Complex Emotional Responses

I was speaking last night with a friend. We were at karaoke, and someone sang a song that I still have a very hard time hearing because of Ian. It was one of his ‘favorites’ (as much as you could call any song one of his favorites), and is a very happy bouncy hopeful song. Every time I hear it, I experience such a strange mix of emotions that my reaction is to get angry, because sifting through them all is generally too much unless I’m alone and have time. Luckily, there are only one or two of those songs left for me – it used to be almost my entire music library.

My friend said that she had the same complex emotions with another song, and the conversation made me ponder the phenomenon more. (As an aside, I seem to have this reaction often when I talk to her РI should remember that, and do it more.)

In attempting, later, to unravel the knot of emotions with that song, I took each one out, to look at it.

  1. Happiness – It reminded me of how joyful Ian was when he’d hear it. How he’d bounce up and down and grin like a maniac.
  2. Sadness – He’s not here to do that anymore.
  3. Regret – The song is so hopeful. I wish he could have taken some of that hope and used it to defeat the depression.
  4. Anger – Why couldn’t he have taken some of that hope, damnit?
  5. Fear – How many people that I know are struggling with the same thing, and unable to find the hope in this (or other) songs/situations/etc?

That’s a cursory look, based on what I could unravel while driving home last night. I’m sure there are more buried in there… But looking even at that, it’s easy to see why when that song comes on, I just want to walk away, or skip it, or do something so that I can completely ignore it. It’s likely that some day, I’ll be able to listen and enjoy it and any other song or situation that’s similar. But for now, AVOID AVOID AVOID.

Written 3/12/2015

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