The Songs That Saved My Life

But don’t forget the songs,
That made you cry,
And the songs that saved your life,
Yes, you’re older now,
And you’re a clever swine,
But they were the only ones who ever stood by you.

– from Rubber Ring by The Smiths

Nothing to see here.

CD? Talisman? Both.

CD? Talisman? Both.

So the other day I was on the twitters chatting with the fabulous Hayden. (She’s @haydentompkins. Check her out. She rocks.)

We were yacking about music. And how big and gorgeous and powerful and vital it is.

I said that music saved my life. And she asked me if I’d be up for saying a little more about that.

So here I am.

Now I get that the whole music-saved-my-life thing is a big statement. And it also sounds kind of cliché. But it’s also totally true.

Music has been a big thing for me since pretty much forever.

And there have been so many times in my life where music helped me get through great big scary stuff.

Sometimes music was the only thing that got me through. It was the lifeline I needed to hang on.

Like when I was homeless.

A double shot of suck

Rewind to about fourteen years ago. When two hugely sucktastic things happened within a few days.

Sucktastic thing #1: I got kicked out of where I was living. With no notice.

Sucktastic thing #2: My fiancé unexpectedly called things off a couple of months before the wedding.

So between the break up and being booted out, I had nowhere to go.

I had a job, but no savings.

And now I had no address. Which made getting an apartment all kinds of hard.

Cars. Police. Crazy people.

For the first few days I slept in my car.

But finding a place to park at night was a thousand kinds of complicated.

When I parked in the safe neighborhoods, people would call the police about a strange car parked on their street.

And when I parked in the not-so-safe neighborhoods, I’d stay up all night to make sure no one tried to break into the car.

Clearly, the car thing was a bad plan.

So I snagged a room in a seedy little motel. This place was straight out of the movies.

Bullet holes in the walls.

A shower that never worked.

An owner that would randomly bust through the door in the middle of the night screaming about not being paid. Even though I totally paid him the day before.

Bad plan #2.

Is that blood?

So I looked in the paper for rooms to rent.

Room #1 was basically a crack-house-for-rent kind of deal.

My room was about six by six. It had a chair and a bed in it.

Well, kind of.

The “bed” consisted of a broken box spring. And a mattress that had – get this – blood stains on it.

So I slept on the floor.

And since the only lock on the door was a padlock that locked from the outside – brilliant! – I shoved the chair and what few things I had against the door at night.

Because, you know, a boombox, four CDs, three books and six t-shirts made it practically a fortress.

Enter screaming guy

The guy in the room next to me screamed a lot. Sometimes at the guy down the hall. But usually at people who weren’t really there. And usually in the middle of the night.

Night number two saw Screaming Guy and Upstairs Guy coming to blows in the hall. Right outside my room.

And during night number six someone got shot. Right outside my window.

I spent the rest of that night crying and throwing up into a fast food bag.

There was no night number seven there. I went back to sleeping in my car until my next paycheck.

Then I found room #2.

Which was not in a crack house. And the mattress was refreshingly free of blood stains. But it was in a house full of so much weirdness that I can’t really talk about it. Even now.

I stayed for six days. And then moved out in the middle of the night.

Too. Much. Weirdness.

Anchors and stuff

But here’s the one constant thing throughout the whole craptastic experience.

I was always listening to music.
The music was like an anchor for me.

When I was sleeping in my car I listened to CDs on one of those old school portable CD players. That thing ate batteries like crazy. But I didn’t care.

I’d spend whatever cash I had on more batteries. So I could keep the music going. If I had money left over, I’d grab a burger or something. But batteries were the priority.

And when I checked out the creepy hotel room and crazy room #1 and crazy room #2, the first thing I looked for was a plug.

Could I plug in my stereo?

I even asked the guy who owned the crack house if the one outlet in the room worked. He looked at me like I was nuts. But I had to know.

Because being able to listen to music was the only thing that kept me from totally losing my shit.

Staying sane

I only had a few CDs with me. But the one I listened to constantly was The Soul Cages by Sting. I was spinning that non-stop.

It was the only way I could sleep at night.

And it would keep me from freaking out when I woke up in the morning.

Yeah, I may have been sleeping in my car or in a crack house or smack dab in the middle of serious weirdness.

But I woke up to music.
And that kept me sane.

The song that really stuck out from that disc was When The Angels Fall.

Especially this part:

So high above the world tonight,
The angels watch us sleeping,
And underneath a bridge of stars,
We dream in safety’s keeping,
But perhaps the dream is dreaming us,
Soaring with the seagulls,
Perhaps the dream is dreaming us,
Astride the backs of eagles.

Somehow this felt like a prayer.

That I was being watched over. That somehow this craziness would stop soon. That everything really would be ok.

And pretty soon it was.

Shiny round talismans

I got so much comfort from that CD. It was like a security blanket for my soul.

It made the hard less hard. And the scary less scary.

The music let me create my own space when I felt like I was living in the middle of a crazy scary alien landscape. There was room for me in the music.

And it kept me from feeling totally alone.

So, yeah, those songs saved my life.

Even though I can barely listen to The Soul Cages now. It just brings back so many of the ack! details from that time.

The hard. And the scary. And the pain.

So I never really listen to it anymore.

But I still have this CD. The same copy I had back then.

In a weird way, it feels like a talisman or something.

It got me through a really rough time. It kept me together. It gave me hope.

And I’m really, really thankful for that.

Your turn por favor

What songs have helped you through the hard and the scary and the ack?

Talk to me. Leave a note. Let me know.

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26 Responses to The Songs That Saved My Life
  1. Hayden Tompkins
    December 17, 2009 | 2:02 pm


    You are just freaking amazing, Fabeku.

    To this day I can’t listen to “The Rose” by Bette Midler without weeping. One time it came on inside a grocery store and I just had to leave until it was over.

    My dad used to sing it to us. When he wasn’t reading bedtime stories, he would get out his guitar and sing us to sleep. If he sang, he sang “The Rose”.

    Abuse never, never touched us in that quiet time before bed. For a little while, he was a real father – we were a real family. We could simply be, with no fear or anger or shame.

    That song holds the deepest parts of our family. I can’t listen to it, but it’s always there…in my heart.
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..Stop Apologizing and Start Rocking Your Self-Esteem! =-.

  2. Lori
    December 17, 2009 | 2:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story. What a life. What a life we have! I sometimes wonder how I made it through mine. But, I have the same relationship to music. I feel that it is other-worldly at times, quite like the lines from Sting that you list here.

    I have an Enya CD that got me through some really hard times. And, I, too, listened to Sting (and others) as SCUD alerts and monsoon-like rains in Saudi Arabia threatened.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I’m blessed to have met you – I followed Hayden’s tweet over here; she’s such a peach!
    Keep living large and enjoying life. You’re awesome and beautiful!

    P.S. I rock with Headway Themes, too – you have a great site! Love the yellows and oranges!
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Blue =-.

  3. Wulfie
    December 17, 2009 | 4:01 pm


    Yeah, music. I have UP songs, DOWN songs, MAINTAINING songs and sometimes songs that are memory keepers for me. Sometimes, just sometimes, you gotta go visit the memory songs to bring you forward to the Here I AM! songs. I also have ‘let’s do something different and shake our groove thang’ songs.

    Yeah…music. 😀

  4. Katie Schroth
    December 17, 2009 | 4:48 pm

    I fortunately have never experienced quite the level of ack that you blogged about. Thank you for your courageous sharing.

    I have experienced times when a certain piece of music touched me somewhere deep, deep within. It would touch so deeply that I would have it playing non-stop for hours on end. I remember driving home from one of your workshops (a 10 ½ hour drive) and not realizing till I was home that I had the same 3 ½ minute piece of music on repeat in my vehicle for the whole drive. In fact, I kept that song on repeat for months in my vehicle, then suddenly one day, I put something else on. A month or so later I was thinking about that and put the music on – it just seemed like a very ordinary song! I suspect that since this happened right after a workshop, it was an integration thing – I just needed lots and lots of support integrating.

    Actually, I have had this happen a number of times. I will hear a song or sometimes a CD and simply cannot get enough of it. I can listen for hours, days, weeks, months. There is just something to the music that is deeply healing or restorative. So, yes, in maybe a slightly different way, music has played a really critical supportive role in my life.

  5. Bridget
    December 17, 2009 | 4:49 pm

    Oh bless you. BLESS YOU! For going through that and finding the way to persevere. And for being here now to bless us with your work and your friendship.

    About 8 years ago, I went through a horrendous break-up. I felt like the world broke open and I fell down into a big dark hole that only I could crawl out of.

    Essentially, my partner of ten years went through the transgender process (a good thing) and then left me for a much younger woman (a very well disguised good thing). It was ugly. It was just incredibly ugly. It was one of those experiences that rips you down and then you find yourself transcending, transcending, transcending.

    Well, I drove around a lot, sifting through my many feelings, and while I did, I listened almost exclusively to Dar Williams’ The Green World”. Especially her song Spring Street.

    That song got me through.

    Here are the lyrics:

    Spring Street

    I’m sorry that I left you
    With your questions all alone
    But I was too happy driving
    And too angry to drive home
    I was thinking about the easy courage
    Of my distant friends
    They said I could let this bridge wash out
    And never make amends

    Can I blow this small town
    Make a big sound
    Like the star of a film noir postcard
    Can I just forget the frames
    I shared with you

    And I can’t believe what they’re saying
    They’re saying I can change my mind
    Start over on Spring Street
    I’m welcome anytime

    Well there are Spring Street storefront daisies
    Floating on their neon stems
    There are new shirts on the clothes racks
    Should I feel like one of them

    I can find a small apartment
    Where a struggling artist died
    And pretend because I pay the rent
    I know that pain inside

    Yeah, let’s watch the tour bus stop and tell us
    Here’s the scene of a spring green life dream
    Take the best part
    Write it in your caffeine diary

    And I can’t believe what they’re saying
    They’re saying I can leave tonight
    Start over on Spring Street
    I’m welcome anytime

    This year April had a blizzard
    Just to show she did not care
    And the new dead leaves
    They made the trees look like children with gray hair

    But I’ll push myself up through the dirt
    And shake my petals free
    I’m resolved to being born
    And so resigned to bravery

    Yeah the one who leaves this also grieves this
    Too much rain on a prairie flood plain
    Houses floating, love is like that
    We built on the river

    And that’s to say, yeah I’m leaving
    But I don’t have to go there I don’t have to go to
    Spring Street ‘Cause it’s spring everywhere…

    Rock on- Fabeku. Rock on.

  6. Sulwyn
    December 17, 2009 | 5:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing this… I was hospitalized for depression several years ago and the songs that kept me alive were Ready For the Storm by Dougie MacLean and the Overture of The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. In fact, most of my important music is either some sort of musical soundtrack or some kind of celtic thing.
    .-= Sulwyn´s last blog ..Wishcasting Wednesday: Gifts =-.

  7. Emily
    December 17, 2009 | 6:57 pm

    Oh man, the hard. Ouch. So glad you shared this. Song that doesn’t necessarily get me through the hard parts, but at least commiserates with me is “Washing of the Water” by Peter Gabriel on Up (well, and pretty much the whole freaking album…”Digging in the Dirt”? Uh-huh.)

  8. Lilly
    December 17, 2009 | 7:02 pm

    This post of yours is so touching! Gee even sound ninjas endure rough life experiences. I also have found music to be enormously helpful for me to come to terms with difficult times and intense feelings. I’ll share with you my most recent time.

    My dad died from cancer almost three years ago. When he got his diagnosis a year prior, I was all – my daddy ‘aint dying! No way am I going to lose my dad, and I didn’t seriously think about it until he told me the treatment wasn’t working. And two months later he was gone, it happened really fast.

    I was very close with my dad, and I was plunged into the abyss of deeply painful grief. In my fresh new raw state I began listening to all the music of my youth, which triggered memories of my dad.

    When I began high school at fourteen, my dad drove my best friend Amanda and I all the way to there because we wanted to participate in a performing arts high school magnet program. It was all the way the hell across town. But he drove us every day, until we later discovered “public transportation.” I felt really guilty remembering this and all the sacrificial things he did to support me growing up.

    I was listening to Supertramp’s Breakfast in America at that time when I started HS, so I re-listened to it a few years ago. The song “Oh Darling” – was like my dad talking to me from the other side. Unfortunately it is now excruciatingly painful for me to listen to, but if I need to exercise some grief I will play it over and over to move through it.

    “Well you know
    I’m gonna be around you, all about you
    Always by your side
    I’m gonna dream about you, scheme about you
    Love you all the time,
    I’m gonna catch you lady
    Catch you lady”

    Full song lyrics:
    Oh darling, will you ever change your mind
    I’ve been feeling left behind
    Like a shadow in your light
    Ah honey won’t you say that I’m the one
    And if you think you’re gonna run
    Well you know
    I’m gonna be around you, all about you
    Always by your side
    I’m gonna dream about you, scheme about you
    Love you all the time,Love you all the time
    I’m gonna catch you lady
    Catch you lady
    The news is all over town
    You better not let me down
    Keep telling me you’re feeling good
    As good as you ever could
    Please tell me that you’ll never go
    Ah ah no no
    Ah lately, I’m like a watch that’s overwound
    And I’ve got both feet off the ground
    Because you see
    I’m gonna be so busy, oh my pretty
    Love you night and day
    And through the rain and shine
    I’ll make you mine
    I’ll love you come what may
    I’m gonna catch you lady, catch you lady
    Catch you lady uh huh
    (lyrics from the internet)

    I also really love to listen to Mozart’s Requiem, to get in touch with my serious self.

  9. Alexia
    December 17, 2009 | 7:12 pm

    Oh wow.
    You had some major suckness in your life…

    Glad you came out on the other side, though!

    And that record got me through high school – The Soul Cages, that is. I still cry when I hear “when the angels fall”. I remember scribbling the lyrics for every song constantly – from memory – the songs playing in my head during school… I heard every note exactly like it was on the record. And I still can.

    *hugs* so… when are you coming to the ATL? 🙂
    .-= Alexia´s last blog ..Starred Items: Clear as Mud Edition =-.

  10. Springer
    December 17, 2009 | 7:15 pm

    My dear Fabeku thank you for being You. Your post certainly resonated with me. During one of my difficult periods my oldest son gave me a Fiona Apple cassette (yep before CD’s). Well it turned out to be one of those cassette’s that played constantly in the car and I carried it in my purse with me every where. I was going through the end of a very difficult relationship that was abusive and I was trying to find my way through it all with 3 kids and all the stuff that goes with the “happy suburban family” meme that we often try to maintain. I felt very betrayed and abused emotionally and her lyrics expressed how I felt deep inside and yes there was much anger. Her voice was one that I could sing with and man I belted her songs out loud and clear whenever I could. Her music really did help me. I processed a lot of anger singing with her. I had never heard of her before my son gave me the cassette. I was raising a family and not as in touch with what was popular on the music scene as I had when I was a bit younger. There are about 3 songs that really expressed where I was and how I felt so its hard to think of just one. A snippet from Carrion was what first jumped out at me when I first listened to the cassette:

    “My feel for you, boy
    Is decaying in front of me
    Like the carrion
    Of a murdered prey
    And all I want is
    To save you, honey,
    or the strength to walk away”

    And from “Shadowboxer”:

    “Once my lover
    Now my friend
    What a cruel thing
    To pretend
    What a cunning way
    To condescend
    Once my lover and
    Now my friend
    Oh, you creep up
    Like the clouds
    And you set my soul at ease
    Then you let
    Your love abound
    And you bring me
    To my knees
    Oh, it’s evil, babe
    The way you let
    Your grace enrapture me
    When will you know
    I’d be insane
    To ever let that
    Dirty game recapture me

    You made me
    A shadowboxer, baby
    I wanna be ready
    For what you do
    I’ve been swinging
    All around me
    ‘Cause I don’t know
    When you’re gonna
    Make your move

    Oh, your gaze
    Is dangerous
    And you fill your
    Space so sweet
    If I let you
    Get too close
    You’ll set your
    Spell on me
    So darlin’
    I just wanna say
    Just in case
    I don’t come through
    I was on to every play
    I just wanted you

    But, oh, it’s so evil
    My love
    The way you’ve no
    Reverence to my concern
    So I’ll be sure to
    Stay wary of you, love
    To save the pain of
    Once my flame and
    Twice my burn

    So yeah, I dig what your sharing. I ended up homeless too with an 11 y.o. son, but I was extremely fortunate because I didn’t have to stay homeless for very long. That I believe is the day I found my Soul. Since then we’ve been doing better and better every day. Thanks to all of you who have shared. I honor you all in my heart, even though I may not know you.

  11. Josiane
    December 17, 2009 | 11:12 pm

    {hugs} Sorry you had to go through such a rough spot. I’m glad music helped you make it through all that hard, and you can now shine as brightly as you do.
    I have a CD that has helped me in times of melancholy. I remember one morning I felt sad and had no clue why, so I put that CD on and cried, cried, cried; that was a perfect moment. You know, when there’s strange beauty in an unexplicable sadness, and the soundtrack is just right? It was like that. One song on that CD deeply moves me, and not only when I’m having the blues – the lyrics are absolute gorgeousness, a wonderful ode to life and the possibility of new beginnings. I really wish I could share it, but it’s in French, and I’ve sadly found it to be impossible for me to translate for my English-speaking friends – and trust me, I’ve tried, more than once!
    .-= Josiane´s last blog ..Noticing – the dragonfly edition =-.

    • Dyana Valentine
      February 17, 2012 | 3:11 am

      would you say what the artist/album are, please, Josiane? I don’t speak French, but I do speak music. Thanks.

  12. Tami
    December 18, 2009 | 12:45 pm

    Hey Fabeku-

    Amazing post! Thank you for your courage in sharing this with us, it really touched my Heart.

    I moved away from home while I was still a minor, to get away from a very abusive household. I lived in my car for a bit, and when I finally found a place to live, it was far away from everyone who really cared about me.

    I was alone, young, and stupid. Did a lot of partying, made a lot of dumb mistakes. The one CD that I listened to over and over was titled “Spirit” by Jewel. I love all of the songs on that CD, and I honestly couldn’t pick one that was my favorite, they are all so amazing. One that stands out though, is ‘Life Uncommon’:

    “Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
    No longer lend your strength to that
    which you wish to be free from
    Fill your lives with love and bravery
    And you shall lead a life uncommon”

    Love, love, love it. It really kept me going…

    What’s really strange, is reading your story brought me back to a time when I was probably 16 or 17 years old. I went for over a year without listening to any music whatsoever. I refused.

    I can’t for the life of me remember what set this off, but hearing any kind of music just made my entire body ache, and I would just start bawling like a baby.

    Such a weird point in my life, and it just goes to show what an impact music can have on us…even if we don’t realize the why or how of it.

    Thanks again for your sharing…


  13. Laurie Foley
    December 18, 2009 | 4:21 pm

    Hey Fabeku – Your blog just keeps getting better and better. Here’s one of my “get me through the dark times” songs from Ben Harper (who is just a total healer with a guitar in his hands). Hugs to you, Laurie

    “Diamonds On The Inside”

    I knew a girl
    Her name was truth
    She was a horrible liar.

    She couldnt spend one day alone
    But she couldnt be satisfied.

    When you have everything,
    You have everything to lose.
    She made herself
    A bed of nails
    And shes plannin’ on puttin’ it to use.

    Cos she had diamonds on the inside
    She had diamonds on the inside
    She had diamonds on the inside

    A candle throws its light into the darkness
    In a nasty world,so shines the good deed
    Make sure the fortune, that you seek
    Is the fortune you need.

    So tell me why,the first to ask,is the last to give,everytime
    What you say and do not mean
    Follow too close behind

    Cos she had diamonds on the inside
    She had diamonds on the inside
    She wore diamonds on the inside

    Like a soldier standing long under fire
    Any change comes as a relief.
    Let the giver’s name remain unspoken
    For she is just a generous thief.

    But she had diamonds on the inside
    Cos she had diamonds on the inside
    She wore diamonds on the inside
    She wore diamonds
    Oh diamonds
    She had diamonds
    She wore diamonds
    .-= Laurie Foley´s last blog ..Values-Driven Resolutions (and a worksheet, too!) =-.

  14. Gina
    December 18, 2009 | 8:08 pm

    Wow. I wonder if there’s anyone in this generation, and maybe even the last that couldn’t say that music saved their life.

    Don’t think I could be specific.. so many time periods, ages, but yeah, I think since the age of 11 there was nothing else. From coping to being/feeling so alone, which now I wonder was all I really wanted just so I could be by myself and get totally lost in whatever I was listening to at the time.

    Even now, I love nothing better than to “have” to drive somewhere alone, free of kids, computer, whatever, and just blast the tunes.

    My idea of quality alone time.

    Glad you made it through, my friend.
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..When Worlds Collide =-.

  15. Gina
    December 19, 2009 | 9:23 pm

    Hey there… had to check in again as I just re-watched a movie with the hubs that reminded me of this post, “Reign Over Me”.

    While about other very deep subjects, there was the unmistakable vein running through it of a man navigating intense loss and pain with only his music coming through his headphones to keep him afloat.

    Take care.
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..the annual holiday ambivalence post =-.

  16. Fabeku
    December 21, 2009 | 12:07 am

    Hey taters.


    I’m touched by what you’ve all shared.

    And to all of you that have shared your hard and your scary… big hugs and big thanks and deep, teary-eyed gratitude. To all of you.

    @Hayden – Big and powerful and beautiful and awesome. Right next to all kinds of hard and scary. I love where you said That song holds the deepest parts of our family. Because it really does feel like songs hold certain things. They create these spaces where things can hang out. I’m glad that The Rose held family for you. Like really, really, really glad.

    @Lori – Enya… right on! I dig Enya. Listening to her first CD was a total experience for me. So much more than just playing a CD. And Sting + SCUD alerts + Saudi Arabia = WOW.

    @Wulfie – I love that you have music for pretty much everything. Rock. On.

    @Katie – I totally relate to what you’re saying. I find myself doing similar stuff sometimes. I swear I had a Krishna Das CD on repeat for months and months when my wife was sick. It was literally all I could listen to. There’s some kind of transfer o’ mojo or something happening there.

    @Bridget – Breakups… argh. It kind of blows me away at how much they hurt. So so so much. And so so so deep. And when there’s extra stuff on top? Ouch x 1000. What a big bunch of gorgeous from Dar Williams. I’ve heard that song a hundred times, but I never really clued into the lyrics until you posted them. Amazing.

    @Sulwyn – I’m so glad you had music to get you through the hard. And I love Phantom of the Opera. I used to listen to religiously when I was a teenager. I hadn’t heard of Dougie MacLean until now, so thanks for the mention.

    @Emily – Peter Gabriel rocks my world. I’ve just about worn out his Passion CD. And I love almost everything of his. Seriously good schtuff!

    @Lilly – I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I lost mine in ’93. So I get at least some of the hard around this stuff. And the story you shared? Big. And beautiful. And the Oh Darling lyrics totally found my a wet-faced mess. Wow.

    @Alexia – I had a total ohmygodohmygodohmygod moment when I read your comment. That’s amazing that The Soul Cages was your talisman too! Wow! I don’t even know what to say. And yeah, I can still hear every note of that CD. It’s woven into my bones, I think. (And plans for a trip to ATL is in the works as we speak.)

    @Spring – So much hard and scary there. And what an incredible trip you’ve had. Amazing. And another big yay! for music helping to get through all of it. I remember when I first saw Fiona Apple on TV, she struck a chord. There was just something there. That something that’s hard to put into words. Her words, and her eyes, said a ton.

    @Josiane – You know, when there’s strange beauty in an unexplicable sadness, and the soundtrack is just right? It was like that. Yep… I get that totally. And I’m glad you’ve got a CD like that. It totally makes me wish I remembered enough French to hear it. Because it sounds all kinds of incredible.

    @Tami – More hard and scary. And more hanging-in-there and making-it-anyway. Yay! And I love the lyrics you posted. I’d love to scribble that all over my arms in permanent marker. I also totally agree with what you said about the impact music has. Huge huge huge.

    @Laurie – Ben Harper is totally a healer with a guitar in his hands. That’s a brilliant way of describing him. And just about every word from that song gives me chills.

    @Gina – I bet you’re right. I think music has saved countless people. Which is one of the things that wows me about it. How far and how deep it reaches. I also hear you on the being-alone-listening-to-music bit. Total quality alone time. And how cool that you mentioned Reign Over Me! I just put that in my Netflix basket. Knowing that there’s a bit of musical mojo included means I’ll be bumping it to the top of my list.

    Thanks again to all of you. To the people who commented. To the people read. To the people that have been through hard and scary and come out on the other side. And to the people who made the music that got us through.

    Big hugs all around.

  17. Pat/Lionaire
    December 21, 2009 | 3:39 pm

    I often think that I went through some bad times, until I read what others,like you Fabeku, have gone through. Many years later I realize that what I went through was really all for the best and I and my kids were so much better off. Life was not good, but now I have my kids thanking me for being strong and doing what I did. Music…no not at that time..there were no such things as CD’s and I didn’t own a radio..but now when I listen to some of the music from that time, it still brings back the bad things I was going through.

  18. Fabeku
    December 22, 2009 | 8:10 pm

    @Pat – I’m glad that things turned around for you. And that your kids recognize your strength. That’s huge. And awesome. Yay!

  19. Dave
    December 23, 2009 | 2:05 am

    Wow Fabeku, your blog is just rocking along at the moment–Fab new look, brilliant posts.

    Your homelessness story sounds awful, it’s scary how quickly the rug can be pulled from under our feet.

    I love how what sustained you through that period is connected to what you do now, I bet your CD’s help heaps of people through the hard and scary.

    For me, I landed in AA in my mid twenties a physical and mental wreck. I lurched from meeting to meeting carrying around a walkman cassette player listening to David Bowies’ ‘Heroes’ obsessively. “We can be heroes, just for one day’ Ugh. I totally took thing literally in those days. Can’t listen to the song without cringing now though.

  20. Andy Dolph
    December 23, 2009 | 1:10 pm


    Thanks for sharing such an amazing story. I can’t even imagine going through something like that.

    I’ve had so much music help me get through difficult times, I’ll pick a few to mention:

    More then anything else, the thing I turn to is The Visit by Loreena McKennitt. She starts from a celtic base but blends seamlessly sounds from all over the world. Her music touches me deeply, and is just wonderful for getting unstuck or being soothed if that’s what I need.

    I first heard The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams when my friend Sonja Bode played it on her recital when we were in college. I think it affected me so powerfully because the piece is so close to her heart – and that came through so powerfully. It is an amazing musical flight.

    Lately when I want to get myself moving, I often turn to music recored on theater pipe organs – these amazing instruments were built in the late 1920s and early 30s in movie theaters, to allow one organist to accompany a silent film. The goal was to give the organist as much of the tonal pallet of the orchestra as was possible with 1920s technology. Sort of the same idea as modern synthesizers – but done with blowers and organ pipes. To hear one of these Mighty Wurlitzers played live is truly amazing. I particularly tend to listen to recordings by Clark Wilson, Chris Gorsuch, Lew Williams and David Wickerham.

    I could go on and on – in fact I think I’ll do that, but on my own blog rather then continuing to ramble here…. the post will be at as soon as I write it.

    Be Well!

    .-= Andy Dolph´s last blog ..This REALY isn’t a blog post =-.

  21. Char Brooks
    December 26, 2009 | 8:59 pm

    Wow – what an incredible story Fabeku. I’m so glad that your music was your companion through all of this hard stuff. I really appreciate you courageously sharing your story too – it adds another dimension to what you do as you help others shift stuff with sound. I know more about how that works when I learned how it worked fo ryou.

    There have been many many songs that have held me together when I’ve felt – uh – less than together and didn’t have the words for my feelings. Sometimes I’ve played the same tune over and over again til I’ve outgrown it – just giving myself permission to work it through as many times as I wanted to.

    That recently happened to me with Oprah’s most recent Karaoke winner – I can’t remember his name but I wanna say Abraham McDonald who sang “Get Here When You Can” by Oletta Adams (I think).

    Thanks for this – you’re an awesome writer too.

  22. Abby
    December 27, 2009 | 9:23 pm

    Mostly all I can say is WOW! I had no idea all that had happened in your life, probably mostly because you seem so together now and seem to sail through all the rough spots.
    Your story touched me deeply, especially because of the courage it must have taken to share it! And I’m so glad you did. Though the suck parts of my life are a little different, I can definitely identify with the suckness of it. I can’t separate one song or musician in particular just an overwhelming feeling, after reading the blog, that music has been the one constant that’s been there for me through everything.
    I have a music related story to share, but maybe some other blog (possibly mine one day) when there’s more time and space. But to sum up, I was in an abusive relationship with a musician. I think I sought out musicians because I always yearned to be one, envied their ease with the craft, and hoped to gleam some of that fantasticness for myself, but didn’t ultimately believe I could do it myself. I hoped to learn to play guitar from him. Because of the people we both were, I only ended up feeling intimidated and powerless to learn myself, causing me to feel even less okay with myself.

    Now I’m 31 and finally understand that it takes a lot of time and stick-with-itness to get to that magical place and that we’re all pretty much capable. It’s taken a lot of courage, but I believe in myself enough now to take lessons and sound sucky until it sounds good and aspire to make some of my very own music.

    Thanks again for sharing! I think my hear will feel touched by it for a long time to come. And rah rah for you for how far you’ve come!

  23. Fabeku
    January 11, 2010 | 8:49 pm

    @Dave – I love how Bowie got you through the hard stuff. And the image of you carrying around the walkman? I get it. Completely. Thanks for your kind notes too, especially about my CDs. I appreciate that a lot.

    @Andy – An amazing musical flight… that’s awesome! And I think pipe organs are all kinds of incredible. I’ve heard one live before. And it blew me away. I felt the music rushing through my bones. It was such a cool experience. Thanks for your note. I also loved the post you made about this on your blog.

    @Char – I know what you mean about music being a huge help when there aren’t words for what we’re feeling. That’s been one of the biggest piles of awesome I’ve found with music and sound. The ability to express something I can’t express any other way. And thanks for the heads up on the guy covering Oleta Adams. I’d love to hear that!

    @Abby – I hear you completely on music being a constant. I can’t really remember any part of my life that isn’t punctuated by music in some way. I’m so sorry to hear about the abusive relationship. That’s a ton of hard. But I totally clapped out loud reading what you said about believing in yourself and aspiring to make your own music. Rock on! And rah rah for you too!

  24. misty/skaja
    May 14, 2010 | 5:47 pm

    wow. Alexia pointed me here after i asked her on twitter today if it would make sense to write about the songs that got me through the *hard* writing of my bpd post (the one after the post linked by commentluv).

    music has gotten me through so much stuff. i went through high school with my walkman and made mix tapes of songs to get through the day. later on, it was mix cds. and now it’s long playlists for my ipod.

    i appreciate you very much. 🙂 hugs to you.
    .-= misty/skaja´s last blog ..empire building kit review =-.

  25. Fabeku
    May 20, 2010 | 10:01 am

    @Misty – Right on for music helping you through the hard stuff. Mix tapes probably saved my life as a kid. I’m always blown away by the power of music, and I love hearing how it helped you! Awesomesauce!

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