I’m still struggling to write. It has been nearly two months since I last posted. I appreciate those readers who keep looking and waiting patiently. So much is happening, so many big, terrifying things, and I feel human and small and incapable of making any real change. But I also know that change is what happens when you live. It might look like bowls of cereal, piles of laundry, unwashed hair, eyes swollen from crying, and a check engine light, but each of these has influence. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
My youngest told me today that music helps him feel things. He said rock makes him feel strong and ready. Jazz makes him feel calm and chill. Pop makes him want to dance and forget for a bit. Some music makes him feel such big feelings that he gets upset and wants it to go away forever. I understand his feelings on this deep in my core. The first time I heard an orchestra live, in person, felt the vibrations in my seat, I cried and cried and cried, because it was like my heart was on fire and I couldn’t not feel everything all at once.
One song has been a source of encouragement recently. I haven’t had the energy to do much more than be, but in a world that doesn’t want me to be, that’s actually quite a lot of work. When my son asked me to add “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty to his playlist, I did so with the understanding that this song falls into the rock category in his mind, not because he knows anything about who Petty is or that Petty is known for rock, but because Petty makes him feel determined. I’m sure Petty had days where he felt he merely existed, that he wasn’t creating the change he wanted, but he did create change. Years later, a small child heard this song and it made him feel like he mattered and had something to offer, that he knows what’s right and he won’t back down. I do feel pushed around right now, just like the song says, but I’ll stand my ground and when I start to feel like I’ll fall, maybe I’ll just drive around town with the windows down, ignore that engine light a little longer, and sing loudly with my kid, making a memory while the wind tangles our hair. Sometimes defiance looks like living.