Sounds of Summer: Breathe In

Howdy ladies and gentlemen! I’m a day late, but I’m back with my seventh “Sounds of Summer” entry. Thanks in advance for stopping by!

Rediscovering this particular tune was, without a doubt, a serious trip down memory lane. Last Tuesday, I was putt’n around on YouTube when I stumbled across a video for a song by Frou Frou. The band name rang a bell, and as soon as Imogen Heap’s voice came soaring out from my speakers, I was awash with awe and an aura of pure fulfillment. How long has it been since I last heard this song?

Imogen Heap
Retrieved from https://news.bitcoin.com/imogen-heap-wants-decentralize-music-industry-ethereum/

“Breathe In” is more than just a catchy electronic song. It is, in my book, the defining hit of the early 2000s. Though I can’t remember the first time I stumbled across this song, or even specific places where I heard it playing, my emotional brain readily filled in the gaps. Snaps fingers. I’m back in Odessa, my hometown, and twelve years old, living a life of mild angst and self-consciousness amidst all the oil fields and tumbleweeds. The summer sun is scorching, and I’m wondering when I’m ever gonna find myself. My true self.

Odessa Stonehedge
Retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-signs-you-are-from-odessa-texas

For the rest of that light and airy Tuesday, a mixture of glee, wanderlust, and quiet contemplation clouded my mind as I sang along with Imogen. “And I…where was I? I have to be somewhere. Now where did I put it…?” The best part of it all? For the first time in months, I wasn’t reflexively trying to direct those lovelorn lyrics to anyone in particular. I lost myself in the notes and the beat, and the sudden self-awareness I felt was as refreshing as a burst of pine-scented mountain air.

I can’t help but smirk and giggle to myself, because “Breathe In” is, in my head, the very antithesis of a clichéd love song. For most of May, June, and July, I tossed and tumbled with grief and puppy love, both feeding into each other like an oil fire on the surface of a choppy sea. It made for a pretty unpleasant rollercoaster, but I finally decided to get off that ride. Where there was once resentment, jealousy, and a wounded sense of pride, I now feel mainly love, acceptance, and a sense of steady but peaceful self-defense. After all, what’s more beautiful than a love song that you sing with only yourself in mind?

“And I’m high enough from all the waiting…

to ride a wave on your inhaling”

We’re largely a culture of idealized romance, and the emphasis on falling in love with that special someone is overdone. I recognized that fact and cast it off into the ocean – and for the first time in months, I felt the cage door before me unlock. No more childish dreams of creating love out of the ashes of my recent losses. No more pining over imaginary leads that I made up with my mind, rather than discovered with my heart. Now I’m set on self-care, self-realization, and the creation of my own little atmosphere of carefree but sincere appreciation: for the world, my friends, and even the most trivial of my mistakes.

When Imogen sings, “Is this it? Is this it?”, I find it easy to part my lips and say, “Yup, it sure is.”

 

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