image © 2012 Aline Giordano
text © 2013 Aline Giordano
Those of us working in higher education know this proverb by Mahatma Gandhi well: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’
Today I am certainly living as if I were to die tomorrow. Tomorrow I am afraid. So today I procrastinate. Some would seize the day. Me, I just recoil and listen to ‘Normal song’ by Perfume Genius until I get numb, until nothing happens any more. I know some would tell me to get a grip, to get out there, to face my fears, to stop listening to depressing music (How could I?), to do something about it. Some would say that it’s actually not that bad. I wonder what these people are made of. What are their heart made of?
Not that bad? So it’s just me then. Today all I can think about is: tomorrow I’m dead. Tomorrow I’ll wear my armour and my suit and face the day. Tomorrow I shall kill myself, kill my principles, kill my emotions and put a brave smile on. How long will my behavioural tricks help me? How long can I doodle sad faces on a sheet of paper to shred them symbolically? How long can I repeat to myself: ‘this moment is only the result of a million decisions which are not mine’? How long can my coping strategy help me cope?
Tomorrow I’ll face the day listening to ‘Normal song’ but tomorrow ‘I am afraid’.
I don’t fully understand the meaning of the lyrics to ‘Normal Song’. I could have asked Mike Hadreas to enlighten me when I interviewed him. But I didn’t ask. I actually like it when the meaning of a song is open-ended. I find the lyrics of such songs comforting because there is no cognitive activity involved. It’s just emotions, underlying feelings, guts, simple words leading to simple yet poignant imagery.
Hadreas, M. (2012), Normal Song, Put your back n 2 it: Organs.