No Music in My House

Usually I think I know myself pretty well. But every once in a while I get an epiphany that shows me something I hadn’t quite realized. Maybe the knowledge was somewhere inside my head or even my body, but it hadn’t come to the front of the brain yet. Then, snap, there it is. Today it was about my relationship with music.

I love music. Sometimes I go to symphony concerts, classical and pops. Sometimes I go to old-timer concerts. I love Broadway musicals and have a ton of “soundtrack” CDs. I have an eclectic assortment of music on my iTunes. When I hear country music, I love it. My favorite is bluegrass. And jazz. In the car, I always play music (my daughter’s singing some of the time).

But I rarely play music at home. And I can’t talk country music with people because I’m not familiar enough with it. Or jazz. Or pop. Or blues.

So why don’t I listen to music at home? I thought I was “busy,” but today the reason occurred to me.

I’m a Highly Sensitive Person. Don’t laugh. You can read my old post about it, if you don’t know what that is.

Too much stimulation is the devil to an HSP. And music in the house is too much stimulation. Hubby has the TV on so often that when it’s not on, I crave the silence as a way to heal the synapses or slow down the neurotransmitters in my tummy and my limbs.

Maybe if I had a quiet house I would crave music. My mother does. But we have our offices in the house, and it’s often like Grand Central Station here. So it is definitely not a quiet house.

So. Am I weird? Nope, wrong question because if you’re not an HSP of course you think I’m weird. How about this question: anybody else out there like me? Easily over-stimulated?

On another topic, I was saved by the bell. I don’t want to say dodged a bullet as will become clear.

We got a new kitty at the shelter. She is a beautiful very young long-haired tortie with the absolutely sweetest personality EVER. Makes all my cats appear to be suffering from personality disorders. Anyway, they found a BB in her collapsed stomach, and they fixed her stomach. Her front leg is limp with neurological damage–also from the abuse she suffered.

They wanted to amputate her leg, saying it was dangerous to keep it. I felt that the reason for that decision was because it’s not possible to call in specialists and give special physical therapy and surgeries to a shelter cat. I offered to foster her (I KNOW, I KNOW, I’M CRAZY) and take her to specialists and for alternative care and give her therapy. But a lovely young woman came in the shelter today and adopted her along with a male kitty. She says she has a friend who is a vet who works with brain and spinal injuries. I asked to be kept in touch with her so I can follow our sweet kitty’s recovery.

Working with the shelter kitties calls for a lot of wine–or whiskey.


Filed under #writerlife, Arizona, Art and Music, Cats and Other Animals, Nonfiction, Writing

67 responses to “No Music in My House

  1. Holy smokes. This is quite interesting. I have to find the book you talked about in your post and read it. It may explain a lot! Happy news about the shelter kitty!

    • Let me know what you think after you read it! Yes, I was so thrilled for her. Keeping my fingers crossed it all works out well for her.

  2. I am like you. Yes indeed. I often grumble to myself when I visit people who leave the tv on all the time. They tell me they like the background noise. :/
    Music for me is almost always in the car. I play music to clean or paint. I sometimes play it in one ear while I walk. We all love music and sometimes do listen to music as a family, but 99% of music in my life is in the car. I love The Quiet Room and always have.

    • Hubby turns TV on and goes outside to garden. He doesn’t even watch it–just turns it on and heads out. Ick. I love music, too, but I think I am so overloaded all the time at home with noise (hubby is also a bit of a talker) I can’t handle more. And I get very immersed in music. It’s not something that works for me as “background.” That’s why I could never write to music. Uh uh. I listen or I write, not both. The Quiet Room :).

  3. I have strong sensory issues where my brain notices everything – smells and sounds especially. In the words of TV Monk, “it’s a blessing…and a curse”. It saved us from a natural gas leak several years ago, but it does make me a sometimes difficult person to live with.

    When it comes to music, though, it is one of the things that feeds my soul, soothing over a lot of sensory irritation. I can’t stand the sound of the TV most of the time, but we’re a household of musicians, so music is played or performed frequently. Except in the morning, when I feel nearly homicidal when there’s any noise but the birds.

    • Ah Monk. I’m glad it saved your lives! Oh, I love to hear the birds. They are NEVER annoying. But music is something I move into 100% so I can’t be with music and be mentally with something else. I really focus on it.

  4. I like to play music when I clean, work the jigsaw puzzle and often while I write. Yes, I’m easily over-stimulated and easily distracted. I’m happy to hear about the shelter kitty, Luanne.

    • I was actually thinking of you about this because I remembered that you like music for writing. I just can’t do it. I give up. No way can I write with music on. I would need another brain. I’d have to be a conjoined twin where all I had of the other twin was her brain. Me and two brains.
      I’m so happy for her, too. Keep your fingers crossed for her, Jill!

  5. Like you, I seem to need silence. As I’m a widow and don’t usually have others to think of I could play music 24/7, but I don’t. I do have a serious addition to audible books and listen to dozens of those. Interesting kitty note as well. Have a great week, Luanne!

    • Oh, interesting about the audible books. I haven’t read those much. Years ago, I did first read Joy Luck Club that way and it fun hearing it read aloud while i drove to work! I hope your week is wonderful, too, Elaine!

  6. I never have music or the TV on when I’m working. I only watch TV when I’m actually watching a particular show. My husband likes to sleep to TV or his computer with the BBC on. I turn the radio on when I’m cooking or cleaning, usually NPR, but if I’m home alone, then sometimes it’s music that I can sing along with. I’m actually more distracted by classical music.

    I’m so happy the kitty got adopted! YAY!

    • That’s what I like: TV should be confined to when it is wanted haha! Hubby likes to put on a movie for us to watch and then promptly fall asleep while I watch the whole darn thing! When I was a teen I liked to fall asleep to classical music!
      Re the sweet kitty: me too!!!

  7. So glad about the cat. Sometimes they go (maybe they need to) for the simple answer. I think had Morgan been adopted earlier when she had a simple eye infection, faithful administering of drops would have worked. Unfortunately, the drops weren’t “timely” enough. My granddaughter (age 10) started wearing earmuffs all year round about 2 years ago. (She lives across the country so I freaked out when I saw the constant pictures of her with earmuffs in warm weather.) She was tested and is fine. However, she says life is too loud and she needs the peace. Sound familiar?

    • That is an amazing story about your granddaughter. I’ve never heard of that before, but I can certainly understand it, especially if her life is particularly noisy–family life, etc.
      I’m sure you are right about Morgan. What a shame, but she gets a lot of love and must be very happy!

  8. I hate the sound of the tv blaring in the background. I often leave my Dad’s house feeling exhausted from the constant barrage of the loud (he’s hard of hearing) tv. It’s very seldom on in our house, except when we’re watching something. I need quiet when I write, but listen to music most often while cooking. Then I’ll bang out a dish or two to an eclectic mix of rock, jazz, bluegrass and whatever else pops up.

  9. Those cats are so lucky you’re here for them.

  10. Hello,
    I, too, have the same problem. I suffer from the same type of overstimulation. I can handle wearing headphones and listening to my ipod, or gentle music overnight. It rattles me, as well. Love the car, though!

    • I don’t know why music in the car is good when so much of the time it isn’t. It’s the strangest thing! Maybe the movement or maybe I need that focus on the music? So glad to hear that I am not alone, though!
      Speaking of music, did you see they had a musical fund raiser last night for Kalamazoo? with Marin Mazzie and others performing. I would have liked to have been there for that.

  11. First, I’m glad the little kitty found a loving home and good health care.
    Second, I too am a music lover who attends many musical events but needs a lot of silence — more and more as I age. Only recently did I give up singing choral music that required my listening to music and singing several hours a week. I’ve replaced that with books on tape and, significantly, Robert Greenberg’s recorded lectures on music history. I used to listen to music for pleasure most nights before sleep but rarely do that now. I used to listen to music while writing but no longer do that. There’s more to this story, but this is enough.

    • Isn’t that interesting that someone as musical as you are needs more and more silence. I wonder what that is? I find it is all too overwhelming as I become too immersed in music to be good for anything else. And, yes, the problem gets worse.
      Did you read that Elaine (above) likes the books on tape, too?
      When I was in high school and partway into college I always played music to fall asleep–and almost always classical, but sometimes Dylan. I had a record player that turned itself off when the record was done. Not sure that technology allows for that today?

  12. I love music and listen to it during activities like getting ready or housecleaning, but otherwise I like the house quiet, particularly if I’m writing.

    I hope everything goes okay for the kitten. Such a tough life she’s had. πŸ™

  13. Awww, poor kitty, maybe things will turn around now. I love music during certain times. Background music at Christmas, Jimmy Buffett at a pool party, and listened to jazz when I wrote Red Clay and Roses. I don’t listen to music when I write anymore, or when I read. I prefer total silence and even the bird chirping and the dogs snoring can get me irked. My brain has gotten to where it doesn’t multi-task well anymore. Is that a sign of old age? Sheesh…there’s so many these days.

    • This is what I am trying to figure out: how can people write while they listen to music? Don’t other people’s brains focus on the music instead of putting their full thoughts into the writing? I just can’t even imagine it.
      I do think that it’s true this stuff gets worse with age, which is pretty much what jeannieunbottled (above) was saying. And, yes, there are so many signs. Ugh. Let’s not talk about it hah.

  14. I feel the same as you. I can’t listen to music at home, and hate the sound of the TV, unless I’m actively watching, which is rare. I even hate the sound of the bathroom fan or any fan at home for that matter. I like, and need, quiet!

    • That is so interesting about the fan. Robin (below) says that, too. Fans don’t bother me. In fact, years ago, I was addicted to a fan on me at night. But then I listen to a humidifier AND an air purifier at night because hubby really needs those things. Humans are certainly complicated!

  15. Luanne, I can empathise about the music. I love silence (apart from birdsong). That business of having a TV on just for the sake of it is beyond me but is part and parcel of hubby’s mindset.
    Hope for a happy outcome for the kitty.

    • Since I started reading these comments, I’ve been wondering why most of us are not bothered by birdsong when other noises are a bother. Birdsong is so stimulating. It never seems like noise!
      Thank you re the kitty. I have high hopes for her to have a good life!!!

  16. Thank you for the interesting post about highly sensitive people. I actually understand this since I was once a teacher of a wide variety of students, some who didn’t like the loud speaker and others, didn’t “vote” for music playing while doing homework or classwork. I tried to be sympathetic and alternate the music, could not do away with loud speaker, of course! πŸ™‚
    I am one that the occupational therapist and I would go out on home visits to preschoolers and sometimes, toddlers or infants. This was so she could have someone to ride along with. I told her on one rather long trip, we covered four school districts in our Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center, which meant we had sometimes 30 to 35 minute long drives there, then a half hour visit or more, then same amount of time back, unless we “piggy-backed” our teaching and OT services with another client. I told her I “hate” fans blowing on me, that we were building a beautiful home, while Amy was buying what she considered a “perfect” home. Hers had ceiling fans in every room! Yikes, I told her I don’t like fans, nor do I like open windows in cars. I don’t liike that echoing sound that comes into play if it is windy out. She listened to my liking wind on the lake, wind on a hot day while sitting outside, or even wind blowing leaves in swirls while trying to round them up on a big blanket. She told me I had “sensory issues,” Luanne. πŸ™ I had never been “diagnosed” but I believed she meant this. She also said I should allow my (now ex) husband to put a few ceiling fans in and have the air go upwards instead of downward. I never did get used to them!
    Anyway, my apt is too quiet. I turn on the television if I know there is a good show on while I make breakfast before work, after work, if I go to library I like a quiet car to think in. Once in my apt again, I turn on music listening to old rock and roll, sometimes classical or a folk song channel. That is a lot of description to say, I don’t always like music nor do I like the way fans are. Smiles, Robin xo

    • What you say about teaching and the music in the classroom is so interesting. My son’s 6th grade teacher decided that he was the type of student that needed the music on to focus and she put it in the classroom. It might have helped him, actually. But what I thought was that if there were children like me in the classroom that it would be bad for them. In other words, there seemed to be studies showing music could help some students, but there didn’t seem to be students showing music could harm other students (inthe classroom or for homework).
      Fascinating about the fan. Notice that Janet (above) mentions fans as a noise that really bothers her. And yet fans don’t bother me–in fact, I am rather comforted by their sound!!
      Oh you like folk music, too? I love folk music!!!!

      • I love this channel on my Syrius which is called coffee shop music but sometimes I still have to search around to hear folk music. There is a Comfest (community festival) in Columbus where my youngest daughter’s friend sings on. I am not sure if you would consider her “folk” but she writes her own music and it sounds like Cole Porter. Her one addressing Lewis Carroll is amazing and very well sung! πŸ™‚ Her name is Morgan Treni and she graduated from OWU about 3 years ago. I have posted about her. . . awhile back! πŸ™‚

        • I need to check out that Sirius channel!! I think I would really like it. Yes, I’ve listened to/watched her music. She’s very talented!

  17. I forgot to say this: I totally expected you to break down, shelter or help cats from the center a LONG time ago! Smiles and hugs! xo <3

    • Hah, well, I did adopt Kana because she was one that nobody wanted, but I intended to get Slupe soon after. Now that Tiger and Kana do not get along (Tiger HATES Kana), I haven’t been able to get Slupe. And I feel so bad about that because Slupe has been at the shelter for two years and volunteers have lost hope that she will be adopted. She is not the easiest personality as she’s a bit scared, but I understand her and she is very similar to Tiger. (We also have Betty and Felix who have been at the shelter a long time).

  18. Bless your heart, Luanne, for being so willing to foster that kitty. I’m sure she would have wound up a permanent resident πŸ˜‰ But what a wonderful story that she was adopted along with another cat and that one of the caregivers will be a vet! Heartwarming. As for music in the house, usually we only have music on if we are cooking. Back when we were both students, my husband liked to have music playing; I preferred dead silence. The compromise was classical music on low πŸ˜‰ I enjoy music at other times and used to go to concerts a lot. But, like you, I don’t feel I get to enjoy silence enough. Without silence, how would I hear the birds?

    • LOL, I did tell myself she would only be temporary. I figured she has SUCH a great personality and is so beautiful that she would so adoptable. And I knew Slupe who waits for me to adopt her (I can’t until Tiger decides to tolerate Kana) would be hurt if I was to adopt a different cat when Slupe has been at the shelter for two years. I keep promising her that if nobody takes her I will, but how to do it when Tiger is so crabby about Kana? Sigh.
      Concerts are great because you can focus on the music–and that is what music calls for. It doesn’t want to be background, ya know?
      And notice by the comments that nobody minds birdsong!!! Isn’t that something though?

      • Oh, dear, cat dynamics! We’ve had to go through that as well, although in our case it was just not bringing the stray cat into the household until the resistant cat was gone. But this is also why I avoid adoption events, etc. Right now things seem to be fairly balanced among the 3 in our home now; adding a 4th could easily undo all that. Then again, if we were retired and home more, I’d probably be open to another adoption since we’d be able to more properly “supervise” πŸ˜‰

        And you’re right, it is interesting that no one mentioned birdsong. And water. We have a “fountain feature” in our backyard. It makes a nice little bubbling sound that goes great with … silence πŸ˜‰

  19. I can relate. I like a quiet house too, at times. My hubby likes to turn on the radio and the TV at the same time, then leave both rooms and head for the basement. I end up turning everything off!

    I hope the kitty does well and am glad she found her forever home.

    • Oh, Mary Ann, I’m so sorry. TV and radio at the same time sounds like double trouble to me. My hubby turns on the TV and heads outside right away. I can’t for the life of me figure out why he has to turn it on. It’s as if he wants it on when he comes back in. So odd.
      Thank you about the kitty. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that sweet soul!

  20. Yes, Luanne, I agree. Wine or whiskey! Hoping the little kitty will recover well, and thank God someone adopted her. πŸ™‚ I am with you about the overstimulation. I alternate between listening to waves and silence, but lately sometimes I can focus while others are in another room watching a movie or listening to music, if the sounds are not too loud. We are visiting my folks in Washington, and my stepfather is a classical music enthusiastic, so it plays throughout the day. I love it, but if I want to focus on writing, silence or waves.

    • Haha, yes, wine or whiskey, who cares which ;)? Thank you about the kitty. I am so relieved she found a good home and keep my fingers crossed all will work out well. This is so interesting how many people are saying they too get overstimulated or can’t have music on too much, etc. I didn’t realize a lot of people would feel that way.

  21. Luanne, you are to truly be commended for your efforts with those wonderful kitties in need! And, whisky or wine, it doesn’t really matter. And I’m like you when it comes to keeping it rather quiet around the house. I prefer to have some light music–once in a while–when I’m seriously at work on my writing, but most times, I like the beauty of the silence. πŸ™‚

    • Oh no, there are volunteers doing so much more. They are so remarkable. And so are these patient cats (and dogs) that wait and wait to be adopted.
      It really doesn’t matter whether whiskey or wine haha. Both are good ;).
      I am so surprised that you can write to music. So can Jill. That is just something that never works for me!

  22. I found this post incredibly interesting, Luanne, and quite revealing a side of you I didn’t either remember or never knew about you. You’re a country music fan…I’m not sure why that surprises me, but I guess I’ve never met a poet who loved bluegrass, although it’s about as pure poetry as you can find.
    I am trying to imagine you in cowboy boots and a western hat, but I think of your lovely beautiful face and have to say nope, doesn’t compute. πŸ™‚
    At any rate, I will file this away and resurrect it again if I ever write about bluegrass.
    I’m so glad the kitty found a good home…all God’s creatures deserve a good home and loving care.
    Thanks for staying in touch with me.

    • You don’t know how many times we have stopped off at Texas boot and western wear stores, and I’ve been tempted by a great pair of boots or a hat, but the boots are problem with the screwed up foot and I don’t really have anywhere to wear such a heavy hat so I end up not buying it.
      But bluegrass and Texas don’t fit together in my mind anyway. Bluegrass is the mountaintop of music.
      Keeping you and T in my thoughts.

  23. I go through phases. Right now I’m in an audiobook phase…it started last May when we moved and it’s still going. When I’m listening to a story, I can take my mind off of mundane things like housework and cooking and just enjoy being entertained!


    • If I had long drives like I used to have with my commute I would be reading a lot of audiobooks, I’m pretty sure. Great idea while you’re doing housework!!!

  24. I know exactly what you mean about music Luanne – I realised last autumn that I hadn’t listened to music for months because, like you, I take the opportunity for silence when I can. My usual time for putting on music is when I’m doing the ironing πŸ™‚ Great news about the kitty, I hope she thrives in her new home.

    • Wow, I am so happy to hear that I am not alone in this. I like the company :). Oh, I hope so, too. We haven’t heard from the lady. I think we will have to contact her to see how cutie is doing.

  25. Luanne, I also love music but crave quiet. I enjoy music when I can focus on it, but I don’t like it as background noise. I don’t want music when I’m writing–I can’t concentrate. And I rarely play the radio when driving.
    My grandfather used to say all he wanted for Christmas was peace and quiet. I must have inherited that gene.

    • Yes, I am that way, too, except for music in the car. Why have background noise so that you can’t hear yourself think? Drives me nuts. Your grandfather was a wise man.

  26. Reblogged this on The Life & Times of Zoe the Fabulous Feline and commented:
    Wonderful post. Of course I liked the ending the best.
    ::::Cheshire grin:::

  27. Hi Luanne, I had to respond to this….YES, I am just like you! Music of all genres is huge in my life–concerts, karaoke, blues, country, Broadway musicals–and generally, there is not a music-less moment when I’m driving. But when I’m home, I never play anything. I always thought I/it was strange. But you’ve explained it beautifully, especially the hubby/TV thing – I could have written that!!

    Being a cat lover and owner (well, SHE owns ME), I loved the rest of your post too. Overall, very glad I stopped by for a visit. Thanks!

    • Wow, Emily, it’s so great to hear somebody else has the same thing going on. I thought it was kind of strange of me, but now I feel as if it’s just a personality trait. Cats are the BEST! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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