by Dana Perry
“Play Your Song” is a song I had written about my experiences with Girls/Ladies Rock Camp… or so I thought… It’s rare when I write about something other than my own self-evolution. Funny thing tho: even when you think you’re talking to someone else, you’re truly just talking to yourself. Everyone and everything in your “reality” is a fucking carnival fun-house mirror.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
Accepting my Reality
To spare the epic novel of hows and whys, I’ll simply say: it was a rough time for me mentally/emotionally. This particular day was extra symptomatic – a heavy weighted sadness in my chest, anxiety that nothing really matters, tears and clenching anger, suicidal daydreams, mourning of my losses, a dark infinite dank empty hole where my stomach usually is, the feeling that I am utterly alone in the world, and we’re all gonna die anyway so what does it matter and everything is fake, and it’s all just a fucking tv show… I had an extra hard time accepting my reality that day.
What am I supposed to be doing here?! Why am I Here at all? Why does everything hurt so goddamned much and why do I have to sit here and just take it? If I’m totally alone and everyone dies and nothing matters, what is the fucking point of all of this suffering? ! The desire for my non-existence was strong that day…
A Weird Soundtrack
As I sat and looked around my room in a tear-filled, I-give-up kinda way, the things in the room started to look…different. As I let my “alone”ness sink in, every item and piece of furniture in the room seemed extra manufactured. The table, the chair, my mini fridge, the shelf, my clothes thrown about… everything looked fake and shiny and made of a rubbery foam and plastic like they were all props for the set of a movie or tv show. As I looked around at the absurdity of it all, my own song came up in the shuffle. My own shit… really? Right now?
The song playing was a weird soundtrack to this weird dimensional shift… I had a feeling of confusion, a weird feeling like I was being shown something, but I didn’t really understand exactly what I was supposed to see. I said to The Big Everything without words: ok… so let’s say it looks this way because yes, everything IS just a big tv show…that still makes me feel alone and anxious and like nothing matters and I’m unsure of what I supposed to be doing here!! It’s even creepier, and I’m kinda scared now… What do I DO with this, do I just give up?!
And then, the lyrics to the song came forward, like a rush of heavy thunder through my chest.
“…show me how you rock and roll, just be a child, let yourself run wild…”
The Big Everything
The song then consumed me, completely took over. As I looked around my room, and Listened (yes, with a capital L), and let my senses get involved and let go of everything, actually embrace that Nothing is actually Everywhere, and I’m just this mass of Awareness hurling through a vast ocean of space and Nothing… the voice I heard through the speakers was all of a sudden not my own anymore. It sounded foreign, the voice of an ancient thing, wise and motherly yet with a warrior essence…
The feeling that I was alone in a world that was nothing more than a movie set filled with people playing characters wasn’t so dark anymore. I mean, still absurd, but I was starting to think maybe it wasn’t such a “bad” thing. As these feelings started to wash over me, I was in complete disbelief that the voice I heard singing to me was not my own, I kept trying to shake it loose and couldn’t… and then I became aware of the fact that the song was for me, from The Big Everything. The voice I heard was this “unknown” presence, singing to me, using my song, using the recording. It sounded insane, but the more I questioned it, the more I felt her confirm to me that She had the answers; and that She was using my voice and my lyrics to convey them to me:
“…it’s all you, you’re in control. And you know you got it, now let me hear you rock it. Let it all go, ’cause you’re beautiful. Just keep playing your song…”
At this point I felt this incredible sense of ease come over me, like this warrior-woman was there with me, inside me, holding me, rocking me, telling me yes, it’s all just a great big Story – and you Dana are the Writer, the Pen, the Paper, the Reader, and you’re doing it all at the same time. Yes, that’s all it is, no more, no less – you’re here to tell Dana’s Story, all of it, to play her songs, and you’re doing it perfectly…
As the music and this presence consumed me, I shook and cried. I tried so hard to call bullshit on all of it, tried hard to recognize the voice coming out of my laptop as my own, tell myself it’s all in my head… then She came through even more persistent than before, wrapped her arms around me from within me, held onto me while She used my recording to talk to me:
“…and then I met a woman, she’d been around the sun now 30 times or so, lifetimes more to go…”
Oh no… this can’t be happening…
“…it was clear she was here to rediscover what she thought she misplaced somewhere in time and space…”
Is this fucking happening? It this for real?!
“…and I wear a smile when I see her wear her worried look, ’cause her song has got a wicked hook…”
“…she said ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to play’, and yet unconsciously she strums her story perfectly…”
A Pile of Tears
At this point, I’ve collapsed into a pile of tears. Holy shit, has this song been about me this whole time? ! Was it just sitting there in disguise, waiting for the right moment, waiting until the day comes when it’s needed as a tool for The Source to communicate with me during a shitty time?
As the song came into another chorus and a bridge, I sat there collapsed in a pile of tears. The motherly warrior woman held me as I cried and listened, and continued to sing to me using my song, giving me the strength and fire I needed:
“…I said show me how you rock-n-roll. Just be a child, let yourself run wild. It’s all you, you’re in control. And you know you got it. Now let me hear you rock it! Let it all go, ’cause you’re beautiful. Just keep playing your song…”
“…we are strong. And you know, we’ve had it all along. Play your song, and everyone will play along. Why not here? Why not now? Right Here…right Now…”
I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this experience. It will forever stick out as one of the times the divinity of music truly revealed itself to me; and as one of the many times I felt my Journey and purpose as a musician was confirmed.
Dana Perry, Category: Artist, Albums: Reclamation, Me & Lady G, Top Tracks: Textbook Delusional, Catatonic, Everything Is Moving, Big-Ass Butterfly, Dark Matter, Biography: Madison-based folk artist Dana Perry has been making music passionately for over 25 years, with over 13 years of focus on playing guitar and songwriting., Monthly Listeners: 8, Where People Listen: Chicago, Madison, Saint Paul, Sun Prairie, Janesville