What Song Changed Your Life?

Today I had had enough of the news, so I asked my Facebook people what song changed their lives.

The answers were fantastic. As much of a garbage can as social media comments can be, when they come from a group of pretty cool people like the Facebook friend community I have and have tried to cultivate, it can feel like the same gathering of smart, funny, alert people that you'd have if you got a bunch of your friends together in real life. 

Also people really like to talk about music. It hits every single nerve, both good and bad, and the memories are always so interesting. 

This is my list, specifically the high school and college edition: 

  • Bette Midler, The Rose, which I sang to try out for a high school musical. Our school was incredibly small, so I was cast. It was the first thing I did that I was terrified to do and really my first confident act as a teenager that had nothing to do with my grades. I encourage arts over AP for many kids for a reason.
  • Duran Duran, New Religion. Learn how to pick out a great bass line and I’ll show you your life.
  • Poison, Nothin But a Good Time. Hair metal taught me how to have fun and how to do my eyeliner.
  • Metallica, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Taught me to grow my hair and use it as a prop...is probably why I have chronic back and neck pain now. Worth it.
  • Tracy Chapman, all of Tracy Chapman. Freshman year of college. A record that’ll show you a combo of knowing and claiming yourself but also caring about the world beyond you. She was the first activist who showed me what that means.
  • Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit and TOTD Hunger Strike. Breaks my heart now, blew it up then. Changed everything and everyone around me, it felt like...I just rolled with it.

I don't just appreciate these songs musically. They shifted my perceptions in some fundamental ways. They made me feel okay about parts of myself that I didn't before. They made me feel a part of a community. They helped me have fun.

I've had more life-changing songs beyond these formative years. Rocket Man by Elton John. Just One by Blind Pilot. A few Indigo Girls songs. And I really hope it never stops. 

Tea Leaves

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Yoga is the best thing I do for my body and my brain when I manage to do it, and after years of somewhat erratic practice, it's one of my goals to work it more consistently into my life in the coming year. I often wish I had the discipline to do it at home, but I really don't. Also if I didn't give this sweet little studio my money every month, I'd miss out on the bonus vibes. I'm pretty sure this is one of the most important parts. 

Sweet Potato Freedom

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This is turning into a photo a day thing around here, and I'm perfectly fine with that. 

I made myself a small Thanksgiving dinner today, not only because I think it's fun to do things that shock people who believe that single people survive on cereal and spite, but also because I like to have leftovers in my house. I don't know if people stood around at the first Thanksgiving and were like, "Oh my God, all of this charring and baking smells SO BIZARRELY GOOD, let's do it every year!" and that's why we still do this or what but it's possible. (Yes, I took several credits of American history. Yes, I still like to bend reality with my mind.) 

The turkey was okay and the gravy I made was awful. I'm sort of hit or miss with the meat part. A side dish, however, I can handle. The sweet potato casserole was so good. I really hit it out of the park with this one, me. And although it's usually just an annual vehicle for melted marshmallows that pass as dinner—I'm a roasted root vegetable fan, not so into the mashed variety—the sweet potato part was actually really good too. 

And I know this is really true because when I was putting it away, I ate so much out of the pan standing up at the stove that I almost didn't have any to put in the refrigerator. It tasted so much less like cereal and spite than sweet, sweet potato freedom.