The Sun Starting To Rise

Once upon a time I worked in a pink-and-glitter emporium of reasons for preteen girls to hate themselves.

It wasn’t about the obvious reasons to hate yourself. Nobody ever said out loud “You’re fat.” Nobody ever said “Those girls you think are your friends? They’ll be awful to you in three months. As soon as they decide you’re not cool.”

And then there was the music. The boy bands were plentiful. This generation’s preference being One Direction, the songs “What Makes You Beautiful” (spoiler, it’s that you don’t know you’re beautiful, because low self-esteem is very attractive) and “Steal My Girl” featured prominently.

But then there was “Beautiful Times” by Owl City. I was fifteen years older than the target demographic, at least if we’re talking about who the clothes were marketed to, as opposed to the parental units actually shelling out the cash for them.

But it was world-shaking.

Perhaps I’m reading in too much, I often do. Perhaps I’m old and washed-up and what I know about emotional experience is no longer relevant. It wouldn’t surprise me.

But here’s this song about mental health. About taking care of yourself. About counting it a victory every time you fight through the night.

And I was in love. I’d post every single line separately if I thought it wouldn’t be awful.

I heard it at plenty of years older than the target shopping demographic and even cranky jaded, sore-footed me felt like things would be okay. I felt like any struggle I’d managed to  deal with in order to get to where I was standing right at that moment (folding pink and glittery tops and pants) was worthwhile, because the struggle itself was worthwhile.

It was the first song I’d heard in an age and a half that addressed a person’s various demons as present, but not romantic.

“When did the sky turn black?

And when will the light come back?

We all suffer,

but we recover,

just to discover

Life where we all are.

I fought all through the night,

But I made it alive.”

This is the first song in ages that I’ve heard that romanticized recovery. Romanticized doing okay. Maybe not doing as well as you might have hoped, but surviving, in spite of the sky turning black.

And that’s quite something.





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