I am the type of person that connects music to emotions, and emotions to experiences or time periods of my life. Whether positive or negative, whenever a song comes on the radio or appears on my shuffled Spotify, I am reminded of that emotion and the experience that accompanies it. While learning about new artists is always fun, sometimes reminiscing on songs and artists I used to love is just as exciting. Just this last week I rediscovered a favorite song from my freshman year at Emory: "To Love Someone" by Ben Abraham.
I started listening to this song in the blistering cold, walking down the hill from the Burlington Road Music Building. I was questioning my decision to be a music major; I was questioning my decision to be at Emory; I was questioning everything. Freshman year was a meaningful year for me. Despite the big change of moving to Atlanta, I learned a lot about myself and what I need in my life to be happy. "To Love Someone" brought me a lot of peace in a time when it seemed like all the decisions I was making weren't right for me.
Now, listening to this song as a sophomore, it means less to me about decisions and more about my identity. I know this is getting cheesy fast so bear with me. People have always told me your college years are about "finding yourself." I always brushed that aside with a "yeah, yeah I know" but it's true. And it's not as pretty as they make it out to be. In the midst of choosing a major, career path, sorority to join etc., you simultaneously discover what to prioritize and who are the most important people in your life. It is daunting at first and frustrating (at least it is for me) because there is no clear answer.
One of my favorite lyrics from Ben Abraham's song is: "And lately I've begun to find that home is harder to define, I'll take my dwelling for a time inside a lonely song." Leaving Dallas has not made it feel any less like home but it taught me what it feels like to "come home." Whenever I left places in the past, it was almost always permanently. We would go back and visit but it wasn't to our old house and it most certainly didn't feel like it used to. Dallas still feels like home but slowly but surely Atlanta is beginning to as well. That thought makes me uncomfortable because it is an indicator that I am moving on.
"Some will say you need to find the common men who share your mind, where others say to hide yourself, protect your heart above all else." Strangely, I think have done both of these things during my short time at Emory. I have found friends who are more like-minded and passionate about issues and interests I care about here than I have anywhere else. I have always thought that standing up for what you believe in is important but it is much easier when you have other people willing to stand with you. At the same time, I have learned the importance of protecting your heart.
Unfortunately, sometimes that comes with hiding parts of yourself in order to not get hurt. Every time I walked back from music during my freshman year, I felt like I was hiding something. I loved music but I hated studying it in an academic environment. For some reason, it felt like I was betraying the gift I was given.
People will always tell you that you cannot begin to love someone else until you love yourself. I think a big part of "finding yourself" in college is this difficult process of loving who you are growing up to be. But as Ben Abraham says "to love someone, when you love someone, that's where you belong." Maybe this isn't the interpretation Ben was hoping for, but I think once you learn to love yourself and all that encompasses your identity, that's when you will finally feel like you belong.