I often wonder which direction people’s musical inclinations lean. Are most people prone to staying in one lane, or do people embrace the unknown? Do they seek variety? I’ve spent nearly 40 years developing a taste for all types of music. One of my fondest memories is of a five-year-old girl playing in her room alone. Standing at the end of her twin bed, vinyl in-hand – Neil Diamond’s Love on the Rocks with a B-side of Acapulco to choose from. Hovering above her red and yellow record player – a gift, no more than a toy. To her it was her secret sanctuary… What would it be today? The sweet escape of the sadness and love, or the rhythmic platitudes of paradise found.
The Soundtrack of My Life
As I sit here reviewing the scattered memories of my life, I see a pattern, a soundtrack. The beautiful gratification of time and space consumed with shared sentiment. The introverted little girl, sitting on her neighbor’s floor listening to Journey’s Wheel in the Sky, secretly wishing her Mom would come home from the bar.
The same little girl sitting at the bar eating lemons while Mom served beer and made conversation. I was a good girl. I sat still, and stayed quiet – only speaking when spoken to. Telling jokes on cue, patrons – mostly middle-aged men, laughing and smiling proudly at my Mom. My reward for behaving – a pocketful of quarters for the jukebox. The beauty of a jukebox sitting solo in a room full of filth, is still heaven to me. I lean my head on the glass, slowly breathing in the refuge of a song and secrets. Hall & Oats, and Olivia Newton-John holding and comforting me – keeping me safe from the cold.
The abandoned child of a child, grasping the edges of greatest escape of all – Olivia Newton John’s Greatest Hits and Grease, The Soundtrack. If she had to be here, if she had to ‘do the time,’ she would spend time with her one true love. A period spent leaning into every type of music I could get my hands on. From ages six to eight, I was filling my days with Pink Floyd, Dr. Hook, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand and more. I craved the strength of an independent woman. I bathed in the truthful nuances of the singer-songwriter. I dreamed of love. I hungered for adventure.
The same child, hovering on middle-age, sitting alone, earbuds rooted while lucid lyrics fill my ears. A sweet symphony of streaming ease. I live for Pandora and YouTube! I find myself desperate to fill the space of my day, to connect with the feelings of it all – mine and theirs. I’ve spent the last several weeks hunting and gathering songs that ignite something within me. It’s no secret that I’ve been feeling numb and disconnected lately. The ‘normal’ things of daily life leaving me feeling empty and hopeless. I am not a fan of empty or numb. I do enjoy a bit of escape, as my mind is a ruling nightmare, but I loathe emotional disconnect.
The thing is, I don’t share my struggles to feel sorry for myself, I share in hopes other’s may relate – not commiserate. I struggle, I always have, but I never quit. No matter how dark and desperate life seems, I remind myself to look back at how far I’ve come. If I need to see my purpose in life, I need only look back at what I’ve overcome. I am a conqueror! In my darkest moments, I stand toe-to-toe with the enemy, and I win every time. He get’s his licks in, leaving me broken and wounded in the corner, but my corner-man picks me up and fills me with strength. He cools my head, washes my face, and bandages my cuts – never leaving my side.
He lulls me to sleep at night; whispering fingertips caressing my forehead. He lies next to me, holding me close, quietly waiting to awaken me to a new day. His care and comfort giving me strength and peace in the early hours of the morning. He’s with me in the shower, and at the kitchen counter while I make hot cocoa. He gently holds my arm and guides me up the stairs in the morning. Sitting me down while graciously and anxiously holding my hands my hands in prayer. A pause. There’s always a pause, and then he guides me – my thoughts, my words, and my actions.
I plug my earbuds in, I grab my phone and I seek… I’m seeking inspiration. I’m hunting for a fire, an internal combustion of emotion. I NEED TO FEEL! And I need to feel something other than sadness and pain. So, I do the work… I pray and listen. I read and learn. I write and heal. I rest and lean in. I share not to say, ‘poor me,’ but to say –
“Life is struggle, and life is work, but life is worth it!”
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (John 4:7)
Photo by Niko Soikkeli