Thoughts and illustrations on living on the autism spectrum.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spectrum Soundtrack: Lonely Moon

The Cat Empire is my favorite band. Their music delights the ears and nourishes the soul. Their lyrics infused with universal truths and wisdom flow rhythmically over a backdrop of horns, jazz, funk, Latin, and hip-hop. “Lonely Moon,” a track from their 2008 CD, “So Many Nights,” is the next selection for my Spectrum Soundtrack.

“Lonely Moon” is about a girl who’s different. She doesn’t fit in. It’s not clear why, and it’s not really important to the song. But the second verse could easily describe someone with Asperger’s:

Sometimes she gets this way
About her when she sways,
Slips into a liquid tune and vanishes away.
And it’s only for herself,
She can’t bring anyone else.
Everyone’s got a special box that they keep on a dusty shelf.

Physical tics and a self-absorbed nature are hallmarks of the autism spectrum, and it’s all too realistic that this girl would be socially ostracized for these behaviors. Perhaps she's swaying to this wondrous world inside her head where she feels most at home, but is unable to share it or explain it to others. Unfortunately, as we mature and become self-aware, our magical worlds often fade into a special box on a dusty shelf.

This girl understandably feels helpless, sorry for herself, a victim of her circumstances. The narrator is clearly sympathetic towards her; yet he doesn’t seek to minimize or deny her loneliness. He acknowledges it as real, and offers these cryptic words:

Don’t you worry,
When you feel so lonely, cause
Everyone’s lonely,
They’re all crazy, too,
Like their mothers,
Like their fathers,
Everyone’s crazy,
Under a lonely moon.

Everyone’s lonely? Wait, that can’t be. Surely all the neurotypicals who “fit in,” have large social circles, or are in a relationship, aren’t lonely. At least, I always thought so. But lately, in conversations with NT friends, I’ve learned even the socially adept aren’t immune to loneliness.

Or at least, to a feeling that something’s missing. Of not being appreciated for one’s authentic self. Of putting on an act in one’s life. This is a kind of loneliness, too. A kind I imagine is widespread, and yet mostly unspoken. Everyone’s lonely? A sobering thought. So, why is the narrator sharing this with our despondent girl?

I think because, there is something comforting in his words. Everyone’s lonely, and yet it is this common experience of loneliness that unites us. It’s just a part of life. I take this as the song’s message. To remember that when we are lonely, we are not alone. Certainly, this thought won’t rid us of the pain of our loneliness. But if everyone is lonely, and crazy, then what good does it do, really, to feel sorry for yourself?

As for a cure for loneliness, consider this: the key just might be in your dusty old box. It could just hold what someone finds special about you. When was the last time you opened it up?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that I ever really shut it for long to begin with. My b/f loves me for who I am, though there are times when I do frustrate him a slight bit! But he can frustrate me too, so we're even!

    Good song. Love the lyrics. But I don't think I could get into the band. Soundtrack of it just didn't feel right to me. Hope you keep enjoying their music though! I've got the music I want/need!