I have a confession to make this week – one I’m slightly embarrassed about but I don’t mind admitting to my blog friends out there. I love country music. Yes I know it’s a terrible confession but it’s true. Not that I know much about the genre. I am learning what kind of country I like and don’t like. Not so much the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton era more what I call the modern country – some country rock such as the lovely Keith Urban, Mac Powell and Rascal Flatts, and the more modern pop country I guess such as Carrie Underwood, The Shires and my latest find Brandy Clark.
Last week I did a lot of travelling doing workshops in different areas and the thing I love about driving is the time to listen to the music I love – not the kids or my hubbys taste. Brandy Clarks album ’12 stories’ has been on constant repeat in my car and I do love it. What always makes me smile about this kind of music is the stories that each track seems to tell and Brandy’s theme throughout this album is a disturbing one.
Our theme in our blog buddies group this week is drifting. As I was listening to Brandy’s tales of woe in each track the word drifting kept coming back to me. The stories are ones of despair usually about how useless men are – either cheating on their wives, hitting them, high or plain hungover. You get this image that we’ve all seen of trailer park lives where the women are saints looking after their children, trying desperately to manage their lives. Just drifting through each day without any control over their lives.
The more I’ve got involved in the world of looked after children and the care system in this country the more I image what peoples lives are like. That they very often end up with their children being looked after by other people because of the bad decisions and choices they may have made in their lives. It’s very easy to become judgemental about other peoples lives when we know nothing of their history or what may have happened along their journey.
It’s a difficult one to reconcile in our minds the fine line between the cycle of neglect and abuse that people experience and the choices and decisions we make along the way. When does it not become somebody else’s fault what happens to us? The country songs (especially on Brandy’s album) make it sound like it’s always someone else’s fault and that we just drift into these dysfunctional relationships and lives without a say in it. And I’m sure sometimes it feels like that.
I remember someone saying once about a cow that ends up on the road – they were in the field to start with and then all of a sudden in the road. But they didn’t just transport themselves their – they nibbled their way out of the field – one blade of grass at a time. They didn’t intend to end up lost and out of where they should be – they just nibbled their way to lostness. Aren’t we like that sometimes? We look back and think how on earth did I get here? But you know we do all have choices and decisions to make. Regardless of what’s happened in our pasts once we can be free from the hold that might have on us we have a choice to make. Do we carry on down that destructive road or do we turn around and go in another direction?
When I think about my children’s lives – from their very rough start to where they are now there are times when they do not have control over their reactions. They act out of their hurt, fear and sense of loss. But there are also times when they are able to make a choice. They know that they can take a different road and I pray that the older they get the more healthy roads they decide to walk down. It needs help from others very often and that’s what we as parents or people supporting them try to provide – a safe place to help them work out this choices and decisions along the way.
I wanted to finish with one of the songs from Brandy Clarks album not because it’s profound and backs up what I’ve been saying but because I love the tune and the words make me laugh …. I hope you enjoy it too and maybe it will open your mind to this whole country music thing too!