The music… it helps you.

This post is dedicated to all the musicians out there who make music and share it with the world – the famous and the not so famous. Thank you.

(image source)

The other day I took Suegra on an errand. As is my habit, I started the ignition, put on my seat belt, pressed play on the CD player, turned the volume up, and then checked my mirrors before backing out of the driveway.

Lately I’ve been playing the hell out of my Pitbull CD. I can’t play it around the niños but Suegra doesn’t catch the dirty lyrics. She did say once that she doesn’t like the Pitbull CD, but my car, my rules.

Suegra knows better than to complain too much though since I don’t like taking her on errands in the first place. Besides, I’ve caught her out of the corner of my eye tapping her fingers to the beat.

This particular day we’re driving along – a gringa and an elderly Salvadoran woman, with Pitbull blasting from the speakers. The sun is shining, I put on my sunglasses, roll the window down a little. Despite being on an errand with my mother-in-law, I’m feeling good. I’m smiling, moving to the beat, sauvecito – just a little – not so much that I look like a loca – happy to be alive and thankful for what I’ve got.

Suegra breaks my trance, yelling to be heard over the music, “Tracy, ya no tomas las pastillas para la tristeza, vá?”

I tell her that no, I haven’t taken medicine for depression for several years now.

Suegra nods, is quiet for a moment. We stop at a red light.

“La música…te ayuda, ¿verdad?” she lifts her chin in the direction of the radio.

Now it’s me who is quiet. I’ve never known Suegra to be especially insightful so I’m shocked into silence by the realization that she understands something so deeply personal about me without me having ever breathed a word of it aloud.

The music…it helps you.

Yes – I answer her. The music helps me.


  1. Love this post Tracy! Very poignant and funny. I think you’ve captured the beauty of suegra, and so many other women out there like her who don’t really show a lot of esteem for their daughter in laws, but who can’t deny when it comes down to it, that they love you guys. Though I doubt you and suegra will become best friends, pienso que esto fue un paso en la direccion correcta :-)

    ¡Arriba los musicos! BTW: I am a fan of Pitbull tambien, lol! That’s the kind of music you just want to blast a todo lo que da el radio.

  2. I didn’t know you suffered from depression. Glad to hear you’re doing much better!! And that your suegra really cares about you aunque no lo demuestre… y bueno, con un doctor como Pitbull!!! Dios, that guy is HOT! :P

  3. Any music can help, even if it’s not formal music therapy. When I suffered from depression, I listened to Fernandito Villalona, El Mayimbe, the king of merengue and boleros. Strangely enough, when I met Ramon, who introduced me to the music of El Mayimbe, he told me “No necesitas esas pastillas; yo soy tu medico.” Something about discovering merengue and bachata and the cultures that gave birth to them cured me, and I have not taken any medication since April 2006.

    A big part of the cure was not having to roll into a tiny ball to fit into other people’s boxes anymore.

  4. Ay wow! Amé a Suegra hoy! Como dijo Juan, how insightful!
    And yes, la música, it helps us all! Thank God for music!
    (BTW thank YOU for commenting on the Martes Musicales over at my bloggy amiga!)
    Un abrazo, and may music keep you company always!

  5. It’s so true… music and art in general help a lot. Music makes you happy, sad, makes you feel all kinds of things and can give you energy when needed.

    Great tool to learn languages too… you wouldn’t believe how much Spanish I picked up from Manu Chao and la Mano Negra! :lol:

  6. Love it!! Music is what saves me day in and day out. While working, I pop it on and it moves me through my coding. At home I put it on while cooking & help my kids connect with their roots. And of course, dancing makes me feel alive & without music, I am pretty sure I would balled up in a corner somewhere unable to deal with my life!!

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