A force already within me

By Maura Wery

“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me—like food or water.”-Ray Charles

I’ve had lots of constants in my life. I’ve constantly experienced love. I’ve constantly experienced stability. Success, even. One of my favorite constants is music. I feel like I was connected with music from the very beginning. Some of my earliest memories revolve around it. Sitting in my dad’s beat-up pickup truck listening to country music in the summer. A large black boombox that was always on in the morning as my parents got ready for work. My sing-along tapes and tape-player with a built in microphone. My Mom often said she knew where I was in the house due to my love of singing.

As I grew older, my parents got me my own boombox. I often could be found in front of it listening to various things, the radio being my main go-to. I also listened to a lot of classic rock and country CD’s that were in my parent’s music collection. I even developed a taste for the music of the time, which is now considered retro, for some reason. I feel like the 90s were yesterday; they definitely weren’t.

As I went into middle school, music became a sort of security blanket. I was a somewhat awkward kid during that time (like most kids that age), I didn’t quite know where I went. I got into band and choir because it seemed like a good fit and luckily it was. It didn’t help me in the super-important popularity contest that is middle school, but whatever. I was a nerd, so I was never going to win it anyway. Music gave me a social life with people who shared the same interest. I can never thank it enough for that.

I was in band all through high school. I was a section leader and I took it pretty seriously. We went to competitions. We won a lot of them. On the side I took guitar class, finished my piano lessons I had been enrolled in since grade school, and got ready to gear up for college band. I think high school really solidified my love of all things musical. I just couldn’t imagine my life without it.

The college marching band phase didn’t last long, just one year. I wasn’t ready for the intensity of both college and it at the same time. Although playing music went to the side (I still play both guitar and piano when I can find the equipment and time), my love of music didn’t waver. When I came to K-State, I actually joined the student radio station, The Wildcat 91.9, because I loved music and figured, if nothing else, I could do it for a semester. That semester ended up being four years. So not only did I intensify my love of music, but also my love of radio.

Music isn’t an independent sport. I’ve found many friends with the same intense love of music I have. My friend Anna is one of them. She and I recently have been going to several shows. The most recent was to Imagine Dragons about two weeks ago. Live shows are incredible for a variety of reasons, but mostly because several hundred people end up in one place to watch one or two bands they love. I still get goosebumps when I hear people around me at a concert singing along to my favorite song.

That tells me it’s theirs, too and in a moment we are all there for the same reason and share the same love. I’ve never been much for religion, but that’s the closest “religious” and spiritual experience I have had the chance to witness.

I hope my love of music will never go away, I can’t imagine at this point it will. I think every time I hear John Denver I’ll think of my mother. A country song from the 90s will always remind me of those summer months fishing with my Dad. I’ve had several bands I’ve gotten into because of boyfriends I wanted to impress or date. And then there are those songs I can relate to the most.

While in college, I really got into The Smiths. Mainly, because there was a guy I liked that I wanted to talk to and it gave me common ground, but after that, I found Morrissey’s lyrics extremely relatable. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” Indeed it does.

Through the rest of my life, I hope to find more relatable music. More things to share and even more things to love.

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