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Monday, January 12, 2015

Music Monday: I Bet My Life.

I'm in this terrible place, as I travel in my car, where the local radio station I loved changed format (I know) and the other alternative station is just trash -- like the little call sign ads are not things I want the kids to hear in the car because they're unnecessarily vulgar -- so I end up listening to mainstream radio stations.

Now before you get your panties in a twist, I do have Spotify, which is lovely, but me and my 2004 Matrix don't have an A/V jack for an easy way to get my music off of my phone and onto my car speakers and to be honest, I haven't really figured out another way to do it because I just have bigger things on my plate right now. So. Suggestions welcome.

Anyway, so I end up listening to mainstream stuff whenever I'm in the car. I skip stations a lot to find something palatable. I mourn my old station a lot, too.

All of that is to say, when I first heard this song (which I know everyone has heard eight billion times, sorry) I actually had to pull over and have a bit of a cry.


It was the bridge verse.

Please forgive me 
For all
I've done.

Something about the sincerity of that line, where the music silences out, just grabbed my heart for a moment.

I'm aware this song is more about parents and children and strained relationships, which I also know my fair share of.

But there is something about the verses of this song -- not so much the chorus (though perhaps an argument could be made that the bet made with my/our life was lost, I suppose, hence the explanatory tone of the verses, but I'm probably overthinking it and certainly jumping ahead) -- that feels like the apology I'm never going to get from my estranged, soon-to-be-ex, husband.

Over the years, there were plenty of songs that stood in for the words he never had for me. Sometimes, rarely, he'd tell me as much. A lot of other times, I'd talk to him about a song and I'd barely choke out I wish this was how you saw me or felt about me and he'd concede sure, why not.

And that was kind of the closest I got to speaking about feelings through music with him. Which, it could be said, was just the closest I ever got to speaking about his feelings at all, with him.

When I made the playlist for our wedding (which I'm still super sad bit the dust with my laptop about two computers ago, when I also lost most of the first three months of Kiedis' life in pictures) I did so alone, over the span of something like eight hours. I showed it to him, and he had veto rights, but he mostly just nodded and mumbled good job and went about whatever it was that was more important to him at the time.

So I learned to hold on to songs that touched me, where the words carried with them the sentiments I longed for and the melodies held within them the complexities of the life I was living.

I learned to let the music speak when he refused to.

During the first almost-divorce, I used to play this kind of game (or it was a nervous manifestation of my extreme anxiety, you know, whatever) where I would be driving and hold my open palm over my radio dial and essentially pray for the next song to tell me what to do about him, about my marriage, about my life. I don't want to say that I believed the music spoke to me in a terribly serious way, but I will say that the patterns of songs and their timing often were what gave me hope, what kept me going, what gave me the faith and the strength to soldier through that terrible time.

I still see and hear and feel meanings in songs; I did before that time. Not just the literal, lyrical meaning, but the timing, the message, the feeling of the songs -- I often take them as signs.

We all have our superstitions. This is one of mine.

And this song, to me, is the apology I'll never get for the dark side of the life I've had these past nine years. This song is the hope for forgiveness, the real and genuine and selfless hope, that I will never see from him. This song is my permission to admit that this has been so much harder than I let on, for so much longer than I let on, before it was obvious we were broken; it is my validation that this hurt and this betrayal were such a heavy load to bear all this time.

Something about this song allows me to accept the things I could not, cannot, change.

It feels like forgiveness. Not just for him -- that's still a long road for me to travel -- but for myself. For reasons I can't really explain yet because the words aren't quite there, but just a feeling in my chest, a grip on my heart loosening just the smallest bit.

I've always believed that the right words will find you when they need them.

And here are unexpected ones I didn't realize I needed quite so badly.