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December 18, 2012

music, margaritas, and finding myself in a red rental car.

when i went to kentucky last summer i called jim from a mexican restaurant. 

i sat at the bar and ordered strawberry margaritas and steak tacos. while i waited i walked outside.

i'm really not good at waiting.

i cried on the sidewalk.

i'd driven seven hours in a red rental car to see mary chapin carpenter. by myself. in the front row of a beautiful old opera house in downtown lexington.  

i'd do it again tomorrow.

i was unhappy with my life at the time. i was so sad and lonely my bones ached. i needed to get away. those are the cliffs notes

there is always a reason for tears. and sometimes they come out after eight-hour drives and two margaritas. 

this woman has provided the soundtrack for so many parts of my life, sad and wonderful.

in this world there's a whole lot of sorrow, but a whole lot of ground to gain

i learned to love this woman's music from my mom who always played her cds in the car. and before cds she played cassette tapes. i still remember what the cover of each album looks like. 

i listen to this woman when i'm sad and lost. when i'm happy and grateful. when i need to feel strong. when i feel stronger than i have in months. when i need comfort and clarity, when i need a strong woman in my ear and in my heart. when i'm looking to feel peace. and twenty minutes of her voice does more for me than yoga ever could.

i feel a world away from that summer and from the girl on that sidewalk. but i still remember the dress i wore that night. and the navy blue heels. and i remember sitting in that velvet seat not talking to anyone, waiting. waiting for this shorter-than-i-expected-her-to-be woman to come onto the stage fifteen feet from me and sing for two hours. this soft, strong, wonderfully flawed woman to sing songs about brave women. confused women. fun women who go through days when they also feel afraid. women working through things and trying to be better, women who mess up and clean up on their own terms and in their own time.


men too, of course. 

this woman's voice reminds me of what i am trying to be. what i'm trying to figure out. and i get closer and closer to it on the third and fourth listen of one of her songs as i take out whatever piece of scrap paper i can find. because something always always comes to me that i don't want to forget. this woman does that to me.

i keep trying to write about kentucky, about those six days. just six days. 

on a post-it i put above my desk i wrote, i want this essay to feel the way i felt in that red car listening to mary chapin carpenter. i would stare at it as i typed. and put it on my desk next to my computer as if making those words closer would pull the others out of me. 

i am changed by this woman. i've been changed by this woman. the word free is in the front of my mind. it won't go away. 

i know this means something.

music, margaritas, and finding yourself in a red rental car. this is everything.

it's a long enough life to be livin', why walk when you can fly

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