My Total Truths #7 – Words are Powerful (And the Jukebox Plays…) #TunesdayTuesdayHop

Each one of us has inside of us our own truth. My Total Truths is a series based on MY truths; a list of things that I know to be true. What are your total truths?

# 7 – Words are Powerful

Words matter. The writer in me knows this as an essential truth. They don’t always have to be neat or pretty or elegantly spoken; they can be simple and rough around the edges but no matter what words you choose to say they are always heard. So think about the ones you choose to be spoken. I don’t understand people who toss words out of their mouth like spitballs in a middle school classroom, without thought or much attention but then grow upset when they are called out on those words. When you say something, when you use words you offend, encourage, affirm, accept, neglect, negate, humiliate, liberate, comfort and reassure, compliment, challenge, or enrage. Be ready to accept whatever words you speak. They are powerful. They can evoke revolution and throw over governments. They have won over hearts and flattened souls.

Writers know this… musicians know this too. (Well, some.) Lyrics are words made more powerful to a rhythm. Although, Dave Matthews makes it insanely hard to choose just one song with lyrics that move me, my first choice would undoubtedly be from his Before These Crowded Streets album, a song called Don’t Drink the Water.

The song with its already powerful musical arrangement could seem a bit dark if you don’t know what DMB is singing about but the lyrics force down your throat an overlooked truth, one our country rarely talks about; that the development of our country was made at the expense of its native inhabitants. It poetically sings about a dark time in our nation’s history when colonization caused near extinction of the Native American population. But the reason it is so powerful is its point of view:

“Interestingly, the song is written from the perpective of a typical white man, who comes to a new land where he hopes his dreams can come true, only to find that there are people living there already that ‘don’t fit into his idea of paradise, so he asks them to leave.'”

The opening words sound playful like an adult playing a silly child’s game. It’s eerie, really, the way he talks to “them” making it known what will happen like a parent giving commands. “So you will lay your arms down. Yes, I will call this home.” But perhaps what I find to be the most powerful line(s) are when he asks:

What’s this you say?
You feel the right to remain
Then stay…. and I will bury you.

Powerful words that show no compromise. Words that show no room for disagreement. Words that tell a story, that send a shiver down my spine every time I hear them.

This song is one of the most genius-ly written musical creations ever written. I say that with honest words, words I would defend to anyone. DMB finds away to make his commands sound like requests to his new neighbors. He makes the commands of the “typical white man” so sound and reasonable while still attacking with words.

Words that are powerful. Words that make you listen.

It is longer than typical songs but totally worth every minute! You might never hear music in the same way.

Come out come out
No use in hiding
Come now come now
Can you not see?
There’s no place here
What were you expecting
Not room for both
Just room for me
So you will lay your arms down
Yes I will call this home

Away away
You have been banished
Your land is gone
And given me
And here I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home

What’s this you say
You feel a right to remain
Then stay and I will bury you
What’s that you say
Your father’s spirit still lives in this place
I will silence you

Here’s the hitch
Your horse is leaving
Don’t miss your boat
It’s leaving now
And as you go I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home

I have no time to justify to you
Fool you’re blind, move aside for me
All I can say to you my new neighbor
Is you must move on or I will bury you

Now as I rest my feet by this fire
Those hands once warmed here
I have retired them
I can breathe my own air
I can sleep more soundly
Upon these poor souls
I’ll build heaven and call it home
‘Cause you’re all dead now

I live with my justice
I live with my greedy need
I live with no mercy
I live with my frenzied feeding
I live with my hatred
I live with my jealousy
I live with the notion
That I don’t need anyone but me

Don’t drink the water
There’s blood in the water

Can’t stick around for this week’s party??
Next week’s theme will be…
What song makes you sing out loud in public?
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Tunesday Tuesday was created to bring people together through music while discovering some new jams for your playlists. Every Tuesday the linkup is LIVE here at DTWB and at The Patchwork Paisley, MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter and Structure in an Unstructured Life 

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Don't Drink the Water Quote cited from


Tunesday Tuesday: Pump Up the (car) Jam – A Look Back to Blaming Springsteen

Week 9: Pump Up the (car) Jam
Can’t stick around for this week’s party?? 
Next week’s theme will be…
 Your Favorite Oldie
And now…

I love driving and I love music so it should go without saying that driving while listening to music goes together for me like peanut butter and jelly or smoking cigarettes and binge drinking for others. Maybe it’s because both driving and music are so liberating but there is something about the combination of both that is unrivaled.

(I’m Going Down back here.) When I got my license in 1998, my grandparents sent me their 1986 Nissan Maxima in burgundy red. They lived in Miami Beach and the sun and salt had given her a worn look by rusting the hood of the wine-colored sedan but that was no matter to me. To me, it just gave her character. More character, I thought, than the popular Mitsubishi Eclipse in dark green that everyone was driving around that year. To me, there was no comparison. But I digress. The point is, to me she was a beautiful specimen because she meant freedom.

I wasn’t the kind of kid who wanted that much freedom, persay. I wasn’t trying to move out of my house the moment I turned 18. In fact, I wouldn’t leave – except for college – until I was 29. And even then it was a bit of a struggle. No, the kind of freedom I was looking for had boundaries. The kind of freedom I was looking for looked like me in a car with the windows down and the sunroof open and music. Loud music. Music playing so loud I couldn’t hear myself singing it. Well, it kind of looked like this:

Because of this, it would be dishonest to say that “this one” is my car jam. There. are. too. many. I could try and list some for you but the list would too soon get out of hand. It would get away from me like a slippery,wet fish on the edge of a boiling pot.

So instead what I will give you is this story. My first blog post. Ever. (I told you… I’m Going Down back.) The pinnacle of jamming out in my car. Is it the drums that start off the song? Or the Jersey Boardwalk musicality that Bruce is soooo good at pulling off? Or the simple and repetitive words that make you want to scream and drive? Truly, I couldn’t answer you. All I know is that this song, a car, and windows rolled down… whew, explosive.

Legra’s Law – * 1 * – I Blame Springsteen

“I don’t think it’s coincidence that it’s a Bruce Springsteen song,” said this Jersey girl. “I think like most stories it’s full circle. We always go back to the beginning. We always come home.”  

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Tunesday Tuesday: And the Jukebox Plays… The Evolution of a Wedding Song

Week 8: Our Song

Can’t stick around for this week’s party?? 
Next week’s theme will be…
 Your Car Jam
And now…

Wedding song. This should be a simple week, right? A simple write up. I shouldn’t even really have to write about it, right?

Welcome to my life. I don’t do simple. 
* * *
It was so simple… the whole time. 
* * * 
Husband (Then Boyfriend) and I fell in love almost immediately. That kind of love where you couldn’t get enough of each other. We wanted to be together all the time and in fact, where. Not only were we together every chance we got outside of work but we worked together so we got a goooood, BIG dose of each other. He was everything
Michael Bublé was an artist I had loved for years and when I introduced Then Boyfriend to his musical style he was won over also. I remember the morning I heard his latest hit, “Everything.” I was getting ready for work, where I would see Then Boyfriend, but the song wouldn’t let me wait. The song gave me flutters just thinking about him and so before school that day, I rushed to his house just so I could see him before we got to work. A month or so later, we went to a Bublé concert in Manhattan – a legendary date night for us – and when he played “Everything” we danced in the aisle like two fools in love. 
Here’s where it gets complicated
Dancing to our song

Around this time, Then Boyfriend’s Brother was getting married and they hadn’t yet picked their wedding song. While in the car one day, we listened to a CD I had burned – because I love mix tapes – and “our” song played. A week later, Then Boyfriend’s Brother asked Then Boyfriend the name of “that song” we listened to not knowing it was “our song.” I knew where this was going. 
I told Then Boyfriend, “Just say it’s ‘our’ song.” But I knew he wouldn’t, he couldn’t. Thinking back, I guess how could he? We had been dating for only a few months and how would he tell his brother, “You can’t have our wedding song.” We didn’t even know where this was going yet, let alone if we were going to get married. So, hard as it was… we gave up our song. 
* * *
When it was time for us to get married, I struggled over what would be our song. We didn’t have a song that was a natural choice anymore so I narrowed down a list of beautiful songs. Coldplay’s “Yellow” was on the list but we decided to save that song for the one I walked down the aisle to. We were right about that one. It was the perfect choice. Another song I had on the list was “God Bless the Broken Road.” I loved it’s idea of how the road is never perfect but it leads you in the exact direction you need to go. At least my road did. But it wasn’t our song. I discovered “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies. It seemed like a good fit considering that our year in 2011 was full of surprises and excitement but it just wasn’t us. We weren’t that hip.
Still complicated.
When we heard, “Nothing Can Change This Love,” by Otis Redding it slipped in smooth like a good glass of Brandy. It was beautiful and old and soulful. That was more us. The decision was made.
On the floor that Husband built
I still hear that song and it melts my heart so I don’t want to downplay our wedding song. It was the perfect song choice for that moment on the dance floor that Husband built with his own two hands and the tiles that pregnant Best Friend and I would peel and stomp, under the stars of Lake Owassa and the café lights that we strung ourselves. The song was a great choice but in there lay the problem. It was a song we chose and not a song that chose us. It has never quite sat totally right.

It was so simple… the whole time. 
The other night as I was driving home from one of my birthday celebrations in JENuary, I played a CD I had burned – full circle. #12 on my mix tape began to play. Its simple guitar strings and marimba notes are musical perfection together, the most perfect introduction to a song. Then enters the voice. Strong and gritty, like gravel, singing delicate words that could break if sung any louder. Words so velvety that you could hibernate under them, unclouded by grand admissions of movie love that are exaggerated by thundering music. It’s tender and quiet and in its quiet is its power: Love is in the small spaces. In the Saturday nights. In the small requests – “Leave me some room at your table, slip into your heart if I might and stay just as long as I’m able. Baby, save me a Saturday night.” It’s the most romantic song I’ve ever heard because it’s delicately simple. I just want to be with you.
I was steering but the car drove me home. 
I was deep in thought. How did I ever find this man that I had looked so long for? 

Scared that if this didn’t work out I would have to work with this man, I cancelled a few dates until, finally, one Saturday night, I went. And my life changed. From that Saturday night, we were connected, entwined, inseverable, and tied up. It wasn’t messy. It was… simple. There was no him or me – those people were traded in for just us. After only a few weeks together we took a road trip together to Tennessee (Nashville & Memphis). We woke up before dawn for the road ahead and in an ironic twist, he introduced me to Neil Diamond’s album, 12 Songs. It was the first of many CDs that would accompany our journey that trip but the only one I remember. Holding his hand and looking at the dark road in front of us, I never felt so at ease with someone, so grateful to have all my troubles behind me. This was the trip we fell in love. This was the trip Husband first told me he loved me. 

So how did we miss this? 
This was so simple. This was always it. 
This was always our song.
When I got home that night, I opened my computer, and found “Save Me a Saturday Night” by Neil Diamond. Husband had long since fallen asleep. I crept into our room and under the covers and pressed play. He woke up – a bit startled – but settled in quickly as he heard the familiar notes, like a lullaby.

“This should have been our wedding song,” I said.
He whispered still half asleep, “You’re right,”  like he had never quite been convinced about our wedding song either. “It should have been.”

And so it is.

It is the #1 track on our soundtrack, a soundtrack that evolves and morphs and becomes whatever we need it to be: EverythingNothing. Or just a Saturday Night.

(I made my own video since I didn’t like any of the version I found. Here’s our wedding with my 6 month pregnant Rafaella belly.)
Nothing Can Change This Love – Otis Redding

join us next week…
Every Monday night at 9pm the link up will go live at The Patchwork Paisley, Drinking the Whole BottleMomma Candy, and MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter
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Tunesday Tuesday: And My Jukebox Plays… Jibba Ga?

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This Week
**Don’t forget to link up your post below & visit some participants to see what they’re jamming out to!**
* * *
Can’t stick around for this week’s party?? 
Next week’s theme will be…
a dedication

* * *

Nearing our first Christmas season, Husband Then Boyfriend and I were out shopping together when the store’s radio began playing a Christmas song, one of my favorites actually, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It was early for Christmas music so it caught me by surprise and the nostalgia of that song swept me away. I was so filled with the happiness merriness of the season that in my excitement I started to tear up.

Husband, to this day, still remembers that moment. And for me, it was just what happens during Christmas. To ask me to pick a favorite Christmas song is like asking me to pick a favorite piece of writing. Impossible. I could try but it would sound something like:

I told you. To choose my all time favorite Christmas song would be impossible. My least favorite? That’s easy. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” I don’t know who it’s by. Don’t care. Hate. 

But favorite? Impossible.

I guess I could pick something special to me this year. This year is the first year that my daughter is starting to get Christmas. The first year that I could revel and roll around in what it will be like to celebrate Christmas with my children. She blows kisses to Santa every night and spots him on lawn ornaments and Christmas trees and TV shows and yells, “Santa!” She watches Disney’s Christmas Sing Along videos on YouTube every night. And her favorite song, her absolute favorite song is “Jibba Ga.” Oh wait, that’s how she says it. You would know it as “Jingle Bells.”

So when we are in the car and she says demands “Jibba Ga” I know that I should press play and get ready to listen to Michael Bublé and The Puppini Sisters’ sweet rendition of “Jingle Bells.” And then re-listen and re-listen and listen again and re-listen more – luckily I have the CD in the car. And as soon as the song finishes and Rafaella says, “Mas” (which means “more” in Spanish) we listen to “Jibba Ga” again. Another 23 times. And I don’t mind it one bit. Because truthfully, it is THE BEST rendition of “Jingle Bells” I’ve ever heard too so I see why she loves it so much.

It’s kind of a big deal. It’s her first favorite Christmas song. At a point in my life someone referred to me as “Jenny Christmas” so you could say that Christmas is kind of a big deal for me. And so her first favorite Christmas song… well, that’s a major big deal for me (as will your first favorite Christmas song be too, Santiago). I should also add that Bublé has SUCH an incredible history in the life of Husband and I, that her song choice makes it even more special.

One day they’ll both grow up and (fingers crossed) love Christmas music as much as I do and they will bop along and fall in love with plenty of other great Christmas songs but right now, this year? “Jibba Ga” is it.

Let’s just hope they never grow up and ask me to repeat play “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
That would be catastrophic.



And the Jukebox Plays: Titanium

(*vamos means let’s go in spanish)

I leave my house at 11:10 every day.

I leave my house at 11:10 every day because my kids’ nap time is at 11:00 am so I put my daughter down for her nap and the nanny puts my son down for his nap and then I’m out the door to work by 11:10.
But yesterday was different. I had a job I was working on so I had to leave earlier. 
As I was getting ready, my daughter noticed I was getting ready and kept asking me, “Mami? *Vamos?”
I didn’t answer the question. I knew it would upset her because the answer involved her not vamos-ing, just mommy *vamos-ing. So she kept looking at picture on the iPad while sitting on the reclner in our room and I kept getting dressed. I opened my earrings box and chose a pair of earrings. 
“Mami? *Vamos?”
No answer. I kept getting ready, she kept sorting through photos. 
Finally when there was no more ready to get, “”Mami? *Vamos?”
I knelt down to rationalize with my two-year-old, “Mami is going. But later when you wake up we’re going to go to story time and then play at the park, ok?”
She seemed to take it well, mumbled some word and walked out of my room.
I walked behind her as she walked down the hallway. She turned into her room. And the nanny walked in after her. And then I realized it…
The word she mumbled was, “eta.” That’s her shortened word for chancleta which is spanish for flip flop. She was going to her room to get her flip flops to *vamos with mommy. 
And then upon entering her room for her eta so she could *vamos with mommy, she discovered the cold, hard truth that she wasn’t leaving. She was staying. So she began to cry. And I wanted to cry right on with her.

* * * 
She had already stopped crying by the time I left the apartment. But of course, as only mothers could do, I lingered over that 2 minutes for hours. When I arrived to have lunch with Husband, I told him the story. I told him how I felt so bad. How I didn’t want her feelings to be hurt. 
He unveiled this gem of wisdom, ” That’s kind of your thing, huh?”
“Feelings.” He said. I waited for more explanation. “You are terrified about the day when a kid will be mean to her. The day she comes home and says so and so was mean to me. You don’t want her to get her feelings hurt.”
(Let me just intersect here for a moment and inform you reading this that I am NOT one of those hovering moms. I let her wander. I let her be free. I let her do her. I guess this is just my thing. The hurt feelings thing.) 
He continued more, “Which is funny because you are not someone who’s feelings easily get hurt.”
It’s true. I’m not saying I’ve never had my feelings hurt but all in all I don’t remember too many times I went home crying over something. I remember a few mean words throughout my school years but I also remember giving it back as hard (or harder) when I got those words.

“So, maybe you don’t have to worry so much about her. You were pretty tough, right?” He reminded.

I was. I remember. I was titanium.

But I also remember the other kids that weren’t titanium. And that scares me. What if she isn’t titanium?

Thisher feelings, ooph… that’s gonna be brutal. I can’t even think about her getting teased without wanting to cry. It hurts to think about how cruel the world could be and how innocent our children are. I watch her innocence, her heart that is full of love and open to everyone and I wish I could protect her but I know that I can’t. And so the only weapon I have in my Mama Bear arsenal, the only thing I can try and teach her is to be strong. Stone-hard. Titanium. That there is no shame in getting shot down because you build strength by getting back up. 

And if that doesn’t work, you meanies out there should all remember that Mama Bears are scary for a reason.

And I am not the Mama Bear you want to cross…

What a coincidence that this actor kid, Ryan Lee is in both these videos. Hmmm…