I stop breathing, my cheeks flush and go electric with tingling sensation. Warmth immediately intensifies to searing heat that rushes down my neck and through my arms. My whole body begins to tense in response to the mounting heat.
I am having an anxiety attack.
In a smooth motion I pull headphones on, I go to Spotify and put on the following song:
My love of Chopin is no secret. I would learn to play piano just to be able to pour my heart out through his ballades, nocturnes, and etudes. As it is, I have this song in my headphones right now, and the symptoms I described above have abated just two minutes in.
Chopin captured the feelings of sadness, grief, loneliness, and isolation with incomparable beauty and grace in his compositions. It helps me to hear these things expressed without a single word, in such a way that I can feel alone yet have the company of what I’m feeling surround me.
Listen to this one in particular though: as the piece evolves, there’s a turn- a joyous energy around the 4 minute mark that lifts me up. It pushes me forward. It reminds me that Chopin knew all these feelings that I know- must have known them so much more intimately to capture them in this perfect way- and he produced brilliance and beauty through that knowledge.
I take that fact, take the turn from gloom to vivacity in this piece and I tell myself to breathe, and think through what I need to get done. I have work to do, just as Chopin did.
I say again, as always: