My life in 14 songs
There are so many ways that we can tell our stories and share our stories. I've always had a big interest in storytelling, and the way we capture our lives. So, with that in mind, I thought I'd share you my life in 14 songs:
The Childhood Years
1. Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
Let's start with the very beginning (if you got the Sound of Music reference there, high five!). Apart from The Fugee's Killing Me Softly, this song was my favourite childhood song. I remember singing it at the top of my voice whenever the radio played and singing it to an assembly in school of 150 other children when I was about five. Present me thinks that's a pretty kick ass thing to do, but past me didn't think twice!
Notable lyrics as I think I became the song:
'When I was youngI'd listen to the radioWaitin' for my favorite songs When they played I'd sing alongIt made me smile.'
2. Jolene - Dolly Parton
This song is literally my jam. If I'm doing karaoke, this is the first song I'll find and belt out. Sometimes we need stability in life and that's exactly what this song does for me. I've always loved it and always will love it. It's one of those great rally cry songs which is great if you're in a great or a shit mood. Though I have always had a bit of a problem with these lyrics:
'I had to have this talk with youMy happiness depends on youAnd whatever you decide to do, Jolene'
Seriously Dolly, you don't need a man, trust me.
3. (There's Got to Be) More to Life - Stacie Orrico
I think I've always known deep down that I'm a bit of a rebel. I remember feeling oppressed by school and feeling like I was missing something in my life. I always wanted to be writing, drawing; creating my own stuff and living life on my own terms . The first time I heard this song, I remember thinking Yes! This is me! but also really struggling because I knew there was more to life, but not knowing what it was. In the last couple of years, as I've started rejecting society's version of success (money, material wealth, 9-5 jobs) as much as I can, I've really come to understand what the 'more' means to me. The 'more' in my life is choosing time over anything else, doing things that fill me with joy, and refusing to fit in a box constructed by someone who doesn't know me.
There's gotta be more to lifeThan chasing down every temporary highTo satisfy me 'cause the more that I'mTrippin' out, thinkin' there must be more to lifeWell, there's life but I'm sure there's gotta be moreI'm wanting more
4. I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) - Sandy Thom
Oh, I love this song, it basically sums up all my beliefs, ever! It really plays to my idealism and hippy ideas about how the world is run. I always believed I was born in the wrong era - I wanted to be young during the swingin' sixties and the conscious political activism and era of disco. What can I say? I was young in the 90s. I'd choose Blondie & The Bee Gees over Fatboy Slim any day!
I was born too late into a world that doesn't careOh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
The Teenage Emo Years
5. Ladder In My Tights - Amy Studt
As a teenager, I couldn't go anywhere without Amy Studt playing in the background. When I was about 15, I attempted to start a zine called Broccoli that was going to fly the flag of being a freak and being proud. I've always been proud of not conforming, but it hasn't come without its challenges. Turns out rocking up at school with long socks, Doc Martens and a frog umbrella isn't the recipe for a peaceful time in school...
It wasn't even done in the Hey look at me! I'm quirky! kind of way that you get now. Just a desire to dress how I wanted, regardless of what other people thought, and a damn good way of flipping the bird at life!
Most relatable lyrics:
Oh if I just had a little more time:I'd show you the world is so much better when you find you don't fit, There's a ladder in your tights,Who gives a uh, If whoops you aint shiny and perfect.
6. I'm Not Okay (I Promise) - My Chemical Romance
Literally the epitome of teen angst. Everyone tends to have that one song that sums up their frustrations with the world. This is mine (with thousands of other people the same age as me, I'm sure). Any anger at the world? This solved it. Still does!
Well, I'm not okayI'm not o-fucking-kay!!
7. Run - Snow Patrol
There's got to be a soppy one in this list, right? I met Mr Meg when I was twelve, online via a penpal website. We met in person aged 15 and have been together ever since. We spent a good 6 years in a long distance relationship before moving in together, travelling a couple of hours to see each other several weekends a month. This was our song. Puppy love right there! It still gives me goosebumps to this day. To me, this song is like a blanket, hot water bottle and cocoa all in one.
Light up, light upAs if you have a choiceEven if you cannot hear my voiceI'll be right beside you dear
Late Teens - Graduation
8. Given Up - Linkin Park
So, university was a weird time for me. While I relished having new-found freedom, learning to cook and starting my habit of going to bed stupid o'clock in the morning, there were parts which were pretty shit. The first year I moved away from home, I lived in a flat with people I didn't like, and the feeling was mutual. Looking back now, I can tell I was really depressed, and the whole experience was just a big disappointment. I just seriously struggled to fit in. BUT, one of the biggest moments of satisfaction in my life, was the day I moved out of that shit hole (literally). I remember it being 8am and the fresher's ball had been the night before. My flatmates kept me up all the time coming in drunk and just being dicks quite frankly. So I thought I'd get my payback early in the morning, an hour before I was due to be gone for good, and play this at top volume. Mix it with a hefty hangover and you can imagine my flatmates were pretty fucking pissed. Meg 1 - Life 0.
No notable lyrics. Just imagine waking up to this full blast with a sub woofer.
9. Wake Up - Arcade Fire
This song gives me chills every single time I listen to it. It sums up my attitude to life. There's something about the epic build up that makes me feel set on fire. The feeling I get when I listen to foot stomping music, and songs with huge build ups? That's happiness to me - feeling like you're unstoppable, invincible and giving everything you've got to life and following your dreams. That's a huge part of what That Hummingbird Life is about, and a feeling that I strive for every day.
This one is worth a video:
10. Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen - Baz Luhrmann
Imagine the best life advice you could ever receive bundled up in one song. Just listen. This marked a turning in my life, where I started to look after myself, pay attention to my own needs, and just be proud of owning who I was.
Early Twenties - Present Day
11. Warrior - Ke$ha
I was really lucky in that when I was graduating, I had a really great job that I loved. After my contract was up, I spent a couple of months unemployed, in that post-graduation depression, looking for fulfilling work but not settling on the first thing.
I landed a perfect job in less that idea circumstances. Let's just say it didn't work out and I left the job with my self-esteem at rock bottom, deflated and disillusioned. Also I felt like I had had the life knocked right out of me. I started more jobs to leave only feeling an emphasised version of the first one.
Music really helped me get through a lot of things at this point in my life. I needed to be reminded that I was alive, and the situation I was in was temporary. I needed to build myself back up, in order to become the person I am today. I needed to remind myself I was a warrior. And we all need that reminder sometimes.
Now this is our time,Our generation,And we're impatient.Animals you ready to fight?Fight for the fuck ups,Stand up for true love,We'll never give up.Live like it's our last night alive.
12. Chandalier - SIA
Amidst that time, I really started struggling. I reached complete burn out a couple of times, and seriously worried that I would never get back to myself. I had no energy, my health forced me to take time off work and let's just say, things weren't pretty. I was really struggling with my mental health. I was seriously struggling in general. I felt like a fragile shell of who I used to be and I needed to get out the situation I was in but too scared to leave. On the outside my life looked perfect - dream job, lovely house, wonderful parter, but inside shit was hitting the fan. Apart from Mr. Meg, who has been my rock, everything was falling apart. I hadn't yet made the mindset shift into acknowledging that looking after yourself isn't selfish, and slowing down is good for you. This song took a lot of that pain away, and I'd listen to it when I needed to escape and let go.
But I'm holding on for dear life, won't look down won't open my eyes
13. Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft Ray Dalton
If you're ever struggling with what you're meant to do in the world, saying no to convention or need a boost, I encourage you to go listen to The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' album. Despite feeling that everything was falling apart, I always kept a glimmer of hope. I knew it would all work out in the end. I didn't know how, I didn't know when, but I just had a feeling. I learned this song off by heart, and used it as my compass. Things were going to get better and nothing was going to hold me back. I'd started to think that I could make it on my own, and around this time, I'd decided to start something bigger than myself. It was around this time that That Hummingbird Life was born.
Looking for a better way to get up out of bedInstead of getting on the Internet and checking a new hit me.Get up! Fresh out, pimp strut walking, little bit of humble, little bit of cautious
14. American Kids - Kenny Chesney
And here I am! It's been an adventure so far to say the least. This song fills me with joy. I've let go of so much shit was was holding me down. I moved to London and am now saving to go travelling and I'm just so excited about the future. Everything about this song reminds me of who I am, who I'm meant to be, and where I want to go. I don't even know what it is about this song. The lyrics don't mean anything to me. I think it's just how it makes me feel young, free and like the world is my oyster. The video? That's how I feel.
A little messed up, but we're all alright
I hope you enjoyed learning about my life in 14 songs. The process was really therapeutic and I'd encourage everyone to try a list like this out for yourself. It tells your life story in a way that you might not have framed it before. And that's pretty fucking powerful. If you've done this before, or are going to write your own list, let me know about it in the comments - I'd love to see how you find it!
You can listen to the 14 songs as a playlist below!