Song and Story Sunday 4

By: Carleigh Kemp

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April 15th marked the first 80 degree day of the year in Chicago. It was glorious and sunny! It's a definite sign that summer is on it's way, but it is also the sign that Earth is having a period of growth and invigoration. After the weeks of rain the grass looks greener and flowers are starting to bloom. For the grass to be greener it has to be watered. Managing mental illness is similar. Theoretically the grass is the mind, and the water is the replenishment of the mind. This week I will share a song that replenishes the mind.

In Paolo Nutini's song "New Shoes", it's suggested that simply changing his shoes changed his mood.

Woke up cold one Tuesday,

I'm looking tired and feeling quite sick,

I felt like there was something missing in my day to day life,

So I quickly opened the wardrobe,

Pulled out some jeans and a T-Shirt that seemed clean,

Topped it off with a pair of old shoes,

That were ripped around the seams,

And I thought these shoes just don't suit me.

[Chorus:] Hey, I put some new shoes on,

And suddenly everything is right,

I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,

It's so inviting,

Oh, short on money,

But long on time,

Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,

And I'm running late,

And I don't need an excuse,

'Cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.

Nutini's suggestion that putting on a pair of "new shoes" changed his mood may seem trivial, but sometimes it is the simplest actions that can have the biggest impacts. During moments of change or challenge in my own life I like to change my physical appearance. It is like shedding, and I'm readying myself for change and for growth. In the summer of 2014 before I left to live in Spain I decided that I was going to cut my hair to a pixie cut. At the time I had hair down below my shoulders but cutting my hair felt like I was opening myself up for whatever life would send me. And life did send me some challenges. Obviously, I had to adjust to living in a new culture and environment but I also had to face my struggles with social anxiety and poor self confidence. Cutting my hair was an act of telling myself that I was ready to face these challenges and not hide be hide the past.

Do you have a song that encourages you to face your anxieties? Do you think changing your appearance helps in your mental health journey? Share in the comments below.