As far back as I can remember, I have always loved listening to music. Growing up, my parents played a wide variety of different types of music. Music has always been a great source of enjoyment and relaxation for me. As I have grown up, my taste in music, like most things in my life, has evolved. Nowadays, I can usually be found listening to I’m Still Standing by Elton John, Jeremy by Pearl Jam, or any number of songs by the Beatles.
The songs Jeremy and I’m Still Standing, in particular, represent what I’ve been through thus far in my life. To me, the song Jeremy is about what it is like to be misunderstood by society. Jeremy doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. All my life, I’ve felt misunderstood. I’ve never entirely known where I belong in this world. I’ve always felt like I ought to prove myself in everything I do. My best was never good enough. Growing up, especially it felt like I had to prove that I was deserving of the same level of education as my nondisabled peers. Every three years, I was required to undergo testing as a part of my IEP evaluation. These tests, in my opinion, didn’t show my gifts and strengths; instead, they focused on my struggles. I felt the need to prove that I was more than a number or a name on an IEP.
I am a human being with hopes, goals, and imperfections like anybody else. It’s always been a struggle to get others to see me the way I see myself. Contrary to what some people might think, my disability does define who I am. It’s a part of me, but it’s not all of me.
The song I’m Still Standing to me represents resilience. I have been through a lot in my 21 years of life. However, as Elton John says, “You know, I’m still standing better than I ever did.” From each of my trials in life, I have come back still standing tall. I’m proud of who I’ve become today and am continually improving myself and working to figure out my path in life.
Music has always been a steady presence in my life. Music has spoken to me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I’m always finding my personal meanings in my favorite songs.
Is there a type of song or artist you don’t like, viscerally? I’m curious as to why…
I’ve never liked country or opera. From a visceral standpoint, neither of these types of music has a message that I relate to.
I love learning about you through your writing. Thank you for sharing.