I’ll be honest, I didn’t spend a lot of time searching for THE PERFECT LIST for this thirty day writing challenge. I just did a quick Pinterest search and grabbed the first few that looked okay to me. I suppose I could’ve made my own list if I had spent the last few days of August preparing for this, but that probably would’ve lead to a very biased list of prompts – I would’ve only written down what I want to write about, or I’d only write about what I’m comfortable sharing with the vastness of the internet. So I’m going to stick with the results of my last-minute search, ridiculous or mundane as they might be (who knows, we’ll see).
For DAY ONE my prompts include:
1. Write some basic things about yourself.
2. Introduce yourself.
3. Weird things you do when you’re alone.
4. Put something on shuffle. List the first ten songs and write how you feel about them.
I’ll admit, I’m actually a little excited about the music-on-shuffle one. I’m not very techy when it comes to my music - if I’m purchasing music, it’s going to be on vinyl – so I’ll either be using a Pandora station or one of my Spotify playlists on shuffle. Which could be mildly embarrassing – I’ve gone from Dean Martin to N.W.A. to the Grateful Dead to bad 90’s pop music from my childhood within a fifteen minute span. We’ll see, it’ll be interesting to say the least.
Introducing myself… I want to keep this slightly vague, for numerous reasons. I’m paranoid of judgement. I don’t want to sound stupid. I don’t want to include too many details on the other people in my life – they may be a big influence on who I am, but they still deserve a degree of anonymity. There will be times where that’s unavoidable, I suppose – certain roles can only be played by one person, like my mother or father, sister, or my boyfriend.
Ugh, I’m dragging my feet already. I am a “young professional” female in my late twenties. I recently moved to the metro Detroit area, but I’m a lifelong Michigan resident. When I was born my parents were living in a nearby suburb of Detroit; when my sister came along five years later we moved about forty five minutes away to what was then a village within the vicinity of Ann Arbor. I always jokingly referred to it as a “hick town,” but time, distance, and developing a more well-rounded understanding of the area would have me telling you today that it was really a melting pot of numerous different kinds of people, country folk and city people alike. I lived there until I was twenty years old. I moved to Ann Arbor proper shortly after having landed a “big girl job,” where I’m still working today (but more on THAT at another time).
More on my younger self and earlier-in-life developments: as I mentioned earlier, I have one younger sister. Having five years between us certainly contributed to many, MANY cat fights between us when we were children. I have crystal clear memories of screaming at one another over the dumbest shit. Sometimes we even became physically violent with one another. It was stupid at the time, and thinking about it now makes me just want to smack my younger self. But at least it didn’t last. Once my sister hit high school age it became so much easier to interact with her, because we were finally on a level in life where it was beyond easy to relate to one another because we were going through similar things in our personal relationships. Today I call her one of my closest friends. We’re not attached at the hip and we don’t talk constantly, but any time we do spend together is rich with substance, comfort, and the ability to relate and feel 100% understood by another person. Our relationship is now one of the things I value above most everything else, and part of me knows that is only possible because of the rough and rocky road of our first 15 years together as sisters.
My parents were and are wonderful people. I specify the difference between who they used to be and who they are today because there have been very significant amounts growth and changes over time, all of which has absolutely made a difference on the person their daughter is today. My parents were married for twenty four years before they divorced during my senior year of high school. I am not going to go into the specifics of our family situation, but I will say that I consider their marriage a complete success, despite having had an “expiration date” – my sister and I were raised by good people, we were given everything we needed to flourish in life and we were constantly reminded of how much we were loved by them. My parents, as individuals, rubbed off their own personalities onto us, which was good in most ways and not-so-great in others (but hey, that’s what therapy is for). My Mom and Dad set two very different examples of what it means to be a good person because they themselves were two VERY different people. My Dad has always leaned more to the conservative side; he’s firm, diligent, and has a very low tolerance for not living up to one’s potential. My Mom has always been very open-minded and tolerant of just about everything; she’s a creative spirit and encouraging of all things remotely related to improving one’s self. I recognized from a very early age just how different their personalities were, which is probably why their announcement of divorce did not exactly surprise or upset me when I was seventeen. As a grown adult after the fact though, I find myself at times struggling with emotions I didn’t confront and deal with when their divorce was actually happening (and again! That’s what therapy is for). They are both with new people now; my mother has been with her partner for ten years and my father just remarried this past May. Both of these women have become a part of my family and I love them for who they are as people AND for what they mean to my parents.
As I mentioned in the initial introduction-to-this-blog blurb, I am currently happily attached in the best and most fulfilling relationship I’ve ever had in my life. As someone that’s been actively dating since I was fifteen, believe me when I say that I have been through some shit. I have become enamored and obsessed with people that were completely wrong for me. I have thrown massive amounts of energy into attempting to save relationships that didn’t actually deserve what I was putting into them. I’ve been on the receiving end of emotional manipulation and abuse; I have been treated unfairly by people that didn’t value my worth as a person. BUT, despite the tears, hurt feelings, and repeated times I had to pick myself back up again, I have grown and my strength has increased. I have learned the importance of trust, communication, equality, kindness, and compassion within intimate relationships. And today, I know that I wouldn’t be able to appreciate all of the wonderful things that make up who my partner is if I hadn’t been so hurt in my past attempts at love. At the very least I always tried, and always trying is what lead me to the man I’m with today. We met last year through a popular dating site and the timing of how everything fell into place has had me believing from day one that this was the person I’ve been waiting to be with. He treats me well, appreciates what makes up who I am, and reminds me in numerous ways every day that I am loved.
Okay… let’s lighten this up, shall we?
I picked one of the first playlists I made in Spotify, “Always Favorites,” which became a dumping ground of songs I loved that spanned several different eras and genres. I scrolled down, closed my eyes, and clicked. What started playing was “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees. I know. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to count that as the first song, or just what started the playlist before the TRUE shuffle kicks in. Oh well, here we go:
1. Daydream Believer, The Monkees
2. Love Will Keep Us Together, Captain & Tennille
3. Ain’t No Sunshine, Bill Withers
4. Baby I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton
5. Across The Universe, Fiona Apple
6. Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel
7. Love For A Child, Jason Mraz
8. I Got You Babe, Sonny & Cher
9. This Boy, James Morrison
10. Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin
Oh jeezus. While yes, I do like all of these songs, I can’t really say there’s a lot of emotional attachment to them to bring up enough to write about. Captain & Tennille I just liked the sound of whenever I first heard it. The Peter Frampton song made it onto the list because, 1) Peter Frampton is awesome, but also 2) Lisa Bonet sang a cover of it in one of my favorite movies. Love For A Child is a song that most kids from divorced parents can relate to in one way or another, though my personal experience doesn’t exactly match what Mr. Mraz describes. If anything, the only song that hold any significance to me is the Janis Joplin one; I can’t listen to her music without being reminded of a certain old friendship that isn’t a constant in my life anymore. Maybe more on that at another time.
So, I’m going to try again, this time with a playlist I actually have been listening to a lot lately. “Driving Selection.” What an original title. I’m like everyone else on earth, I usually don’t let shuffle play out without skipping every few tracks. But here we go anyway:
Driving Selection Playlist:
1. Milk and Honey, Jonas and Plunkett
2. Run Around, Blues Traveler
3. What Are You Like, Indigo Girls
4. Gravedigger, Dave Matthews Band
5. Bottom of the River, Delta Rae
6. The Jeep Song, Dresden Dolls
7. Right Me Up, State Radio
8. Ganja Babe, Michael Franti
9. Knock Three Times, Tony Orlando & Dawn
10. Castles in the Air, Don McLean
Alright, I feel like this is a slightly better reflection, I’ll give this a go:
1. I first heard this song on the HBO Girls soundtrack playlist. I’m a sucker for cute boys with guitars singing love songs. Really, that’s all this particular track is for me. I just liked the lyrics and the cadence of how they string them all together. Good track.
2. Every nineties kid remembers hearing this on the radio constantly. My parents loved Blues Traveler, I remember seeing the bright green CD case out all the time. This song makes me think of being a kid and riding in the car with my Mom.
3. I love the Indigo Girls. I met them several years ago when they came to play at a local Borders bookstore (RIP). They are such wonderful people, so gracious and kind. My first introduction to them was from someone I met through my Mom as a teenager, so their music also has the ability to instantly transport me back into my younger self. But in a comforting way.
4. I’m not a DMB superfan, but I’ve always liked him and this song has been a favorite since I first heard it. Plus, as a silly goth kid in high school I loved the morbidity of the line, “when you dig my grave, make it shallow so that I can feel the rain.”
5. Another track that was added “just because I like it.” My boyfriend and I went to a Delta Rae show a few months ago at a venue near our house, thanks to tickets I got for free through my work. While I can dig their music, at the time we had more fun drinking beers from the bar and being silly together in the audience. That’s what I think of when I hear their music now, that night with him.
6. Haha, oh man. I love the Dresden Dolls, I love Amanda Palmer. One of my good lady friends from high school introduced me to their music, and this song in particular reminded me SO MUCH of a very specific ex-boyfriend, mainly because I had the same obsessive fear of seeing him out in traffic one day. I became terrified of being anywhere near a white Impala, which is so dumb in hindsight. Now when I hear this song I chuckle to myself and give thanks that I no longer cower in corners over that ex.
7. Oh, State Radio. I’m not a superfan, I don’t know all of their songs and lyrics, but anything by them reminds me of my best good friend, or my BGF as we affectionately abbreviate each other. They’re chill, summertime music, which is the vibe my BGF always seems to exude, to just go with the flow of life.
8. Haha! Another song shown to me by an old friend from high school, partly because they thought I would like it, but mostly because it’s about a girl that smokes pot. Just a good tune that reminds me of being a teenager.
9. Gah, I just can’t get away from my oldies music guilty pleasures. I’ve always preferred “my parent’s music,” which I think this could probably be filed under.
10. Again. Can’t. Get. Away.
Whew. This is already a lot for day one, and I still have day two to tackle. And I didn’t even get to the last prompt. Here, really quickly, weird things I do when I’m alone:
1. Use my feet like a monkey to pick up things that have fallen onto the floor. But everyone does this. Right??
2. Talk to myself. Or the nearest living thing. These days it’s usually one of the dogs or my cat, but at one time I used to talk to a tarantula that lived with me. AND, I’ve talked to inanimate objects. If I stub my toe, I’ll apologize to the table I ran into.
3. Make my pets talk. I used to be much more versed in this; I had separate voices for the family dog and my sister’s cat, but both of those furry loves have since passed away and it makes my heart hurt to “make them talk again.” I will still occasionally talk for the pets in my own voice, or a generic husky version of my voice, and I’m always met with my boyfriend’s rolling eyes. But rightfully so, I’m pretty ridiculous.
4. Listen to the same song on repeat for hours, sometimes days. Have you ever listened to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” forty seven thousand times in a row? Don’t.
5. If left to my own devices, I’ll eat the same thing for every meal for days on end. I’m like a toddler in that sense. If it wasn’t for the influence of some very key people, who knows what I’d look like these days.
Okay, there we go. Day one. Feels good. I’ll be back in a bit with day two.