How Halsey Has Improved My Relationship With My Bonus Daughter

Music is the great connector for so many.

My bonus daughter is nine and she’s learning to express herself through music more. Whereas in the past, she mostly listened to whatever was around her, lately, I’ve noticed her choosing her own way. Halsey is her favorite singer right now, and though I was a bit concerned to start with, the more I listen to her on my own, the more I understand.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halsey. Her stories, the power she exudes through her voice, and her words is epic. She’s been through what a lot of us have and it glows through her music time and again. She gets a bad rap, not unlike Ke$ha and Britney and many more female artists that came before her. My concern was and still is that her stories were a bit too adult in nature for a nine year old.

But we can’t always protect our children from the world. What we can do, is be there to explain anything they don’t understand.

Music has the power to make us laugh, cry, scream, rant, rave, and above all else, feel. I can’t count the number of times a song has touched me in a way I can’t explain, other than to ask the person I’m trying to tell to just listen.

To this day, certain lyrics make me curl up into a tiny ball and cry like a child. Does that make me avoid the song? Absolutely not. There are times I know I need to cry, need to jog my memory of whatever hurt or incident that song reminds me of. Sounds crazy, right? It’s no different than going through old pictures. Nostalgia has many forms.

Music has made me double over in laughter with good friends during good times. Or maybe it was the atmosphere, and the music itself was just in the background. It has the ability to make me smile, thinking back to long nights that turned into mornings, doing gods only knows what with people I don’t see any longer for one reason or another.

Sadly, there are songs I can never hear again without changing the station or skipping on Spotify. The memories attached are too painful. And as sad as that is, it’s also part of life. There are people who will come into your life just to break you, to teach you lessons hard won. And if you love music the way I do, there will be a soundtrack to that pain.

Many years ago, a woman I loved did just that. Not initially, of course. But over time, when things didn’t go the way she planned, she slowly broke me down and attempted to destroy everything around me. We were together in one way or another for so long, we inadvertently created an hours long soundtrack together. Karaoke was one of our favorite things to do when we’d go out, so there are certain songs from those days I can’t bear to hear.

Not because I still feel love for her, but because she caused me to feel so much hate.

Hate is an emotion I avoid as much as possible, which is why I’ll do everything I can to avoid that particular soundtrack. It’s not worth the pain I inflict on myself.

As I introduce my bonus daughter to more music over time, and she opens my world to new sounds, I hope she looks back as I do with a smile. My dad and my grandfather were the first people to sit me down and teach me how the power of music can change the world. And though I’ve lost them both in the ensuing years, it takes but a moment to bring either of them back.

The introductory notes to any song on the Cocktail soundtrack invoke my Dad immediately.

Any opera or classical piece brings back fond memories of autumn evenings, lying across my grandfather’s bed, hearing the crackle from the record player. The entire bed shaking, as he conducted from the head.

“Da, da, da, da, da, da!”

My latest endeavor with her is introducing her to my all-time favorite form of music; cover songs. When done well, they can be just as fantastic (if not better) than the originals. Since she’s obsessed with TikTok, she’s heard the ‘duet’ of Halsey’s “Without Me” by Fame on Fire, so she wasn’t too upset when I had her listen to the full version. Rock isn’t her favorite genre. But we’re working on it.

I’m just thankful she’s moved away from country and will always be thankful to Halsey for that.

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