I’m awake, therefore there’s a song running through my head.
Today, because it’s sunny (in South Texas, what else is new?), and I’m reasonably relaxed and content, the song happens to be “Sonic” (link to YouTube video), by The Charlatans UK, a fairly unknown and under-appreciated track from their fantastic 1990 release, Some Friendly.
It’s a simple and shimmery song, with an incessant quick-paced beat, but it’s neither upsetting nor overwhelming. It mirrors my emotional disposition with eerie precision.
I’ve noticed that whenever I am conscious, there is typically a song playing in my brain, usually in the background, but frequently in the foreground. It has been a Law of My Nature ever since I can remember, which is astonishingly far back in time.
Sometimes the song is an existing one, written by someone else, heard perhaps on the radio or in a movie. Other times, the music playing is my own, whether I’ve actually written it down or recorded it or not. Usually, the latter is a fragment and little more, the way musical pieces are usually born.
There are times when my brain will repeat segments of a song over again a few times, and there are other times when one song will segue into another, like a mashup or a remix. Or maybe my brain will take an existing song and create sort of an “instrumental, reprise” version. Or it will take a slower song and set it to more of a Eurodance/techno beat.
Yeah, I’ve got this shizz down. 😉
Music adds a whole new dimension to my world. It almost gives me the sensation of being in a movie, with the soundtrack unobtrusively augmenting the scene from behind.
It also gives me a medium through which to more efficiently communicate. All I have to do is turn on a particular song and say, “this is what I’m feeling today”, and let the other person interpret that how they may, forming their own impressions. Chances are, they’d end up somewhere in the ballpark.
Many of you are aware that the previous weekend had been challenging for me, in multiple ways. During those times, the song “Flames” by Vast echoed endlessly through my mind, and later “A Strange Day” by The Cure (in genuine thanks to the lovely commenter who linked to the video in their comment!), followed eventually by “Slide Away” by The Verve as I began to climb out and re-emerge in some semblance of okay-ness.
Everything in my life has had its own “soundtrack” of sorts, even (and especially) my Asperger’s/autism spectrum discovery (the songs are listed here, and their meanings to me are discussed here). Walking to school as a kid had its own mental playlist.
I had never thought twice about the Mental Jukebox in all my years, until last summer, just before turning 39 (!). I had assumed that no one else did this, and that it was just one more thing that made me “weird”. It was only when scanning my Twitter feed that I noticed some fellow Aspie/autistic people talking about it.
It was mind-blowing to realize that not only was I not alone in this phenomenon, but that, like all other miscellany in my life, it was Part of This (Asperger’s/Autism) Thing, too.
A-Ha Moments these days.
Is there anything they can’t explain?
Fellow autistic Twitter peeps built onto the conversation like beautiful new additions to a building.
“Yeah! My mouth–teeth and tongue–were my own private drum kit!”, someone exclaimed, obviously excited to have been vindicated at that moment, too.
Ahhh, sweet self-discovery. And the liberation that comes with it.
Reading the conversation, I learned that it seemed to be an Asperger’s/Autism Thing. Not that it would be included in the diagnostic criteria any time soon, I thought bitterly. That would mean that the so-called “experts” would actually have to listen to us first.
But my bitterness went dormant as another happy song popped into my head and began to auto-play. I had found yet another answer, solved yet another mystery, tied up yet one more loose end.
Loose ends are OK, but they symbolize unfinished business. So, while they’re a fact of life, they’re not always ideal for me. My brain will work tirelessly to attempt to make sense of the inconsistency.
Maybe that’s why I like music. It’s math, with sass. It’s an art, and yet a science, too. The perfect brain-balance.
Cue it, crank it. May the Mental Jukebox play on. 😉