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Dear Prudence: A Letter to the Lonely

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #5)

This was inevitable. Ever since I was a little girl riding in my step dad’s white Camry, listening with fresh ears to a lyrically strange song about a Walrus and Eggmen, I’ve loved the Fab Four. I was infected with the post-Beatlemania Beatlemania and to this day I refuse to be cured. So, a blog post about the Beatles was truly inevitable.

The Beatles’ repertoire ranges from hippy dippy sitar songs that make you feel like you’re inside of a kaleidoscope to face melting drumming accompanied by electric vocals to sweet serenades you study or better yet, fall asleep to. The Beatles have explored many different facets of music and it is this progress, transformation, and change that has made them so iconic. Their lyrics are catchy, their vocals are original, and their styles are aplenty. There’s so much to love about them, but amidst all this power in popularity (tens of thousands of screaming, hyperventilating fans) and music history comes a very subtle power that is exemplified in a song called, “Dear Prudence”.

My cousin and I were having a chat about Beatles’ songs and I remember her mentioning to me about how “Dear Prudence” makes her feel sad. I always thought of it as a relaxing and happy song, but after hearing my cousin’s feelings toward the song, I listened to the lyrics carefully. “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out and play?” These are words that I’ve heard, not verbatim, but in an alternate variety when a friend of my once asked me to hang out with them. Despite the many times having been asked to hang out, I hardly or never did.  As I think I may have mentioned in an earlier blog, I suffer from depression and paranoia, but I think I may or may not have mentioned that I also struggle with anxiety. It can prevent me from speaking my mind, doing simple tasks, and can even cause physical distress– in short, it’s not a good time. I feel like Prudence, too, suffers from anxiety and needs help crawling out of her dark corner of isolation to discover that, despite the ugliness of the past and the present world, it can also be bright and beautiful.

My older sister and I were listening to “Dear Prudence” and she told me that she really likes the song because it’s a song about a girl who suffers from anxiety, which both she and I could relate to. Today she elaborated on that and I found out that this song was in the Beatles’ music inspired film, Across the Universe (I surprisingly have not seen it). There is a scene that uses “Dear Prudence” and a young girl is seen hiding and she is being called out. The scene from the film itself is different than my cousin’s, my sister’s and my own interpretation, but the symbolism behind it is strong. In a world where we hide in fear of being judged or rejected, there is always a sun that will shine for you, even behind the fog and clouds, but the only way to feel the most warmth is to step outside and soak it in.

It’s easy to suggest trying to socialize or speak up, but it is not an easy task to achieve. Anxiety is a disability that is difficult to cope with and sometimes even when the sun is shining the world can appear gray. The loneliness of anxiety and other similar disabilities can prevent you from enjoying the simplest things, but something that does aid in the coping process is knowing that there are others out there like you and that you are acknowledged, just listen to the lyrics of the song: “Look around”, you’ll discover that you are not alone.

– Kathryn Fornier


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