This I Believe

Kenneth - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 21, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in sad music. I believe in music that makes you think of the most terrible things that have happened to you. I believe in music that you listen to alone because you know it brings tears to your eyes. I believe in every pinprick each short note sends right into the deepest corners of your heart. I believe in this type of music, I believe in the feelings it invokes and the tears it produces. I believe in its ability to reaffirm your grip on your inherent humanity, and ultimately lead you to incomparable happiness.

Where I live, every day is an attempt to deny emotional feeling. In the cut-throat social hierarchy at my high school, not caring about any one, and also your own actions is paramount to achieving what is now defined as success and popularity. Truly loving friends, family, or teachers is a crime punishable by social ostracism. Admitting or showing pain caused by the actions of these people is a nearly capital offense. This shedding of emotion and shielding of vulnerability has permeated into nearly every part of American culture. No longer is the love of Romeo, Juliet, and Lear painted as the essence of true sacrifice, love, and the beauty of humanity. Now it is the secret agent who watched his family killed in front of him and the unfazed, continues his work for the government dutifully. The strength and worth of a person is no longer determined by the love in their relationships, but in how little they are affected by a loss or turn in them. Instead of valuing the awesome love that spurs the grief accompanying the death of a loved one, our world champions those who can refuse to acknowledge their emotions. It champions those who can focus on the truly important things, like work.

Unfortunately, these beliefs have become founding tenants of today’s society, and to function within it we must adhere to them somewhat. We must not, however, allow the value of feelings to be buried under the avalanche of materialism, efficiency, and individualism of today’s world. Sad music has become my device to allow my vulnerability to surface. I can turn on the music when I am alone and allow the sounds to uncover the memories, feelings and desires our world forces me to shove aside. The words and the mood are my vehicle to experiencing the very emotion shared by Lear and all other symbols of true humanity. This I believe, to achieve the wellness, health, prosperity, and happiness we all desire, it is absolutely necessary to retain our ability to foster truly powerful emotion. The areas we shield for their detriments to our efficiency, our materialism, our individualism, are the very areas from which the truest, most beautiful, most intimate feelings originate. Sad music brings these feelings and abilities from the core of my subconscious to my surface, just long enough for me to maintain my grip on it. Just long enough to let it see the light of day, to come up for air. Sad music is happiness.