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"One very important recipe for healing I will be sharing with you in this article, is music."

Inspired by the exhibition Nane Limon Kabuğu, curated by Berksun Çiçek, which focuses on the importance of sharing personal stories and experiences regarding healing, Team MaMA member Fay van Blitterswijk shares one of her own guidelines – or rather ‘recipes’ – for healing in the form of a playlist for various emotional phases.

Sometimes I wonder, when sadness invites me in, should I give into it and release my emotions? Or should I ignore what I’m feeling and try to lift off of other people’s happiness? Asking yourself what you need at a certain moment in time and giving yourself space to discover this is, in my opinion, the most important tool for personal healing.

In the exhibition, Berksun discussed a valuable tool for healing that helped her through her journey, namely: sharing personal stories and experiences with others. In the hopes this stimulates other people’s journeys as well, she stimulated this process by setting up a place that invites visitors to communicate with others; in the form of a big table surrounded by chairs, reminiscent of a family table where one might have shared daily stories and experiences during one’s childhood. Here, the visitors could exchange their personal experiences through writing down their own ‘recipe for healing’, during the duration of the exhibition. Whether it is a cooking recipe for their mom’s favorite chicken soup, just the importance of a warm hug from a loved one, or drinking tea with flowers and herbs from their own garden, everything is possible. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to healing, as Berksun also argues, but we can still learn from others and perhaps take some key insights and translate this into
our own journey for personal healing.

For me, there are various ways that help me in my journey through personal healing: painting, writing poetry, surrounding myself with the people I love, and reading, among others. One very important recipe for healing I will be sharing with you in this article, is music. Music often helps me cope with my emotions, whether I’m feeling socially drained, am struggling with self-loathing, am anxiously waiting to go to a job interview, or going through heartbreak, just to name a few. In the hopes that it might give you the same comfort, or stimulates you to think about your own recipe for healing, I’m sharing with you four playlists I created, with songs that help get me through some key emotional phases.

Releasing anger
When I have feelings of anger towards myself, others or society in general, it helps to tap into this anger through screaming the lyrics of a song that validates those feelings. For example, Halsey’s Nightmare and Delilah Bon’s I Don’t Listen To You, speak up about the patriarchy that is still visible in contemporary society. With lyrics like: ‘You do not own my skin’ and ‘I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.’ Furthermore, when it comes to struggles during or after a relationship, navigating that anger through a song can help me cope with it. Try yelling ‘Get the fuck out of my head with that shit’, together with Miley Cyrus’ Muddy Feet (feat. Sia), and see if it causes any relief.

Giving into sadness
Oftentimes, stimulating a ‘good cry’ by surrendering myself to the sadness feels less forced than listening to songs with joyful lyrics. For me it is about relatability. Hearing other people going through the same struggles comforts me in a certain way. For example, it is consoling to hear Alessia Cara overthink where life will be taking her in Best Days, asking herself ‘What if my best days are the days I’ve left behind?’ Or hearing someone questioning how to overcome depressive thoughts, with lyrics such as ‘How can I be alright?’ (Bea Miller, i can’t breathe) and ‘But if you ask me now, all I’ve wanted to be is happy’ (Kesha, Happy).

Needing a shot of happiness
Other times, I really just need a shot of happiness to start my day in a better way. Sometimes even to spice up a mundane task such as folding laundry or riding my bike. Mostly it’s just a song that makes me want to dance, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the lyrics, like Devil’s Advocate by The Neighborhood, Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa, Come Meh Way by Sudan Archives, or Hallelujah by Years & Years. And other days it might be a song with specifically uplifting lyrics that stimulates joyous thoughts, such as ‘Don’ get me down, I won’t let me get me (down)’ in Selena Gomez’ Let Me Get Me.

Overcoming fear/anxiety
Regularly, I recognize I rather need some hopefulness, someone telling me everything will be okay, telling me there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that tomorrow can be a better day. Knowing that other people struggle with similar emotions and are doing their best to overcome this struggle, can help me a lot. Hearing Nina Nesbitt sing the lyrics ‘The sun will come up, the seasons will change’, makes me realize the dark cloud will eventually fade. And shouting the lyrics ‘I just wanna be fucking happy’, together with Julia Michaels, helps me realize that sometimes others struggle with finding ‘that’ happiness as well.

Thank you for reading and listening along. I sincerely hope that by sharing one of my recipes for healing, it might help you through your personal healing journey as well, whether by recognizing music as a source for healing, or getting inspired to share your own recipe(s) for healing.

Take care!

Berksun Çiçek was de programmamaker van Nane Limon Kabuğu. Door hedendaagse vraagstukken over afkomst te combineren met het reclaimen van praktische culturele gebruiken die een helende werking kennen, opent zij het gesprek over de betekenis van het woord het woord heling.


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