I woke up on Wednesday morning with a little nose bleed. I used to get them all the time when I was a kid but they stopped happening so frequently after I finished high school, so it kinda freaked me out. I had stayed up pretty late watching election coverage. I figured I had invested too much time reading about it to not see its end. The whole thing was the longest and worst–but most bingeable–TV series ever. You couldn’t write this shit.
To be honest the whole thing really freaks me out. The modern world breeds anxiety, as does the weight of history. I do my best to keep a cool head but my body was obviously feeling as though I needed to let a bit of blood. My nostril was the least painful, automatic and most convenient way for that to happen.
As the week went on, I went through a lot of emotions. I stared at my Twitter feed for way too long (I’ve always gone back and forth, but I’m almost certain Twitter is Hell), feeling powerless, angry, depressed and overwhelmed by reactionary hot takes, finger pointing and aimless protests. I hope someone can come up with a better chant than “Fuck Trump”. I hope people can swallow the fact that he is, legitimately the President-elect of the United States. Most of all, I hope the people who now live with a heightened fear of persecution, the threat of (almost state sanctioned) hate-crimes being committed against them can find some way to escape that feeling and any actions that may be thrust upon them.
The world is complicated and I don’t have the answers, I doubt anyone does. Maybe the Heptapods from Arrival do, but as my partner had to remind me as we drove home from the theater Saturday night, they aren’t coming to save us in real life (yet!). I found it hard to write about music last week but I did not find it hard to listen to music. Nothing is better at helping me breathe than music. When I was feeling angry and inspired, Tanya Tagaq and Lido Pimienta prepared me to fight back against anything that stood in the way of justice or something like it. At my most anxious, Jean-Michel Blais’ extraordinary album II brought my heart rate down and slowed my nosebleeds.
I found particular solace in Shaun Weadick’s beautiful, contemplative and frankly ‘shredtacular’ album Sparrows by the Cross at Mena’sen. Musically it is sparse; just Weadick playing acoustic guitar. But its intent and execution is brilliant. Within the space between forcefully plucked and pulled strings, you are given room to breathe. Meditate on where you are, who you are and how feel. There is extreme comfort in being able to slow everything down and assess your surroundings. Acknowledge where you are, where you’ve been, and what has been where you are.
Music is powerful. And at a time in history where so many feel powerless, scared and profoundly uncertain of what the future will hold for them, there aren’t many places to turn. Don’t turn on the TV. Definitely stay off Twitter. Take comfort in music and empty space and try to relax. It might help you focus and should quell the bleeding.