Monday, January 5, 2009

Oh Happy.

Excuse me while I have a moment of introspection.

It was a summer day about 6 years ago. I was 19, living with a boyfriend in a shitty apartment in a shitty part of town, going to school and working at Wal-Mart (which ate away at my soul a little more each day). It was not the brightest time in my life. This particular day, while my boyfriend was working his sad little part-time job, I was soaking up some sun at the pool in our complex. It was small, but big enough to get wet, and get a bit of a chance to lie around and act like I was being pampered. I had brought my portable CD player (this was before the days of the iPod), and had grabbed my Dido CD on my way out of the apartment.

As I popped it into the CD player, my mind was really only on escaping my life for an hour or so, and relaxing to the music. But when the song “Hunter” came on, I found myself engrossed rather than relaxed. I hit the repeat button and listened to the song 3, 4, and 5 times before I finally had to stop myself. It was the lyrics that caught me.

If you were a king up there on your throne
Would you be wise enough to let me go
For this Queen you think you own
Wants to be a hunter again
Wants to see the world alone again
To take a chance on life again
So let me go

I was 19. Still just beginning. Just figuring life out. A sophomore in college, with the whole world in front of me. I hadn’t even declared a major yet, and I already felt trapped. I was engaged. I was living with my so-called fiancĂ©. I was self-supporting, my parents having declared that if I chose this path, I would have to walk it on my own. (And thank God they did or I may never have had an aha moment at all.)

The first time I really heard that song, really listened to it, I knew that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. That I hadn’t lived life yet the way I had intended to after I graduated high school. A while later – it could have been days, weeks or months, I heard another song. “Hungry” by Kosheen. It was another song I’d heard again and again but had never really listened to. I suddenly found the lyrics very poignant.

Are you hungry
For a little more
Than you had before?
Are you hungry
For a taste of life
What’s your appetite?

The combination of hearing these two songs left me somewhat dumbfounded. At 19, I felt like I needed to get out. I was a teenager with a relatively privileged background; there was no reason for me to be suddenly in such a dire place. It was sometime shortly after this that the relationship I was in finally came to a head, and it exploded in my face, just as it needed to. I had to figure things out again. I changed jobs, moved into a house in a better part of town with roommates, and I figured out what I really wanted to do at school. I felt freed and like I had more opportunities than had ever been at my doorstep before. I turned 20 and I finally felt 20, rather than 35.

But every now and then, I would listen to these two songs. I’d really listen to make sure I was internalizing those messages again. To make sure that I wasn’t letting anything hold me back. And even with all the new things I was doing, I still always found something (usually a boy) that was holding me back.

Then, about a week ago, I happened to play the Kosheen album again at home. Greg and I were cleaning up Christmas decorations and doing our best not to be buried under a pile of fake garlands and cheeky, over-stuffed snowmen. And for the first time, as I listened to the lyrics, I didn’t feel like I was a relationship that was holding me back from living life. In fact, I suddenly realized that I was living a life and in a relationship that was only providing more opportunities, rather than limiting them.

That’s not to say that I won’t end up in another shitty job, in a shitty part of town or a shitty house, but at the very least, I know the man that I love, the man who stands by my side, is the bright spot in my life, rather than the challenge.
Picture via A Cup of Jo, where Joanna Goddard has recently found her own happy day. Her engagement photos are very drool-worthy.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this! Remember when I was so sad and bummed about losing Nic at first back in March? After about a month a light finally turned on and it was like - I don't have him limiting me, bossing me around, keeping me caged; I had a new job with new opportunities; and I had a new living environment on my own to freshen it all up nicely. I was free myself. I had time to head in a direction I wanted to go and take up the activities/hobbies I had wanted to do. I too feel like I have met a man that encourages to continue to take part of life and not be held back. It's the best feeling in the world. Those lyrics are really something. Glad that you're so happy!

Moon Rocket said...

Yay! :)