First up, would be LeAnn Womack's I Hope You Dance. I have a vauge memory of being in the car with my mother at some point in my tumultuous childhood and this song came on the radio and she looked at me and said "If I could dedicate one song to you and to all my girls(she had three daughters including me) it would be this song." My mother and I had a rocky relationship while I was growing up to say the least and it still is but after that statement I suppose I tried to see the beautiful parts of her. She loved us, she loved me and this song as beautiful as it is, is and was her way of saying that. All her hopes and dreams for me and my sisters wrapped up in a song.
This song is a tribute to my childhood with my father. He and my mother had divorced when I was only 3 years old and I spent my childhood with a single dad. He occasionally had a girlfriend here and there but he made it clear that I was his TOP priority and he placed me above everything else except his relationship with God. I was the reason his sun rose and moon set and I felt the exact same way about him. However, living in the Bible Belt was not all fun and games as I was daddy's perfect angel and sometimes it felt my every move was being judged by others. It was important to maintain a certain image for others according to both my parents and sometimes all I wanted to do was rebel against that perfect image. One good thing though was my father knew how difficult my mother and my relationship was and so most of the time he tried to make life fun. We would ride down the backroads with my cousin Zach and sing along to songs like Coldplay's Clocks. We laughed as we listened along because we thought the part where it says "And nothing else compares" also sounded a lot like "And I seen a skunk head...". When myself, my daddy and my cousin were together we were always laughing.
When I was just 8 years old my world stopped turning for a time. My great grandfather J.D. "Speck" Wood passed away from cancer and although he had cancer for years and I suppose we all knew "it was coming" so to speak it still hit like a train wreck when my mother and step father came to pick me up from my after school program early one day. When my mother pulled my teacher aside while they spoke in hushed tones I knew this was nothing good. After that, we went to my great grandparent's home where the house was filled with the sounds of moaning, grieving, wailing...tears everywhere and tears for days. Myself and my cousins stuck together those days shortly after as we each tried to find our own ways to heal and yet somehow we healed together too. At the funeral, they played this classic song for a funeral Vince Gill's Go Rest High On That Mountain. I held my Granny Wood's hand and tried to be much braver than I felt as an 8 year old little girl. To this day, I can NOT listen to this song without shedding a few tears. I was blessed to know such a great man even for the short time I did know him.
Born in the late 80's I grew up in the 90's and was a true 90's child and am a die hard Disney fan. I must say Pocahontas was probably my top favorite Disney movie. I've always felt I was born in the wrong era even though I truly loved the 90's and some would say I still live there, aka my teenage son. Haha However, I closely related to Pocahontas for a few reasons: she was free, wild and carefree like I viewed hippies might be and I've always felt like a true hippie at heart minus the drugs and parties. Also, I related to her because I knew that somewhere in my heritage my however many greats grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee. I loved knowing that she too was a native American. I also loved that she stood up for whatever she believed in, consequences be damned. This song in particular Judy Kuhn's Just Around The Riverbend spoke to me because it sparked a love for the river and nature and the fact that change can truly be "just around the riverbend" and when I was a child I needed some change.
When I was only 14 years old, I started dating my first real boyfriend. His name was Jeremiah but everyone called him Jay. I was hesitate at first because I didn't know who to trust and I didn't want to get hurt but once I fell I fell hard for him. I was all in and so was he; we wanted to spend every second together. I listened to songs like this and thought of him and like all those Disney princess' I grew up watching I thought I'd found my Prince and couldn't wait to get married. I thought that growing up, getting married and having children is just what you did and I wanted to do that as soon as possible. He was my escape...and this song She's in Love with the Boy by Trisha Yearwood was my banner of love to him.
So, around the same time I started dating Jay I also met my sisters; not my sisters by blood but the ones that I chose and that chose me. Myself , Alisha and Mia formed a bond and a sisterhood that has now lasted over 20 years. There was another one of us at one point named Teresa but that bond wasn't as strong as ours. We had other friends with which we hung out with as well of course but for us, going to school in a more under developed part of the town which we lived in meant a lot of days it was a "fight for your life" situation but then again doesn't high school always feel that way? We learned to fight and navigate our way through the hallways and life together. Coming from an ultra conservative Christian background myself it was a shock and a new world to me to learn that Alisha and Mia were Wiccan's and into witchcraft. They eventually converted to Christianity but were Goth and that is something I picked up on as well. Being the angsty, depressed, full of anger teenager that I was the goth scene fit me perfectly and listening to songs such as Bring Me to Life by Evanescence were words from my diary screaming out loud. The hardcore music, black makeup and clothing is something that became a part of who we were and something we were and are proud of to this day. It spoke to the unfairness of life and the fact that life is not all peaches and cream and certainly not perfect. Being goth was our statement to our parents and anyone who cared to see or listen that our world wasn't black and white but gray, sometimes very gray.
3 Doors Down's Let Me Be Myself came out in 2008 which was the same year that my son was born and for me this song was a perfect testament to how I felt about life right at that moment. All my life I felt I had to be the perfect daughter, granddaughter, wife and then newly mother and although my son was and is perfect and beautiful and everything I had ever wanted I also just wanted some space to be myself whoever that was and make decisions for me and my family without input. I had people telling me that Jay was all wrong for me because he couldn't and wouldn't keep a job, some telling me to just stick it through and stay at home with my son and raise him, people telling me how to raise him and how not to raise him...etc. All I wanted was just some peace and quiet so I could figure out who I was but all I got was noise and stress.
In 2013, Jay and myself filed for divorce. Although we loved each other very much and had been through Hell and high water what with him being in the National Guard and being deployed, all the different jobs he'd had and our son we just couldn't seem to ever be on the same page. I felt he was always drifting away from me and leaving me alone so I decided in one defining moment when I saw two lines on my pregnancy test announcing the arrival on this Earth of our daughter that I wouldn't be raising another child with him. Because of You by Kelly Clarkson is a perfect tribute to how I felt about the end of my marriage to Jay and honestly to my relationship with my mother. I had learned the hard way and was still learning that there were very few in this world I could trust.
Right after filing for a divorce from Jay I went on the hunt. I should have waited...waited to heal, waited for God's timing, waited for answers from a God that has seen me through so much but I was broke and scared. I was scared that I couldn't afford my house and general living and the support of myself and my son and my soon to be born daughter. I didn't believe that I could do it alone and soon I was dating Larry. My relationship with Larry was like a fiery tornado. It started fast, hot and heavy. We each were wanting/needing a way to escape and not think about the pain that was inside each of us and we used each other for that. Jay was not a huge part of either of his children's lives right after the divorce and eventually he did get better but looking back, I don't think either of us knew how to handle losing each other. We had lost not only our partners in each other but the friendship we had held. Larry ended up adopting my daughter that I was still pregnant with when we started dating. He stepped up when he didn't have to but he also inserted himself into a lot of areas that he didn't need to such as trying to parent my son and be his father when he already had a father. Larry had a dark past that he took years even in telling me...eventually I learned bits and pieces of it but he never fully opened his heart to me. Larry had two young boys of his own and I eventually grew to love them as my own. The end of mine and Larry's relationship ended with about as much destruction as an F4 tornado. Halsey's You Should Be Sad perfectly describes how terrible things went with Larry. I try to live my life without regrets knowing that everything has a purpose and if you look hard enough you can find the good in almost every situation but that one...I regret.
Last but not least...Savage Daughter by Sarah Hester Ross. This song is me in all my God given glory. I am Irish, Native American, a little hippie, a little goth, a rebel, free, wild, creative, good at heart, a mother and caregiver but meant to run free as a wild stallion and I will never lower my voice even if it means my own death.
This article was originally meant to be submitted to the Melodic Milestone Playlist challenge but unfortunately I was busy at my job this week and unable to finish in time but I enjoyed creating this piece so much I had to finish it. I hope others enjoy it as well! :)