And the Beat Goes On

Music has always rocked my world.

I find it inspiring and comforting.  Its ability to bring me back in time to a single moment or instill excitement about moments to come perpetually pleases me.  There are few things in life that prompt this type of spontaneous stroll down memory lane.  Consider this: you can stumble upon a memory, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with something as simple as cruising to FM radio, looking through a jukebox or giving your iPod the reigns with Shuffle mode.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard a strum of a guitar, a DJ mixing beats, the keys of a piano or a hum of an artist and unlocked the past to moments and events like: the dance routine I choreographed with my girlfriend Amber in the 5th grade; when I told my high school sweetheart that I was going to the Prom with someone else; the time I spilt an entire bottle of coke in my lap and had to air dry my skirt out Jennifer’s car window on our way to a party; the trip to Mexico when I danced poolside for hours on end with my mama and her girlfriends; that wild college party (I say that loosely, there were many.  And certain songs are the only real evidence that those nights ever happened!!); my college graduation; my trip to Italy with my nonna and mama; dancing in Vegas with thousands of my closest friends; crying in bed all by myself; feeling in love and hoping it lasts; breaking up yet again and eventually letting go.

I also depend on music to do the things that I can’t do by myself.  When I need to be strong, I feel as though I can pluck the lyrics right out of a song and wield a shield out of them.  I’ll admit it, when words evade me I use lyrics to text or facebook how I feel.  And when I’m unable to provide myself the support that I need, it’s like the lyrics flow right out of my iPod and swirl all around me, touching my heart and embracing my pain; they give me the strength that I can’t find in myself.

I suppose that music has also cradled my world.

That being said, here is my musical journey:

I am an 80s baby in every sense of the term. According to my blunt mother, I was conceived to Van Halen’s Jump. I knew every word to Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet album; and never hesitated to belt out the lyrics every time my mama popped in the cassette. Now can you imagine a toddler singing, with absolute conviction, “working for her man, she brings home her pay for love – for love?” (Well believe it, and love the fact that I just did the very same thing in the backseat of my boss’s car on our way to a business trip earlier this week!)  I recall most kids my age wearing Nickelodeon t-shirts, but I rocked my t-shirt from Aerosmith’s Get a Grip Tour on a regular basis. Some kids hummed nursery rhymes; I jammed rock ballads.

In the 5th grade I rocked my parents’ world when I fell in love with hip-hop. I played my Gangsta’s Paradise soundtrack on repeat every day after school until it became riddled with scratches and refused to bump out of my boombox. I wanted to name my dog Tupac, but my parents thought it absurd. That dance that Amber and I choreographed was to Whoop!  There it is!  by Tag Team.  Over the years, I’ve swayed my hips and bobbed my head at numerous concerts and even finagled my way to the stage to dance alongside Dem Franchise Boys, Ray J and Chris Brown – pre his Rihanna outrage, of course. Juicy J once complimented my flashy style after I charmed a bouncer into letting my girlfriends and I roam around backstage.  And I’ve been to more Snoop Dogg concerts than I care to admit.

I think I developed an addiction to country music when I experienced my first break-up in middle school, because I’ve been faithful to its allure ever sense.  I have two preset buttons dedicated to country stations in the event of heartbreak.  But I’ve also come to appreciate the genre’s genuine way of expressing love. Every female singer says what I’ve always wanted to say and every male singer is like my Ken doll; I just want what he’s saying to be true and to happen to me.  My girlfriend Sara and I have even contemplated moving to Nashville to marry cowboys.  This idea seems like the ultimate fix – so we’re not ruling it out just yet.


I’ve recently become obsessed with dance and house music.  This is probably because I’ve frequented more clubs and partied harder in the last 9 months than I ever have in 25 years.  I’ve also taken a new approach to heartache.  I like to call it Dance it off.  There is something inexplicably liberating about dancing to music that’s louder than my thoughts.  The lyrics are occasionally foreign, always heartfelt and sometimes even ridiculous, but the music never ceases to engulf me.  Even in a room full of people, I can close my eyes and lose myself.

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, particular songs will always resonate with me.  Here is my love affair with music:

When my parents split up, I played Wonderful Now by Everclear on repeat for hours on end for nearly two years.  And still to this day, whenever I hear Journey’s Faithfully I recall the better days of my childhood.

When I need to break it off with someone or get out from under someone’s thumb, I jam Mariah Carey’s Shake it Off through my Corolla speakers on full blast.  I find it subliminal is a way.  I’m hoping to convince myself that moving on is best and that it won’t be all that painful.  At the very least, it’s a fun song to sing along to.

When I started regularly listening to Nelly Furtado’s All Good Things Come to an End and humming along to Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry, I realized that my college sweetheart just wasn’t “the one.”  Only now do I see that I threw a quality catch back into waters that are seriously lacking tens.  And I’m reminded of this every single time my iPod finds these songs.  Shuffle is, without a doubt, a love/hate relationship.

Since then, I’ve been listening to Rihanna’s Take a Bow every time some new heart-throb tricks me like it’s Halloween.  The lyrics somehow seem to sting more when you know that you only have yourself to blame.  So in an effort to take some responsibility for my tears and triumphantly forge ahead to my next ex, I blare Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson.  Talk about empowerment sister!

I adopted the Dance it Off approach when the most beautiful person I’d ever laid my lips on or began a life with changed his mind.  Even months later, I hated that I still wondered what it would have felt like to see his perfect nose on top of a baby’s face, so I sought refuge in David Guetta’s Gettin Over You and Calvin Harris’s You Used to Hold MeThey helped me lose my mind when my memories were driving me mad.  And all the Just Jamie dancing wasn’t bad for my bod either.  But true to my country junkie self, I woke each morning with sore thighs and a raging headache and depended on Jaron and the Long Road to Love to help me find humor in my humiliating heartache with Pray for You.  Call it my version of Sunday School.

When I broke the man’s heart, whom I genuinely hoped would still love me when my teeth are no longer mine, my wrinkled hands shake all the time and I need help remembering my memories, even with a musical aide, broke my heart right back, I felt like literally every single song was speaking to me. I sobbed in tune to Third Eye Blind’s How’s it Going to Be.  I never anticipated there being a day when we no longer knew each other.  So in an effort to outrun my heartbreak, I slipped into my running kicks and ran 4 miles to Leona Lewis’s Better in Time on repeat.  I’ve never once ran that far.  If I ever meet Leona, I won’t hesitate to hug her, even if I’m sweaty.  When I wonder how long I’ll be running for, I listen to Martina McBride’s Wrong Baby Wrong; I long to sit down with her in hopes of absorbing just an ounce of her courage and practicality.  It really isn’t the end of the world.  I am going to be just fine.  Eventually.  I’m resilient if nothing else.  And I always taste my tears through a smile whenever La Roux encourages me to be Bulletproof, next time that is.

As my 26th birthday approaches, I can’t help but wonder what the next year will bring.  I foresee champagne, dancing, laughter, tears, love, joy, hurt, travel, success and happiness.  Memories to cherish.  Memories to forget.  But I know for certain that music will touch me, move me and cure me. And years from now I know that it’ll also bring me back to 26.

Music makes my world go round.


I take a moment to appreciate my lacey Honeydew panties, and all my glory below them, before pulling my shorts back up on my hips.  It’s petit and pretty.  I once had a boyfriend tell me that it would earn the blue ribbon in a field day for vaginas.  This one still makes me grin in a tilted head, sense of wonderment sort of way.  Too bad his clever compliments were his single strong suit. 

My nostalgia is suddenly popped like a schoolgirl’s bazooka bubble when the woman in the stall next to me starts making monstrous sounds that can only mean she’s hovering over the toilet.  I sneak a peek at her feet.  Her flip-flops are hot pink and her toenails are polished a canary yellow with white polka dots; I bet she wishes that she felt even half that bright.   I wonder if she just saw a baby being born too?  Or maybe it’s the combination of a few too many Russian cocktails the night prior and the reality that babies really do squeeze out of a small slit that most twenty-something women use for imports only?  I nod my head and purse my lips in agreement.  If she could see me, I’d give her that, “Hey, I feel ya sister,” look.

I exit my stall to face my humbled disposition.  I wipe a cluster of sweat beads from my upper lip and can’t help but notice the lack of glimmer on my left hand.   The foamy soap and water droplets flow around my naked fingers as I fight back useless tears.  I stare at myself in the mirror, and I swear that it’s staring right back at me.  Sick polka dot girl better stay in that export cubicle as long as she can, lighting has never been so unforgiving. 

It’s like the mirror is interrogating my soul.  It sees that my smile is because I am proud my cousin brought her baby girl into this world.  My expression slides into a smirk when I imagine how much hell that little girl is going to give her. 

It studies my deep breaths and long sighs, and recognizes them as the acceptance of defeat.  I had been delusional to think that he and I would share this one-day.  Furthermore, I’d be a fool to hope that my current crush was “the one.”  This too will end just as passionately and abruptly as it began.  I can’t depend on much, but some things are a guarantee.  The mirror seems to sense my bandaged, yet ever-hopeful heart.  It watches my memory flip through my relationship highs and lows like a late-night channel surfer, and realizes that there’s nothing worth cherishing, so I just keep flipping.  Then like the masochist that I am, it captures a slight twinkle in my eyes and helps me see the faith that I will be blessed with a family, eventually, even if I don’t feel it. 

The soul-searching mirror senses my now peaceful heart.  Just moments earlier it had been flowing with emotions and pounding like a celebratory tribal beat as I watched a new family’s hearts burst, and then sink, when one new heartbeat could not only be heard, but also seen.  Bewildered by my sweat sprinkled face and fleshed cheeks, the mirror takes curious inspection of my raised arm hair and plump goose bumps.  I know that these linger from being the bearer of amazing news. 

“She’s here!  She’s here.  She was here at 1:26 and she has the most endearing whine.” I burst out, exasperated, with not nearly as much articulation as I would have preferred.  I instantly wish that I’d properly prepared myself to deliver this memory.  But I don’t think it mattered how I said it, because when I did, it was like watching the sunrise for the very first time. 

His expression brightened.  Pure joy and true love spilt from his smile as the corners of his lips curled up into his cheeks revealing a spirit that oozed of pride and curiosity.  My uncle has always had the most inspiring smile.  It’s the kind that sweeps an entire face, makes one’s eyes glisten with gladness and beckons others to take delight in the moment.  You’d be a miserable fool to resist its charm.

The mirror is patient while I squeeze my eyes tight and hope and beg that that very moment never fades from my memory.  I open them to find my gaze upon my flat stomach.  I turn to the side, take in a deep breath and push my tummy out as far as I can.  I rest one hand on my air-filled belly, the other on my strained lower back. I’ve always been a pro at make-believe.  I consider what it might feel like to have life blossoming inside me, but even my wildest imagination can’t do it justice.  The mirror seems to look upon me with compassion this time.  We gaze into one another, and sigh. 

A toilet unexpectedly roars like a rushing river crushing my belly back to size.   And in an instant I recognize that the glass is more than half-full; a single girl never goes hungry, polka dot toes are only a salon away, my vagina is still collecting compliments and a baby girl really is the most beautiful thing in the world.


A Scottsdale inspired piece written from the perspective of girls I party with, but don’t know much else about.  Scottsdale Fact: the girls who play here are always beautiful, and usually bitchy. 

My mind is racing, but my body is gliding.  It’s important to me to look thin.  I just need to stand up straight, take my time, cross the floor, and then I can breathe just as soon as I round the corner into the ladies room.  I look good in this top.  No, I look great!  I have to.  I mean I haven’t eaten in four days.  The handful of peanuts and the bag of donuts definitely don’t count because I puked them up.  I should chew another piece of gum; this stuff is so delicious.  I think I’m hungry.  I know for certain that I’m drunk.  Please don’t trip.  Although I am sick of these damn tasteless vodka sodas, I’d hate to be wearing it.  Eeeek!  Those guys are looking at me!  They have girls with them, yet they’re checking me out.  I knew that medium was a wise choice.  It’s snug, but it shows me off.  Guys like that.  Right?

“Ahhh,” I exhale aloud as I enter the dimly lit ladies room.  I cannot believe how exhausting it is to suck in all night.  On a more positive note, I can’t believe how well I’m doing it considering how much I’ve been drinking.  I laugh with my reflection for a moment.  We look thin and happy.  This makes us smile.

The bathroom door swings open interrupting my retreat.  In walks an amazingly thin blonde, and out goes my ever-wavering confidence.  We survey one another and share half-hearted smiles.  I pretend to rifle through my clutch, when really, all my focus has shifted to her.  I peek at her as she studies her reflection with familiar scrutiny.  Her floral romper lays flat on her skin, yet she doesn’t look satisfied.  I could never pull off that pattern.  I turn my drunken haze to my own reflection.  It appears tired, disappointed, and enormous.  To me, she looks like Christmas in June, sunny and amazing.  Even I wouldn’t pick me.   Why must I always be the fattest woman in the room?

“Excuse me, my soap is all out.  Ugh don’t you just hate that?” she glances at me, careful not to drip water on my clutch as her frail arm nears the dispenser, and smiles.

Her bones are beckoning me to push them like buttons, “Oh, no problem.  Yah, that’s always so gross.   I mean what if someone needed to wash up to eat or something,” I say relaxing more with each syllable.

“Eeew yah, or what if someone was sick or something,” she says with a curled up nose as she sticks her index finger down her throat and makes a gagging noise followed by a giggle.  “I mean, it just happens sometimes, ya know?” she says with a matter of fact type of tone as she checks her smile in the mirror.

“Absolutely!” I say with newfound esteem, suddenly feeling proud of my bare belly and plunging neckline.  Searching for my lip-gloss I imagine our reflections high-fiving and smile.  I suddenly feel so at ease.  “I am so wasted right now.   If I don’t get out of here soon, one of these toilets will for sure be my new friend.  I mean I haven’t eaten in days, so I’m just getting so smashed!  Well, I’m sure you understand,” I say with a greater emphasis on you than I had intended.

I am expecting her laughter to chime in, or for her to agree in some way, but she is silent.  All I can hear is the bars music pounding on the door, as if it were pleading for her return.  I lift my face to meet her heavy stare.  Her eyes narrow as she looks me up and down.  She grins, turning her attention to herself as she applies lip plumper.

“I hear they have a bacon avocado cheeseburger that’s just ridiculous!”  She tilts her head and poses in the mirror, “Mmm but I think I’m craving the nacho platter.  I’m not really that hungry, but my boyfriend enjoys treating me to dinner, so…maybe I’ll just get both, and kind of nibble.  Although, I definitely want to save room for their brownie dessert!  Have you had it?” she asks without making eye contact and proceeds without waiting for a response.  “And I think I’m done drinking beer for the night, I look like I’m pregnant!” she laughs and pats her remarkably flat stomach, her eyes never leaving her own reflection.

I feel like I’m under a spell.  I can’t stop staring at her reflection.  Every part of her body is taunting me.  She unexpectedly turns for the door, yet my eyes remain fixated where her reflection had been effectively torturing me.  With one swift pull of the handle, the music swallows me.   I turn to watch her go, when she suddenly stops and gracefully twirls to face me.

“Cute top,” she spoke the way your superficially sweet Barbie doll would and looked me square in the eyes.  “I almost bought it myself, but it was too loose around my ribs.  Oh and in my arms.  I was kind of down about it, but now I see that it must have been made for a bigger body type.”

She smirked like she was waiting for me to thank her, adjusted her romper and looked through me as if I were her personal mirror, and then sashayed away to eat a cheeseburger.