When the Levee Breaks

One of my favourite songs of all time is called “When the Levee Breaks” – by the amazing Led Zeppelin. I love everything about it – and it is a go to song for me when I have a lot on my mind. I draw comparisons between the Levee and my brain. Not sure if that is what Joe McCoy had in mind when he wrote it back in 1929 (it isn’t – I checked 😉 ) but it works for me. I have drawn these comparisons a lot over the years between this song and my state of mind / what I am dealing with at the time. I have copied some of the lyrics below and translated into 00blogger speak so you can get my meaning:

If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
And all these people will have no place to stay

If the stress keeps coming my brain / myself is gonna break and all my friends, family or colleagues are not going to get what they need

Now look here mama what am I to do?
Now look here mama what am I, I to do?
I ain’t got nobody to tell my troubles to

Now look here self – what am I to do? I can’t tell people how I feel

I worked on the levee mama both night and day
I worked on the levee mama both night and day
I ain’t got nobody to keep the water away

I worked on the stress both day and night – and I can’t keep it away anymore

Oh cryin’ won’t help you prayin’ won’t do no good
Oh cryin’ won’t help you prayin’ won’t do no good
Whenever the levee breaks mom you got to lose

Dealing with it isn’t helping; If I don’t deal with it everyone is going to hate me

I worked on the levee mama both night and day
I worked on the levee mama both night and day
I worked so hard to keep the water away

I tried to deal with it both day and night; but I couldn’t make it better – I couldn’t take it away

I think that is a rough, but fair translation of how my mind works. Clearly you will see I am not the brightest as the links are pretty tenuous but that is how I relate to this song – that sometimes the burden is too much and I feel like I am going to break. I am sure we all feel like that from time to time.

The key for me, is to try and get a grip of this and get it under control. I know my friends and colleagues do not expect me to solve things that they share with me but I struggle with a filter at times and knowing where to stop. Not where to stop caring – but where my role in the equation sits – when to just listen and not try to fix. It is an endless frustration. I need to get to a healthier level of understanding in terms of what I am there to do for others. At the moment, and most certainly historically, I have put everyone else ahead of me before even considering myself and my needs. I have talked before about how people took advantage of that part of my nature. It still happens. Less so – but mainly because I have applied better filters – and better ways of grouping people – instead of everyone being close to me and me giving them everything, I am not a lot more guarded. That doesn’t mean I have cracked this. I am most definitely hugely susceptible to being used. Some situations are happening even as I write now. And I know they are. I let people behave poorly around me and to me and I let them get away with it – when really I should be calling them out. I think this is partially because I am tired of being the odd one out – and the odd one out does the calling out. I have written before about how I have left dad groups because of racism or sexism and then I am whispered about and blanked when out and about – this is a similar example. Maybe I am tired of being whispered about. But I am not tired of having some basic principles – I think it is important – but I need to stop putting these on people and expecting the same. I know my close friends have similar principles because that’s partly why we are so close, but I cannot expect everyone I come across in life to be similar. I think that is something that I struggle badly with. I am certainly no angel and there are most definitely aspects of my past I am not proud of, but I do think I stand up to be counted when it comes to right vs wrong. What I see around me, all to often, is blatant manipulation of mood, relationships and situations to suit others – and that is really not cool. That kicks off lots of internal thought processes. Negative ones. Where I question myself and not the other parties involved. What have I done wrong here? Why is it ok for them to treat me / speak to me like that? And all that does is add to the elements impacting my brain – also know as stress – and that in turn puts pressure on the levee. I would say on average, I am dealing with something like this around 6 times a week. So it is quite often – and is pretty high impact.

I then look at the impact that my career has on me. There are a lot of changes afoot on that front. I don’t know what all those changes look like at this stage – I just know there is change coming. I am not worried about that. I feel like it is time for change and whatever that looks like, I need to try and make the most of it. The stress does not come from that. Although I am sure there is an impact somewhere. The stress comes in different forms. The hours I can more than deal with – but they probably impact, the client demands I can deal with but again an impact will be had and the internal conflicts that occur in any business – similar feelings I guess. Where I feel most impact, which I believe is down to me, is feeling valued. Or not so. Look, I know my boss thinks I do a decent job and I really do love working with them. But on some level – somewhere along the line, things broke for me with how I think I am viewed. I feel that a lot of what I do is excused away – like it is a bit of luck as opposed to good work or management. I feel like there is always a drive to underplay my achievements and almost find a way to dilute them. I feel there is always a desire to pick holes in what I do. And not the opposite. And to be honest – that stresses me out. I find it really hard to deal with – because my contributions are not exactly minor. I do not mean that in arrogant way – there are many people within the business who are much more valuable than I am – and way smarter (really not hard) but I do feel I contribute a lot – and I do not feel that is seen a lot of the time. Now – what I also know – is that that is my fault. At some stage in my life, I have created a positivity blocker – where any good bits are drowned by the negatives. Or I excuse the good stuff away. That sits with me – no one else – and it is across all aspects of my life. I never feel valuable. I never feel like I belong. I never feel understood. My responsibilities. My challenges to resolve.

There are loads of other elements that impact my brain. That put pressure on the levee. I feel like I am not doing enough to drive positive change in my life and that keeps me awake. I feel like I am not doing enough to drive positive change in a world that just seems to be getting worse. I feel like I am not a good enough dad – because there are so many ways in which I am not emotionally strong enough. I feel like there is nothing I excel at – that I just don’t do enough.

But again. I remind myself that this is a journey. That for years I did not even recognise this. I just thought this was how it was meant to be. At least I know that it isn’t. I am driving change. I have the right people in my life and I am grateful for them – that they bear with me – because I tell you what – it is not easy knowing me – and it is not easy having me as a friend. Onwards.




One thought on “When the Levee Breaks

  1. Great post – so brave and so honest. You describe a soul that is struggling to find peace in the life they have created for themselves. You know you need to make changes – what holds you back?

    Connect and then listen to your HEART (the head is not a place to spend a lot of time), feel into your SOUL. You don’t need to get better – you are PERFECT as you are. We do, however, need to disconnect from some very faulty programming here – eg- why do you need anybody else’s approval? Do you not know that you are a rock star by now? If you don’t know that in your soul, can you understand that noone else can give you that. That ONLY comes from within.

    I gotta be frank with you too – your brain is an outright LIAR (same for most people) – it’s exceptionally easy to know you and love you. The journey is WITHIN – unpick that relationship with your brain and ask the BIG questions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: