SPOTLIGHT: Jaime Wyatt on Finding Permission to Feel Good
Jaime Wyatt (Jody Domingue)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jaime Wyatt is No Depression’s Spotlight artist for November 2023. Learn more about her and her new album, Feel Good, in our interview, and check out a video of an intimate performance of The Grateful Dead’s “Althea” here.
Music, dance, and gathering have long been a part of many cultures, but why? They heal by catharsis, by somatic movement, by connection and bonding, and by creating. This sort of thing is my bag.
It’s been a long road of letting go and grieving many things in my life to be able to feel good. Learning how to be present in the moment and to be vulnerable in relationships has been a long process. I was a runner — ya know, drugs, lovers, touring town to town, trying to outrun my problems. I had to learn how to feel and I’m still learning.
Society and parenting of my parents’ generation sent loads of messages (either direct or indirect) saying to keep quiet, don’t make a fuss, don’t feel sad, don’t be too outspoken or at least don’t let people know you feel badly or don’t like how you’re being treated. I knew one gay kid in high school and he got teased a whole lot. I took the message that being attracted to the same sex made you weird and creepy. I’m unable to access a lot of memories from my youth, and I believe this can be directly correlated to the shame I felt for being gay. Science is now linking emotional pain and suffering to physical matter in human tissues, which is causing an uptick in autoimmune disorders and mental health disorders.
I battled addiction and have been on every antidepressant in the book. I’m more a fan of plant medicine, yoga, and meditation these days. I’ve not had a drink for six years and I’ve continued therapy, but it wasn’t until I started the inner child work that I actually started to understand what I went through as a kid, and I have immense compassion for myself now. The literature I was reading and still read encourages adults to play and have fun in order to connect with their inner children and find their own authenticity.
I’ve always been super hard on myself and I battle depression and social anxiety like crazy, so this concept is totally new. I’ve always felt music made me happy, like playing guitar and writing, but society hasn’t typically valued artists. Being happy has always felt like a requirement and not a valuable quest. I could only write so many sad songs. I feel more free and alive than I’ve ever felt and I want to share that with people. I had to read it in a book to get permission to feel good and now it’s my duty to pass that message along.
I want you to feel good, even if I don’t agree with you, because I believe in the healing power of music and I believe it can heal the planet. Music is the universal language. Music is peace. Music is love. Music is community.