Music is so powerful in our world. Music hugs you when you are lonely, jumps with you when you are excited. Music sways with you while you comfort your baby. It boosts your confidence while you get ready for your day, and lifts your spirits when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I’ve clung to music as a dear friend for as long as I can remember. I watched as a simple song filled the rooms of my grandparents’ home with such joy. My grandparents would dance around and all of their struggles would melt away. I watched, and in turn I learned how magical music can be.
I felt alone a lot, growing up the way I did. Sometimes, I was alone by my own doing. Sometimes, I was alone not in the physical sense, but alone in a room full of people. Each night I’d fall asleep with the music on. I’d drown out the noise of everyone else around me. I’d turn the dial up and try to block the sounds of my mom and whatever man she decided to move in that month. I’d turn up the dial and all of the other voices in my head would fall quiet. I’d stop worrying, stop questioning. I’d lose myself in the words of the song, finally able to rest my mind and drift off to sleep.
Music is reliable, unlike most of my past relationships. My parents were preoccupied to say the least. A ten-year divorce fighting over the money that no one had will do that to people. I no longer judge my parents for who they became during the divorce; I’ve learned that life is much more complex then I’d originally thought. I had my sisters, but even they had to continue on building their own separate lives as well. While everyone went on taking care of themselves, music was there to guide me through some of my hardest days. It encouraged me to fight through my struggles in school, and work. It held me when boys broke my heart, and used my body. It kept me warm the nights my mom and I couldn’t afford to run the heat and fed my body on days buying lunch wasn’t a priority.
Music filled my room, my car, and my heart. Just like when I was a little girl watching my grandparents, music allowed my struggles to melt away for a little while. My sisters and I shared more than just an apartment the summer before I left for Switzerland, we shared our pain. Divorce is a horrible fucking thing. No matter what causes it, who chooses it, how it happens; it is horrible. I had just ended a three year relationship with a boy who was not ready to be the man a girl like me needed. I hurt him when I ended the relationship. I hurt him in the way I ended the relationship. In the months following our split I hurt myself over and over again trying to fill my heart with all the wrong men. My sister and I both walked away from good people that year. I watched the strongest woman I know fall apart because she had to hurt someone she loved in order to find herself. I tried to fill her day and that apartment with as much of my quirky silliness as possible. I danced through the halls and turned up the music in our ridiculously decorated bathroom. Looking back, I’m not sure if the giant frog shower curtain and frog tooth brush holder made it harder for her to cry in front of, or gave her one more thing to cry about. I like to think it was the first. Leaving her to return to Europe was so hard, but I knew then and I know now, she will always be ok.
When I left that apartment I found myself feeling the familiar sting of loneliness. While in Europe, I called home to my grandparents confused and looking for guidance. The sounds from their stereo traveled the thousands of miles from Ohio to Geneva through my phone; my friend, music, guiding me back to calm. I decided the next day to start my day off with a song that described me in that very, moment; my emotions, my struggle, my pain. I emailed my “song of the day” to my sisters back home. Some days they were funny, some days sad. Sometimes I was a gangster, dancing in my work chair while 50 cent blared through my headphones. Everyone in my office would laugh as I started to rap along out loud for all to hear. I must have made Americans look crazy. I like to think that I sent a little bit of happiness home in those emails.
I find myself in a very unfamiliar place nowadays. I feel so blessed and surrounded by love. Old wounds are healing as my parents and I have started to rebuild our family. My children have brought all of us closer. I still find myself lonely in this journey of motherhood. The days can drag on, and it can be hard to spend all of your time with people who can’t really talk to you yet.
Much like before, music helps me start my day off right. The girls wake up and I turn on some music. All of a sudden the sleepiness leaves their faces, and we all start our day off with a little more joy. I want my home to give them the same feelings that I felt in my grandparent’s home. This home is a safe place, where we can listen to our friend, and dance in our feelings.
I’ve decided I will start including my “song of the day” in some of my posts. Please make sure you look at the song and decide whether to play it with the kids around, or by yourself in the safety of your earbuds. Sometimes I’m a gangster, and you all will have to shield your own kids from it just like I have to hide that side of me from mine… at least until they are older.
Today’s song of the day is one everyone can enjoy. This one is for you Grampy, I know you are dancing with me up there.
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