Happy Song

This week @lesleehorner has been very low key.  It’s actually an interesting story.  For a long time now my intuition has been telling me to spend less time online.  I think you guys know this about me by now.  I’ve written about it before.  When I try to do it on my own, I can’t seem to resist the urge to just “check” my email and pages.  The checking usually turns into chatting, replying, tweeting, and updating.  By the time I am finished my 5 minute check turns into an hour or more of playing.  On Sunday, I had popped onto the blog and thought my Sunday Quote had not published.  I was frantically trying to post a new quote when suddenly the internet just stopped working.  Mark went to troubleshoot and realized the router had just died.  What a coincidence?  I still have internet access but not on my own computer and the set up is complicated.  So my goal for the week has been to spend no more than 30 minutes online per day.  Luckily I had scheduled the entire week’s worth of posts except for today’s before our problem occurred.

So with that in mind, I’m keeping it short.  I went to the gym on Monday and listened to my Ipod while on the elliptical.  It’s when I am working out that I realize just how much music touches me.  I don’t have extremely sophisticated taste in music.  I mostly enjoy what’s popular.  I like a catchy tune and sweet lyrics.  I recently added a few new songs to my collection and one of them is currently my favorite.  It’s odd to say it, but as I listened to it during my work out Monday, I experienced pure bliss.  It was like my entire body was smiling.  I allowed myself to forget about everything else, including where I was and what I was doing, and just get lost in the song.  So for today, in honor of simplicity, I decided to just share my current happy song.  Catchy tune, cheesy lyrics, enjoy!  (And if this is not your happy song, I suggest finding one and letting yourself escape in it for a few minutes!)

Advertisements

Paths

Now that I am a parent, I often think about the role I play in my children’s lives.  There is the obvious of course, that I will feed them, clothe them, keep them healthy, make sure they get an education and give them lots of love.  But when it comes down to my desires and vision for their lives, how much will reality match the fantasy?  What really decides our paths?

Facebook has been an amazing look into people’s paths and how they often go in strange and unexpected directions.  When we step out from the consciousness of our families, we attract to our lives the situations and challenges that test us and bring us into our own.   When I was in high school I became fascinated with all things “unique.”  I would take weekly trips to vintage shops and artsy/New Agey stores and just walk around, mostly looking at clothes I loved but didn’t have the nerve to wear.  I was attracted to guys with long hair and piercings (too young yet to be into tattoos).  When I met a perspective boyfriend, I’d often ask “What do you do?” with the hopes of an answer like write poetry, paint, or play guitar.  All of my serious boyfriends did one of those three things.  The sirens of creativity called to me, even if vicariously through other people and places.  These days the vision I hold for my life is a marriage of creativity and spirituality.  My path, with its odd detours and speed bumps, seems to have brought me to me.

I have a friend named Toby.  You will meet her tomorrow in the first in a series of four click stories.  For a short period, Toby and I walked our path together.  We spent weekends hanging out with boys with long hair and piercings.  I tasted artichoke for the first time in Toby’s kitchen standing between her and her mother.  We played soccer and rode in Heather’s convertible Firebird singing Hotel California together.  I took my very first college road trip to visit her at NC State our freshmen year of college.  We were both poets and loved to write.  She was a lot more outgoing than me, but other than that we were very similar.

The last time I was with Amy we sat on her bed (she was on bed rest) and looked at each other’s Facebook pages.  Amy was so excited to share that she had found Toby.  I honestly don’t remember the exact connection but Amy and Toby were also pretty close friends.  Amy was the first to tell me that Toby had been a heroin addict.  When Toby and I finally connected on Facebook she was quick to share with me what she had overcome.  I also learned that she was a proud new mama who was finding her way back to writing.  Despite how drastically different the past fifteen years had been for us, we were now on similar paths…maybe even inching our way onto the same path.

Toby has now sent me four of her stories and has started her own blog.  As she put it on Facebook the other day, she is “writing furiously.”  I read her stories and am greatly aware at how simply and easily our lives can be changed…but also how we at some level create these challenges.  In one of her posts, Toby shares how she was always fascinated with heroin.  She read books and watched movies about addicts and fantasized about her own relationship with the drug.  And just like she always knew, the drug found her, was even presented to her as a birthday gift.  She made a choice that day and it was the only choice she could have made in the moment.  It brought her to where she is now.

What I think is that we are here to choose our on paths and make our own destinies.  Our parents will raise us, teach us, and love us but in the end who we really are will find it’s way through.  Sometimes we are just like our parents and families, sometimes we are not.  There are many crossroads.  Sometimes we make choices that could be described as selfish, careless, or just plain fucked up.  And sometimes it is those very choices that ultimately bring us salvation, even if that salvation comes after a long and hellacious battle.

Life Measured by Music

I’ve said before that I have a terrible memory.  I thought it was just childhood stuff, but then over the holidays I was having drinks with a few sorority sisters and they brought up an old friend from college.  The conversation went a little like this:

“Who?”  I asked with my face all scrunched up.

“You know that guy who dated Marci and was ALWAYS around.”

I shook my head.

“He was tall, had red hair, was in Chi Phi.”

I shook my head again.

“How can you not remember?  He was ALWAYS around.  What’s wrong with you?”

“I”m telling you, I have a terrible memory.”

After that conversation it’s been bugging me.  How many important people or moments have I forgotten and WHY?  Well today I read this post from @whyisdaddycryin and I started applying his technique.  For me, I’d definitely say “music is the soundtrack of my life” and when I started thinking about music, all these memories started flashing through my head.  So, I thought I’d share a few of them.  (I am going to use first names here, it just feels more real that way.)

When I hear “Thriller,” “Beat it,” or “Billie Jean” I remember my obsession with Michael Jackson in 3rd grade and the hours I spent over at my next door neighbor, Jennifer’s, house waiting for any of those videos to play on MTV.   And when I hear Culture Club, I remember my 9th birthday party at Showbiz Pizza Place where I walked around with my new boombox on my shoulder listening to Boy George sing “Karma Chameleon.”

Play me any song from Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” and I am back in the 6th grade jumping on my trampoline with Brandi, Jeff, and Randy with said boombox blaring the boys from Jersey.

Flash forward a few years when music becomes a bit more important and the memories fight for acknowledgement.  Salt-n-Peppa’s “Push It” and I’m on the Mind Scrambler at The Pavillion in Myrtle Beach, SC with Stacia screaming my head off.  Enter New Kids on the Block and we are spending hours up in the bonus room of Stacia and Stephanie’s house learning to dance just like the New Kids.  (I bet we could still pull off “The Right Stuff” dance.)

Strike up a little Bel Biv Devoe and I am back in the jacuzzi at The Links Golf and Raquet Club with Christy and the cousins we met from Georgia.

If I hear or think of Grateful Dead “Fire on the Mountain” I’m with Laurie at Brandon’s house after school.

The Eagles (“Hotel California” especially) and I’m riding in Heather’s 69 convertible Firebird on our way to an AYSO soccer game.

Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers (“Under the Bridge”), Nine Inch Nails, and Jane’s Addiction and I’m back in “the house” I spent almost every weekend of 11th grade hanging out in and trying to score a boyfriend (finally succeeded at the very end of the school year.)

Play some Eric Clapton and I am on my senior trip to Myrtle Beach riding around in James’ Volkswagen with Laurie and Benji in the backseat.

“I Melt With You” and I’m at the Rainbow Deli at the Arboretum singing karaoke for the very first time with Amy.  Anything from “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre and Amy and I are in our dorm room warming up for a night of dancing at the Pterodactyl.  “Gin and Juice” by Snoop and we are at the Sea Gypsy Inn on the beach with Chris, Scott, Mike and a few others. “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s and I’m sitting in Amy’s blue Ford Probe during a Moore Hall fire drill.

“Trippin Billies” by Dave Matthews Band plays and I’m visiting Toby at NC State and trekking across the dew covered soccer field in the middle of the night.

Alanis Morrisette reminds me of my Spring Break trip to NY with Kristin, “Calling Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks takes me back to the A-Town apartment sitting next to the only boot-wearing, Stetson-owning “cowboy” I was ever attracted to, Joe Cocker makes me think of Graem (the ZTA most eligible bachelor of 94), Alien Antfarm’s cover of “Smooth Criminal” reminds me of the gym friend that used to walk around Bally’s with his headphones blaring and his head bopping, Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” reminds me of teaching second grade at Leawood Elementary and how I wasn’t sure what was more disturbing, that my kids knew and liked the song or that Mrs. Richardson did.

And of course there are so many memories of Mark that are sparked when I think of music.  Jane’s Addiction “Kettle Whistle” reminds me of our trip to Atlanta where I was actually 50 feet (or less) away from Perry Ferrell, Dave Navarro, and Flea.  “Easy” by Lionel Richie reminds me of watching Mark as the sexy frontman of K-Blu-E.  The Verve’s “Lucky Man” reminds me of Mark’s attempts at teaching me to play the guitar (he’s a great teacher, I’m a terrible student).  “Rehab” by Amy Whinehouse and “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon remind me of the funny lyrics he comes up with to make songs appropriate for our girls. (“Oscar needs to take a flea bath, but he says no, no, no” and  “Lilly don’t pee on the tire”)

So those are  some of my music memories…would love to hear a few of your’s.

Kelli’s Click

I mentioned Kelli in my blog award post the other day.  Hers was the first blog I started reading.  I found it by doing a wordpress search of “self-discovery.”  She and I have a lot in common, both ex-teachers turned stay-at-home-moms with musician husbands and both spiritual seekers.  You will get a glimpse of her talent and inspiring message by reading her story below.

Let the Struggle Cease to Be

Kelli B. Haywood

http://eastkentuckygal.wordpress.com

I had never planned to be a mother.  I was one of those people who didn’t want to bring a child into such a corrupt world, and I didn’t feel that I was emotionally equipped to properly care for a child.  All those feelings changed after we lost my husband’s aunt to cancer in her early forties.  Both my husband and myself came to the realization that we wanted and needed children on the ride home from her funeral.

We now have two children.  Becoming a mother changes you in dramatic ways.  My husband and I decided that it would be best that I stay home with my children.  I view so many things from a different perspective since becoming a mother, including my future goals, nutrition, spirituality, education, and my own responsibilities to my family.  What it didn’t change was my emotional capacity to be fully present for my children.

I have been working through some difficult childhood experiences since I started college.  I’ve been trying to break down years of insecurities and emotional reactions to situations that are extreme or out of place.  I have come a long way – a really long way.

I recently turned thirty-one, and I must say that the passed year has been one of spiritual renewal for me.  I am discovering who I am and who I can be in reality.  The year began with me being in poor physical health.  I had experienced my second unwanted (the first being unnecessary) c-section.  I had been mistreated by a doctor and it left my body broken.  Not only was my body broken, but so was my heart.

A few months after the birth of our second daughter, we moved back to the land where my husband and I were both born – Appalachia.  It was where our families were, our heritage, our children’s legacy, where our dreams resided.  It was where we belonged.  The relief we felt upon reaching the mountains again was tremendous.  We lived in a larger city for several years after undergraduate school.  I taught middle school and went to graduate school and my husband finished graduate school, taught college classes, began his art and music career , and became a tattoo artist.  However, we never really settled into city life.  We went with the flow, but never found our place, and both of us were reluctant to call it home.  So, when we settled into our little cabin in the holler, and began our plans for homesteading, it felt like we were free again.

I loved watching the girls grow in this new familiar environment, and I had nothing to be upset about in our current situation, but the past kept creeping in with reminders in both my physical and mental health.  It wasn’t long before I was actively seeking a healing.  I adopted a traditional foods way of eating for our family based on the information in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon .  I lost a lot of weight in the most healthy way.  I loved the feeling of control I had, but I still struggled with my dragon – impatience.

In June of 2009, I began a serious practice of yoga and meditation.  I mix both Hatha and Kundalini styles, but have since focused more on Kundalini.  It has led me to tremendous healing in all areas of my life.  I’m becoming the mother I want to be.  The wife I want to be.  I have even found a place of sincere spirituality.

Leslee recently wrote in her post on Psalm 23 about flashcards sent from God.  I believe it.  While I was controlling my life with so many things, struggling to find balance and healing, I was still uneasy and impatient.  Little things made me angry.  I felt anxious about the things that I couldn’t keep from going wrong.  I manifested problems that weren’t there.  I blamed myself, and in part I deserved the blame.  Then, one day during my Kundalini yoga practice I heard my inner guru speak.  It said, “Stop fighting.  Why are you still fighting?”  I had been thinking “let go and let God”.  I had been crying out to my soul – “What are you still so troubled about?”  I had been trying to meditate through all the chatter thoughts and the planning and fixing that my mind wanted to do.  I had been keeping up the guard I had had up since childhood that took so much energy to maintain.  Instead of being guided in my yoga practice, I was trying to rush to the result.  I was fighting tooth and nail.  I was fighting for my life, for normalcy because that had become a habit for me beginning as a pre-teen.

It wasn’t long after that that I bought some Yogi Tea.  On the little tea tabs there are quotes from Yogi Bhajan, the guru that brought the ancient technology of Kundalini yoga to the United States.  On that particular day, my quote was… “The mind is energy.  Regulate it.” Again, stop fighting.  Stop planning.  Just be present.  I was getting the message, but to really bring it home, my pastor’s sermon that night was on Psalm 46.  The following is the 10th verse of that Psalm:

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

God wanted me to stop fighting.  It was an order.  He is in charge and I don’t have to worry about my needs being met, or what happens next.  There is a plan for me.  There is a plan for all of us, if we stop fighting.  It is easier said than done.  I continue to do my best day to day to reverse the old habits of constantly trying to plan what is next, and speed up and slow down time.  I try to find joy in the present.  Whatever is currently going on is exactly what is suppose to be happening to me at that moment, and there is joy there – no matter what the situation.  I’m growing to have a servant’s heart, which is what the heart of a mother should be in my opinion.  Until you help your child learn the ways of the world and help them find their place in it, you are your child’s teacher – you are their hope, and your patience with them is so very important.  You are their Mother.  When they are grown, you will wish you had had more moments being present with them as they were youngsters.  I know I will.

Natalye’s Click

I discovered Natalye’s story while reading Jarrett’s blog (Jarrett’s click will post tomorrow).  Her strength and bravery touched me so much that I immediately contacted her on Twitter (@IamPhoReal) and expressed to her how grateful I was that she had shared her powerful story.  After a few days of tweeting back and forth, I asked her if I could post the story, “Damaged,” here on “Waiting for the Click.”  She agreed. Here is her story just as it appeared on Jarrett’s blog.

When asked by my best friend to write something for his blog, I thought to myself, I really don’t have anything of importance that I can write about. I haven’t written anything in so long, I forgot how to even put a paragraph together, much less a piece. I have never written anything that hasn’t been inspired (besides status updates and comments on various subjects, but to me that’s just me vocalizing whatever I feel or like; and I talk TOO much. I feel I’m doing that now! lol). But while I was searching for music to put on my blip.fm account, I came across a song that got me through a very crucial time in my life. One song. One horrible moment in my life. And that one song healed me when not one person in life at the time could. (I know Jarrett that you said it didn’t have to be earthshattering, but I didn’t plan for it to be lol). I don’t want sympathy or pity. I’ve kept something in for a LONG time, and not only because it’s not what you call proper “dinner conversation”, but because I didn’t want anyone thinking I wanted someone to feel sorry for me. I’m a strong person in my eyes, but I also have some emotional damage that I didn’t know, up until a month ago, I still had. And I feel, if I can help just one person with my story, I can help myself with that problem.

In 1995, I was just starting my 2nd year in junior high (8th grade to be exact). I met a guy through one of my friends. Little did I know, that he was 23 years old. I “dated” him for a month before I thought I was ready to lose my virginity. When the chance came, I recoiled. Even though I thought I “loved” him, I just wasn’t ready yet. He was livid. He started yelling that he spent all this time & all this money on me to not get what he wanted. I was beaten.. and then, I was raped. I was left on the couch bleeding; and strong little me didn’t cry. I held myself together, called a friend, and left.

I deserved it, that’s what I believed. I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation, I told myself repeatedly. Months passed by. I was always angry. I got suspended for fighting. I bullied random people. I was arrested for shoplifting. I was lost. It was a classmate’s comment that broke me: “Nan (that was my nickname in jr high), you always made straight A’s. You’re making straight D’s & F’s now. What the hell would make you want to have people look at you like a stupid ass?” After that, I locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried. I hadn’t cried since before the incident. I went home that day and told my parents. I saw and felt a deluge of pain I thought didn’t exist outside of movies. What the hell do we do?

We decided to report him. To summarize the conversation, they said: It has been months Nan. If you had come forward when it happened, we would’ve had proof. It looks like it’s gonna be your word against his since you say there were no witnesses & you didn’t tell anyone of the incident. But hey, they did offer to have a counselor help me with my “problem” (insert brutal sarcasm here). I died inside after we left. I could even say that I didn’t just lose faith, I had faith in nothing & no one. It was while I was watching a movie that something cracked. It was a song. Not just the song, the lyrics caught my attention:

Healing comes so painfully & it chills to the bone
Will anyone get close to me?
I’m damaged, as I’m sure you know
..
I can’t go back, I must go on…

I listened to that song over, and over for the next month. And each time I listened, I felt more & more like I could feel. I can honestly say, music saved me from suicide. I laughed more easily. I attended a Christian school after. I had a REAL best friend (who is still my bestest friend til this day). Music saved me from a situation that has psychologically damaged TOO many women that it has happened to. I wouldn’t let that happen to me. Over the years, I’ve kept the fact that I was violated to myself. Situations would arise & I would bring it up so that people would understand why I react certain ways in certain situations. Some never understood why I didn’t see a psychiatrist. But to me, singers were my psychiatrists, songs were my prescriptions & lyrics were my painkillers. When I tell people this, they’re just whatever about it. But it’s true. And I’m blessed to have something so common, yet unbelievable, help me through a horrible time.

I know there are more common situations where women that have been raped never heal. I always believed I fully healed, but I’m still pushing people away who get too close to me. And yes, I do see I always do this, even to Brooke & Joni. Hearing that song again made me realize that in some ways I am bruised; but not damaged. I can’t go back, I must go on, I must remember that; Especially when it comes to all my great friends who want to be there for me & want to help me.

And indirectly, Jarrett, you asking me to write something was a blessing in disguise. I always thought telling people that I was raped would leave me raw & vulnerable. But it was a good thing. A great thing if I can help & inspire someone else. I hope whoever reads this sees that just because something bad has happened to them, does not mean in any way, shape, or form that they deserved it! And that with the help of those who love them and those who understand, & some beautiful music, they can heal & fully embrace themselves and bask in it. More easily said than done you may say, but as you can see, it can & has been done.

My life motto: Show Love With No Remorse (RHCP).. I don’t plan to stop now…

Bob Marley

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality . Wake Up and Live!” —–Bob Marley

And here are the lyrics to one of my favorite Bob Marley songs:  Forever Loving Jah

We’ll be forever loving Jah
We’ll be forever loving Jah

Some they say see them walking up the street
They say we are going wrong to all the people we meet
But we won’t worry, we won’t shed no tears
We found a way to cast away the fears
Forever Yeah!

We’ll be forever loving Jah
We’ll be forever
We’ll be forever loving Jah
Forever yes and forever
We’ll be forever loving Jah, there’ll be no end

So old man river don’t dry for me
I have got a running stream of love you see
So no matter what stages, oh stages, stages
Stages they put us thru we’ll never be blue
No matter what rages, oh rages, changes.
Rages they put us thru, we’ll never be blue
We’ll be forever yeah!

We’ll be forever loving Jah
We’ll be forever
We’ll be forever loving Jah
Forever and ever and forever
Cause there is no end

Cause only a fool lean up on, lean upon
His own misunderstanding
And what has been hidden from the wise and the prudent,
Been revealed to the babe and the suckling
In every thing, in every way I say

We’ll be forever loving Jah
We’ll be forever
We’ll be forever loving Jah

Cause just like a tree planted planted by the river of water
That bringeth forth bringeth forth, fruits in due season
Every thing in life got its purpose
Find its reason in every season, forever Yeah!

We’ll be forever loving Jah
We’ll be forever
We’ll be forever loving Jah
On and on and on
We’ll be forever loving Jah

Before and After

OK, in honor of Labor Day, I’m going to take a break from writing, but not from posting.  I was at the gym listening to my Ipod when I came up with this post.  You see these two songs are back to back on my playlist.  They both inspire me, jumpstart me a bit.  I seem stronger and have more endurance when I listen to them.  Today it suddenly occurred to me that these songs are like the “Before” and “After” when you connect to that life inside of you.  The first song might describe how one feels when they are living without knowing the power that is within them.  I think it illustrates to a tee the final moment of a “dark night of the soul,” when one finally reaches the breaking point and realizes there must be more.  The second song is the result of that realization!

Before:

After: