Five summers ago, I wrote “A Soft Place to Fall” in the guest room of my cousin Ed’s Bay Area home. This photo was taken a year later while filming the song’s music video at my friend Barry’s San Diego home, in his daughter Katie’s room. I wanted the video to look like my surroundings when I wrote the song — and Katie’s room was similar to Ed’s guest room.
“A Soft Place to Fall” became the title track of an album of extremely vulnerable songs that revealed the tenderness of my heart. It’s hard for me to listen to them because I transport back to what it felt like to live the songs — experiencing those feelings.
I went on to write an incredible number of songs over the next two years. Cocooned by the river in the sanctuary of my home, I was flooded with lyrics and melodies at all hours of the day. I felt the energy of pivotal stories of my life that I could barely speak about, but was able to share through song. It was an expression of my interior world surfacing.
Yet, as I came to discover, the pain wasn’t over. I went on to endure tremendous loss and carry the weight of compounded grief that silenced me and stalled my songwriting because I just couldn’t go there. I distracted myself by putting the needs of others in front of my own. I allowed patterns to repeat. I allowed unsafe people into my private world because I had the familiarity of activating amnesia in matters of trust.
One day three summers ago, some unsafe people slithered into my space and altered my awareness without my consent or knowledge. But something inside me knew I was in danger and I somehow had the clarity to lock myself in the bathroom and call Barry. He immediately got in his car and came to my rescue. He saved me! I woke up the next morning and walked down the hall to see Barry sitting on the couch in my living room with the light on. He’d stayed up all night to make sure I was safe.
When I fell, he was my safe place.
A month later he was gone.
With his passing, the final plug uncapped and I sunk into an abyss of pain so deep I only knew how to do one thing — survive. It took me until this morning, while typing this in a free-flowing form of soulful expression, to finally have the big cry. Rising to the surface out of the abyss, it’s surfacing. I’m surfacing.
I bet you didn’t know any of this. How could you; I’ve never shared it. May this story serve as a reminder that we never know what people are actually going through. The pain. The loss. The survival. The hope.
Perhaps you’re in the abyss in pure soul survival mode. Or rising up ready to surface. I get you. You’re not alone.