The Light She Finds is Golden
Today we feature another expert’s 3eb ink.
However, rather than an interview, today we have a first person story from expert Jacquelyn as she explains the personal meaning behind her “Persephone” tattoo and the significance of one lyrical line to her life.
There’s this idea that when humans reach the limit of language, when our words come out of our mouths and fall flat, music is the only thing that can still connect us to ourselves and to each other.
Because I was only six years old in 1997, Third Eye Blind music has been with me for my entire remembered life. When I was six and roaming barefoot around the Minnesota woods, when I was learning to drive, when I had my first hungry kisses, when I got my drum kit in fifth grade and lived, banging and clashing, in my parents’ basement... all of those moments have Third Eye Blind in the background. Those versions of me, at six and eleven and nineteen and everything in between, have that same melt of 90’s grit and grunge with Greek mythology and tangy allegory. And pony beads, lots of pony beads.
When I hear a Third Eye Blind song, it carries me beyond the limits of my own language and connects me to the parts of myself and my life that I cannot name. There are songs that make me feel sexy and smoky and dangerous; there are songs that set me on fire; there are songs that make me feel transcendent. The music ages me, regresses me, holds me, releases me, reminds me, recognizes me. It anchors me when the tides in me and around me are pulling.
I was in high school when I listened to “Persephone” for the first time and heard “and the light she finds is golden”. Those seven words turned a kaleidoscope: my lifelong sense of being made golden, the way I go still when I’m caught in the dusk of another day, the way my chest opens whenever drums start. Third Eye Blind songs are the kind of songs that talk about being golden using words like “motorcycle” and “bacchanalian” and “fuck”, and so both the part of me that is ageless and the part of me that is a solidly grimy 90’s kid gravitates toward it like a cure.
The constellation of Persephone is gorgeous, and when I had it inked across my rib cage, five years ago now, it hurt gorgeously. But then there were those words - in my own haphazard, college-girl handwriting - weaving across the stars of it, stitching them together. “And the light she finds is golden” slinks through the constellation, spiky letters evoking all the years of journal entries I keep in dirty speckled notebooks.
I bit into those lyrics because when I hear their music, I remember that I’m golden at my core. I remember that I’m strong and powerful, that I am exaltingly curious, that I am a musician before I am anything or anyone else. I remember that I was cripplingly insecure through adolescence (like we all were), that I was always a little cocky, that I used to steal and braid strands of my mom’s embroidery floss into chokers I wore stacked around my neck.
At the rails, when the amps come to life and I start to feel the bass throbbing at my spine and sinking deliciously into the hollow of my pelvis, I return to the truest parts of me. I open my mouth and eighth-grade Jacquelyn screams a thousand Julys; I swing my hips slow and the mystery of college Jacquelyn’s rhythm is pretty fucking feminine; I raise both arms above my head and ageless Jacquelyn goes deeper than bones. I hold on to everything: the smell of summer and cigarette smoke and sweaty strangers, the feeling of leather on my skin, and the wordless, boundless sound, vibrating and transforming, relishing. Relish is from 13th century Old French reles, which meant “something remaining, that which is left behind.”
I move through my daily life and sometimes I don’t recognize it, you know? I watch 26-year-old Jacquelyn, married now to the cute physics tutor who snuck a flash drive loaded with Third Eye Blind songs into her locker, do shit like check her email or go to her job or tie up her running shoes for some dusky, dusty mileage. But whenever the music starts, I relish. I remember what remains: drumming in my parents’ basement, stomping angry and angsty through my high school, making out on splintering dance floors, driving way too fast because the music was changing the color of my blood. So this is forever inked into my skin, crossing the stars of Persephone, relishing my skin and my body, keeping me golden.