“You feel your heart beat once, there it goes again, there it goes again, there it goes again, there it goes again, there it goes…”
Sometimes, music can ease the stress of a bad situation.
Where are you? What are you worried about? It seems the world is on constant afraid mode. I am reeling from the bitter punch that my trip to Charleston for a long weekend was up-ended due to a Category 5 hurricane…Irma. I haven’t been able to take my eyes from the weather channel and newsfeed on the latest predictions, or the wild storm chasers standing in 140 mph winds. Now, I am watching the weather change from my den window, as the remnants of the storm inundates Atlanta.
I hate hurricanes.
The worry and fear in me are real. As a friend pointed out recently that she feels PTSD from all of the hurricanes she has been in or fled, I had the same sudden realization, I have that terrible affliction too. Last week, I was glued to the tragic events of Hurricane Harvey. Donating here and there until my combined donations have become an absurd amount that super seeds my carefully balanced budget. Now, I am fixed on Irma. Atlanta Ga is in a tropical storm warning…a first in history. Businesses are closed, schools are closed, and I am addicted to my friend’s updates and posts of storm surge on the coast. When a gust of wind suddenly swirls around the large trees at my house, I panic a bit inside.
You see, I lost my home in a hurricane.
I was a young married of only a couple weeks. We went from extreme elation to horror, devastation, and homelessness within those few weeks. Talk about a test of a relationship…I look back and recognize the unraveling of our everyday life and the loss of our basic needs had the ability to crack even the strongest foundation. Many of our friend’s relationships didn’t survive the 140 mph winds and 11 foot storm surge we experienced. Somehow we muddled through. I was teaching at the time and eventually had to take care of little ones who cried and were traumatized by thunderstorms for the rest of the year after that scary hurricane. When you are caring for others it is easy to forget about taking care of yourself.
So, today as I watch the latest track on the fast moving train to my city (deeply inland) my heart skips a beat and my hands get clammy, and I lose track of time watching the latest on the weather channel. I realize, I am not okay.
There is a terrible fear associated with lack of control, and mother nature will always leave us in that precarious position. She has shown us for centuries how very little we can control. So, I have to make the best of a bad situation, prepare, and wait.
The Brooklyn band Landlady features Adam Schatz (keyboard, vocals) who has contributed or played in several noteworthy bands, Man Man, Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells, even Those Darlins. Other members of landlady are Ian Chang (drums, vocals, guitar), Will Graefe (guitar, vocals), Ian Davis (bass, vocals), Booker Stardrum (drums).
Electric Abdomen is one single from their latest album. The World Is A Loud Place. On their Bandcamp page, the song’s explanation is about being uncertain.
“The interior of Electric Abdomen is the present tense of how uneasy it can feel inside your own skin. My own skin, your own skin, our own skin. It manifests constantly but it can come out the most when it is time to dance. Sometimes it is so clearly time to dance that the hairs on your skin are trying to pull it in different directions in order to guarantee some movement. But the brain says no as the brain often does, because of what others think, because of what appearances look like, because of how you think things are even though they mostly aren’t. Electric Abdomen is how mostly all of that doesn’t matter in the right now. And how shaking a limb in the right now can maybe be the only thing that really gives the brain a rest. Electric Abdomen is about tangible hypnosis. How that uncertainty can lead to invincibility.”
Aren’t we all simply coping with the thoughts in our heads? Uncertainty can bring about those thoughts of fear and worry. A storm can throw you into a proactive mode of buying water, gas, and provisions for survival. Then you wait. The waiting can be the hardest part that brings out the fear. Surviving the worst of any situation can also propel you from being completely vulnerable to invincible. I love that this song can fill my mind and distract me from the worry of my house, my neighborhood, my city, and my country today.
With winding and moving arrangements, the witty lyrics and vocals to Electric Abdomen stand solidly in Landlady’s progressive pop sound. Complicated and a little off kilter, it builds to a perfect conclusion of swirling interjected instruments. It proves to be a salve for my deepest wounds from the painful memories of past storms. May you dig the song as I do, and dive deeper into the album. There is a lot to uncover and explore.
So as I listen, I remind myself that I have a gas stove and all the ingredients for my yummy fireside white chicken chili. I can crank the music above the sounds of the howling wind, and drown out the occasional crash sound of solid against solid, and sirens in the distance, willing myself not to jump up and look out the window. We should be fine. I pray others will be okay too.
My heart goes out to anyone in the path of any storm….anywhere. My heart especially goes out to anyone who has to pick up the broken pieces the storm leaves you with, as well.