Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Life: The Musical

I'm one of "those people" that hums at really inappropriate times; like at the dinner table, a meeting, class, etc. (unaware that I am doing so of course). I never just have one song stuck in my head, I have multiple. On any given day I could easily be compared to an iPod shuffle. My roommate walked in one time and I was singing a Bob Marley song while cooking dinner, later that night I was in the shower singing Garth Brooks. You never know what song I will start singing next, nor do you know which verse I will begin with. If I start in the middle of a song, or even in the middle of a verse, it is most likely due to the fact that I don't know the words. I am terrible with lyrics. I turn up my music in the car so that I can sing and pretend to know the words. With the security of the increased noise level, my voice is dulled and I can simply mumble and move my lips. As long as I know the tune, no one will ever know...until they turn the music down, which has revealed some funny lyric misconceptions.

There is a recent song by The Band Perry called If I Die Young. The first line, that is also sung repeatedly throughout the song goes like this: "If I die young, bury me in satin." For the first few months I was singing "....bury me in silence"...yeah Maggie, that makes sense. But let's be honest, being buried in satin doesn't make a whole lot of sense either. Or the line of that same song that says "the sharp knife of a short life". I was singing..."the sharp night of assured life". I could go on and on recalling countless songs and lyrics that have never quite settled in my brain. Its a mental block, I can't help it. I also have what has been called by my friends, "Song A.D.D.". I usually click "Next Track" before the chorus has begun. I just like to hear a little bit of everything. This annoys my friends to no end. This habit probably explains my mental block, and my shuffled singing throughout the day. Maybe I should listen to the song in its entirety for a change.

That being said, and having a brain full of music, I find that I can always take any given situation and put a song to it. For instance, just the other day I was telling someone I'd say a prayer for them. Immediately insert song in head. The rest of the day I had I Say A Little Prayer For You stuck in my head. ALL. DAY. LONG. If any phrase is spoken that may have a parallel to a song I know, I'll start singing, or at least store it away to sing later that day. There must be a jukebox in my head that just rotates songs based on subject matter.

Music makes things more fun. It sets a certain tone and instills more emotion than silence does; although silence sometimes serves as equally important. We watch slideshows that have music because it evokes feeling from the audience, we listen to music when we run because it gives us a beat and motivates us, movies have music that give life to the film and create suspense and excitement for the viewer, and there is music at most events we attend in order to set the mood; whether it be joyful or somber.

I have a list in my head of random wishes. And when I say random, I mean random. For example one of them is that I wish driving burned calories, especially after long roadtrips. Another is that I wish I could have a lifetime supply of Goldfish and peanut M&Ms (combined of course). Another is that I wish my life had a Maestro and a soundtrack. I wish there was some invisible director that followed me around 24/7 and could cue the (again, invisible) Maestro to play a song that paralleled with my current situation, whatever it may be. If I'm feeling mellow, play me some soft Jack Johnson. If I'm angry or feel betrayed, give me Rolling in the Deep by Adele. When all of my girlfriends are doing something fun, all of a sudden Cyndi Lauper's voice comes out of nowhere and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun adds a little more excitement to the picture. You're running towards a finish line and maestro plays Chariots of Fire, the ultimate slow-mo song. Tell me you wouldn't have more fun in life if everything had music to it.

One of my all time favorite movie scenes comes from a movie called 500 Days of Summer. Its a bit of a quirky movie and definitely not what you'd expect, from what is supposedly a story about two people in love. I actually am shocked I like it. I like the predictable, sappy, not so original chick flicks. Definitely not my type of movie, but I highly recommend it! Very realistic and accurately portrays relationships, while at the same time contains wit and sarcasm that will have you laughing throughout. This particular scene is the morning after an evening he has spent with a girl he has fallen absolutely head over heels for. After seeing this clip, if you haven't seen the movie, you'll probably assume this movie is a musical. Don't be fooled, it is not. He was simply feeling ever so chipper and felt that he needed dancers, a marching band, and even an animated bird to join him and celebrate to start his day and share the sheer joy he felt. Now all I asked for was a song, but next time I have a really spectacular day, I'm thinking I'll look into choreographing a routine to show the public just how happy I am. Tell me you wouldn't join in if you saw this guy in the park.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Turning Point

Almost everyone has heard that oh so catchy Green Day song. The song is entitled Good Riddance or more commonly called Time of Your Life. The clever songwriters of this well known tune are sitting pretty as they accomplished just what they set out to do; write a song that pulls on listeners' heartstrings and makes them want to push the repeat button and soak in the lyrics. It was probably on Top Hits Lists and music video countdowns. It has also probably been played in countless slideshows at gatherings such as rehearsal dinners, weddings, graduations, birthday parties, or any finale type deal. I guarantee you if you go to Google and type in "songs for... _______" and insert any of the above events in the blank, Green Day's one hit wonder (in my opinion--not a big Green Day fan, but to each their own) would pop up a good number of times on that search engine. Others might include Graduation by Vitamin C, Butterfly Kisses, I Hope You Dance, God Bless the Broken Road, 100 Years, My Wish, almost any country song, and many many more.

I have a weird thing about cliches; those that know me well already know this. As a matter of fact, my mom, brother, and I were sitting at the table today after lunch conversing about what song they should dance to at his wedding. I feel like we've been on this topic for quite a few months now, but my sweet mom just wants it to be the perfect song. Unfortunately by the time the groom is dancing with his mom, most people are more interested in what's in the buffet line than who is on the dance floor and the song that is being played. BUT, we still need a good song for the occasion. She told us she thought she had decided on a certain song. I won't give the title to avoid offending anyone. I can name a few people that have used it. After naming this particular song, my brothers reaction needed no explanation as to how he felt about the selection. The song was quickly turned down. Too cliche for him. We are still on the song search. If you've got ideas feel free to share.

Anyways, back to my reason for bringing up all of these cliches. As much as I do get a little tired of the sappy songs, the overused phrases, and the ridiculously "cheeseball" lyrics; the past few months nearing graduation have totally turned me into a sap for all of the above. My emotions have been on such a high that when I drove home for Easter, my iPod that was on shuffle started playing (probably one of THE most cliche/cheesiest songs ever) Friends by Michael W. Smith. Any cars that passed me probably guessed that I had just found out my dog died or I had just had my heart broken. No, no--just a song that did me in. I boo-hoo'd in the car by myself for a good hour driving down I-65. The first few lines of the song go like this: "Packing up the dreams God planted in the fertile soil of you. Can't believe the hopes he's granted. Means a chapter in your life is through". I mean come on how do you expect me to survive this song when I'm so close to leaving my friends and all I've known for 4 years? Thank you Michael W. for causing me to almost go off the road from tears streaming down my face.

Returning to Auburn after Easter, I knew the pace was going to pick up and things were going to get very busy. I completed my final week of my internship and said goodbye to my sweet 2nd graders with tears in both my eyes and theirs. I couldn't have asked for a better school, "cooperating teacher" (as they were called by the University), faculty, or class of students. I know I will succeed in teaching (once I find a job...) and I can honestly say that a huge part of my success will be thanks to my experience these past 4 months.

I spent the last week and a half packing up my room and all of my belongings, turning in final paperwork, and saying goodbye to lifelong friends I made just a few short 4 years ago. All of our friends also received a rather huge shock at our last chapter meeting when our friend, Allison, surprised us with her engagement! When I say shocked, I mean shocked. She kept it a secret from all of us and we were so excited to get to celebrate her big news!

On the Thursday before graduation weekend, our girlfriends packed up and headed to Highlands, North Carolina for our friend Georgia's wedding and to stand beside her as she tied the knot. We realized this would be our last weekend all together for a while, but with all of the hustle and bustle of wedding festivities, we thought emotionally we'd be fine....wrong. All it took were words from the bride at the bridesmaids luncheon to set us all into emotional heaps. The words she spoke to each of us about our friendship and our lives couldn't have come at a better time. I looked around the room and realized how truly blessed I am to have each of these girls in my life. Georgia chose a single word and a verse for each of us; one that embodied who we were and expressed our personalities. She must have been thinking about these for a while, because she nailed us down to a T. After washing our faces of running mascara and composing ourselves, were off to the rehearsal dinner. Bring on the tears again. We got to hear family and friends share about Scott and Georgia and listen to countless stories about their lives; some serious, some hilarious. Then it was wedding day! And what a beautiful day it was; perfect weather, not a cloud in the sky, and a truly beautiful bride. I think we were just about out of tears once it came time for the ceremony and the reception was a huge celebration honoring two wonderful people. The food was delicious, might I add. After the wedding all of the girls retreated to the house where we were staying and just as we always do, changed out of our nice clothes into comfy ones and congregated in the kitchen. It wouldn't have been a normal weekend for us had it not ended in the kitchen, around the table, laughing, talking, drinking Diet Coke, eating leftovers, and using words and phrases that we realize no one outside of our little circle will understand or appreciate once we part ways.

We piled in the car bright and early Sunday morning to head back to Auburn, as a few of us prepared to graduate the next day. You may be wondering, the next day...wouldn't that be Monday? Why yes, yes it would be. Auburn decided to change things up a bit this year. Not only did we graduate on a Monday morning (my little brother could not attend because, duh-Monday is a school day), but we also graduated outside in Jordan Hare Stadium, with students from all colleges walking at the same ceremony. Now if you haven't been to Alabama in May, you may be wondering what the big deal is. Really the only word I can use is HOT. When I checked the weather and saw that the high was 90, I considered paying my parents to not make me walk. I'd be doing them a favor not making them sit in the heat in those metal stadium seats. But after 4 years of out-of-state tuition, they were going to see me walk across that stage and get that diploma. And I'm so glad that I did. The ceremony started at 9:30 AM. I started sweating at 8:30 AM when I walked out of my house. I looked like a wet dog by the time I walked across the stage. A proud wet dog at that. Although sitting in that (National Championship) stadium in 90 degree heat and Lord knows what percentage humidity; when I made my way up the ramp to walk across the stage I was overwhelmed with a sense of excitement. Four years ago I walked across a stage at a very similar ceremony and received a degree knowing that in the next few months I would be attending college. Now here I was, having come full circle, walking across a stage receiving a diploma, with not a clue in the world as to where I would be or what I would be doing in the next few months. I'm not sure if the uncertainty, the accomplishment, the fear, the excitement, or maybe even the heat was what struck me; but I realized at that moment that this was a huge turning point. My name was announced, I shook a few hands, I received my diploma (actually it was a fake one-I picked up my real one later), and I moved my tassel to the other side of my cap. That was it. I was finished. Funny how quickly things can change. All it took was a few steps across a stage and a handshake or two and I had reached Alum status.

I received a card from someone for Graduation and at the bottom was a verse.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.
Philppians 1:6

If I ever needed more assurance to know that my future was secure, this card did the job. I think most college graduates, especially now, leave with a fear of uncertainty and doubt. Guilty. I know I want to teach, but am terrified of not finding a job and also of beginning this new life separate from everything I've known for 4 years. I guess they call it faith? We all need a little.

This past Sunday at church our pastor talked about what it means to be "blessed". We tend to overuse that word here in the south without really giving credit to its meaning. But I gained a new understanding of the word. Up on the screen it said this, "BLESSED: We are a privileged people no matter what our experience tries to tell us." So no matter what experiences may be, some will be good, some will be bad. But regardless, we are blessed. The word "blessed" also tends to fall into the cliche category that I mentioned earlier. But if I think about a word that I could use to describe my life, my experiences, and my relationships; blessed really is the word that encompasses them all. 

And while you've caught me in this vulnerable state and I'm allowing cliches; I might as well go ahead and say that Green Day got me hook, line, and sinker. With a compilation of some cheesy lines and a few mellow guitar strings; consider me one of the millions that have put this song to pictures. For your viewing pleasure, here's a look back at the last few months and the finale of my college career.  (<Click to see video!)

War Eagle.