Tag Archives: soundtrack of my life

SoML: Scars

When I talked about breaking my leg, I eluded to being very sensitive. When I woke up from my 1st surgery, my body was screaming from the intrusion and the normal, cautious increases in dosage dictated by protocol took two days to reach a level and combination that finally controlled my pain. I actually had someone ask me if I abused painkillers – he had in the past but the cocktail I was on after surgery still would have put him on his ass.

It isn’t that I have a high drug tolerance or that I’m “sensitive to pain” – it’s that I feel everything, for better or worse. In the ambulance on the way to the ER, I felt the coolness of the saline flush in my IV. The EMT was astonished because he’d never had anyone notice it before. I had a second surgery in December because I could feel the plate and 7 screws in my leg, despite reassurances from friends that they barely ever noticed their metal implants.

I tear my heart open
I sew myself shut
My weakness is that
I care too much
Our scars remind us
That the past is real
I tear my heart open
Just to feel

The sensations aren’t just physical. My brain creates links between my body and my emotions. Other people have old injuries that flair up with weather, mine tell me what kind of stress I’m under. Relationship stress pulls at my right abductor, grief rears up as an ache in my left knee, work stress creeps up my SCM and spreads through my shoulders. Paraphrasing a friend’s description: The head is a lens for the body, when your mind changes so does your perception. I say the head is more than a lens – we think of the brain as sending out commands (actions) and receiving feedback (sensations). But emotional feedback can become physical sensation as well.

To quote Albus Dumbledore: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

It isn’t that my body and brain function uniquely, it’s that I notice more of the input and connections. Sensations that would get lost in the white noise of other people’s perceptions are available to me. The stress I was experiencing when an injury originally occurred associate with that pain long after the actual dysfunction has been corrected.

When I received my settlement check for the accident, I had a mixed reaction. The check included “pain and suffering” in addition to expenses. It was, all at once, generous and stingy. I weathered the injury fairly well and my recovery is about as good as you can expect so adding money on top of out of pocket amounts felt unnecessary or generous. At the same time, they put a number on my experience – the stress, pain, the dark days of my recovery – and it felt belittling that they could write off months of my life as simple math.

Tibial plateau surgery scar
Small scar, big impact.

While my head was wrestling with these conflicting thoughts, my leg began to hurt. Soreness, tightness, renewed sensitivity in the scar.  Feeling as though I was on the verge of injury. Along with the physical sensations, grief and sadness began to creep up on me. At first I thought it was because a chapter had officially closed in my life – my leg and the logistics around it were no longer in transition, unsettled. But my thoughts around the insurance payment settled quickly yet the feelings persisted. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that my once-broken leg called attention to my still-broken heart. My grief for Dash – diagnosed with a degenerative disease shortly before I broke my leg and gone shortly after my second surgery – needed to be let out. (See the companion piece on All Around Dogs – Let Grief Out, Let Love In)

SoML: Odd One

I’ve had anthems of strength, empowerment, defiance and even a little sugary pop. But what about a song for the awkward, the misfits, the outcasts? Enter Odd One…

Odd one, I wish I was you

You’re never concerned with acceptance
We are all desperately seeking out
And fitting in with anyone who will accept us
But not you, odd one

Here’s the thing about me. I have never been able to be anything other than who I am. Even in school, where blending in might have made things easier, I was always me. Being myself wasn’t often ever the “in” thing and didn’t put me in the popular crowd. In some ways, a level of pretending might have made those awkward years a bit easier. I guess I was embracing the awkward even back then, long before I coined the phrase. I acted honestly not because I wanted to – it was just part of being me. I’m not built to fake it. Years later, I had classmates comment on their admiration for the way I was in those days, that I was always true to myself. It caught me by surprise not only that they’d noticed but also that they felt envious in retrospect. Being me certainly didn’t feel like an admirable position at the time. It was a hand I’d been dealt and I simply refused to fold.

When my divorce was final (or nearly there) I not only felt free to be me but, as a now confident 30-something woman, I wasn’t as concerned with what other people thought. I danced at shows until I looked like I’d been thrown off the pier. I expected I’d get wrinkled-nosed looks from 20-something queen bee types and I was OK with that. Again, to my surprise, I found myself being admired for my confidence and honesty. I had 20-somethings chat me up in the bathroom and say they wanted to be me when they grew up.

I danced like that while I was married, but it is different when you are at a show with your husband. It isn’t that I danced less, but it was mentally more contained somehow. Once, my ex confessed that he’d seen a bunch of college kids mimicking and mocking my dance moves behind my back and he’d felt upset and embarrassed for me. What struck me most about that wasn’t that someone had made fun of me. I’m accustomed to that. What stayed with me was that he felt sadness for me… not irritation or outrage at those kids. The summer of my divorce, my first really good date was with someone who was charmed by my penchant for dancing whenever there was music. Rather than being embarrassed of me or for me, he saw the enjoyment I felt and was drawn to it. After that date, I made a mental note that whoever I was with in the future would need to not only accept but also appreciate my dancing ways. (Mission accomplished – Dave not only appreciates my moves but is almost as prone to random bursts of dancing as I am.)

Aye, it’s gonna be okay
Aye, we’re gonna laugh at this one day

Don’t let someone tell you you’re no one
Don’t let someone tell you you’re no one
Odd one

When this song was still relatively new, I was at a show and saw this t-shirt for sale. I hesitated to buy it. At the time I was afraid it would only give people more reason to call me out for being different.

Being myself was one thing, doing something extra that might make me a target was another.

But I sucked up my uncertainty and bought it anyways. And wore it proudly. I decided to own the label rather than fear it. So much so that I asked the presenter to pose with the shirt when I attended a seminar with Dash (a fellow Odd One in Boxer form).

Posing in my Odd One t-shirt
Dog Trainer Extraordinaire Chad Mackin being a good sport for the photo.

I’ve been complimented on being “brave” and honest in the way I write and what I am able to share. Not everyone is comfortable baring their soul to the uncaring Interwebs. Or even to their extended circle of friends. There are some things I reserve for private, but not much. I put the majority of who I am and what I think right out in “public.” But again, that’s just me. For better or worse, I am an open book.

SoML: Windows Down, Volume UP

Lately I’ve caught myself spending too much time with the windows of my car rolled up and my stereo off or at a modest volume. Jamming out in the car was a piece of myself that I recaptured last summer. I’d gotten used to keeping the windows up to filter the air and keep the temperature at a set level. I sang along with the radio at a reasonable volume. Sounds like a simple, normal adult thing, right? But it isn’t my normal and it should never have become that way. Continue reading SoML: Windows Down, Volume UP

SoML: I Am the Fire

Some days I feel like nearly every song in the Halestorm catalog could be a SoML post. Although some of them would be NSFW and definitely NSFF (not suitable for family). I can guarantee you this won’t be the only Halestorm song I talk about – but I will try to keep the number within reason.

If you love rock and you haven’t discovered Lzzy Hale’s powerful vocals and smoldering lyrics, please do yourself a favor and seek out everything you can find on Spotify, Amazon Prime, or whatever music service you prefer.

Now that I’m finished geeking out over the band, on to the song… Continue reading SoML: I Am the Fire

SoML: Single Ladies

So I’m not posting a video or lyrics to this one, everyone knows it. If you don’t, you may want to get out from under that rock. And this song is not the soundtrack of my life in the way you expect.

Continue reading SoML: Single Ladies