The act of immersing the self into a body of water is as introspective as it is scriptural. For that, the bathtub is where I start and end most of my days.

In the constant labor of searching for ways to attribute meaning to my habits, the bathtub is the perhaps the simplest. There is a ceremonial air to it all: the surrendering of my day clothing and whatever day came with it, letting my hand rest under the running faucet, deciding with my 98-degree body what feels right, the elasticity of my skin, the darkening of my hair, the peace of being hot enough to emit steam.

I believe that outside of baths, the poetry of this playlist is the closest I’ll ever be, without talking to the ocean, to understanding the gravity of knowing that I’m over 70 percent water.

Listen Along:

“The Waiting” by Angel Olsen (2012)

I haven’t decided how I feel about the notion that there is always a person who loves more in any given relationship. I can feel a penchant toward the answer right along with Angel Olsen, however, as her voice flutters through these stabbingly simple verses and she pleads to be taken seriously as a lover and, for once, be loved equally.

Someone to run not walk
Oh, someone to sing not talk
Oh, no hesitation at all
Sometimes I need you to be the one to call

“Bathtub” by Waxahatchee (2012)

Perhaps the main reason that this playlist exists is because of this song. The voice is tender. The narrator is an emotionally unavailable woman singing of the violent nature of the pain she is causing to the person that is trying to love her. She evaluates herself from her bathtub.

I hide from phone calls under the warm water
Malice desists, no it woefully recurs
And it plays like daytime TV shows, I confuse you
And I tell you not to love me
But I still kiss you when I want to

“School Friends” by Now, Now (2012)

Jenny Coker has a voice like steam and it makes my face hot.

She’ll be invisible like you want her
She won’t go to class, but she’ll sleep in your bed

“Fire & Rain” by James Taylor (1970)

For as long as I’ve been alive, this song has broken my heart and I’ve always gone running back to it.

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end

“Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” & “Demon Days” by Gorillaz (2005)

These are listed as two songs on the album, but when heard on Demon Days they run right into one another. Mine is one of infinite reads, but I hear the song(s) as an honest evaluation of the imminent doom that seems to be closing in on us at all moments. The voice advises to “not get lost in heaven,” as “they’ve got locks on the gate.”  This is immediately followed by “you can’t even trust the air you breathe.” Even so, for almost the entire last minute of the(se) song(s), the lyrics urge the listener to turn and run,

to the sun, to the sun,
to the sun, to the sun,
to the sun, to the sun,
to the sun, to the sun

“Colorblind” by Counting Crows (1999)

The temperament of this song captures the sensation of disconnectedness with a very light hand. It is where I default when I need a way to cope with feeling my mind diverge from my body.

I am folded and unfolded and unfolding

“Take a Fall for Me” by James Blake/RZA (2013)

The sentiment of this song, in reality, is “don’t marry that dude.” My takeaway is a striking feeling of innocence that says, “I love you, be here with me.”

Tight as the grip of the squid
Gentle as the finger touch of a newborn kid
I wouldn’t trade her smile for a million quid
Don’t let my love fall, keep building it

photo by Lexi Mire

List by RaeJeana Brooks
Photo by Lexi Mire