How far we’ve come

I saw the light
I’ve been baptized
By the fire in your touch
And the flame in your eyes
I’m born to love again
I’m a brand new man

As these words rang out across the stadium – quite clearly, surprisingly, seeing as where we were – my lips were already moving in synch, silently matching every word since the initial “I”… and tears welled in my eyes, beginning almost immediately to overflow.

I was attending the Brooks and Dunn concert at the rodeo tonight in Houston, kind of as a celebration of my life, for my birthday – something for me, on my own.

I’d asked my mom to stick around with me, but she was ready to head home, so I was okay hanging on my own for the musicians and their music.

When I was about eight years old, I attended the Brooks and Dunn performance at the Astrodome, also for the rodeo.

During their performance, when walking around on the dirt, they pulled two ladies out from the audience to dance with them.

I remember distinctly being upset and embarrassed as the one lady proved, after two quick but failed attempts, that she could not do any sort of partner dancing, let alone the by of two-stepping one of them wanted to do with her.

Rather than rejecting the lady, reading her out for a better model – that’s actually how my brain analyzed it at the time – he just grabbed her around her waist/hips area, and swung her around in a circle or few.

My frustration at this lady for having been unprepared for such a monumental opportunity – dancing with Brooks and Dunn – was not only projected blindly, but had me consider how I would have done, if I’d been the one pulled out onto the floor…

I was rather confident that I would have been able to manage it.

However, I fully acknowledged that I was not certain.

And so I made it my business immediately after this event to make certain that I knew how to two-step and could do it with just about anybody on demand.

Fast-forward a couple decades, and see me at the concert tonight… I found it almost ironic that, though I never anticipated to be pulled out to dance with Brooks and Dunn, here I was, two decades later, likely one of the best country western dancers in the entire stadium, knowledge, ability, and a world title to prove it.

Isn’t that at least a little bit totally crazy?(!!!)?

Anyway, so I can dance, and extremely well, but that’s only part of my mentioning all of this.

When the guys began playing and singing tonight, I was in instant and somewhat constant tears (even throughout the whole show!), right?

Right.

And it occurred quickly to me, This is the power of music.

I was somehow transported to my life when I listed probably daily to Brooks and Dunn music, as I simultaneously saw all that had happened between them and now, how what felt like a lifetime and ten different people ago had somehow led me to today, to who I am today.

There was a lot of good and a decent amount of bad in there, especially early on, and it was a very, very full time all throughout.

And, somehow, here I am, experiencing it all again, while feeling empowered by the open bliss and joy for life I felt back then, reminded of the sadness of what I went through off and on, and encouraged by the fact that I have made it to here so far, and I’ve plenty more wonderful expansion and beautiful growth yet to come for myself in my life.

All of this from music, specific songs and notes and voices and instruments all put together in a certain way, as though, almost, specifically and intentionally with me in mind.

It was of the best kind of medicine.

And this reminds me of how my high school band director always used to tell us that music is a language… tonight, their music spoke directly to me, throughout every place within me.

Post-a-day 2019

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Stromae (and my solo gelato dance party)

Last night, waiting for my dinner to finish baking, I was dancing in the kitchen while snacking on some pre-dinner gelato (because when else is gelato so satisfying?), jamming out to a Stromae (pronounced like “maestro” split in half, the second half said first) song, when I suddenly recalled how spectacular his music really is.  I haven’t listened to almost any music lately, and so haven’t listened to any of his either.  When I taught high school French, I listened to and discussed his music all the time with students.  They had to find a new francophone song every month that they liked, and each student and each class went in all different directions.  But, without fail, a single Stromae song would come up once in a class, and then his entire repertoire would show up the following months from different students in that class.  They regularly requested his music, whenever we played music during work time in class.

We listened to a lot of French language music, and the kids knew I loved lots of it.  But they also knew that I liked Stromae for more than just his voice, and, at some point, they decided that I really loved him and his music.  I remember one specific incident of Stromae coming up in casual chat during class, and a student said, “Oh, we know, Miss —: you would totally date Stromae if you had the chance.”  I’m almost certain that I verbally agreed immediately, and we all laughed.    It was great.  (So many things those kids never knew about me and my life, but they always remembered anything they ever heard about dating or marriage.)  😛

If you don’t know Stromae’s music, check it out.  You can start with this English interview he did, which is great.  He still sings in French, and even dances a bit (he’s a spectacular dancer, by the way, as can be seen in his music videos), but the discussion is all in English.  I find the themes of his music to be powerful, though regularly dangerous and tough, even scary – but, to me, they are real and honest.  What’s more, they make for a great dance party any day, because the musicality is tops (especially so if you don’t understand the lyrics).  When I first heard of him, it was from a German kid when I’d first arrived in France for school.  He mentioned that the only French song Germans knew was this “Alors, on danse” song that I wasn’t too sure I’d ever even heard, but definitely had heard of.  That was the only line I understood when I first listened to Stromae’s music (“And so, we dance”), but it didn’t matter – I still loved it all.  Now, I just love it even more, because I understand the words.

(“Dodo” is one that gets stuck in my head most often these days.  It’s a prime example of what I mean by a tough song – a difficult theme combined with beautiful music.  I recommend you watch the video first, and then look up the lyrics.)

Post-a-day 2018

Song chat

When we were kids, my cousins and I occasionally would speak song lyrics to one another, as though they were lines in our conversation.  There wasn’t much of a goal, besides turning songs into a conversation, but it was way fun.  “Copacabana” and “Baby Got Back” are two notable songs we used for the game/pastime.  I miss it, actually…

Just give it a try, using a song whose lyrics you and a friend or friends know well.  As silly and simple as it may sound, it can be way fun.

Post-a-day 2017