Emma Bishop looks at an alternative way to manage the all to familiar curse of over-thinking.
We live in a world where being kind to yourself as a woman is seen as an act of indulgence. So when my internal monologue started to work on overdrive my first response was to feel frustrated. As women we are so quickly stereotyped as being irrational. We are constantly told we are over-dramatic or making a big deal out of nothing. Was I just a constant over-thinker? Would I ever get out of my own head, or was I stuck there forever?
A quick Google search listed different techniques to deal with over-thinking from mediation to ‘being patient’ – none of which sounded very interesting or helpful. I'd never been very good at listening to advice anyway. So when the internet suggested listening to calm music, I decided to do just the opposite.
I’ll never forget my first experience of activism in music. I went to the Pussy Riot film premiere with my mother, and I remember feeling quite taken aback. I felt both exceedingly in awe of the women’s passion and similarly very annoyed in that moment. The film spoke specifically to the women’s use of literal screaming as a form of political resistance. The way the women were judged, arrested even, for having strong opinions and using music as a method of protest was infuriating. But it was unsurprising. How dare women speak so loudly about issues that directly impacted them and their bodies – must be crazy, right? From then on music became exceedingly important in my life. Especially as I began to develop a stronger sense of identity. Much like the internal monologue it followed me everywhere I went, but this was a welcomed companion.
I guess I just figured if I turned the music up loud enough, I wouldn’t be able to hear myself think anymore. The irony of course, was that many of the songs I listened to mirrored the narrative in my own head.
I was listening to a Cherry Glazerr song not too long ago where the lyrics said “Internalize so much, but so little. Don't make us feel belittled, world”. They hit the nail on the damn head. As women we are criticized for having loud emotions and being passionately angry. Hearing women sing about the issues that spoke to the source of my concerns was a way to manage the over-thinking. In doing so, I learnt that it wasn’t the constant stream of thoughts that frustrated me. What annoyed me most was feeling like I was alone in feeling this way. Music helped me understand that I was not.
Listening to female fronted bands became a source of empowerment. And attending their concerts was a welcomed stress relief – both mentally and physically. The music absolutely played a role of resistance. Both against my own thoughts and against the people who told me to silence them. This became clear a few weeks ago when I saw a band called Dream Nails play. Before playing they asked all the women in the audience to come to the front of the stage. Because taking up space and having a safe space to exist in is important as women.
But they weren’t just creating a physical space for women to exist in. They were creating a mental one, too. One where equally passionate women could fill their mental space with resistance, anger, and passion. One where the narrative in our head became a collective one. One that brought us together to voice our concerns. And have them taken seriously.
Being a woman who thinks too much is exhausting. But it’s not a pain point. It’s powerful.
Here are my top 5 albums to manage the internal monologue with music. And also for having a bloody good time.
1) Cherry Glazerr: Apocalipstick. The song ‘Instangratification’ should be called instant gratification, because it does just that.
2) Screaming Females: Rose Mountain. Need I say more?
3) Vallens: Consent. Because consent is always required.
4) Death Valley Girls: Glow In The Dark. They have a song called I’m A Man Too. It’s good.
5) Gurr: In My Head. Because that’s where I’m learning to get out of.