by Kimberly MacCarron
I’ll start this blog topic of Motivating Music: the Soundtrack of our Lives with my last song from my high school play list, and I’ll give you a hint. It’s heard repeatedly during this time of the year. Yes! Pomp and Circumstance.
To this day I can’t listen to the graduation march without tearing up and remembering those last days of high school. The laughs and the tears. The hopes and the fears. The anxiety and elation. What a rollercoaster of emotions! But more than anything, I remember the friendships and relationships that sustained me throughout those formative years.
My senior year of high school was spent with friends of all types, and our musical interests were as varied as could be. For our senior class trip to Florida, we earned money by having car washes every weekend for what seemed like forever. Those were the best times. Hot and sweaty days spent laughing and soaping up cars while listening to music in the parking lot of the local gas station. With all of us liking different kinds of music, those were the days we learned about the art of compromise. Some liked Metallica. On the opposite side of the musical spectrum, others liked Christian singers like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. Somewhere in the middle, we compromised with U2 and Journey. God bless you, Joshua Tree! Senior year would not have been the same—with or without you.
During these periods of compromise, I learned that it was possible to enjoy lots of different songs, different music. At the time I thought I just suffered from a heightened form of identity crisis. I had no clue who I was or what I wanted to be. I had to no clue what I liked. I switched boyfriends as often as my nail polish and then switched back. I was one confused teenager. And music only compounded those feelings. One moment I cried while listening to Whitney sing about almost having it all, and then the next minute I was screaming along with Bon Jovi, who was livin’ on a prayer. From Prince’s Kiss to Michael W. Smith’s Friends, I felt like a schizophrenic. Who was I really? Will the real Kim MacCarron please stand up!
Then I realized that the mash-up going on inside my Glee-like head was the real me. I liked different styles, different friends, different cultures. I like to tell myself even today that I’m not confused with my identity. I’m merely eclectic. J
Let me share with you some of my favorite songs from my high school years.
Kim’s Eclectic Play List :
1. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now—Starship
2. Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone—Glass Tiger
3. That’s What Friends are for—Dionne and Friends
4. I Melt with You—Modern English
6. Livin’ on a Prayer—Bon Jovi
7. Friends (are friends forever)—Michael W. Smith
9. High Flying Adored—from Evita
10. If You Leave—OMD
11. Take My Breath Away—Berlin
12. Somewhere Down the Road—Barry Manilow
13. Pomp and Circumstance
I couldn’t include U2, Journey or Queen because to pick just one their songs is like a mom picking her favorite kid. It can’t be done. When I hear any of these songs, it takes me straight back to high school. I learned to like some of these songs from different friends. I think of Billy every time I hear I Melt with You. I think about watching Top Gun with my friends at school, and drooling over Tom Cruise when I hear the Berlin song. I remember listening to Michael W. Smith’s song over and over while I cried about what could happen to our friendships when we all moved away and scattered to different colleges. When our lives would take us in different directions.
Did I stay in touch with these friends? No. Sadly, I didn’t. But, with a bittersweet smile, I think of them often. Every time I listen to the radio and certain songs come on, it takes me back to them.
I like to think that I am who I am today because of these high school friends and the music we listened to during our car washes. I’m just as varied in my musical choices and my relationships as I was then. My friends range from just about every cultural, political and religious background, and they all add something to my life. I enjoy hearing other people’s points of view. It might not be mine, but I like to hear why people believe the way they do. How they were influenced in their formative years and how closely they stuck to what they were then. I feel like I’ll never be done learning about who I am. I still struggle with my beliefs. I don’t consider myself wishy-washy, but I can switch sides on a topic after listening to another point of view.
Compromise is a beautiful thing as long as we don’t compromise on the big things. And, sometimes, we can change our minds even about the big things when we’re willing to hear a different point of view. Isn’t that a part of life?
I like to think so.