A Punch in the Feelings

So . . . I am hardwired to music. (Anyone who knows me at all is probably snorting and/or rolling their eyes at the level of understatement there.) But, not all music is equal in my brain. I mean, I don’t like all music, or even all genres — but my tastes are pretty wide, and a very eclectic mix has found its way onto my mp3 player. That’s because I need the music to speak to me on some level — and if it speaks to me on more than one, that’s even better.

Right now, I have some lyrics rolling around in my head, specifically because they are the emotional equivalent of a gut-punch. Or, as I tend to call them: a punch in the feelings. And I thought I’d share.

“Not gonna let this day go by/I’m gonna save this wasted life/ And nothing can stand in my way” from Erase This by Evanescence.

“I met my love before I was born . . . he bit my lip and drank my war/ From years before” from Love Like Winter by AFI

  • Just . . . the notion that someone can love and accept every part of you, consensually taking your trauma into themselves, is so, so powerful.

“As he waits again alone/ Still a prisoner in his home/ Ready to allow the dark to/ Penetrate his broken heart” from The Infection, by Disturbed

  • It turns the notion of “home” on its head: it becomes not a place of safety and refuge, but a self-created prison. Which it absolutely can be.

And then there’s AFI’s 37mm: “Just give me your hands and I’ll let you feel the wounds they put in me/ If you believe in me how can I be dissolving?/ If you’d believe me, I’d tell you everything”

  • There is something supremely visceral about the image of taking someone’s hand, and pressing it to the wounds/scars that others left in you. It’s not possible with the emotional wounds being discussed here, but if it was? If you could actually reach out and touch the emotional scars left behind? *whistles*
  • In the second two lines, it’s the concept of belief that gets me — because it’s implied that, if someone would just believe him, in what he’s saying and who he is, that everything would be okay. There’s also this weird relationship with belief and selfhood; he’s “dissolving”, and is sure that if someone believed in him, he could stabilize his identity.

“If you keep killing me how can I keep absolving your sins into me?” also from 37mm by AFI.

  • Honestly, this whole song speaks of one or more abusive relationships to me, and this line cinches it: that is the cry of a victim. That is someone asking how they can stay, how they can help, when the person they are trying to stay with and help is killing them by degrees. It is pretzel logic and desperation and dawning awareness, all wrapped up together.

“I’ll take your bad days with your good/ Walk through the storm, I would/ I’d do it all because I love you” from Unconditionally by Katy Perry

  • There is no love truer or more powerful than that of the person who will walk through the proverbial “storms” with and for you. That’s what family means; it’s a refusal to abandon someone just because the going gets tough.

“If I told you what I was/ Would you turn your back on me?/ And if I seemed dangerous/ Would you be scared?” from Monster, by Imagine Dragons

“If I thought it would help, I’d drive this car into the sea/ If the fire and smoke and explosions could speak for me/ If the words that I used to try to explain/ How something inside of me started to break/ Ah, but one by one my words just got in the way” from Dark Places by The Gaslight Anthem.

“What good’s religion/ When it’s each other we despise?” from Sleeping with Ghosts by Placebo.

“It’s a harder way/ And it’s come to claim her . . . And if you are gone/ I will not belong here” from Breath of Life, by Florence + the Machine.

” And my heart is a hollow plain/For the devil to dance again” also from Breath of Life by F+tM.

“It would break your heart, if you knew me well . . . There are things I have seen/ That I never will tell/That drove me out of my mind/ And inside myself” from Break Your Heart by The Gaslight Anthem.

“As much as I’d like the past not to exist/ It still does/ And as much as I’d like to feel like I belong here/ I’m just as scared as you” from Lost in Paradise, by Evanescence.

“Once, I could tell/ All the hurt apart from myself/ Now all I can see is the need, the need/ That I came here to get hurt/Might as well do your worst to me” from Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem.

“We only spun a web to catch ourselves/ So we weren’t left for dead” and “Underneath the ink of my tattoo/ I’ve tried to hide my scars from you” from I’m Not Dead by P!nk.

  • The second bit there, oh man. There’s some ambiguity as to whether or not she’s hiding scars from someone so that they won’t see them, or if she’s hiding the scars they left behind. Either way, that tattoo is an act of reclaiming.

“I was disappearing in plain sight/ Heaven help me/ I need to make it right . . . No light, no light in your bright blue eyes/ I never knew daylight could be so violent” from No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine

“Make me everything you need me to be/ So the judgement seems fair/ It’s never enough for you, baby/ Don’t want to play your game anymore” from Made of Stone, by Evanescence


I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

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