Last fall, I went to a Lavender Lights Vigil held in the town of Fairfield, by a local church. People were invited to speak, and share stories within a comforting, non-judgmental audience. The vigil was held to honor and remember the kids that had committed suicide last fall as a result of bullying. Mostly anti-gay bullying.
All of the kids were good speakers. I was incredibly impressed, but the story of one student stuck with me more than the others.
A teenage girl - only 15, walked up to the microphone and told us that she is a gay 15-year-old girl, and she gets harassed at school every single day. Just that day, she had been kicked and called an anti-gay slur at school.
As a kid, I always felt very safe at school. I had wonderful friends, and great teachers…thinking back on my own adolescence, it was absolutely impossible for me to understand what this girl was going through. I can respect and empathize with her, but I cannot understand what her life is like.
The point of the story is - at the end of her statement - rather than end with a pity party for herself…she said, "I realize, that I cannot control the actions of others. I can, however, control my reaction to their behavior." How profound!
Her words stuck with me, and her strength snuck itself into my latest song, "Moving On". I wrote this song a few months ago, just after being at the vigil, but didn't make the connection. The feeling was very strong, but it was sounding like a break-up song. I've written those songs before, so though I liked the song, I wasn't thrilled with it.
A few weeks ago, when thinking about the new year, and resolutions - it came to me! I took out one little line, and the entire sentiment shifted. It was no longer a cranky girl break-up song, it was now an empowered and emotional song. I was so excited!
Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes, my songs teach me. I can't take credit for the theme of it - that goes to a teenage girl from Fairfield. And the idea behind it got me thinking…what if, this year, rather than resolving to eat less chocolate, or exercise more, I decided to give up control? What if I decide to recognize that when someone angers, annoys or bothers me, I can choose to just let it go rather than let it gnaw at me? How freeing!
To take it a step further (and I realize this will have to be an entirely different song…) wouldn't it be great if this resolution were completely unnecessary? What if, we were just good to one another, and treated each other with love? Things would look a lot different. So, that's my resolution. To stick to writing songs, and to be good to everyone. Want to join me? It's going to be awesome.