Deluded by The Donald

Head on over to Medium to read my latest post on how I used to be a Donald Trump fan. No really, it’s all true.

Taking the Long Way

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It’s been two long years now
Since the top of the world came crashing down

In May of 2006, the Dixie Chicks released their album “Taking the Long Way” which included songs that were a direct response to the scathing treatment and death threats they received for criticizing President Bush and the Iraq war in 2003. Country radio stopped playing their records, and some even hosted CD crushing parties in their station parking lots. The album earned five Grammy nominations and went on to win all five categories: Best Performance by a Country Group, Best Country Album, Song of the year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.

And I’m getting it back on the road now

At the end of that same May 2006, I finalized my divorce nearly two and a half years since the filing took place. I listened to that album once a day everyday for months. I blasted it on road trips, added my favorite songs to playlists, daydreamed about being the Chicks best friend. There was rarely a time when the title track didn’t cheer me up, even if I did need to let out a few tears first, a release of worries that gave way to the truth and comfort of the chorus…

But I’m taking the long way
Taking the long way around
I’m taking the long way
Taking the long way around

Two years seems like the unit of time that most upheavals require, in order to move through all of our cells, both physical and emotional. It’s the amount of time it takes so that when we are inevitably confronted with a ghost from that upheaval, it doesn’t knock the wind or spirit out of us, and hopefully, if we have been going to therapy, and accepting the love and laughter of friends, we confidently stand our ground with the ghost and tell it to get the fuck out.

Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

Life is relentless, so it also happens that just as you are coming out of a two year cycle of hell, you’re not winning Grammys, but instead filing bankruptcy. And for that one, you have to add on another four years of lean years, but, the aggregate of therapy, love and laughter of friends, Life Experience, and learning to once and for all be nice to yourself, you get to the other side of that too.

Today, I realized I am finishing another two year return: in 2013 I was too injured to run or hike without significant pain or discomfort, and it was discovered that I needed surgery on my right hip. Fitting that it was on a hike when I put this all together, and I was listening to this song when I had the epiphany. Yes, I was crying. But they were happy tears.

Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found

Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around

Love Songs To Me

Next month would have been my tenth wedding anniversary.  I realized that the other night in the middle of a six and a half mile run, while listening to my running iPod that needs to be updated, but having just survived a long misplacement and then a cycle in the wash, I was happy it was working at all.  A song came on, one that was played prominently at my wedding, and it reminded me: ten years ago, I got married.  Hearing it did not take me back to that day.  It did however, make me run a little stronger.

Ten years is a significant amount of time in a human life.  We mark the passings of decades with honor and celebration.  We smack ourselves on the forehead in semi-feigned shock, wow, has it been TEN years?  Yeah, it has.  Since the demise of my marriage came with such blunt force, swiftly ending a seven year relationship, but then dragging into a two and half year divorce, it has taken the better part of the last ten years for me to first sink under the weight of the emotional brutality and abuse of the relationship, then get sucker punched with financial ruin and a career in disarray before recovering at what feels like a snail’s pace.  A dear friend recently said to me on a hike not to worry, this had simply been my Bad Decade.  He knew because he was having one too.  To finally, FINALLY not quiver at the sound of those notes and instead feel resolute and confident and vulnerable in the good way, told me my Decade Of Suck was truly coming to an end.

I remembered, as the song played and I ran onward, that several years ago, in some then unrealized measure of self-care, I made a playlist called “Love Songs To Me.”  I loaded it with songs that feel sweet and romantic and twisty and tender to me, that one day I would get to listen to with the person who hears them with me in mind and is happy.  And maybe he’d make me a playlist called “Love Song To You” or even better, “Love Songs To Us.”  This is the first time I have ever acknowledged its existence publicly because up until this moment I have felt too fragile to admit I made my own love song list.  I have never felt so unlovable so deeply during some of the very darkest times in the last ten years.  The basic nasty voice said something like, “No one will ever be in love with you enough to make you a playlist for chrissakes, grow up, ain’t gonna happen.  Pay your bills.  Shut up.”  It was too scary to admit even to the closest friend I had done this for myself, the shame muting me to everyone.  But that’s why we have Love Songs.  To remind us we’re worth it, first and foremost to ourselves.

So what’s this one song you might wonder?  Well, of course I have written about it before, even going so far as to call it my personal anthem.  Among the many delicious songs on “Love Songs To Me” it is and will always be my most treasured, perfect, intimate song of all time.

Enjoy.  And then consider what your love songs to yourself are.  We all have to be a little smitten with ourselves from time to time.