The friendships of 10-year old girls are intense love affairs, and when my best friend since kindergarten dropped me for a cooler model, it was my first and worst experience with heartbreak. The intense bullying and rejection that followed crushed me and I never really recovered. I worked through my grief by listening to Amy Grant's song Stay for Awhile over and over, and knew I was moving on when the rewind button on my tape deck stopped being blurry with tears.
Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home didn't equip me with much in the way of social skills. When my classmates found out I was TV-less, I might as well have been wearing a sign that said "FREAK!". Hiding in the basement with the lights out on Hallowe'en, I knew my family (or maybe me specifically) must have done something terribly wrong to make the world hate us so much. When MC Hammer released the song "Pray" when I was in seventh grade, there were a few shining months where I thought there was a chance I could fit in. Maybe God wasn't the equivalent of cooties after all.
I debated leaving this next song out, because my tendency to overshare only goes so far. However, I'm alive today partly because of Newboys' song Elle G, and the anchor it gave me to hold onto in the hurricane my teenage hormones made of the depression and anxiety I've dealt with my whole life.
Fast forward to university. I'm kickboxing and working out 7 days a week, in the best shape of my life. Partying with my roommates and out dancing every Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sat in between exams. I've discovered ceramic flat irons and the braces and glasses are long gone. For the first time, I feel powerful. Hot. And hips swivelling to these three songs, I belong.
You Can Do It by Ice Cube
Dirrty by Christina Aguilera
I'm a Slave 4 U by Britney Spears
Five years of university and another year of hard-core studying while working full-time at an accounting firm have brought me to the final hurdle to getting my designation as a Chartered Accountant. A three-day professional exam - five hours the first day and four hours the next two days and I'm exhausted and terrified. But this is it - the golden ticket that I've worked so hard for. As long as I don't choke. Driving to the exam centre every morning, Eminem's Till I Collapse and Lose Yourself remind me that I'm strong, and I can do this.
In my last trimester of pregnancy last spring, I would listen to For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert on the way to work and S. would happily kick along. When J. went back to work a week after S. was born, I steadily slid toward that old familiar precipice of depression, S.'s newborn screams speeding me along. Until one day I popped in my Adam Lambert CD and S.'s big brown eyes widened and she paused mid-squall. From that day forward, we spent a lot of time dancing in the living room, and these brief moments of non-crying gave me just enough strength to pick up the phone and call for help.
These are the songs that made me who I am today. What's your playlist?