Author's Note:
Okay, this was an English assignment I had a couple weeks ago. We were supposed to do our college essays or personal statements (whatever you want to call them) for it, and if we weren't going to a UC or a CalState, our teacher gave us a choice on what topics we could use as our personal statements. I chose the topic, "Safe Place". It basically said that everyone has a safe place to go when they're lost or scared and to describe our safe place. Well, here's mine. I'm baring my soul out to you. Hope you enjoy it.
-RR


Musical Hideaway

Everyone has a safe place that they go to when they feel like they are lost or have nowhere else to turn. A place that is only theirs. It can even be a place shared by only a select few; an old hangout, a familiar neighborhood, or somewhere that reminds them of a nearly forgotten childhood memory from long ago…Wherever this place is, every person in this world has one, even if they don't realize it. For me, this safe haven is not any one tangible, concrete place, but a state of mind. My safe place is music, simple as that.

Music has always been my sanctuary, when I have felt lost, confused, frustrated, sad, or even happy. When I feel that I need to think, or want to shut out all the chaos of the world, I put on my headphones and let the music take me away. When things are hectic, all I have to do to feel safe and secure again is turn on something that fits my mood at the time, and there I am, safe as I will ever be.

Music has been both a safe place and a breeding ground for my thoughts and ideas. Many people go to their safe place as if it were a muse; they go there and wait as the beauty of said safe place floods them with inspiration. For me, it's no different. Even now as I write this personal statement, I am listening to the acoustic guitar that the Japanese rocker Miyavi plays ever so skillfully. His voice, beautifully singing his song, "Dear My Love," fills my ears, yet clears my head. Some may call this illogical, even irresponsible, but I don't mind. Three years of good grades in English and an unknown number of essays marked with a great big "A" tell me that there must be something right with my way of gaining insight on whatever it is that I am working on.

People have often asked me, "How can music be your 'place' to go? For one thing, it's not even a real place. It's something you listen to. It makes no sense." True, it is something one listens to, but who's to say that it can't be a real place, at least in one's own mind? For me, music helps shut out the world around me. Whether it's the heavy sounds of metal, the beauty of acoustic guitar, the bubbly personality of pop music, or the soothing sounds of rhythm and blues, music has never let me down; whereas the world has. Now, this may just sound like the dramatic angst of a stereotypical teenager, but that is not what is meant by my words. I am sure that even full-grown adults have had their moments where they feel like the world around them in crumbling, shaking the very foundations on which their whole lives stand, and wish that they could just shut out the world for a moment, just like any teenager. However, many adults lead such busy lives that they can't simply just take the time to "get away from it all," even for just a few moments. As for myself, when life is hectic and things are going crazy, I also do not have three and a half hours to go find my safe place, sit there, have a moment for myself, and then get back to life. I do, however, have three and a half minutes. Music is a personal refuge that I can carry anywhere with me (with thanks to mp3 players and iPods), and it can block out the world and let me think clearly, or not think about anything at all, even if it is just for a few minutes. The chords that the piano keys strike, the contrasting sounds of the basses and guitars, the beats of the drums, the treble melodies and bass harmonies created by the magnificent voices of the singers, all the different aspects of music make dealing with life so much easier when things are getting to be too much to handle. Like Dobie Gray once sang (and many artists since then have covered), "Give me the beat boys, and free my soul/I wanna get lost in your rock 'n' roll/And drift away…" That is what music really does; it lets me drift away from all the problems in the world, and in my life. It's the only time I feel like I can truly be myself, if that makes any sense.

There is only one person in the world who has shared this with me, and so far in my (short) seventeen years of life, he seems to be the only one I have found who truly understands what I'm feeling when I digress into my musical hideaway. His name is Aleksander Castaneda, and he is my best friend. He and I met less than a year ago, but we have developed a deep connection when it comes to most things, especially when it comes to an appreciation for music. I don't usually like sharing my sanctuary with others, for I like to be left alone with my music, but Aleks has shown that he too is the same way, and that is why we have both willingly shared it with each other. We both consider music a safe haven when life gets hard. Up until October 29th of this year, when he left for a naval boot camp in Illinois, we would go to each other whenever things got bad. He and I would get together and take walks around our neighborhoods, one of us blasting our headphones (usually him) loud enough for the both of us to hear, and either talk about things to take our minds off of what was bothering us, or not talk at all, remaining in a comfortable silence. Now, even though he is not around, I still take our ritualistic walks and listen to music to deal with things when life gets tough.

Even though my safe place is not a physical place, it is something that I love and believe in with all my heart and soul; it's something that has never failed me. Music is my safe place, and only one person has ever shared it with me, someone very dear to me. Music lets me get away when things get hard or when I need to think. For me, music is a safe haven, and it always will be.