Friday, September 6, 2013

Obsessing About Tigers

I've been obsessing about this song:

 The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child
 by Kate Miller-Heidke

Wade in the rising water
Walk in the sinking sand 
Crawl through the shadow valley 
To try to understand 

I climbed a Jacob's Ladder 
I fell down holy stairs 
I found Siddartha's temple
No answer anywhere
The minute you think you know you got it 
Is the minute you know it's gone for good 
The second you pause his claws are on it 
The tiger inside will eat the child 

Oh, oh 

I saw a hall of mirrors 
I saw a burning wheel 
I saw a rain of arrows 
I lost the way to feel 

I saw a million faces 
Stare at a fallen star 
I saw the last horizon 
The end of time 

The minute you think you know you got it 
Is the minute you know it's gone for good 
The second you pause his claws are on it 
The tiger inside will eat the child 

Oh, oh, oh, oh 

Speaking in quiet whispers  
You hear it everywhere 
It leaves as you're arriving 
Arrives and you're still there 

You drink, the cup is empty 
You pour, the cup is full 
You'll never get to hold it 
It's always holding you 
It's always holding you 
It's always... 

The minute you think you know you got it 
Is the minute you know it's gone for good 
The second you pause his claws are on it 
The tiger inside will eat the child 

Oh, oh, oh, oh

 This video is of Kate singing the song at TEDxSydney:



 I love what she says about the "cannibal tiger"!

There are two versions of the song. The first is on Kate's album Nightflight. This version is sung in a style similar to most of her music - her voice is absolutely incredible and she does really interesting things with it. She does this neat thing like a screechy-tweety-something with her hand over her mouth - just before the "whisper" part.  

 The video for it is animated with cute characters and kind of hints at the idea of animal totems and inner beasts.

 

The second version is on her album Liberty Bell, (Fatty Gets a Stylist) and if you didn't know it was the same singer - you'd never guess. Her voice is so much deeper and edgier. The song feels so much harsher and... in your face.



I have quite a few of her albums and adore her music. It's so strange - the subject matter and her amazing opera-singer voice. But after I got the Liberty Bell album and heard the more disturbing version of Tiger Inside..., it started haunting me. When Lilah woke me at 2am last night - there was a tiger in my dreams. When she woke me at 7am, the song was playing in my head. And when I stood in the shower, it just kept going around and around...

There are two parts to this that started gelling in my head. The first, like the first version of the song, is the sadder, more normal interpretation. I have been stamping my feet and screaming "It's not fair" for quite a few years now. Various events (that I cannot write about here) that happened this summer (some good, some bad) left me feeling like I was spinning around in circles, gasping for breath, wondering what rabbit hole I had fallen down? "It's not fair!" morphed into "I don't understand?" When I felt I couldn't possibly get any more confused - and asked the Universe to at least give me a CLUE, if not a road map... I stumbled upon an online class that is basically like archaeology of your brain. Dig down, clean up the mess, build some new inner scaffolding, and do some redecorating.

Yes. I'm ready for a new story. A new interpretation.
I love the sweet, sad version of Tiger Inside... but I am so intrigued by the idea that this woman (Kate Miller-Heidke) is so confident in her abilities and her vision and her place (in this rabbit hole), that she can make up a new identity, a new band, a new voice, and just put it out there - and yet still be herself.

I want to know how that works.

The second part to the thoughts in my head - what is rattling around from the second version of Tiger Inside... (Rattling is definitely the word for it). Obsessing... I'm not sure I want to think of Obsessive Compulsive as a "Disorder" anymore. It's always been very useful to have labels on all my drawers. ;-) And isn't that an oxymoron anyway to put the word "disorder" together with two words associated with "total order"? My OC-ness has mostly been seen as problematic because it's thought-based. In other words, if someone gets upset at me, their words will spin around "obsessively" in my head inflicting pain over and over and over... until something pushes them out. Usually some other thought. I have no way of stopping or preventing this - and I guess that's what makes it a disorder.

It's not always "bad" stuff that goes around and around. My great ideas work the same way. I've tried to explain it as my head is full of ping pong balls. They are ricocheting at super sonic speeds and it can be dangerous in there! Makes it hard to focus, communicate, or sleep! But it's just the way it is.

The Tiger Inside Will Eat the Child, put some faces onto those ping pong balls. (There's an interesting image...) and the constant spinning of the song in my head, started to create some order to the images. If the Child is the inner child, innocence, playfulness, creativity - all that, and the Tiger is that other stuff... maybe the adult part, the real world, wisdom...? They are both inside us - constantly at battle. There is always the threat that we will destroy ourselves if we let our guard down for even one second. I love the animated interpretation of the song - when the girl finally wears herself out, gives in, and is practically drowning - the tiger actually saves her and carries her to safer ground. She's no longer under attack and no longer alone. How do we find a way to cooperate with ourselves?

Now the ping pong image is changing into more of a rainstick analogy. Have you seen those things? There are multiple levels inside with different size holes in each level and different sized tiny metal balls. As the rainstick tips over and the balls make their way through the levels, it sounds like a downpour. Very soothing. From the outside.

On the inside it is crazy chaos as the balls try to sort themselves out and rush downward. So, inside my head, in my crazy rabbit hole... the tiny balls are spinning around incredibly fast until they find the right hole to fall through. Some ideas, thoughts, balls... rush around for a very long time. The ones that find their way disappear from sight - and out of mind. These are the successes, problems dealt with, or things dismissed. Unsolved mysteries, what if's?, unresolved conflicts, things to do, overwhelming obligations, other people's problems... etc.... those keep spinning around and around...

Have I completely lost you? I've been told I am "scary". Apologies. I know - rainstick - tigers - tiny metal balls - what the heck is this girl on?!

Just one bit more, OK? If you follow the image of the rainstick - the ideas and successes fall through their correct holes and are - gone. So it looks like I am holding on to the bad stuff, right? And not celebrating my successes? And I have no self-worth? In the song, she says: 

The minute you think you know you got it 
Is the minute you know it's gone for good

As soon as I am successful, on any scale, or level - the "ball" drops out of sight. It goes through the right hole and disappears down the rainstick. Likewise, if I solve a problem, deal with a medical issue, resolve a conflict, it also drops through. Gone. And from the outside (to the rest of the world) it looks like a beautiful waterfall and sounds like a lovely rainstorm. Inside, it's just...empty. So maybe this upending of my world, (every few months!) - the feeling that I'm falling down the rabbit hole - is the Universe's way of tipping my rainstick over so it starts again. The awful stuff, yes, but also all the amazing stuff too.

Maybe the "tipping" is my Tiger? And what I need to do is find a way to co-exist with the imbalance, prepare for the next free-fall, and just give in to the illogic and magic of living in Wonderland?

16 comments:

  1. WOW! Great post. I followed the whole thing closely, is there something ricocheting in me? Lots to think about.

    After some of the things I have experienced I am convinced that you can't control anything and life, like many things, goes in cycles. Be happy for the quite, not much is happening times, because right around the corner there will be something you will have to deal with head on.

    We are the same book, if not on the same page!

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    1. Yes - like a rollercoaster. Although sometimes it feels like it is going up and down at the SAME time! I have to learn to focus more on the good stuff and appreciate it at this moment, despite what else is going on. It's exhausting! ;-)

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  2. Ditto. Thank you for putting it into words.

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  3. Enjoyed that. Now turn it into some form or 'art' with a tiger theme to capture those thoughts good and bad. Sounds like an inspirational moment to me! Holly

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    1. I blog and draw in my head. I wish I could getit all down on paper before my brain pings off to the next idea!

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  4. This will be a post I will come back to over and over (OCD?) Lots in here to think about. What was the online course you found?

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  5. This was the best post I have read -by you or anyone else-in many years! It made perfect sense, I didn't get lost or overwhelmed-I reread already and will print it out for future readings. It gets me thinking about myself, and actually explains a lot about a family member.
    I would also like to know what the online course was.
    I believe you are talented in so many ways! Thank you for this.
    Hope you have a very good weekend.
    Ethel

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    1. Thank you! It's a nice feeling to know that even ONE person "gets" it. :-)

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  6. loved this post , thank you Sandy

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  7. Beautifully written, Sandy, and much to ponder here. The only way you are scary, in my book, is that you're a scary-good artist. I don't know you well but I think you are a lovely person.

    Another idea: Would it be possible to not just experience the inside of the rainstick (which could also be seen as a playful sorting-out process at times) but also to step outside yourself that listen to that soothing sound it makes? And watch the effect of that soothing sound on others? Your art has that effect on many.

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    1. Thank you! I AM a lovely person... except when I'm scary? :-)

      Good point - that's why I take classes and read so much - I would like to learn how to step outside myself.

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  8. Hummmm. When I "listen" to songs, I have a very hard time understanding what is being said and instead, hear the lyrics as part of the music. That said, many years back I executed high intensity aerobics to very high intensity songs and tended to repeat a narrow range of songs because they fit my "energy" needs.

    Well, I started becoming depressed and despondent and didn't know why. By accident, I started hearing my favorite tune, "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen. Oy! What a downer! I got rid of that tune and things began getting better immediately.

    I had another incident with Aqua's rendition of "bumble bees." This is a spirited but somewhat mean sexual number (you need to hear the voices) that also had an affect on me. I can't remember the exact words, but in the background the female voice was talking about being killed or suicide. It's not part of the published lyrics. When I realized, not only did I stop listening to Aqua, I deleted all their tunes from my computer.

    For me, I've come to favor pure instrumentals of all flavors. The songs of my current soul are Cusco's "Inca Dance," "Montezuma," and "Ghost Dance." I'm not an Native American music buff, but these tunes just radiate sunlight.

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    1. Yes - there are a lot of songs that even sound "cheerful" but, when you listen to the actual words - they are really depressing or scary. I still like a lot of those... but I agree, music can affect your mood.

      Other songs, like this one, don't depress me even though they are a little sad - there is also a lot of useful insight and it makes me feel more hopeful, if not happier.

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  9. I too agree about the clarity of your amazing post (thanks for the link to the song and the singer)!
    I too would like to know the online class you discovered...

    Blessings,
    Melanie in PA/USA

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    1. The classes I'm taking were on the site: http://evolvingwisdom.com/ There are a lot of interesting classes, I chose classes on rewriting my "stories" around relationships and freeing up my brain to make new choices. They offer some free mini-workshops sometimes so you can see if you like the teacher and the way the class works.

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