Monday, May 21, 2007

Happily Ever After?

Listening to the song, Beautiful Disaster by Jon Mclaughlin, tonight, had me wistful and melancholy. It reminded me a lot of myself at age seventeen. It brought back feelings, memories, I had forgotten. From about the ages of 13 to 16, I remember feeling strong, like I had a world full of options. Even in the midst of my own teenage confusion and rebellion, I still thought I had a future of endless possibilities. I remember spending days fervently debating the male/female double standard. Discoursing with teenage cynicism the events that unfolded around the Watergate Scandal. I remember watching my friend's older brothers trying (and failing) to recapture the lives they had before they were sent to Vietnam, and feeling angry that they had to. I remember holding long marijuana infused discussions over the meaning of life, and thinking we had the answer, as we rifled through LPs at the local head shop.

Then life changed after that. I felt tired at seventeen.

I had already mothered my younger brother and sister, already tried to run a household for two parents who were more absent than home. Suddenly, in just the blink of an eye, I was no longer fervently debating, no longer eagerly awaiting college as the beginning of my life as an adult. No longer dreaming of a big bright future full of endless possibilities. I was lost, big time lost. The endless tumultuous chaotic alcoholic tinged fog of my home life had already taken its toll. At the age of 16 I had to make a decision that no young woman should have to make, but many do. In making that decision, I began to punish myself. The decision was not an unusual one for the times, nor is it today. But, many events from my earliest years led up to that one telling event. I wish I could say, that one decision is the cause of why many young women lose their dreams. But it isn't (it is just the one that changed me). I have watched ten young girls, from almost all economic walks of life, grow into ten beautiful young women. My girls come from nuclear families, blended families, alternative families, single parent families, two of them lost a parent too early. Each faces decisions today, has choices to make that will effect the course their lives take as they grow into adulthood.

Yet, even of the few that grew up in more privileged families, more than a couple of them are described in Beautiful Disaster.

I have always held the hope, that our society would change for the better. Always wishing that as we open up more, discuss the topics that our parents were afraid to discuss, that all young girls would dream big, and do their best to live those dreams. Some do. Yet, I see so many still, that have lived their young lives in homes full of turmoil, sadness, abuse, and anger. No one, to tell them how wonderful they are, just as they are. No one to tell them they have more alternatives than lack of. Will it always be our legacy to have young women seeking to change themselves to be someone they are not? To seek what they think of as Happily Ever After?

~Jon Mclaughlin~

Beautiful Disaster

She loves her mama's lemonade,
Hates the sounds that goodbyes make.

She prays one day she'll find someone to need her.
She swears that there's no difference,
Between the lies and complements.
I's all the same if everybody leaves her.

And every magazine tells her she's not good enough,
The pictures that she sees make her cry.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
And she needs someone to take her home.

She's giving boys what they want, tries to act so nonchalant,
Afraid they'll see that she's lost her direction.
She never stays the same for long,
Assuming that she'll get it wrong.

Perfect only in her imperfection.

She's not a drama queen,
She doesn't want to feel this way, only seventeen but tired

She would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,

But she just needs someone to take her home.

Cuz she's just the way she is, but no ones told her that's ok.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,

And she would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,

But she just needs someone to take her home
And just needs someone to take her home.

I have tried my very best to continually foster in my own daughter a strength that I no longer had at her age. She was born stubborn, willful, and independent, filled with a zest and flair for life, open and loving. No matter how difficult it has been some days (OK, years) to live with a young/child/woman with such a strong character, I am very happy she is as strong as she is. She is not living the lyrics. She is writing her own. Of that, I am very glad.

And, finally, after 30 years, maybe, just maybe I am too.


Anonymous said...

My daughter is stronger than I was at her age too. It's nice to see. She's stubborn, prickly, high maintenance but she's doesn't take shit. She hasn't had many boyfriends, two, that she's told me about, they don't last long.

I got a little lost along the way but I think I'm finding the path again. I'm hopeful anyway.

You can write your own lyrics as well. Older women do make the most beautiful music I think.

Fiona said...

From what I've heard, you have done an incredible job with your daughter.

As for 'happily ever after', I've never believed in fairy tales. Sometimes you just have to hope you get an 'ever after' to work with.

Big big hugs

Sunny Delight said...

I am trying, can't carry a tune worth a darn, but there are some days when I do feel like singing.

No, I don' believe in fairy tale endings, I do want to explore happy though.