This I Believe

Justin - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Four years ago, the sister of one of my distant friends killed herself. I remember asking a different friend in homeroom about the mystery of death and what it must be like. He told me that he couldn’t imagine not growing up. A year later, a driverless truck hit him the day before his bar mitzvah. In that moment, my view of the world’s workings changed. I was in a state of disbelief and shock. I became depressed and isolated over one little death about a person I hardly knew, yet this loss affected me more than the death of my grandfather, who I never met.

I am no artist. I haven’t written a song or ballad worth telling, but when I listen to Rivers Cuomo of Weezer or Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, I see what they’re singing. Whenever I hear their songs, I get a glimpse of what life could be like. It could be full of perfect situations and islands in the sun. Or, it could be full of misunderstanding, depression, and hate. And in that respect, it lifts my mood up.

Since none of my friends experienced the same situation I did, they couldn’t sympathize with me. I found my comfort through music. I found out that every song has meaning, and I took those meanings to heart.

It is a wonder to me is how writers write their songs. They have to take an emotion and find words to describe that emotion. Then, they have to find the perfect chord with a perfect note. In the end, these words and notes are put together to make a song that provides an escape for my own feelings.

When I feel depressed, the steady flow of Rachmaninov brings me up. When I feel sad and glum, the frantic temp of Ok Go takes me forward.

Their music and expressions bring me through bad times, but sometimes I find myself thinking about a dark future. When this happens, and it does happen, I want to escape into the power of music. I want its rhythmic meanings to cover me like a warm blanket of certainty. I want to be carried away in its power. I believe that it can lift me into the artist’s problematic world and away from my own.