I often struggle with feeling emotions.
Stop laughing, Mother.
Okay, maybe there’s a better way to phrase it. Sometimes, I have a hard time feeling emotions to the point where I can move beyond them. More times than not, the thing that shoves me fully into the feeling is music. Be it grief, melancholy, anxiety, whatever, I can usually find a song that will throw me right there and make me feel whatever I need to feel to the marrow of my bone. Once I reach that point, have fully acknowledged it, I can let it go.
(Iwillnotbreakintosong. Iwillnotbreakintosong. Iwillnotbreakintosong.)
Example: When I’m writing, I tend to find a song that goes with the tone or the emotion of what I’m trying to write and put that baby on repeat until the entire world is sick of it. There was one day not too long ago when I had one song going for 23 times, and I honestly had no idea until Earl came into the room and proclaimed, “ENOUGH WITH THAT SONG!”
But. BUT. If there was ever any doubt that the kid is mine, tonight shattered it.
Now, there are a couple of things at play here. 1) She’s been taking acting off and on but with the same teacher, Miss T, for three or so years, which, when you’re EIGHT, is a LOT of your life. And 2) she’s recently discovered the wonder that is Barry Manilow.
Tonight was Earl’s last acting class before we move. Tonight, she had to say goodbye. Well, sorta. There’s a film festival the studio is doing next week that we’ll attend. That will be the REAL goodbye, but tonight was the last class. The last casual goodbye. The one that actually made her feel the goodbye.
She came out with tears brimming, but she was trying to hold it in. Mightily trying to hold it in. I reached back and took her hand, asked if she wanted to talk, and got a firm, “No.” Headphones went on, and I lost her to whatever Disney doowop is currently living on her iPod.
A few minutes later, I heard sniffling. Then sobbing. By the time we got to dinner, she was gone, absolutely awash in sadness.
My heart, it broke. A lot.
I tried to give her a little space before getting out of the car while she calmed down. That’s when I heard the words slipping past her lips. “Whatever I am, you taught me to be.”
Oh. E. Gad. I knew instantly. That was NOT Disney doowop in the headphones. No. Earl was listening to Barry Manilow on repeat. Specifically, “I Am Your Child.”
“Mama, I should have played this for Miss T!” she boohooed.
My heart, it broke. The rest of the way.
I held her hand as she cried and sang, letting the song deepen her emotion. Finally, at the end, I pulled the headphones off. “Why don’t you give that song a break, okay? I think you found your sadness.”
She nodded, knowing what I meant even if I didn’t completely. Her hand tightened in mine and she swiped at her tears. “I guess it’s true.”
“He really does write the songs that make the young girls cry.”