Analysis of an Earworm*

I’ve got an earworm.

(now and then I think of when we were together)

I should start off by saying that there are always these fugue-like periods I go through when I’m in the initial stages of obsession over something. Like I can feel my brain rewiring. I can’t stop looking at a picture. Or listening to a song on a loop for three straight hours. Ahem.

(like when you said you felt so happy you could die)

I don’t know why this is. It might be some deranged mix of emotions that approximates the feeling of being in love. Whatever it is, I’m infatuated with it because it usually precedes a period of strong desire, where I’m filled with a nebulous excitement, like I’ve found one of those rare hidden corners of myself.

(and it’s an ache I still remember)

It’s not an accident why it always seems to happen when I’m a liminal point in my life, drifting listless and bored from thing to thing, be it old or new. I know my brain’s in search mode for something I can latch onto.

(you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness)

I used to correlate it with ambition, since those liminal states are full of thoughts about the future. When I interviewed Amanda Palmer, I asked her about if dreaming of the future stopped when you’ve finally lived up to the dream you’ve had all your life. I asked that because I didn’t want to lose that. It drives me forward like nothing else. If it were ever to go away, I wouldn’t feel like myself anymore. What she said gave me some comfort.

(but I don’t want to live that way)

I don’t know why it was this song. Maybe it’s the break up I’m still thinking about, the fact that the silence of it numbed me against the unvoiced screams beneath it. Maybe it’s because that numbness has spread into other parts of my life. Maybe it’s because I just want to ache and to scream and to cry about it still, but I just can’t. It’s still too deep.

(but I’ll admit that I was glad it was over)

It’s quiet here this morning, better to forget about the rest of the world with. I’m beginning to move around again and ignore the pain in my back so it can finish getting better. I walked to get some coffee, thing song playing on a loop. I sat outside the cafe, alone, surrounded by people, listening to this song, drowning out the traffic with the negative space of the verses. A quiet that could smother the scream of the city.

(now you’re just somebody that I used to know)

*I’ve also realized I’m really fond of writing blog post titles like scientific powerpoint slides. When I’m shamelessly stealing song lyrics. Which I did for the blog post already.

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1 Response to Analysis of an Earworm*

  1. Liz says:

    This song is the ultimate earworm. I haven’t broken up with someone in over 30 years, but it hangs around my skull nevertheless.

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