I’m seriously not that into music. There are some some songs I like, even some whole albums. I have some favourite bands, and I’ve been to some concerts. But I’m definitely not one of those “music is my life” kind of people, and what sort of music you listen to is, to me, one of the least interesting things about you.
Having said that, even to a casual music listener like me, music has strange powers. I prefer to have music playing in the car, and I MUST have it when I exercise. I was just on Le Monstre (my elliptical machine), and two different songs struck me hard. The first was Harder to Breathe, by Maroon 5. The song came on, and it was like time travel. I remembered exactly where I was when that song played on my shuffle on Christmas Eve day 2011. I was jogging down Box Road in Lexington, Oklahoma, a little over two miles from my parents’ home. The title of the song is funny in this instance, because not long after it started playing, I suffered a panic attack that halted my run as I struggled to relax enough to get air into my lungs. My then-boyfriend/now-husband had left 9 days earlier for a three-month deployment. I hadn’t expected the holidays to be particularly hard, as I had family and friends around me, and I don’t make a big deal out of the holidays (except Halloween!) anyhow. But they were hard. So much harder than I expected. By the time my mom made her usual check-up drive to make sure my sis and I were okay and offer us a drink of water, I could breathe again, but I was sobbing and couldn’t stand to have anyone look at me or speak to me. I’m struck, not by how bad it was then, but by how distant and yet crystal clear that memory is. I need to remember those moments, and this moment, and that it does, indeed, get BETTER. Hell, it got better that day, as my sis and I played like children, doing inadvisable things involving horses with no saddles.
The second song was Florence and the Machine, The Dog Days Are Over. Sister, I hope you’re reading this. YOU gave me that one, and every time it comes on, I feel you beside me. It was a strange, bittersweet feeling that swept over me when Dog Days came on near the end of my cardio session. First, I smiled, thinking of my sister. Then my heart hurt a little thinking of the time and space between us right now, though I feel closer to her in those moments. Then I smiled again, remembering hearing it near the end of that first deployment (my first, though it was his second), and how the Dog Days WERE about to be over. And how they’re over again for now.
There are so many things I wish for: to be able to more easily see my family and friends that are far away most of all, to be able to take a honeymoon with the husband instead of just hunkering down inside and surviving the winter, to have the uncertainty around my immigration status resolved, to make faster progress speaking and understanding french so things aren’t so challenging, and more. But I am so content in this time and place, I can’t really ask for anything.
It gets better. And I won’t miss out on these good moments yearning after what I can’t have right now. There will be more separations, and more moves, and more challenges, and more goodbyes and see-ya-laters to people I care about. But for now, I’m well.
Though I don’t care much about music most of the time, today I was moved to tears as it picked some pretty important stuff out of my brain. I appreciate the reminders and the perspective.