Noah Kahan songs that SPEAK to my epilepsy
Many people don't know this, but singing has been a passion of mine for over 15 years. I grew up CONSTANTLY singing. I was a pretty shy kid, but I LOVED the attention. Some would say I still do! As a kid, singing felt like my escape. I got bullied a lot as a kid. A big reason was that I was a delayed kid. I was the last in my class to read, do anything with hand-eye coordination, and much more. The other kids weren't accepting because my talent didn't shine in school. But every Wednesday, at 2:30, that changed. I had a music class that I religiously looked forward to every week for ten years.
They say the music you listen to in your teen years shapes you. In 8th grade, I struggled with a huge friendship loss. All the kids I hung out with on the bus stopped talking to me because I stood up for myself. I would beg my mom every day not to let me take the bus because I didn't want to sit alone. It was torture. BUT I had a lot of time to listen to music. One of the artists I listened to was Noah Kahn. At the time, his most recent single was "Hurt Somebody." I never thought much of his music because I was into many 2000s punk songs, but something was soothing about his music.
I say this to you because I saw Noah Kahan, THE Folk Malone, IN CONCERT this weekend. LIKE WHAT????? ME? IN THE SAME ROOM AS NOAH FREAKING KAHN? To say I've psychoanalyzed the lyrics to all of Stick Season and the extended version is an understatement. So, without further ado, here is an in-depth psychoanalyzed review of why Noah Kahn's lyrics speak to my epilepsy. I want to make it known that the deep emotions written in this blog were experienced a long time ago.
In "Growing Sideways," the line that most resonates with me is,
"Everyone's growing, and everyone's healthy. I'm terrified that I might have never met me."
WOW. ABSOLUTELY WOW. Growing up with epilepsy, you constantly feel like everyone is getting "better" except you. Everyone's changing, but you're in the same place. Before getting off medicine, my life had felt like a constant Groundhog Day. Get up. Take medicine. Go to school. Nap. Take medicine. Repeat. I know it's silly, but now that I'm older, I can genuinely tell you my medicine did NOT show me my true self. And how would I know? This had been my constant since the day I was 4. I remember the first few months after being off medicine. My first date told me I was "too much" and "must have ADHD." I was insulted because I had been called low maintenance my whole life. It hit me. Did I even know who I was? Was my entire life a lie? These past few years, I've truly been able to reflect. I learned that epilepsy medications are mood stabilizing, so there was a reason I always felt neutral. These last few years, I've met people who genuinely love me for me. People like that I'm "too much." But for a long time, I honestly never thought that I had met me.
"No complaints," to me, is arguably the song that speaks MOST to my epilepsy. I would put the entire song in here because Noah put his whole heart and soul into this one. So, to spare you the entire song, I picked my three favorite verses.
"But I finally got sewed up. I set a time, then I showed up. Now the weight of the world ain't so bad."
When getting off medication, I had this new sense of relief. But also this sense of intense guilt. I felt like I didn't deserve to be off meds. Some people who have been seizure-free for 5-10 years still live on daily medication. But ME? I have seizures daily. And I get to live this pleasure? It's not fair. When you tell people you are off medicine (specifically your extended family), they think you're cured. They give you this disapproving "Oh! So you're cured?" then you explain it to them, and they go, "Oh." As in, you deserve to be on medication forever. BUT hey! At least everyone (excluding Queen Lisa and my family) thought I was okay. I guess I'm pretty good at that.
"I saw the end, it looks just like the middle
Got a paper and pen and a page with no space
I filled the hole in my head with prescription medication
And forgot how to cry, who am I to complain?"
As I said, most of my medicated life felt like Groundhog Day. Every day felt like the same. There were days when I was filled with excitement, but most days, I felt content. Everything felt like it was never-ending. My medication stabilized my mood, and even though I'm the biggest crybaby, I feel more emotions now than ever being off medicine. I always thought that "someone else is in worse condition." Stop complaining. Someone is terminally ill. So what, you have seizures? Get over it. I made myself have the mentality that someone else was worse because I didn't have a disability someone else had.
"And now the pain's different
It still exists. It just escapes different
And evades vision, makes the rain different
Makes the news boring and my rage distant
Yes, I'm young and living dreams
In love with being noticed and afraid of being seen."
Last year, I started being in more of a "public eye" setting. I was helping people. People were RELYING on me. Which is great, but it has its costs. I always want to help someone. I want to be there whenever possible, but this pain is different. I was a 17-year-old girl in charge of what felt like a million people's emotions. Adults and children alike. When I couldn't use an outlet I created, things felt scary. I was so scared and angry, but no one understood. I started to feel not only forgotten but USED. Like no one cared. I was living my dreams but paying the price emotionally. Afraid that someone else would confide in me and make me their reliable person. I couldn't handle it.
"But I can finally eat, and I can fall asleep
It's fine, fine, fine."
I've never told anyone this, but I made a deal with my mom when I got off medicine. It was my JOB to take care of my body. I had to be responsible for falling asleep at a decent time and giving my body the nourishment it deserves. Sleeping used to be my favorite hobby. I was so tired. All. The. Time. Now I can get sleep after a long day of schoolwork and more. I also worked up an appetite, which, if you've read my past blog posts, you'll learn that I've struggled with body image. In my book, "Call Your Mom," isn't my favorite, but the song's meaning and depth make me like it.
"Medicate, meditate, swear your soul to Jesus"
I am Catholic. Growing up, I had so much resentment towards God simply because of my epilepsy. I honestly thought there was no way He loved me if this was His plan for me. I was 4 when I was diagnosed. What could a four-year-old possibly do to deserve this illness? Did I do something terrible, and God had enough of it? Did He think this was the proper punishment? These are all things that ran through my head, ultimately leading me to stray from my faith. I spent NIGHTS praying. Asking God to cure me. Asking him, "Why me?" I kept asking where He was. It felt like He wasn't there. Now, I know He was there. He just had bigger plans that I didn't understand at the time. Up until five years ago, I thought faith was a joke. I tried getting into other religions, but it never felt right. Now, I can stand here today and tell you it's not. I'm not happy that this is my way of living, but I understand God's purpose for me. I say this because I wouldn't be writing to any of you if I didn't have epilepsy! I have met many people who genuinely feel like my family because of my epilepsy. I can firmly tell you the two best things I have gotten from my epilepsy are my non-profit and, most importantly, my best friend. I would do anything to be writing this post right next to her.
To end this on a happy note, the last song is "You're Gonna Go Far."
"So, pack up your car, put a hand on your heart
Say whatever you feel, be wherever you are
We ain't angry at you, love
You're the greatest thing we've lost."
If you've been following us on Instagram, you'll know I recently started attending Community college, which is a massive step for me. I've never been an academic, and I feel sorry for people who think their only worth or validation comes from a grade. Deciding to go to college was last minute. And even though I'm not staying on campus because it's 15 minutes away, the people I work with and love were scared to lose me, knowing that when I commit to something, I put my heart and soul into it. I've been scared about my future for Milo&Me and school, but I know my heart will be in it, whatever I do.
Thank you for listening to my in-depth version of why Noah Kahan is absolutely amazing. Not only is he a fantastic singer, but he's an admirable advocate for mental health. I urge you to go to his concerts if you have the chance. It was life-changing, and I wouldn't complain if his management saw this and reached out to me. :) hehehhe