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Reggae Changed My Life…

book signing 001Reggae changed my life…

It may sound strange to say that Reggae changed my life, but it’s the absolute truth. Sometimes something just makes you feel good, and sometimes you luck out in finding a feel-good that isn’t destructive. That’s what Reggae has been for me – it’s a nondestructive feel good that can absolutely shift my mood completely. Music often has this effect on people, but finding something that would do that for me has been a longtime coming. Other music can make me feel good, but usually it isn’t that form of music as a collective. It’s simply individual songs that carry good vibes with them. But Reggae gives me good vibes as a whole – yeah, I know I sound like a total hippie, but those who know me know I’m a bit of a hippie anyways. But, back to the story at hand…

My love of Reggae began at a very young age, when my Momma introduced me to the great Bob Marley – his music, that is. My Momma was also a bit of a hippie in her own right, and enjoyed many forms of music, which she enjoyed introducing me to. Music has always been a big part of life for my family. Not in performance, but simply as a vital piece of background that is forever playing. Bob Marley was one of those she introduced me to, along with a bit of Bobby McFerrin.

For the longest time, that was the extent of Reggae I knew. I went through a period in time where I was literally obsessed with Bob Marley. Not in the cliche “all white people do it” sort of way, but something a bit more deep than that. This spanned the years between 14 and 16. Songs like “Buffalo Soldier,” “Could You Be Loved,” “One Love,” and “Get Up Stand Up” got me through a lot of childhood difficulties. Unfortunately, my love of this music seemed to fall into the background. For the longest time, music virtually disappeared from my life. There were no more melodies. There was no more rhythm. I’m not sure why this happened, but it did happen nonetheless.

I went through other stages between the music dying inside of me and present day. Rock, country, jazz, blues, rap, techno, classical. You name it, and I’ve been in love with it. I should mention here that, although I’ve had varying music genres at the forefront, I’ve always been a great lover of diversity. I enjoy all music at all points in my life (save for my period of no music at all). It’s simply that I go through periods where one genre takes center stage while the rest play backup.

Fast forward to nearly the present day… say, just a few months ago. For a little over a year prior to this time, I’d been coping with a lot. I had many anxiety issues, and swore that I was dying. I felt like I was, although now I’ve come to the realization that it was the culmination of many things. I do have some small health issues, but the real problem was my mind. It had finally decided to break from reality, but it didn’t decide to tell me it was going on vacation. I’m sure you can understand how upset I was. I mean, it should have at least had the decency to tell me, right? *insert overly enthusiastic laugh here*

Once I realized that anxiety was my biggest problem, I knew I had to find a way to cope with it. I refused to sit back and allow this beast to rule my life, just because I had experienced a multitude of difficulties. Why add fire to the flame when you’re already burning? So, I set about on a quest to tame the beast that is my anxiety. I tried everything. I meditated, did yoga, changed my diet, exercised, took vitamins, tried varying health trends, went to a professional, went to another professional, read blog posts and articles, checked out books on the topic, and a thousand other things. Some things helped to ease it a bit – like exercising, and eating right. But alone, it just wasn’t enough. Then I found Reggae.

Well, I re-found it, anyways. I started listening to my old Bob Marley favorites again. Turned on Bobby McFerrin a few times. Then my husband, seeing I had rekindled my love of this type of music, showed me ‘Bun Dem’ – which is a song done by Skrillex, and one of Bob Marley’s sons… his youngest, Damian, to be exact. I loved it. Definitely not traditional Reggae, but definitely right up my alley. Everyone knows that Bob had a son named Ziggy, but many people fail to realize he had many other super talented sons as well. So, I explored further into the music of Ziggy, Stephen, Ky-Mani, Julian, and Damian Marley. I have yet to find a song I dislike, despite all of them having their own unique form of Reggae, whether traditional, contemporary, urban, dancehall, or otherwise. I’m particularly fond of Damian and Stephen. I even went to see Damian in concert recently, which most of you know if you follow me on either Twitter or Facebook. Diving into their music introduced me to other Reggae artists, who they’ve done music with at some point – such as Protoje, Chronixx, and SOJA. I’m particularly fond of Protoje, and count him as amongst my absolute favorites. Then, my brother turned me onto Matisyahu. My husband showed me Magic!. And so the chain reaction goes…

The more I listen to Reggae, the better I feel. It makes me want to smile, dance, sing. It has me question myself and the way I look at the world, but in a feel-good kind of way. It doesn’t have me doubting myself, only searching beyond what I already know to be truth. It lifts me up. Most importantly, I have had only one bad bout of anxiety in the months since diving head first into Reggae. That bout was even understandable, and not at all unexpected. Is Reggae the cure for anxiety? It seems to have been for me.

So, yes, Reggae has changed my life – forever, and for the better. I challenge you, my readers, to find your feel-good. Find something that makes you happy without being destructive. Steer clear of all those things which will give you a temporary high, only to bring you crashing back down in a more despaired state than before. Delve into and explore those things which give you a high that doesn’t vanish. For me, it was Reggae. For you, it could be anything. Find it, keep it, love it, and share it. You’ll be happy you did.

I leave you with my most current Reggae playlist….

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