“In My Room”

I have always been a huge fan of the Beach Boys.  I love that most of their songs seem to be about girls, surfing or cars, or a combination of all three.  However, I recently googled “songs about bipolar” and was surprised to see one of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits on that list:  “In My Room”.

Maybe I was surprised because I guess I always thought that the song was about a teenage boy and masturbation……

Anyway, here are the lyrics so you can decide for yourself:

“There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room”

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Vincent

Do you recall a song by Don McLean called “Vincent”? It was popular back in the ’70s on the easy-listening stations, and I remember humming along to it as I played with my Easy-Bake oven and Barbies. I knew the words to the song, but because I was a child I didn’t really put any thought into the meaning of those lyrics. I just thought it was a cheesy but likeable soft-rock tune that was perhaps a little over-played.

I was recently flipping through an old piano book called “Great Songs of the ’70s”, trying to convince my 15-year old daughter to play some Elton John for me, when I came across “Vincent”. For the first time, I read through the lyrics to that song and realized it was about more than just a starry night.

It is widely believed that Vincent Van Gogh was bipolar, although official diagnoses for that kind of thing back in the late 1800’s were rare. But his brilliance and despair, mania and deep depressions certainly point to bipolar disorder. And he kind of captured the common self-harm aspect of the disease with the cutting off of his ear.

Anyway, Don McLean nailed it. After reading the words, and then re-reading them at least twice, I logged on to iTunes and downloaded “Vincent” (also known as “Starry Starry Night….”). I’ve decided to share the words with you. Maybe you’ll deem them worth the buck twenty-nine it will cost to dump the song onto your listening device, as well. Enjoy:

“Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night

You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could’ve told you Vincent
This world was never meant for
One as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frame-less heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will”

Very nice.

“Hello, my old heart”

You’re going to see lots of quotes on this site – sometimes I read or see or hear things that cause me to giggle, or grip a little at my heart, or make me think twice about my situation. Here’s an example: I heard this song for the first time on the radio a few days ago and I’ve listened to it several times since then. It’s been around for a couple of years, so perhaps you’re already familiar with it. If not, I thought it worth sharing. The word “poignant” comes to mind when I read the lyrics of this sweet song by the “Oh, Hellos”:

hello, my old heart
how have you been?
are you still there inside my chest?
I’ve been so worried
you’ve been so still
barely beating at all

oh, don’t leave me here alone
don’t tell me that we’ve grown for having loved a little while
oh, I don’t want to be alone
I want to find a home and I want to share it with you

hello, my old heart
it’s been so long
since I’ve given you away
and every day I add another stone
to the walls I built around you
to keep you safe

hello, my old heart
how have you been?
how is it, being locked away?
don’t you worry
in there, you’re safe
and it’s true you’ll never beat, but you’ll never break

because nothing lasts forever
some things aren’t meant to be
but you’ll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free

Sorry, Bing

Bing Crosby sang this song that I loved when I was growing up.  These are the first few lines:

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”

Sorry, Bing.  I have absolutely no interest in counting blessings or sheep.  I’m completely exhausted and sleep deprived and I am not going to fall asleep counting either.  And when I’m low on sleep, I also feel rather low on blessings.

So instead, I think I will count Ativan.

“That Wasn’t Me”/Brandi Carlile

I’ve long been an admirer of singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile. She’s a talented musician with a beautiful voice. This past summer, I was driving with the radio on and a new song of hers was being featured. I actually pulled over to the side of the road halfway through the song because the lyrics were such a reflection of everything I was going through at the time that I was overcome with emotion. When the song ended on the radio, I immediately Googled the lyrics on my phone to see if I’d heard her correctly. And then, because that wasn’t enough, I downloaded the song and sat there crying by the side of the road as I played and replayed and again replayed that song.

I went home and copied those lyrics into a card and left it for my husband to read. She sang every word I’d been trying to tell him for months. I was admitting my faults; I was desperately sorry for disappointing my family; I had changed, that people are capable of great change. And, most importantly, “that wasn’t me”.

It didn’t matter. He still left me. How unrealistic of me to think a song would change his mind, would make him finally understand what I’d been trying to verbalize to him for months.

Brandi Carlile, if you’re out there, I would love to know your inspiration for that song. Because I still get teary-eyed when I hear it. Are you bipolar? How could you come up with such heartfelt lyrics if you were not suffering, or writing about someone who is? Because that song mimics my life.

For those of you unfamiliar with the song, here are the lyrics to
“That Wasn’t Me”:

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I’ve got something to say
I’m not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you’ve changed

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me

When you’re lost you will toss every lucky coin you’ll ever trust
And you’ll hide from your God like he ever turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
And you’ll learn who you are even if it doesn’t take your life

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me

But I want you to know that you’ll never be alone
I wanna believe, do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that’s what you see, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me