These Words Are My Own

These Words Are My Own

I always have a lot of words in my head. Sometimes they’re my own. When I decide that I’m going to write a blog post, especially something that tackles a broader, I’ll think about constructing the words days before in my head. Usually I’ll mentally picture an opening or closing line or phrase, and then muddle through the rest of the words in intangible flash phrases. These words are still unruly and wild when they gallop around my mind, but eventually the settle and I’ll write them down.


That being said, this is not one of those posts. Don’t get your hopes up people.


Oftentimes my mental corrals are quite empty and the words spinning through my head are the words of others. When I was in college, I used to fill the time in classes by writing in my notebooks. Not my words mind you, but monotonously writing down from memory poetry, quotes and most often – song lyrics. See when I came across something written or song that spoke to me, I wanted to commit it to memory as best as possible. Writing down the words that I loved carved them into my head. I would fill pages of college ruled notebooks with lyrics and poetry, my careful script written with two lines per one row on the page.


My professors thought I was an excellent student. I guess I was, but not always to their teachings.


I don’t have an excuse to sit down and write lyrics in notebooks anymore, but I’m still just as obsessed with lyrics as ever. If I didn’t think everyone would immediately unfollow me on Facebook, I’d probably post lyrics and quotes multiple times a day. On the blog, I’ve (poorly) written about it here, explaining how I was building my life soundtrack. I’ve even touched about my quest to find the saddest song in the world, which is “God Damn The Sun” by the Swans. Don’t believe me? Look up the lyrics. I promise I’m right.


Whether you’re looking for the saddest song or something to lift your spirits, few things in life pack a bigger punch than a well crafted song lyric. On nights like tonight when my brain is a mush of all the things I should be doing (taxes, packing to move, critical reading) while stuck in the melancholy of my situation, I need words to push me along. When I don’t have words of my own, I look to songs.


These are some of my favorites. Share some of your own in the comments if you will. You can never have too many words. Alternatively, you can try and guess the songs these lyrics come from without googling. If you get all seven on your own honestly, consider me hugely impressed.

28 thoughts on “These Words Are My Own

  1. Isn’t the quote you’ve attributed to Josh Turner actually Frank Turner’s Song for Josh?

    The other ones I know are:
    Hallelujah -Leonard Cohen
    He Went To Paris – Jimmey Buffett
    I Miss You – Blink 182

  2. I feel the same way about music. That’s why I listen to it so much when I ride! My fave lately has been Kacey Musgraves. I especially like her “Silver Lining” song,

    If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining
    It’s gotta be a cloudy day
    It’s gotta be a cloudy day
    If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning
    You’re gonna have to stand in the rain
    You’re gonna have to stand in the rain

    True, though. You have to be willing to experience the pain to reach the joy!

  3. Song writing can be such a beautiful and meaningful expression of art and feeling. I don’t know the songs you’ve quoted, but I love the emotion they convey.

    Maybe that’s why I feel like poetry is only ever half done? It needs music to be right.

  4. from Peppermint & Glue (fond on the NCIS Soundtrakc)
    “I don’t need you when I’m happy
    I don’t need you when I’m sexy
    I don’t need you when I’m alright
    I don’t need you in the spotlight
    I don’t need you when I’m funny
    I don’t need you when I’m winning
    I need you when I’m lost”

    This song always strikes me as very poignant. And your first graphic, who doesn’t love that song. I will stop what I’m doing to listen to that whether it’s on radio or CD.

      1. I agree, but to me, Leonard Cohen’s original version is the most powerful – he has true pathos in his voice, and he can express the oxymorons while being both cynical and heartfelt.

        -Lindsay, 40-year Cohen fan 🙂

        1. Rufus Wainwright’s version is probably my favorite, but that’s also because it was both the first RW song I ever heard (now he’s probably my favorite musician) and the first Cohen song.

  5. I feel the same way about music. I have a similar post to this on my drafts, but about dancing. And I too have notebooks full of favorite lyrics and quotes by other people alongside my drawings! And a suitcase and a backpack: both covered in quotes that I scribbled on with Sharpie and liquid paper.

    There are so many songs that I love because they are meaningful, I may have to get back to you on that one.

    But my favorite quote of all time is “Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias.” A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.

  6. Lyrics can be a strong, powerful and moving thing. The pen is mightier than the sword and music can tame the raging beast. Put them together and you have magic.

    These three songs make me cry almost every time I hear them-
    “My Unintended” by Muse
    “A thousand Years” Christina Perri
    “Say Something” by A Great Big World.

    Before that and still fav’s-
    “Trouble” & “Fix You” by Coldplay

    For fun and laughs-
    “I Won’t be Home for Christmas” by Blink 182
    “Shotgun Shells on the Christmas Tree” – No idea who wrote or sings it.

  7. I’m a huge music person. One of my favorites when I’m in a crappy mood, or when I’m really happy (often played in the car on the way to the barn) is by Keb’ Mo.

    So easily forgotten, are the most important things
    Like the melody and the moonlight in your eyes
    And a song that lasts forever
    Each song getting better all the time

    Life is beautiful, life is wonderous
    Every star above shining just for us
    Life is beautiful, on a stormy night
    Somewhere in the world the sun is shining bright

  8. My favorite song lyric of all time is from James Taylor’s The secret of Life — “It’s ok to be afraid, but don’t let it stand in your way.”

  9. Songs really touch me, and to this day some songs remind me of different times in my life:

    Reason by Hoobastank reminds me of my family’s vacation in middle school to Mt Rushmore… and the fact that my grandfather died while we were there. We drove straight through from SD to upstate NY.

    Burn by Usher reminds me of the breakup with my first serious boyfriend.

    Make Me Better by Fabolous was the song an ex tried to play me to get me back. Glad I didn’t do it, because I started seeing DH right after.

    Fly Over State by Jason Aldean came out when my first horse died, and was the inspiration for my blog name.

    Mirror by Justin Timberlake and All of Me by John Legend makes me think of Sam. Every time.

    One Call Away by Charlie Puth reminds me of Tino. He was wearing a Superman costume when he died (it was Halloween), and he was very religious. I like to think he’s telling me that even though he’s physically gone from this Earth, his help and strength are still only one call (or prayer) away.

    Stand by You by Rachel Platten reminds me of my BFF and how right now, I’m just trying hard to be there for her no matter what.

  10. Long time lurker, first time commenter. This song just twists my heart. Music soothes me so I had to contribute. I hope you don’t mind.

    Estonia – Marillion

    Feeling you shake
    Feel your heart break
    Thinking if only, if only, if only, if only
    And the salt water runs
    Through your veins and your bones
    Telling you no not this way, not this way, not this way

    And you would give anything
    Give up everything
    Offer your life blood away
    For yesterday

    No one leaves you
    When you live in their heart and mind
    And no one dies
    They just move to the other side
    When we’re gone
    Watch the world simply carry on
    We live on laughing and in no pain
    We’ll stay and be happy
    With those who have loved us today

    Finding the answer
    It’s a human obsession
    But you might as well talk to the stones and the trees and the sea
    ‘Cause nobody knows
    And so few can see
    There’s only beauty and caring and truth beyond darkness

    No one leaves you
    When you live in their heart and mind
    And no one dies
    They just move to the other side
    When we’re gone
    Watch the world simply carry on
    We live on laughing and in no pain
    We’ll stay and be happy
    With those who have loved us today

    And we won’t understand your grief
    Because time is illusion
    As this watery world spins around
    This timeless sun
    Will dry your eyes
    And calm your mind

    No one leaves you
    When you live in their heart and mind
    And no one dies
    They just move to the other side
    When we’re gone
    Watch the world simply carry on
    It’s okay, we will stay and be happy
    Stay and be happy
    With those who have loved us today

  11. Music holds my hand when I can’t trust anyone else to be there.

    “You said, remember that life is not meant to be wasted… we can always be chasing the sun.” — Sara Bareilles, Chasing the Sun

    “She’s imperfect, but she tries. She is good but she lies. She is hard on herself; she is broken and won’t ask for help. She is messy, but she’s kind. She is lonely most of the time She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie. She is gone, but she used to be mine.” — Sara Bareilles, She Used To Be Mine

    “The world don’t speak for us, they lack the confidence. We’re only hearts and bones and blood, but we are giants.” — Matt Nathanson, Giants

    “I broke something I’ll never get, never get back…brought me to my knees. A head like steel, a soul of gold, and a heart that’s made of glass…but mine’s cracked.” — Pentatonix, Cracked

    “I want to know who ever broke you, I want to know how you can grow bigger. Don’t go looking for some kind of rescue, you are the only one who can save you.

    We are, we are more than our scars. We are, we are more than the sum of our parts.” Mary Lambert, Sum Of Our Parts (Alt.)

    I could do this forever but I won’t be completely obnoxious.

  12. I totally get where you’re coming from, I used to write song lyrics all over everything! The Rolling Stones are probably my favorite band ever, so most of my lyrics would come from there. Other favs I tend to listen to when I’m in s contemplative mood are Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews, but I love pretty much all music, so it just depends on what strikes me at the moment even if it’s Justin Timberlake or Bruno Mars!

  13. I’m not much of a lyric learner but have my personal collection of songs I turn to when I want to have a dance party or just sit. I could probably sing every Sam Cooke song he’s ever written.
    One of my favorites:
    “A Change Is Gonna Come”

    I was born by the river in a little tent
    Oh, and just like the river I’ve been running ever since

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

    It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
    ‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

    I go to the movie and I go down town
    Somebody keep telling me don’t hang around

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

    Then I go to my brother
    And I say, “Brother, help me please.”
    But he winds up knockin’ me
    Back down on my knees

    There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
    But now I think I’m able to carry on

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

  14. One song that I’ve loved since I was a teenager is Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather”. It’s meant different things to me at different times, it’s sort of tragic and lonely, but it’s beautiful all the same.

    “No there’s nothin’ you can send me my own true love,
    there’s nothin’ I’m wishin’ to be ownin’.
    Just to carry yourself back to me unspoiled
    From across that lonesome ocean.

    I just thought, you might want something fine
    Made of silver or of gold
    either from the mountains of Madrid
    or from the coast of Barcelona

    If I had the stars from the darkest night
    and the diamonds from the deepest ocean
    I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss
    for that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin'”

  15. I’ve commented once before I think, but now that I’m completing my senior internship and seeing how much of a difference music can make for the people I work with (and everyone), I think I’m able to appreciate your post a lot more.

    This, for whatever reason, is a special song to me that I just discovered a couple months ago. The story behind the artist (who I’d never heard of before) and the sincerity in his lyrics is something that is able to bring me a sense of peace every time I hear it. Someone also made a (in my opinion) breathtaking video project for it.

    “Would you believe it if you knew what you were for, and how you became so informed?
    Bodies of info, performing such miracles.
    I am a miracle made up of particles and in this existence, I’ll stay persistent, and I’ll make a difference.”

    Aloha Ke Akua – Nahko & Medicine for the People

    Thanks for reminding me of some awesome songs as well :]

  16. Love me some vintage Buffet. Always! Surprisingly to many, I guess….he has some well crafted lines/songs, my opinion. Have always loved the line you quoted here. Coast of Marseille may not be most quotable lines, but great song when reflecting. Distantly in Love a good one with”I can’t be the one to fill your blanks & empty spaces..” Gotta love If It All Falls Down, written from less than stellar review by someone in Houston.

    And…I’m not a Dead Head, but hear the Grateful Dead line: What a long strange trip it’s been….in certain moments of my life…

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