Silhouette — a song for the bedlams

I remember the day very well. It was the day before my first real concert, the 23rd of November 2006. I had borrowed the keys for a public rehearsal room in Finnsnes, but for some reason I had no one to rehearse with that evening. I was mainly looking for excuses not to rehearse, walking aimlessly around waiting for a good idea to pop up. There were none, so I decided I would borrow a trumpet from the marching band’s storage room and hoot my loneliness away.

I didn’t find a trumpet, but in a cupboard in a dark corner, I found a dusty, rose-painted instrument with eight strings. The letters on the inside were Russian. I thought it might be a mandolin, or some sort of balalaika (I had never seen one so it made sense). I still haven’t found the name. Nonetheless, sitting there among the horns and kettledrums, a short melody popped up. A waltz. I didn’t record the melody, but stowed the mandolaika in my backpack and went home, and in the back of my mind the little line kept spinning.

I was 19 years old back then. The world was changing with every day. My body was in a mess. Hormones and new impressions, uncertainties and questions came and went every day.

Something made me think that my brain wasn’t fully developed back then. Often, I would wake up and not feel in control of my own body. Voices would blur, thoughts would mesh together in an intangible lump. Sometimes I thought that I was going mad.

Then I started reading philosophy, starting, as everybody does, with Plato. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but as long as he was speaking in metaphors I was able to grasp his concepts. One was his theory of forms: that the world was inherently made out of perfect, eternal ideas and that we as incomplete humans are only able to see the contours of a world trying to imitate those ideas. I didn’t care much for the philosophical part of it. Rather, it made sense to describe how I felt at the time.

I had many friends who, like me, struggled to understand themselves those days. Expectations about who they were, what they liked, how they would spend their days, all collapsed when they all of a sudden had the freedom and the restrictions an adult life provides you with. Life felt like one was fighting in the dark, and the person you wanted to be felt like a vague, distant idea that you were never able to realise, or uphold for longer than short, fragmented moments until reality came crashing in on you.

Even today, we seldom talk about our uncertanties. Those who do, are often declared ‘mad’ or simply ‘depressed’ for not being able to adjust to the world. Often I think that these are the only really sane people, acting sanely in a mad and depressed society.

‘Silhouette’ became a sort of lullaby. A lullaby for those who would like to close their eyes and retract to their ideas, because the ideas are so much better than the world that they try to explain. For the doubts without a language. For the ones about to go mad. A song for the bedlams. I’m not saying that the feeling of landing on the wrong planet will pass anytime soon, but trying to talk about it was a good start for me.

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