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Tell Me a Story

by Susanah Maestas 2 months ago in happiness

"Tell me a story, about a young girl and her anxieties, Tell me a story, about musical prosperity"

One jittery day is all it takes to spark up a passion.

It came easy to me to put my other feelings on paper rather than talking it out. It made sense to me and I loved using aspects of my own life to breathe life into characters. I would even spin vent pieces and turn them into narratives, making up a world with brand new rules, even if I discarded it the next day.

It was therapy.

It was solace.

It was home.

When the adults around me took my voice, I picked up my pen. When I wanted to start all over, I could count on a blank sheet of paper for a fresh start. When I had nothing, I had my stories. My characters kept me company and the worlds I made were home.

I love them all, every character I’ve ever made. The truth is though, they could never teach me how to be social. No matter how much I practiced, no matter how hard I tried, writing how I felt about having to go out there and talk to people never cut it. The way I felt about certain people couldn’t be voiced in any way. Social anxiety was the one feeling I could never put into words. All I could do about it was use a last resort as a distraction: music.

Music runs through my blood, it’s a part of who I am. My grandpa used to write songs and compose music, and the sound of his booming warm ups still sound as clear as day in my head. My other grandfather was a trumpet player. My uncle is a music artist. I was raised on the stuff and my family and I heard it everywhere, in everything. I think my love of storytelling bled into my love of music. Every song had the potential to tell a story, to be associated with a story, or to just have a story behind it; I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that musical theater existed.

Music couldn’t distract me forever though. When I left my K-8 school, I left everything behind for a new district, far away from everything I ever knew. The fear of starting my life all over again would creep through my headphones and make me remember just how bad I am at socializing. Having the cushion of knowing everyone suddenly flattened and I was forced to adjust to simply having no one.

I was able to find people through theater and drama but I was never without worry.

“What if I said something wrong?”

“I wonder if they hate me.”

“They probably think I’m an idiot.”

It was hard to open up, hard to say how I felt.

Then one day, after a year of knowing these people, it all just peaked. The day after I played this game with them, I felt so stupid. It was like the buildup of never knowing how to talk, how to act, how to be, just crushed me with a quickened heartbeat and shaky hand. I couldn’t focus in class, couldn’t bring myself to open my mouth. It felt like a black hole was swallowing me whole and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Then all of a sudden, I heard a note.

That note turned into a word and in time,

That word turned into a phrase.

That phrase phased into a rhyme

With more notes to tote my page.

The words came to me, the melody flowed out, and I knew just how to describe this feeling. I finally knew how to release it all and give my anxieties a voice. By the end of the period, I had a set of lyrics and a drive to make more. By the end of that day, I had a full song written, melody and all.

The thing about writing songs is that you can tell a story about anything and cover it up with beautiful metaphors. The lyrics can be as simple or intricate as you’d like. Rhymes are fun to come up with and it’s thrilling when you come up with a good set of lyrics. You could come up with anything anywhere; there’s inspiration in everything! When the music comes to you and the flow is just right, it’s bliss. I take the time to write songs because it puts into words what I can’t say through traditional writing. When I can’t say it right, I can sing it right. When the pen fails me, the music picks me up again. When I’m stressed or feeling overwhelmed, what drains it all out is my music.

It’s therapy.

It’s solace.

It’s home.

My love for traditional writing hasn’t faded; on the contrary, in fact. The only difference now is that I have a new passion to add to the lineup. When I write music, I feel like I’m writing my way home. I can get to know myself better. Most of all: it’s fun. I don’t need to worry about proper grammar, proper prose or self-induced comparisons to other writers. I can just write songs the way I want to. However that happens, however the wind blows, is all up to me.

When I think about where I’m headed, I think about my family. I’m following them note by note, measure by measure, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll never be silent again. I can finally write how I feel.


Susanah Maestas

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