Why is that?
Lyricists cut themselves deep down, often just for the sake of seeing themselves bleed.
For some, writing is medication. Releasing that inner tension gives them room to breathe.
The knife in their side is twisted out of sheer necessity. Killing themselves inside helps remind them that they are alive. That this is real. A lifetime spent reflecting on personal tragedies does not seem like a way that anyone would want to live, but for lyricists, this is living. There is a thrill in revealing yourself to yourself, to gutting out your emotions, and putting them on display for the world – whomever that may be – to see. For some, the world is a stage. For others, it is a page.
Few people know what it is actually like to say something that they mean, to express an emotion with everything that they are. They have said “I love you” or “Please, don’t go.” But this is the closest they have ever been to brutal honesty.
In contrast, lyricists spend their lives crafting phrases that say exactly what they mean. That sinking feeling in our chest that we feel when we tell someone that we love them is the perpetual state that lyricists find themselves in. In time, it gets easier. But when a lyricist crafts a simple truth – something that they mean with everything that they are – it does not hurt in the sense that it is painful.
A cut elicits pain; bleeding is the process through which it heals itself.
For lyricists, things work in a similar fashion. The main difference is that wounds on the outside only bleed a few moments before they heal, whereas wounds on the inside fester for years. Due to how quickly outside wounds heal, the process of bleeding is not one that is often felt. But on the inside, that feeling can be felt.
Rather than a process of healing, bleeding is the state of feeling. It is when an emotion is embraced for everything that it is, distilled it down to its center, and expressed in its most concentrated, raw form. And this is why it hurts, because brutal honesty always hurts. It is one thing to be brutally honest to others about how you feel. It is quite another to be brutally honest to yourself. To know that once the pen hits the paper, you have the power to reveal yourself to yourself.
To unearth things that you never knew you felt.
And this is why lyricists matter, because in experiencing their brutal honestly it helps us reveal ourselves to ourselves too. Their words strike a chord. But it is only through the process of bleeding that they found that chord to begin with.
And once found, they can strike it within us too.