Dangerous Compassions

feel so different

feel so different

When I was a kid, the Sinead O’Connor album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got was the first cd I ever bought.  I’m pretty sure it was the first cd.  I’d bought a few tapes and records.  But I heard Nothing Compares 2 U on the radio, loved its haunting stark truths about love, bought the cd, and was blown away by the songs.  Feel So Different was probably my favorite.

This album changed my life because I’d never heard a woman sound so strong and defiant.  I felt inspired and took that music inside me as holy nourishment.  Like scripture.  A small young white woman, only ten years older than me, could belt out the reality that I needed to hear. I didn’t know we could tell the truth like that.

What clear spirituality and deep insight about relationships, poverty, politics, loss.  Today I read her wikipedia article and a sensational article about her kids, relationships, addictions, and psychiatric struggles.  I knew very little about her life.  She changed her name, came out as lesbian, married men, birthed children, had suicide scares, delayed a tour, wrote a book.

feel so different

I was hurting and felt sorrow in my torso.  This trip is so grueling.  I needed to cry.  But I also wanted to try singing the song Feel So Different at full volume.

I warned Ming, “I wanna sing this song.  If it’s bothering you or making it harder for you to drive, I want you to tell me, ok?”

He said yes, so I sang it just how I wanted to, at full volume, doing things with my voice that I never let myself do before.  Felt great, to love this song for 30 years, since I was a teenager, and finally for the first time sing it as loudly and strongly as I wanted to.  It’s great to be an adult.

I think Feel So Different is a prayer.  Well, she speaks the Serenity Prayer at the beginning, but I think the whole song is a prayer.  “The whole time I’d never seen / all you have spread before me” sounds like it’s to God for sure.


The strings are amazing, so stirring.  And I love her tune.  But I adore the words.  The first line “I am not like I was before” is so direct about transformation.  The declaration feels archetypal–she just went to hell and came back.  She survived the unsurvivable, like we all do.  She lived to tell the truth.

Like when someone just experienced trauma, deep loss, saw an edge, looked beyond the veil.  The burning bush spoke to them.  You can put your sandals back on and try to ignore what God told you, but it’s probably not possible.  She’s going to bring it up again.

emotions movement

Singing the song in the car was like crying–some emotions moved through me that I needed to express so they wouldn’t get stuck.  Singing the song changed me too.  I want to record it.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “feel so different”

Wow. I had a few of Sinead’s cassette tapes -bet I still have them. I also remember watching a concert of Sinead’s where this song I s performed.
I have never thought that line “… you spread before me” like you mentioned. Thanks for opening up my eyes. That one line never made sense bc I was relating the song to a romantic relationship.

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