Welcome to Week Seven of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song that No One Would Expect you to Love."
I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of country music. I just can't get into it - it's a style that just doesn't appeal to me. The song that no one would expect me to love is from the country music genre, so this song is a dirty little secret, indeed. I feel like I need to turn in my Jersey card just posting about it :p
My parents started getting divorced when I was 14. The papers were signed and everything was finalized when I was 16. That's a pretty long time, in divorce terms. Start to finish, the whole process (from when they sat us down and told us they were getting divorced) took almost 2 whole years. As one might imagine, it was a very tumultuous time for me. Not only was I a typical vulnerable, impressionable, and trouble-making teenage girl, but I was also stuck in the middle of one of the nastiest divorces ever.
The summer that I was 15, the summer of 1997, my mom sent me and my siblings, kicking and screaming, to a weekend retreat for teenagers whose parents were divorced. I was pissed. I had friends to hang out with, a job, and important things to do (like waste time at the mall, getting into trouble). I wanted to hate it with every fiber of my being. But I didn't. Within the first hour of arriving, I had met a group of people who would end up being lifelong friends. (The fact that we were allowed to smoke outside while we "processed" our issues didn't hurt, either.) And there was music. Everyone on the Presenting Team had to write a Talk on a given topic. They had to share their experiences and share their pain and help us to know that we were normal and were going to come out just fine on the other side. They also had to pick a song to go along with their Talk - a song that they found comfort in, or put their feelings into words. There was Dave Matthews, Lightning Crashes, and Korn. But, this being Ohio, there was also country music.
When the weekend was over, I knew I'd be back the next summer. Even better, a few weeks later they invited me to be a member of the Presenting Team. Now I would get to be one of the people up on the couch, telling my story, helping other kids get through a very dark time. My second weekend as a presenter was a few weeks after my high school graduation. I had to sit up there on the couch and talk about how hurt I was that my dad didn't come, even though he lived in the same town. I talked about how difficult it had been that year, to not have enough money to apply to any other school other than the city university, to watch my friends start to pack up their lives and head off to out-of-state schools while I was stuck behind working 80+ hours a week so that I could help my mom to pay the bills. It was a rough time, and I felt sorry for myself.
My "couch partner" that year was Dan. Dan is a big country music fan. Dan's song that year was "Bring on the Rain," by Jo Dee Messina. And that is the song that no one would expect me to love. Because I do love it. I love everything about it - the hope, the certainty, and the message. 12 years later it still brings tears to my eyes.
We're all older and responsible adults now, but we still email regularly. Most of us are married, some divorced, with kids of our own. We had little in common except for the circumstances that our parents put us in, but that was enough. Sure, our problems were trivial compared to things going on in the world around us. But we didn't realize that at the time, because we were kids. We just needed someone to tell us that we would make it through. And if that message had to come from country music? Well, so be it.
Next week's song challenge - A Song that you can Dance To.