Mix Tape

I’ve always loved music.  It’s gotten me through the best and worst moments, it’s helped me feel more creative, it’s soothed my soul and made me feel more alive.  I’ve been immersing myself in music over this last month more than I have allowed myself since Valerie and I first got together.  My musical memories in the last three years are mainly of car rides up and down the freeway from Seattle to Portland and Portland to Seattle.  A highway punctuated by songs that kept me awake on late night drives or prepared me for a weekend of adventure.  Now I find myself listening to music during my workday, on my commute, while I work around the house, as I do yard work and certainly as I sit in front of the computer and pour out my heart onto a page, keys pounding in tune to the beat.

When Valerie and I became engaged last year I spent the majority of time obsessing over the music we would have at our wedding.  What would I walk down the aisle to?  What would be “our song” when we danced together?  What about that father-daughter dance?  And the reception playlist had to include some special favorites.  I downloaded a Wedding DJ app so I could organize the soundtrack of our day, which would lead into the soundtrack of our life together. Janie and I didn’t have a traditional wedding, and I was so looking forward to having that chance with Valerie.  I wanted the formality, the beautifully decorated space, the handwritten vows, the guests, the party and the dancing.  I wanted the music of that celebration to reflect who we were as individuals and then as wives.  I wanted it to follow us as we travelled together and grew as a family.

Music has always been so much a part of my life’s journey.  Monica and I would Skype for hours, passing songs back and forth, sitting and watching as the other heard something precious to us for the first time.  I loved to watch her as the songs unfolded, to see her eyes tear or her lips curve upwards in a smile, knowing she was touched deeply by something that touched me.  Then the excitement as she sent something to me and I experienced it for the first time.  I miss having someone to share music with as intimately as that.  I miss knowing someone who was so excited by music.  In those months we were friends, my iTunes library swelled and I swam in the beauty of so many different songs that now offer me both beauty and pain in their words and melody.  Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.

So many memories from life come with a soundtrack, and none more so than the failed relationships I have experienced in this lifetime.  Each relationship had it’s own rhythm, and each ended with a handful of songs that got me through the darkest moments and said the words I couldn’t find to describe what was happening in my head and heart.  Here are some of the songs that have gotten me through the pain and back out into the world, ready to create a soundtrack for a new day.