The sky has been grey since the election. I wish it would rain so the dust on my car will finally wash off. Maybe it will match my emotions as well.
I checked my Facebook memories at past midnight today and saw posts from eight years ago. Shortly after Obama was elected, but I remember having a lot of similar emotions of uncertainty around then. Not for our then-incoming president. I voted for him in 2008 and 2012. I ran into the streets of Atlanta in celebration with other Georgia State students after the results came in. No, my emotions were centered around my home life, when my dad walked out on my mom and everything I knew up until that point was thrown in the air without a certain place to land. Moving away from Cartersville into Atlanta was supposed to be exciting, and it definitely was, but school was more of a refuge away from dealing with my parents and people looking at me, as Carrie Fisher would say, like their hair was heavier on one side.
This is the kind of stuff my new therapist wants to talk to me about.
Towards the end of my first semester ended up becoming a cultural mile marker for me. It was the release of Sycamore Meadows by Butch Walker, my favorite musician and all around great human. At that point in my life, I had only been listening to him for two years and Sycamore Meadows was the first album of new music he was putting out since I started listening to him. A bunch of the songs had been floating around as demos for like a year and a few songs had released prior to the album’s release. In fact, I heard ‘The Weight of Her’ on the radio for the first time as my mom was driving us to the restaurant where I was about to be the last person to find out that my dad walked out.
Sycamore Meadows is an album about uncertainty and life transitions. A good chunk of the album was written after the Malibu wildfire in 2007 that took Butch’s house, but he later admitted in Drinking With Strangers that portions of the album were written in response to a rough patch in his marriage. When you’re an 18-year-old dealing with not knowing if your parents are going to stay together after nearly 20 years, those kind of themes aren’t exactly lost on you. I imagined what it had to be like for my parents a lot when listening to ‘Here Comes The…’
However, there is a lot of hope in that record as well and a lot of love for Atlanta. When settling into my new home that I’m still in eight years later, to hear songs like ‘ATL,’ ‘Ponce De Leon Ave’ and ‘Going Back/Going Home’ felt like acceptance. Like this was the place I had to be. That it didn’t just have to be college or running away. That it could be a home.
Plus, ‘The 3 Kids In Brooklyn’ still makes me laugh. Like it wasn’t running through my mind this year while sitting in some hipstery barbecue place blocks away from the Barclays Center before Takeover this year. When your life is falling apart, laughing sometimes feels like the only way you can pull it back in.
I want to feel hopeful again. These past few days have been such despair. I’m scared for many reasons. For myself as a bisexual woman and those I love who don’t look like me.
I look back on that mile marker and remember 18 year old me looking for something to hold onto and finding it in that red covered album with her hero’s face staring back at her. Maybe this is the beginning of something. We’ll see in eight years. Today, I’ll put the album on. My turn table hasn’t seen action in a few months anyway.
Right now, I just wish it would rain.