The Story Behind the Song (3 of 9): Blankets

I’m not ready to face the cold out there.
 These were the windowpanes that were frosted over one cold night I couldn't sleep. 

These were the windowpanes that were frosted over one cold night I couldn't sleep. 

Disclaimer: the process of writing this song was not a happy one, however cathartic. That's the the thing about songwriting: sometimes you're confronted with some hard emotions that you're not sharing with anyone else. You push them into the characters that you create and come out on the other side. This song captures some particular feelings I had at a very particular time in my life. 

If you've ever had the feeling that cacophony is hitting you from all sides, pounding your ears until the your ear drums bleed, so much so that you can't  focus on anything except for the smallest task in front of you, that was what drove this song. I'm not an anxious person by any means. Those who have known me remember me as kind of a wallflower as a teenager because I found more comfort in my guitar or Jimi Hendrix riffs than I did in most social situations. College moved me through that slowly but surely, and now I look back at laugh about how much of an awkward kid I was. This song is about anxiety, but it's an anxiety caused by near debilitating stress.

I wrote this song during a particularly difficult time at school. My school is experiencing a transition that no other school in the country has experienced before. It's a demanding work environment. The kids require all of your attention all of the time. There are endless meetings and paperwork to be filled out, events after school, pressure to prove to others that you're worth keeping employed, lesson plans that go completely awry. You watch yourself and others fail despite tiresome work. It's not the place for anyone who expects instant or even occasional gratification. To quote a very wise friend, every day you're given a set of matches and you're expected to light fire, but it's raining. You're matches get wet. The wood's wet.  But every day you get a new set of matches." I like what I do because it makes me feel like I'm doing some good for the world, but some days, well, they're some days. 

Unlike my last two songs that I've written about here, there's no great story behind it or a hopeful social justice message. It's a straight up protest song about this particular feeling of walls closing in on me from all sides. 

It was late November when I wrote it. The days are dark and starting to get cold and windy. My weeks were so over scheduled that I hated every blue event on my google calendar with a passion. The view of the ceiling from the couch invited my stare and when I couldn't sleep I sat up and looked out our front windows. I was growing bitter about some of the non-teaching aspects of my job, some decisions I had to make. Through all of that I wished from time to time that my job didn't require as much active thinking. I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted, taking melatonin, feeling sleepy then feeling the sleepiness dissipate, passing the hours in the blue light of my phone on facebook, instagram, or browsing camping and hiking gear.  

My only respite was the five minutes or so I spent with my girlfriend after our alarms go off (sometimes mine for the third time) at 5:30 in the morning where we just lay in bed next to each other. That's it. Lay there, eyes open or not, legs or feet touching ever so slightly, before begrudgingly getting up to start the coffee and get on with my day.

Lyrics: 

The window panes frost over like the windshield of a corvette

But this old house can keep out the cold as long as the insulation holds

Your hand reaches for me under the sheets

My melatonin didn’t work last night so I watch my feed repeat

 

The wind blows stronger every day there’s waves out on the lake

I’m getting tired of making plans and feeling like I need to escape

This storm won’t last forever and they’ll be plenty more for us to weather

Don’t get up baby, we ain’t leaving today

 

Keep the blankets on I’m not ready to face the cold out there

Help me tell the road to wait

Leave that trail of clothes on the floor

They’ll still be there when the sun

Chases shadows off our dusty ceiling fan

Keep the blankets on me

Oh keep’em on me

Cause I ain’t going anywhere

 

All these expectations pile up like snow on the sidewalk

Sometimes I think that I’d prefer to trade my tie for a shovel

I move my hand down your back pretending there’s no information to track

Throw out my phone baby they can miss me for a day

 

Keep the blankets on I’m not ready to face the cold out there

Help me tell the road to wait

Leave that trail of clothes on the floor

They’ll still be there when the sun

Chases shadows off our dusty ceiling fan

Keep the blankets on me

Oh keep’em on me

Cause I ain’t going anywhere