Today I went on a walk with my friend and her baby. She a close friend, one I’ve met as an adult. We have an adult friendship – we work through the personal and professional difficulties of being a 30something together. I would certainly consider her one of my closest friends.

I told her I’d decided to go to a concert with my brothers for my 34th birthday, coming up soon. “Which one?” “Slipknot and Marilyn Manson.” A stunned looked popped on to her face. “Oh! I didn’t know you liked that kind of music! Well good for you, I’m sure it’ll be a good time.”

At first I quickly had the thought “she didn’t know I liked that music??” flash across my mind with the same stunned reaction her face had portrayed. But of course she didn’t! I’ve only known her a few years, and over the last 3-4 years I’ve let a lot of my previous personal interests slip away.

As I recounted this conversation a few hours later, chuckling to myself, I am reminded of a brief encounter I’d had with this guy about 9 ish years ago, now. We only chatted a few times, but one time he asked me what sort of music I listened to. I rattled off a few bands I was into at the time: Korn, Hatebreed, a few others. Then he made some obnoxious comment, not all of which I remember word for word, but the gist was he was more mature than I because he wasn’t interested in music for its “shock value.” I was left extraordinarily confused. Shock value? The music, I wondered? Or the fact that I, specifically, liked it. (Let’s be honest, I don’t exactly look the part of your typical metal fan. Or gangsta rap fan, as far as that goes, but I had a huge poster of DMX on my wall all through college. But, that’s how ruff ryders roll.)

In reflecting on that conversation of so many years ago, I am still dumbfounded. Music is lifeblood. When I am angry and frustrated, I want to just rage out to some Lamb of God. When I’m ready to party I’m throwing on some Dre, or Snoop, or Bone Thugs. When I’m feeling emotional, Pearl Jam, Our Lady Peace, that’s the way to go. Feeling sexy? Where’s my Genuine album?!  When I need to relax or calm down, I throw on WMHT and listen to some Beethoven or Mozart. How is this shocking? This is what music is for.

Granted, I am now also left to wonder why I have, over the past few years, abandoned what is perhaps my most cathartic and effective method of stress and emotional relief. However, I am also left to wonder again about that shock-value comment. At the time I was super offended. Now, whatever that guy’s name was, I just feel bad for him. I feel bad that he doesn’t understand music and the power it holds. It’s sad he’s never going to fully understand the power of music.

At least this whole exchange has ignited my desire to write again. While I dig myself out of this seemingly never-ending pit of grey, I’ll throw on the hip hop bbq Pandora station. Or, better yet, I’ll dust off my book of Clementi sonatinas and tickle the ivories for a bit….

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