“You belong among the wildflowers. You belong in a boat out at sea.
Sail away, kill off the hours. You belong somewhere you feel free.”
Growing up, Tom Petty was a staple in my musical diet. His songs served as the perfect summer playlist—not that I didn’t play them year-round anyway. I guess as a student, summer has always meant a bit of relaxation to me, so that’s what I mean when I say Tom Petty’s music is the perfect summer playlist. I mean it is the perfect relaxation playlist. Even the upbeat songs have an everlasting chill vibe—a free vibe.
“Wildflowers”—a song Petty penned and released before I was born—has been a friend to me, consoling me during my darkest moments and plastering a smile on my face during my sunshiniest days. He coos, “Run away, let your heart be your guide. You deserve the deepest of cover. You belong in that home by and by.” His words are a reminder that, in the bad times, you don’t deserve to hurt the way you do and, in the good times, you’re worthy of them. In “Deliver Me” he sings, “Sometimes I wonder if this is worth the trouble. Sometimes I wonder if this is worth the fight. I never have made my mind up about it. I’ve just decided to let it all ride.”
I’ve needed those reminders many days, especially growing up and learning how to manage my depression. There are some artists that I reserve for a clear mind; I can’t, or won’t, listen to them when I’m having an episode. Their songs just aren’t the right vibe—too happy, too sad, too loud, too angry. The wrong environment can make an episode escalate. I need melancholy. Petty has always given me that “I’m just passing through” tone that I need to ensure me that each feeling and each situation will pass in time.
Of course, no music will cure my depression. But some music makes it bearable. And if that music still feeds my head when I’m in a perfectly stable, happy place, then it is all the better.
Thanks for doing that for me, Mr. Petty. Rest in peace. You belong somewhere you feel free.