Songs for January

January came and went. It’s not that Christmas feels like yesterday, not at all, but this last month just… passed by. I can’t help but feeling that we never got any real winter here at home. I remember last year, when the streets were covered in a thick layer of twinkling white snow one morning when I woke – but not this year.

A few days ago we got the results back on our last exam (the one I wrote about in my last post) and, as usual, I hesitated before opening the file with everyone’s codenames and checking the letter next to the one belonging to me. Not that postponing it makes any difference whatsoever. I passed, with a total sum good enough to be one of the ten percent to pass the whole course with distinction. Considering molecular biology isn’t really my favourite part of the field, it feels very good!

So, January, what happened and where did you go? On Friday, I have the exam in plant physiology, which must mean that I have spent most the month learning about plant anatomy and morphology. Compared to previous courses though, we had considerably fewer chapters of heavy literature… so I believe that the feeling of having a lot of free time was quite overwhelming the first week. I have learnt a great deal though. I have come to realise how very elaborate different plant structures can be, and everything I thought I knew about fruits has been turned upend. In a way, I think I like that feeling: when you find out that something you’ve taken for granted for so long (or never cared to actually look into) is wrong, and suddenly, when you’ve learnt the truth, you become part of a small group of people (in this case botanists) that know something that not everyone else knows… Then you can question whether it is important to be able to distinguish between a true nut and what everyone else thinks is a nut just because it looks like the thing we have been taught is a “nut”, or whether it actually matters to know if something is an actual fruit – or something completely different.

 

January was also about music. Music truly is a big part of my life, even though, compared to a few years ago, it may seem like my active interest has dwindled. Depending on my mood, the day’s events, thoughts spinning, the current weather and you name it – the music I listen to varies a lot. Sometimes you just want to get lost in the rhythms and the deep bass. Other days you listen to and feel the lyrics. Certain songs, or just lines of text, can have the power to change how I feel completely: they can make you feel less alone and torn apart; they can be an understanding voice or a way to channel all of your inner frustration and let it out; they can help you heal and make you feel okay again.

Maybe above all, Bring Me the Horizon has been that band for me, and for quite a long time now. Long periods of time can pass between the times I simply listen and the days I really need them, but during this past month I have needed them. I hadn’t actually listened to That’s the Spirit before, but that changed when I found Follow Me and, a few days later, Avalanche at the end of last year. At that time I was still plunged deep into my post-kent grief, which I only recently seem to have begun to pull myself out of. Beginning January, the song Romeo återvänder ensam by kent was on daily repeat – one of the final songs of the album D&JD that I felt like I had totally overlooked and “found” almost too late, meaning I owed it some serious extra speaker time. Then, coinciding with the course switch, I began to sink into a very different mood, which required a whole different kind of music. One after one, the pieces fell into place as I listened to the rest of the album: Throne, Oh No, Blasphemy, Drown, and Doomed… Once again, BMTH provided me with just that needed musical combination of highs and lows, screaming outrage and frustration, and heartbreakingly relatable lyrics.

Another song that has a profound effect on me is Nuvole Bianche by Ludivico Einaudi. That is my writing song, my song of peace of mind that I can listen to whenever I need to slow the flow of thoughts and formulate concrete sentences. Like right now. So, considering my choice of music over the last couple of weeks, I’d say I have been feeling hopeful, frustrated, and a bit lonesome lately.

I was out with a group of friends for what felt like the first time in ages, and we had a great night with stone-baked sourdough pizza, drinks and talking. When you meet people you haven’t seen or talked to in a while, it is amazing how much that can have happened in their lives that you’ve missed. I’d like to do that more often, just sit together with good friends and talk about everything and nothing.

Another thing I have been thinking about is how much a person can affect you: how you think and how you feel, and how quickly your mood can change because of that one person. I found an exceptionally suitable quote (that pretty much summarizes my January mood):

“Please tell me I’m not as forgettable as your silence is making me feel”

At times, silence can be exactly what you need, but it can also be so very saddening and frustrating. Silence that isn’t there by your choice. Eventually, when you feel like you’re the only one trying, you give up, because you can’t stand the waiting anymore. The waiting and the silence.