Let’s play some word association. When I say “Soul mate” what comes to mind? Romance right? You think of that one person in the world that is your perfect romantic match. A lot of people would say that if there is such a thing as soul mates that each person only has one. I on the other hand disagree. I believe not only that we have multiple soul mates, but that there are multiple types of soul mates. Obviously the romantic soul mate that everyone associates the term with, but also plutonic and spiritual.
I want to talk about my spiritual soul mate, Pete Townshend.
Yes this fucking dork is my spiritual soul mate. I guess first I should explain what a spiritual soul mate is. To me (because this is just my personal opinion, like always) a spiritual soul mate is the one person that you could essentially switch lives with and you would emotionally be the same. They’re someone who, maybe you’ve met, or maybe not, but you understand them regardless if you understand why you do.That is Pete Townshend for me.
I’ve been a fan of The Who for a while and I’ve enjoyed their songs since I was young and had no idea who actually sang them. There’s this sense of calming and peace that comes over me with their music and I’ve never been able to quite pinpoint exactly what it was about it that made me feel the music the way I did.
Until I started actually diving into finding out about the band as people did I begin to realize why. I started to associate with Pete, which isn’t abnormal, for I typically find something to associate with in most things. But with him it was different. Little tidbits of his life and personality came to my attention and I would think “That’s something I’d do” or “I’m just like that.” So I picked up his autobiography and realized there was so much more.
To save you all the time of reading me go on and on about every minute similarity, I’ll just leave you with this; both Pete and I grew up with a lacking sense of self worth. His mostly from his parents lack of attention towards him and physical attributes, primarily the size of his nose. (Which I honestly think is a wonderful nose) Mine being a lack of acceptance and attention from certain family members and my peers. But once discovering this I heard the music he had written in a completely different light.
Behind Blue Eyes specifically, which had always struck a chord with me, turned into almost an anthem for my inward pain and loneliness. His songs spoke to me, I began to actually feel every melody as a part of my deepest soul. In every note I could now hear the pain that undoubtably Pete felt whilst writing them.
But where there is pain in art, there is also beauty. That’s why the truly talented artists are typically the most tortured souls. One of my favorite songs by The Who is Love Reign O’re Me from Quadrophenia. I’ve come to love the entire album and story of Quadorphenia and the original album version is amazing. Every part of it is quite astounding, but then I discovered this version of it.
This version of the song was done as apart of a whole album and concert event with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Firstly I’m a complete sucker for orchestral music, but when I heard this for the first time and I closed my eyes, I felt something spiritual and fulfilling that honestly I’m not quite sure I can explain in more detail. I didn’t know that rock music could be this beautiful and a small part of me likes to believe that when Pete was writing the pieces originally that this is what he heard in his head. It was this album, and this piece in particular, that made me realize that Pete Townshend and I were in fact spiritually intertwined. (At least for my sake)
Now from an outside perspective this all seems a little bit silly, but to me it’s life altering. To find a person with whom you can truly see yourself and to know that at least one other person in this world has felt exactly what you feel, it is honestly the most blissful feeling ever. Is it at all strange that I associate myself with a guitar smashing British rockstar? Maybe a bit, but honestly what part of my life isn’t at least a little strange?
I’m not here to claim that Pete Townshend is some perfect being that I aspire to be like or that he and I have a destiny to be together or anything like that. Honestly I doubt that I’ll ever be in the same building as him in my life. But to know that I have this person with whom I share a connection that honestly I can’t have with another is amazing and I only hope that everyone can find someone like that. I may never fully understand the connection, but at least I have it.