The Long Way Around

I grew up in a small southern town. Most of my friends still live close to where we grew up, and though I applaud their decisions, sticking close to home was never for me.

Because of my dad’s job, I lived the first decade of my life as a bit of a gypsy. We moved cities five times before I was six, if that gives you any indication. But we finally landed in a small Georgia town for most of my formative years. It taught me a lot. A lot about what I wanted and what I didn’t from my life

In many ways, the Dixie Chicks really speak to me because of my life experiences. I got a great, tight-knit foundation with growing up in the South, but I also couldn’t, and shouldn’t deny my wanderlust. “Taking the Long Way,” really speaks to my living wide journey. It shows deep, solid roots, but an appreciation for wanting a little more. To explore the horizon without apology.

Guess that’s my lot in life.

Gotta Be More

He is one of my favorite artists of all time, yet not many people know who is, which is a shame. If you dig modern blues, or funk-infused southern rock, and you don’t know Marc Broussard, where have you been?

To show how much I love Mr. Broussard, I have been to nine of his shows since 2004. Every time he plays anywhere remotely close to me, I simply have to go see him. “Gotta Be More” is from his first EP “Momentary Setback.” Most people know him for “Home,” which is also a great song, but “Gotta Be More” speaks more to the living wide philosophy.

I first discovered Marc when I was walking around a book/music store randomly in 2004. I was in a job that took up most of my life—I’m not kidding, I was working 26 weekends a year—I was worn out, tired and needed a distraction. So on one of my rare, free Saturday nights, I took myself to a movie and walked around this book/music store after. Marc’s first full-length album “Carencro” was playing over the sound system, and I just had to know who he was.

I bought the album that night, and any and all music he has produced has been on constant rotation in my house and car ever since.

I hope y’all are enjoying the Living Wide Soundtrack for Successful Failure thus far. Remember, if you have a song suggestion, I’m open. Make sure to leave the name and why you love it in the comments section below or on Facebook at any time.

People Like Us

For Day 5 of Living Wide’s Soundtrack for Successful Failure, I think a good punch the air song is appropriate. I know not everyone is a pop rock fan, but even if you’re not, you have to admit, Kelly Clarkson does have some talent. At least I hope you’ll admit it, because you’ll be seeing her a few times this month.

The song “People Like Us,” from Clarkson’s recently released greatest hits album, is one of those great “get revved-up songs,” which are important to have in your playlist for days when you’re dragging, feeling sorry for yourself, or trapped in the spiral of a pity party. Just like she says, we all want to throw it away sometimes.

I regularly consider myself a misfit. Truthfully, I’ve never fully fit into any one aspect of my life. I believe one way spiritually, but lean another way politically. I work in a conservative environment, yet I have tattoos and a constant yearning to dye my hair an outrageous shade.

I’ve always had a rebellious streak, a voice in my head that said, “Yes, I agree with you, but… I also think we should level your idea and start fresh.”

“People Like Us” is one of those great reminders that no one is alone. Everyone has a community. Everyone has a mirror who thinks the same way they do, who has shared experiences and can relate. It’s just a matter of being brave enough to find that misfit group of toys where you fit. In all honesty, I’m still looking for mine, but at least I’m still looking.

Shake It Out

Author’s Note:  For the sake of honesty, this blog post is helping me momentarily avoid my grad school homework… just so you know. Quite simply, it is the end of the semester, I’m over it, yet I have to press on. [Sigh….] Okay, pity party over. Carry on.

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When I first heard Florence + The Machine’s “Shake it Out,” I was knocked completely sideways… in a good way. Without boring you, I was going through a weird time. I had some things in my life I knew I needed to sever and purge, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let go, and I didn’t know why or how.

I promise, if you’re living through a moment like that, nothing will punch you in the gut faster than the lyrics from this song. Lines like, “Regrets collect like old friends, here to relive your darkest moments,” or, “And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off.” They make you face not only the enemy outside of you, but the enemy within yourself as well when you’re trying to live a wide life.

Darkness wants to keep you small. It wants to keep you limited. It wants to show you the boundaries and make you fear pushing past them. And what’s even scarier, it wants to prevent you from pushing past those feelings to things that are unknown, uncertain, strange, alluring and terrifying all at the same time. You want to pursue them, but you’re also courted by the comfort of your past… the safeness of the known versus the unknown.

The thing I try to remember is, if I ever feel burdened or heavy, if a situation ever makes me feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, then I am in the wrong place. The only person who should ever feel that is not of this plane. I shouldn’t feel that way. That’s not my job. I should feel more unencumbered, untethered. I should feel free, and I should feel free to feel free.

So here’s a question, what song releases you to feel like you are completely free?

Flesh and Bone

I’m a bit late with today’s post because I was actually at a concert. Appropriate, right? So, here we are, day 3-ish of Living Wide’s Soundtrack for Successful Failure. How’s everyone feeling so far? I have to admit I am loving the challenge I’ve laid out for myself. Mostly because it has encouraged me to scour the thousands of songs that I personally own and the millions that I simply love to form the perfect playlist of encouragement.

As I said to friends, recently, music has really been speaking into my life of late. Not that it doesn’t always have a place, what I mean to say is I’ve been stumbling across some really great songs/albums/artists that are truly putting my life to beat and my heart to a melody.

One such band is The Killers, whose song “Flesh and Bone” kind of speaks for itself.

When I first heard The Killers many years ago, I thought they were good, but that was about it. Truthfully, I hadn’t given them much thought until I stumbled across them again a few weeks ago while building a playlist for my novel. Yes, I’m that nerdy. Anyway, I listened to their newest album “Battle Born” based on a recommendation, and I fell in love. Not just with a specific song—you’ll be introduced to three throughout the month—but with the whole album. It’s filled with songs of being challenged, tested, defeated and triumphant.

In the chorus, you’ll hear, “What are you afraid of, and what are you made of, flesh and bone.” A great reminder that we are all vulnerable AND strong, which can fortify us as much as it terrifies us. Gotta love the dichotomy.

Still looking for suggestions. Anyone have a Soundtrack suggestion? Make sure to leave a comment.