. I needed an intrapersonal reflection. At first, I wasn’t sure what could inspire me to find the answers I needed. But things started to change through the passage of time. I truly began to listen to music. There were soothing qualities in passionate instrumental delivery, lyrics that were relatable, and in collection there were hints of courage that seemed to be made just for me at the time. I had the assurance that even when everyone in my world was fast asleep, I could lay awake, lose myself and forget everything that made me anxious.
Now, I know you have heard or read the “MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE <333333” story a trillion times, but hear me out. I often wondered: What about music makes it so endearing to thousands, millions, even billions? Well, the most satisfying answer I could give myself is this: It simply boils down to connection. When you hear the lyrics, they’re sung to you, for you, about you. When you hear the music, you hear it from the inside, and you swell with a resonating emotion. And the best part is, you are not and you are never the only one feeling that. There is always someone out there, no matter how isolated or so far removed you feel. Music has given me some of the absolute best friends I could ever have. And in that reflection, I finally got to thinking that I could break this. I did not have to feel so low. I could stop being so uneasy.
If I were to spend this night thanking every band for every moment in their music where I found reassurance and where I found comfort, time would fail me. Some of them are just beginning (Halos), some of them are still going strong (Oceana), and some of them have moved on (As Tall As Lions). Some have the highest voices (Circa Survive), some have no voice (Hammock). Some are lively and festive (Hellogoodbye) and others are perfect for any occasion (Alexisonfire). I know there are countless others who deserve these personal thanks and someday I know I will get the chance to do so properly. Whatever it is that draws out the inner person, the vulnerable one that we may at times refuse to reveal, listen and follow closely. In a world immersed in networking, it’s incredibly easy to take the time to tell them. Support them in their lifesaving work. They’ll show their appreciation. It’s what many live for, work for, slave for, sacrifice their personal lives for. So again, I thank them from the bottom of my heart. To the friends you have made through the power of music, keep them close. Love them, like I love mine.
At my age, it’s too easy for me to look back and think that I should not have experienced everything I have. I can stay busy feeling sorry for myself, and admittedly some nights, I do. But now I’m happy to say those are few and far between. I can stand in a mirror and convince myself that the bald spot isn’t noticeable and pull. Or I can look forward. I’ve grown stronger. I have a way to cope. I do. And for anyone who may be going through anything, you do too.
And after all of this, I can run my fingers against my scalp and feel the soft, consoling feeling of new hair growing.