Dance A Blue Streak In The Living Room

Oh my goodness, Dear Reader. What a 12-hour period of emotional challenges I’ve experienced. My son has had a runny nose and cough for a few days. No fever, eating like a typical nine-year-old, lots of energy despite his congestion, blah, blah, blah. I sent him to school and told him to wear his mask because…well…his ‘cold’. Last night through a series of my ‘investigative journalism’ skills, I realized he might have been exposed to COVID as early as Monday. I reach out to the school nurse and yes…he had been. We weren’t notified (by no fault of hers, I add) until last night. It’s funny what emotions can be called up during a time like this: Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Empathy. Guilt. You know, all the makings of a sleepless night.

I quickly canceled a coffee date with a girlfriend who, consequently, mentioned she had an extra home test if I needed it. Now, it’s important to mention this to set up today’s post. Because just one year ago I would have declined. I would have said “Ah. Thanks, that’s okay. I’m fine. It’s fine. We’re all fine.” even though I had just spent the last hour trying to find a testing center in the area that could get him in faster than next Monday. Even though I had called nearly every CVS in town to learn each store was out of home tests. Even though my anxiety levels were rising on the inside while I’m trying to calm my kid who is freaking the fuck out with his own anxiety. Even, despite all of that, I would have declined the help.

This time? I inhaled and surrendered to the absolute lack of control I had at that moment. I sighed and said, “You know, Steph? That would be so fucking fantastic.” (Even though she is a radio personality for the local Christian radio station she ignored my flavorful vernacular and said “I’m on it!”).

And this, folks, is where we find ourselves today. We find ourselves in a sea of self-awareness. We are swimming in the power of self-growth that can occur once you decide you no longer want to continue living in a manner that no longer supports you.

So, Folks. Grab a drink. Settle in. I’m going to share with you how I get out of a funk. Turns out it’s rather simple.

Music.

Every once in a while I’ll get asked why I include a song at the end of my posts. First of all, because I want to. But here’s a little back story on me: I majored in radio broadcasting because I wanted to be a famous Disc Jockey. Yup. I wanted to be the female version of Casey Kasem. I was going to slay “American Top 40” like no other female radio personality could and people from all over were going to ask for my autograph. I was going to be so good at my job that John Cusack was going to call me and ask me to be the music supervisor for every film he was in. (For the record [puns are fun!] I am, still, to this day the “Queen of the Mixtape”. Do not challenge me on this.)

However, thanks to a sourpuss Director of Programming at the college radio station who would not let me play Belinda Carlisle repeatedly and a follow-up, well-timed internship at a local station, I found out that most folks working in radio are cranky, practically starving and, working eight jobs to keep their utilities on in an apartment they shared with three other people. I figured I could accomplish that as an unknown writer, so I quickly changed my major to business and bought a journal. Nonetheless, I never have underestimated how influential and powerful a piece of music can be.

Case in point: This morning I was still extremely stressed over the events of the previous COVID-positive-maybe evening. I didn’t sleep well and had already popped half a Xanax by 5:30 am. Within a few minutes of grabbing my first cup of coffee, I received a text with a link to a playlist on Spotify. First song out of the gate…I was already in a better place. Who knew Duran Duran had so much power?

In December 2020 – after Spotify recapped my historic sad state of affairs by providing my ‘most played songs of 2020’ – I decided I would not listen to one single sad song in 2021. Nope. I put a moratorium on any song that reminded me of my ex (ironically…a musician)…our divorce…my anger and resentment toward him…none of that. That meant hardly any of Taylor Swift’s “Red” album, Pink or Jason Isabell for me in 2021. {Sad face}. I had a new rule: Only happy and empowering songs. I kicked off 2021 with this song and decided to compile a playlist for the year. You can find it here if you want to follow it. Happily, I report to you that my ‘most played songs of 2021’ recap was a lot more positive. I’m looking forward to 2022.

As we close today, you and I both know a lot of this blog is dedicated to discussing self-care. It practically was the entire theme of 2021. But I want to remind you this weekend that self-care is not only massages and chocolate cake (although, I do love me some chocolate cake…). Self-care is also about what you will and will not allow into your life. It’s identifying what you will and will not tolerate any longer. It’s about owning your power and committing to self-discovery and personal awareness. As I mentioned in this post, I’ve worked extremely hard over the last twelve months to overcome the trauma of my past and come back into my strength. I’ve realized what I deserve in my life and know that settling, to me, is akin to just giving up. In other words, I refuse to settle. I simply will not do it. And…I know you can do this, too. I absolutely believe in you, Dear Reader.

Now…with that said…I am going to leave you with this song. You’re going to click that link and think to yourself “What the f*ck?”. So here’s the story: When my son was a baby I worked from home and every Friday I’d ‘wear’ him in one of those baby hugging wrap-around thingys. He was, literally, ‘on my person’ all day long. At 5 pm, I’d unplug my headset, look down, and say “You ready for the weekend, baby boy?” and I’d click the link. To this day when that riff kicks off in my playlist, I see him look up from his tablet and wink at me. (He wanted me to include the link to this song today.)

Gotcha. You just got Rickrolled. I sure do love that kid.

Have a great weekend, my dear friends. And remember: No sad songs. Chin up. Tits out. You got this.

Drop me a link in the comments to your favorite fun song. Maybe I’ll start us a playlist. (Dang…I sure do miss those blank 90-minute cassettes, don’t you?)

And, for those of you reading this far, according to Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card home-test, the kiddo is negative for COVID. I can stop day drinking now.