Back to Writing – Recovery & Sara Bareilles, Explaining the Obsession 

I have not written anything in something like nine days! Typically, I write a couple times a week, at least, but recently I have been feeling a bit “funky”. Not good or bad, happy or sad, etc….just not Lil. In an effort to become more Lil-ish I decided it might help to write something. So, I sat down and began to write a post about Sara Bareilles because…duh. However, this took a turn when I realized that I needed to narrow things down, so that I could avoid a 20 page essay about my love for Sara. It is a challenge to write this sort of post when you equally admire an artist for their music and their person. For example, I really love Fight Song by Rachel Platten and I think she seems like a pretty cool person, but I lack an equal appreciation or interest in both. With Sara, there are a million directions I could do in, as a result of her talent coupled with my obsession with the talent she possesses. Additionally, when you really care about something, it leads to a strong sense of wanting to do justice to your feelings and that can almost become overwhelming at times.

What I landed on was to write about how her music and her person has helped me through my recovery process. I was going to write that sentence as “through my life and recovery” but that just turned into a cheesy reference to the title of my blog. Anyways, Sara has had a profound effect on my journey. In 2013, I was a sophomore at college and I was struggling pretty severely. I felt lonely, stressed out, and ultimately very very depressed. Her music became a comfort to me through this difficult time. She is open about how she goes to therapy in a nonchalant way and that helped me feel less shame around my struggles. In October of that year, she was on a small tour and I had the chance to see her perform. Leading up to the concert, I would constantly remind myself that I needed to hold on until I saw her live. Seeing her live, I felt moved by her music and encouraged to continue. It was one of the moments where I was reminded of reasons for why I should keep going….feeling so happy and not having to worry about my problems for the night.

The summer following my school year, Sara happened to go on tour again to promote her recent album, and once again I was fortunate enough to see her perform. This time, I went with LCM and M for a girls weekend. The months leading up to the concert were…f***ing dreadful. It was the period of time where my depression and eating disorder were strongest. My hope was the lowest it has ever been and my mind was in a very bad place. One thing kept me going, once again, and it was knowing that I would see Sara perform again. At the concert, she sang her song Satellite Call during encore. This song is one that Sara wrote specifically for her fans who have struggled through things like depression and other significant struggles.

“This one’s for the lonely child
Broken hearted
Running wild
This was written for the one to blame
For the one who believes they are the cause of chaos in everything

You may find yourself in the dead of night
Lost somewhere out there in the great big beautiful sky
We’re all just perfect little satellites
Spinning round and round this broken earthly life

This is so you know the sound
Of someone who loves you from the ground
Tonight you’re not alone at all
This is me sending out my satellite call

This is so you’ll know the sound
Of someone who loves you
From the ground
Tonight you’re not alone at all
This is me sending out my
Satellite call”

I remember standing there, cold and exhausted because I was malnourished, tears stinging my eyes because I refused to let anyone see me cry, and overwhelmed by a plethora of heavy emotions. A song urging me to have hope is one thing, but Sara’s lyrics spoke directly to me and tried to make me feel less alone. Seen and heard. Less than 72 hours later, I was in the hospital for the first time and battling for my life physically and mentally. When I was away at TK, I was able to use my (very very) old iPod and listen to Sara. As I have mentioned before, I struggle with anxiety and at that time my anxiety was leading to near daily panic attacks. I discovered that Sara’s cover of Elton John’s song Goodbye Yellow Brick Road could calm my anxiety and help me through the panic attacks. Music is one of my biggest loves and Sara’s music is lyrically brilliant, beautifully written and sung, and I am unable to imagine my life without it.

As I shared in my post back in October, I recently met Sara! I was able to thank her, in person, for how her music has helped me in my battle against my struggles. It is definitely a weird experience to meet someone who you really admire, look up to, and is a perfect stranger. It is a challenge to portray what you want to, while also respecting and navigating boundaries, and complexities involved in this type of relationship. Additionally, I am sure that a large part of us wants a reciprocated validation. We want to feel that the person we admire will also admire, or at least positively acknowledge, us. Thankfully, Sara was gracious and as lovely as I had envisioned. I made a promise to her that night that I would continue my journey to healing.

I am fully aware that I am the one who has kept fighting. I am fully aware that I deserve to credit myself for still being alive. No one else can truly force anyone into recovery. However, it is also important to acknowledge that we need to find help along the way, and I am thankful to have find some of my help in Sara. I am thankful for music that helps me stay alive.

My first Sara concert!

Sara playing in Ohio, July 2014

Sara talking about her book before I met her!


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