How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

31_sun-and-cloud-photosYou’ve really got to hand it to the people who wrote the oldies.  Perhaps they didn’t know if their music would be remembered, but I think that they’d be surprised at how profoundly some people have been touched; people like me, for example.  I don’t care how old music gets; when it strikes a chord with me (pun intended) I remember it for the rest of my life.

One of my favorite classics is the R&B ballad “Easy (Like Sunday Morning)” by Lionel Richie and the Commodores.  I’m reminded about who I am, courtesy of this song.  When certain things happened over the past few years, I found myself using this song to sing my truth.  I still feel the same way today; that’s why it’s one of my favorites.

When the song opens with four bars of an iconic piano melody, I’m hooked right away.  “I know it sounds funny but I just can’t stand the pain; girl, I’m leaving you tomorrow.  Seems to me girl, you know I’ve done all I can.   You see I begged, stole and I borrowed…yeah“.  The first verse speaks to me of a man who has reached the end of the line in a failing relationship.  He feels like he’s done everything humanly possible to make it work, but it wasn’t meant to be, and yet, he’s accepted that fact.  That’s what I feel when the chorus is sung for the first time.  “Ooo, that’s why I’m easy…I’m easy like Sunday morning.  That’s why I’m easy…I’m easy like Sunday morning“.  There have been moments when this has been true for my own life, but I don’t dwell on it like I used to.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think about my past, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I let it consume my thoughts.

The second verse really speaks to my Aspie personality.  “Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?  I’ve paid my dues to make it.  Everybody wants me to be what they want me to be.  I’m not happy when I try and fake it…no“.  As I began to accept my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, I wondered why some people didn’t understand what the Autism Spectrum was or didn’t want to understand it.  I feel like I’ve paid my dues in this life, having had to deal with intolerance, misunderstanding and outright bullying from a few external forces.

Because I’ve grown in awareness, I sometimes notice when people assume there’s something wrong with me and I need to be “fixed”.  I don’t appreciate it when people make that kind of assumption, and I’ve wasted too much time trying to be what I believed others wanted me to be.  I’m more aware of my authentic self and I’m happier for embracing it.  The repeated chorus reaffirms that feeling of self-confidence that I didn’t have until I stood tall and proud in my truth.

The bridge of the song is full of personal power and says exactly what I want from life.  “I wanna be high, so high!  I wanna be free to know the things I do are right.  I wanna be free…just me. Oh, yes“.  I sometimes get carried away when singing this part because it’s exactly what I feel at my core.  When I embraced my diagnosis and overcame my worst feelings of being bullied and ostracized, I realized that being my authentic self was the only way to feel happy.  I eventually found the courage to tell my story with this blog, and I’m proud to be doing so.  I feel like I’m exactly what I need to be: a voice, an advocate, an example of a person on the Autism Spectrum living a full and healthy life.

After an eight-bar instrumental, the chorus repeats twice and the song fades out.  Music can be more than just idle entertainment; I believe that the perfect song can help bring out whatever bad feelings are inside and boost all the good feelings you have.  “Easy (Like Sunday Morning)” rings true with what’s in my heart.  I know deep down that as long as I have music, I’ll feel alive and authentic.  I think anyone can have a song in their heart that gives them joy when they need it. So now I wonder…what are your “heart” songs?

Listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQpq5ofcSdg

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