Everyone, I don’t care who you are, has a song that ultimately defines them. It is a song that they play when they seek a feeling that nothing or no one in this world can give them. You have some that turn to a substance, some that turn to a canvas and create a piece of art- then some just turn to a piece of music. This song is your life. It sums up not just how you feel, but it gets out every tiny little feeling you have. No matter how messed up it is- that song is YOUR song. Call it a theme song if you want. Or maybe, just maybe, it is the song that gets you through.
I’ve thought about this quite a lot. I think attempting to define a person is the worst thing you can do. To define yourself by your sexuality or colour isn’t cool. There’s more to you than that. So why settle for less? “I’m gay so I must act this way.” No, just no. You must not. You must go with your heart and ignore what is expected of you. I think any ounce of strength I have comes from listening to Garbage. I was talking about them yesterday whilst having lunch with a friend that I have known since I was 5 years old (20 year friendship..maybe I’m not so bad after all!) and I brought up the topic of Garbage. She knows they have been my life since I was 8 years old. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a connection to a band. You see, with Morrissey it is the wit and longing I relate to. With Shirley’s lyrics it is the courage and desire to no longer put up with the shit anymore. It is like, her lyrics instill something in me that nobody will ever do. I have cried on my bedroom floor to Garbage. I have had revelations to their music. I have become tougher to their music. I’m still too sensitive, but I’ve learnt to accept that it is just who I am. I’ll have my outburst and nap it off. That’s just how I am. I spent a long time trying to change it, but I listen to her lyrics and I realise that it is okay. You can be strong but vulnerable. That’s why The Trick Is To Keep Breathing is MY song.
“She’s not the kind of girl
Who likes to tell the world
About the way she feels about herself
She takes a little time in making up her mind
She doesn’t want to fight against the tide.”
If any verse in the history of music could sum me up, it’d be this one. I think anyone who has felt useless and hopeless can relate to this song, mainly this verse. It is everything you want to say, constantly on the tip of your tongue. Shirl gets out all those feelings of vulnerability and being unsure because you find it hard to do so. I’ll be the first to admit that me saying how I feel to a person is hard work. I’d rather write the person a song or poem, and give them it. But then I think what I’ve written isn’t good enough so I don’t bother. Constant battle that I’ll never win. Not with an attitude like that. Moving on.
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, when I first heard it, I was only 11 or 12. That age where everything is about to change and you really have no idea. Move forward to now and the song is still as important to me now as it was then. Just because I’m firmly into adulthood doesn’t mean I know anything. All I know is based on what I believe, from certain songs and my own experiences. It gets you through. It is okay to carry some uncertainty around with you because it keeps you sane. It keeps you breathing. I’ve always wanted this song title tattooed on me somewhere. I have no idea where, I constantly change my mind..but I know I need to have it done soon. Real soon.
I cannot pick out a favourite Garbage lyric from any song. I’d have to spend a long time (sure I’ve got the time but..) trying to figure it out. I’d change my mind, but this one always comes to mind when I think about it :
“She knows the human heart
And how to read the stars
Now everything’s about to fall apart.”
It is just so haunting. You can figure everything out, but at the same time you cannot stop it from falling apart. Sometimes though, it all has to fall apart in order for it to seem right again. Trial and error. Or just error after error? Your call kid, your call. You’ll get what you want, eventually. But when will you get WHO you want? I dispute that most days with myself, to the point where I shut that part off because it causes a headache.
For me, Garbage are the friend I go to at 3am when I cannot sleep and need some form of guidance. Deep breaths. A cup of tea and I play their music. The amount of times I have played The Trick Is To Keep Breathing on a loop is probably in triple figures. I don’t care. It isn’t teenage angst, it was never ever that. It was always self frustration. I wanted to figure out so much and I just couldn’t. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing became my anthem, my theme song because it aided with figuring everything out.
“Maybe you’ll get what you want this time around .”
Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ve got this song to keep me going. To remind me to keep breathing. There’s a war in all of us. There’s a tame path for all of us. You’ve just got to figure out which one you are dragging yourself towards. It is never too late. Keep breathing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. If I write this down, maybe I’ll believe my own words. Or maybe I’ll just listen to Garbage and believe their words. Nobody is ever sure, nobody is ever right. That’s why you cling onto whatever gets you through. For me, its music.
I hate how personal I write. But if it isn’t going to come from the heart, then what’s the point?
Brilliant post. And it is indeed a great song.
Hey Mike! Thank you so much 🙂 x
Funny how I found your post, I just typed in
” The trick is to keep breathing”. Led me here. This song is also my song. I feel a sense of relief when I hear it. I feel the music and I somehow becoming one.