12 years ago today I lost my mom. I never knew that this day would turn one where I would find the strength within me to share my pain through music. A bittersweet day, with a touch of freedom. this song is what my heart sounds like, I hope it touches yours x
I clicked post, closed my laptop and sat back on my bed and felt like I could finally exhale. The video was finally out. A preview of the home videos I grew up watching. The ones I would turn to when the sound of my mom's voice started to fade in my mind. They were unleashed with the press of a button, being shared all over the internet. I opened my window to try to get more fresh air to my constricted lungs and try to conceptualize that this was really happening, but quickly froze. A butterfly slowly floated to my window, stopped, then flew away into the wind.
I closed my eyes and the tears consumed me. I was sobbing on my wooden floors, unable to get a clear sentence out, watching all the comments and likes about my new record come up on my phone. In my personal language with the universe, I always associate butterflies with spirits, particularly my mom. I feel like I see them at the exact time I need to, in unexplainable ways. My mom was a photographer and her favourite things to photograph were flowers, willow trees and butterflies. An eerie feelings knocked on my heart as I leaned against my wall, Mom, I wish you were here to see this. But I also wish I had never needed to write this song.
The funny thing about grief is that it's always there, it's a feeling you learn to grow around. Like the laundry pile that everyone has in their rooms. You're completely oblivious to it until there's absolutely no where else to walk and next thing you know, you've plummeted face first on the ground. At the most unexpected times too. When you're standing in the grocery store line, or when you're washing the dishes lost in thought, when you're driving and their favourite song comes on the radio and you're suddenly hyperventilating in the parking lot of some random mall, or you see a silly little butterfly. That's when you know it's time to do laundry. Or in my case, go to therapy.... lol
After my mother’s passing, I found a lot of healing in painting my pain through music. This song was one of the hardest ones to write. I kept thinking to myself, how am I supposed to approach this? It's such a delicate and emotional thing for people... I don't wanna mess it up. And there it was... MESS! I wanted to capture that there’s really no pretty or elegant way to grieve, and there’s strength in that.
I feel like loosing someone is so universal. Grief comes knocking on your door wearing many different costumes throughout your life, sometimes you barely notice that you’ve lost yourself in it until you’re truly a mess. The hardest part about writing “Mess” was how many times I drew blanks, not knowing how to find the words to explain it. I had to really step away from it for weeks and only revisit it in small pieces. My grief kind of became my friend in the process and found a lot of freedom in letting go of my fears to openly share my insides with others.
I’ve always had a vivid sense of seeing music through colour and I picture “Mess” to be a swirl of faded lavender and grey. If it were a movie and I could climb inside the song, I'd be a wallflower at a party trying to make conversation, as this reel of memories is spinning around my head. I can hear my mom’s laugh, smell the daisies she’s just planted and feel the summer sun on my face as she drives me to the mall. To make the reverie fade, I try to forget by being reckless.
While recording, I really wanted the production to feel like it was underwater to represent how grief feels. Loosing someone is like this wave that submerges you and just as you start to get your head above water, you find yourself drowning again. Working with producer Eric Eggleston on this record, he really illuminated my ideas and magically transported my feelings into sounds. I remember sitting in the airport at 4am as I listened to the first draft he came up with, and I ended up sobbing in the bathrooms. I felt musically understood, like my insides were finally screaming in melodies.
“Dancing around at this party, when I barely made it out of bed” was really an honest look into how my life was as I was trying to work through these ever-changing rushes of losses in high school. The most isolating part about mourning is that no one ever really knows that you are. Everyone always called me vibrant or energetic, but no one suspected that my behaviour was a mask I was hiding behind to forget all the things I'd seen growing up and the person I lost.
I grew up a kingdom filled with light and iridescent dreams, but like any modern fairytale my castle went up in flames with my innocence inside. I miss my mom every single day... I literally see her in the mirror and in everything I'm drawn too. The creativity that flows through me is the same that ignited her. All her dreams she had to become a model and songwriter... sometimes I feel like the art I chase is for the both of us. Like she's still alive in the pieces I write.
The presence of her absence is a permanent heartache I hold. I have found freedom in painting my pain through music and sharing the strength that I have collected. I carry my mom with me, always; for she is half of my being.
Thank you for listening to Mess. I love you.