Tag Archives: Landslide

Unwritten

Staring at the blank page before me...
Staring at the blank page before me…

Do you know the feeling when a song you’ve sung along with forever suddenly becomes your new anthem, inspiring and igniting a flame inside? I do, and I have. Often. For as long as I can remember, music has been my favorite “tool” to sift through my emotions, in good times and bad.

Kenny Loggins, “This Is It” was my go-to song during the rough patches in high school as well as my celebratory, and uncertain, senior year. On occasion, Kenny and I still spend time together.

Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” soothed me through more than one angst (read: anger) filled break up in my youth, as did Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” (Thank you, Gloria, for putting to tune the break-up mantra of women everywhere.)

Post college and early in my career, it was U2. Bono, with his beautiful tenor voice, found a place in my heart that made it OK not to have found what I was looking for…not that I even knew what that was in my early 20’s, or late 20’s for that matter. Heck, I’m still figuring it out, which is likely why “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Streets Have No Name”, and “Running To Stand Still” continue to top my playlist.

For several years, when disease spread through my body and led me in and out of operating rooms, I regularly blared one of two songs as I drove to doctors’ offices: Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus Take The Wheel” or Christina Aguilera’s, “Fighter.” Both songs reminded me I was (and am) stronger than the sum of my parts.

Woven through my life during the last 3+ decades is, of course, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks. I first heard it on a record player, my brother’s. Then, a cassette played on my boombox, followed by my Sony Walkman as I ran, my mp3 player and most often now, my phone.  Its meaning changes with the stages of my life, as I wrote about when I cursed Budweiser last year.

Over the years, I can’t say I’ve proactively sought out these tunes, the songs that have become bookmarks in my life, but they’ve found me. Always, just when I needed them.

The other day, on the drive home, it happened again. I heard the introductory notes and knew the song in an instant. I turned up the radio. Alone, I sat at the long red light and began to sing along, as I’ve done many times before. But, something was different this time. As the sun gently made its decent behind the Rocky Mountains, the lyrics rose up and washed over me. I stopped singing and focused on the lyrics, not just the words, but their message. Unexpectedly, I heard new meaning in the familiar melody and felt fresh inspiration for this season of my life. The setting sun, the blank page, the words on my lips; it all came together in that moment to place a frame around this transition. I cranked the volume, rolled down the windows, and sang until my lungs might burst. (Sorry, fellow drivers.) In that moment, I embraced the blank page before me and to living with arms wide open; I am the author of my story and no one else can write it.

Sitting there, Natasha Beningfield sang– no spoke– to me, to my heart, and to the blank page before me. My next chapter is still unwritten. Wonderfully unwritten. But, I am picking up my pen to speak the words in my heart because I am not afraid. (OK, maybe just a little, but I’ll turn up the music a little louder.)

Are there any songs you turn to during times of change? Please share below, because I love discovering new music!

(Updated 11/4: So, what should appear in my inbox just two days after I wrote this post, but this writing challenge by The Daily Post at WordPress.com: “Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music.”  For once in my life, I was a day (really, two) early rather than a day late!)

Damn you, Budweiser!

I’m a football fan. A loud, obnoxious football fan. Well, not the paint my face blue and orange kind of obnoxious, but you certainly know when I’m watching the game, even if you live 3 doors down. I’m a little vocal, but most redheads are so I guess that’s no surprise. The only time I’m known to be really quiet during a good game comes during the commercials on SuperBowl Sunday. See, as much as I love football, I love a good ad. Always have, likely always will.

Now, there are some companies you can count on to, if not “WOW” you each year, certainly impress. With their compassionate polar bears and touching moments, Coca-Cola is always a favorite. I’ve grown attached to the E-Trade baby and pray he never grows up to enjoy his abundant nest egg. I really liked VW’s small Darth Vader last year far more than the “Come On Get Happy” Rasta-guy this year, but I suppose you can’t hit one out of the park every year. Which brings me to my moment of vent: Damn, you Budweiser!

OK, so I love (most of) the Budweiser commercials. How could I not? I love this country. I love horses. I love to laugh, and, in particular when watching football and eating nachos, I love a good cold beer. Take a moment and think about the Budweiser advertising legacy: “What’s UUUUP?” and talking frogs and those amazing football-playing Clydesdales and oozing Americana until you want to paint your house red, white, and blue. They hold a solid place in America’s advertising history, and some of their greatest moments have played out while I’ve shushed my family during the coveted 4-ga-billion-dollar, 30 second, Super Bowl slots. Until this year.

This year, they crossed the line with me. They took my motherhood theme song and twisted it into an equine jingle. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love horses and some of my fondest memories have occurred while riding or mucking out a stall. Dating back to my early childhood, I spent hour upon hour bonding with friends among the sweet smell of hay and manure. My oldest daughter started riding at the age of 4, and her younger sister first mounted up at the age of 3. And, the world-famous Clydesdales happen to live just up the road from me (well, by an hour or s0, but it’s like they’re like my neighbors!) Neither my love of horses nor my particular fondness for Clydesdales is in question.

But really, Budweiser, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac? I’ve loved that song since I was a pre-teen, Stevie Nicks with her slightly raspy voice and the melody. It wasn’t until I heard it while watching my  barely-teen older daughter through the window one day that it became my personal “motherhood anthem”.

“Time makes you bolder. Children get older and I’m getting older, too” called me from my reverie that day. Yes, that is the cycle of motherhood. I stopped and listened to the song with new ears. I heard it, not as the pre-teen who had listened to it when it was first released wondering where her life would lead. I heard it, not as the 20-something young woman who would sing along in the car, anxiously awaiting her life “to start.” I heard it, not as the nervous new mother, fearful of doing things wrong. I heard it as a woman, fully aware that changes were on the horizon and I heard the caution in the refrain:

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I, I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too”

There is so much I love about this song, regardless of that stupid commercial (which did get me choked up, if truth be told.) I’ve listened to that song several times since Super Bowl Sunday and my children are getting older. My oldest proudly displays her out-of-state college acceptance letter reminding me that, come August, there will be a bed left empty every night. I try not to let her see my tears. Stevie Nicks reminds me a landslide can bring us down, but that we must rise again, unafraid of the changes that come as our children grow. As a mother and a woman, I have learned I must be careful not build my life around anyone, in particular my children. However, when I build my life alongside, I allow them (my children, my spouse, my friends) the freedoms to pursue their dreams and in the process, I can do the same.

I can handle the seasons of my life and, just as Stevie promised, I have become bolder as I enter this “3rd Act” in life. You live, you learn, and you reflect. And, it seems to me “Landslide” offers a lot more wisdom and insight for women and mothers than it does horse breeders. But maybe that’s just me.

Please, watch the video and share your thoughts. What’s your personal anthem?

(And if you want to see the stupid commercial that hijacked my song, the link is below. But, if you’re a horse fan or a mama, grab a tissue before clicking on the link.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2prAccclXs