Recently, while I dug through the old folders at the bottom of a closet for my divorce paperwork (who knew Balthazar/The Kid's college applications would ask for the exact month and year in which I broke the ties that bound me? Not I.), I came across an old notebook in which I'd done some fictional scribbling (that is to say, I scribbled some fiction, not that I'm lying about having scribbled in it). I pulled the notebook out from the rubble and leafed through it, sort of smiling as I read my notes, and remembered how dreadful things were at that point in my life.
At the time, Balthazar's dad and I had long since split up and The Kid and I were sharing the bedroom I'd once shared with my sister when we were kids, at my parents' place. Space was tight and money was tighter. I'd completed a gig by mid-June of that year, worked part-time for a while, you know how it is. (I'm reminded by Grandpa's words in the movie The Lost Boys, "Lucy, you're the only woman I ever knew that didn't improve her situation by getting divorced.") (Word.)
Anyway, I'd become involved in a Long Distance Romance (LDR) with a European dude I'd "met" online (we were both avid X-Philes). At some point I got a crappy full-time job, which eased some of my financial concerns but didn't get me any closer to Mr. Wonderful. (And anyway, our romance was doomed, as I couldn't see myself taking little Balthy that far away from his dad, and Mr. Wonderful, it turned out, wasn't prepared to pull up stakes to be with me.)
Our star-crossed LDR dragged on till the following summer/early fall, when it finally imploded in a flurry of pissy e-mails. A month after that, I was laid off from the crappy job. (Oh, snap!) I can sort of grimace about it all now, but at the time, it was le major suck. But damned if I didn't rally - I began writing. Perhaps I did it to escape from the God-awfulness I lived (in fact, I'm sure of it). Thinking back to the ruined-me-of-the-past, I get all onion-eyed for her suffering, but I'm also just so damned proud of her pluck. Wallowing in my misery would've been prodigiously easy (and I definitely did, a bit; I'm a good littler wallower), but I also pushed through the ick and applied myself toward a productive end. Yay, me!
But back to the notebook: along with my scribblings, I'd made a list of songs I'd listened to in heavy rotation as I wrote. At the top of the list was a song I haven't heard in ages - "Good to be Alive" by this groovy She-jay (female deejay) who goes by the moniker DJ Rap. As my mind chugged through its memory cache in search of the lyrics, my eyes misted over again. Chanting along with the song (which frequently made no sense to me) somehow got me through those dark days, and I found myself singing the tune repeatedly in the days following my rediscovery.
In the song, DJ Rap sings, "...sometimes I wonder how I survived..." I wonder that about myself. How do we keep going in the face of adversity, suffering, repeated failure, and heartache? Maybe it's stubbornness. Maybe it's naïveté. And maybe it's just...pluck.
Any of youse guys got a tune that kept you from jumping off your own
personal ledge in the Before Times? Tell us about it in the Comments