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?
**Don’t forget to link up your post below & visit some participants to see what they’re jamming out to!**


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 

Host Follow Links:

     Meg                                        Jen                        Beth                         Tiffany

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The Patchwork Paisley

The Patchwork Paisley

Don't Drink the Water Quote cited from


My Total Truths: #6 – You’re Not Better… You Just Think You Are

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?

# 6 – You’re Not Better… You Just Think You Are

One upping.
Listen up, people who one-up: stop it! It’s annoying. There are plenty of people out there that suck. Just read People I Want to Punch in the Throat for an extensive, detailed list of people that suck. But the one-uppers have a specific stank because in their pinnacle moments of one-upness their sole purpose is to make themselves seem better than you. Boooo!

When did we get to a place in the human species where everything is an Olympic competition? Where there has to be a number one? Where “anything you could do I could do better?”

Why, oh why, on God’s green earth do one-uppers find it necessary to one-up? Every. Single. Time. Let me be clear. One-upping is not disagreeing. Disagreeing is different. Disagreement is a difference of opinion on matters that MATTER and they are said as a difference of oopinion. We disagree on politics or religion by having a discussion. One-upping is usually over nothing important that follows with some deragatory I’m better than you back-handed comment. One-upping at its core is the act of making it sound like what you like or do or care about is somehow a bazillion times better than what I like or do or care about.

Some examples:

I tell you about a great beach I visited.
You respond, “Yeah. If you like that kind of thing. But if you want to go to a really nice place you should try…”

Ummm…I think I just got smacked by the back of your hand. I’m sorry, I’m just trying to understand…  what kind of thing do I like if it’s not really nice


I tell you about a great, new coffee joint. 

You respond snob style and giggly like you’re telling a joke, “Yeah I tried that place but I guess I’m just so spoiled by my coffee place that anywhere else’s coffee just tastes like dirt.” Followed by a hand flip and snooty giggle.

Here’s an idea.. why not eat dirt and then tell me if that’s really what you think… I mean seriously? Did I say it was the best coffee place ever had or did I just say I enjoyed it?


I tell you about a delicious hamburger joint. You decide to try it. 
Your response (without me asking BTW), “It was good… but I’ve had better.”

Roll eyes, gag, vomit.  If it was really good, why do you need to add the I’ve had better. Did I say that eating that burger was life changing? Oh, right, because you’re trying to be better than me. I see taht now.  
One upping is so silly because it doesn’t actually make you better, you just think it does. You get off on announcing that you’re classier, smarter, or have better taste than others, when in fact, it just makes you look petty and silly; like a silly, sad jackass-in-the-box bobbing up and down looking for attention.

My Total Truths: #3 Change Doesn’t Make Everyone Happy… and It Doesn’t Have To

My Total Truths is a series based on MY truths; a list of things that I know to be true and have served as mini life lessons in my experience. 

# 3 Change Doesn’t Make Everyone Happy… and It Doesn’t Have To
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Years ago I was talking to a close friend about her unhappiness with certain relationships. It seemed that she had been looking inward and wanted to cut out her best self, as Oprah cleverly puts it, and was taking a good look at the things that brought her up and the things that didn’t.  She understood that changes would have to be made and that many changes would be difficult to make but she was ready. She had been feeling the change coming for years and it was time. It was time.
The funny thing was that when she looked at the changes to be made none of her changes specifically involve people, they solely involved her own issues. She discovered that she didn’t want to be a “yes” person, always agreeing and accepting, often making so much time for others that she had no time left for herself. She uncovered that she wanted to stand up for herself more. She realized that she was more special and beautiful and smarter than she often allowed herself to feel. She decided that she could me as funny, creative, healthy, and outgoing as she wanted to be and that certain relationships didn’t make her feel like these things. The changes she discovered needed to be made were just a mindset away, a different way of thinking. 
But a funny thing happened… when she started to make these changes, it wasn’t her alone that began evolving; it was the people around her that became different. Because people don’t always like change – even when the change isn’t about them – they became resistant to it, resistant to her. She was changing only for herself but was quickly discovering that change doesn’t make everyone happy and that by altering herslef, her relationships were bound to change too. 
Instead of saying, “Yes, I’ll be there for dinner,” she said, “No I can’t make it. I have yoga tonight.” Instead of nodding her head in agreement while disagreement sat heavily in her heart, she would be kindly vocal about what she wanted. Instead of allowing herself to feel small she would focus on what was important to her. 

Inevitably, some people not only didn’t support her decision to live her life differently but they became downright angry. They would tell her that she was “different” (as if this is always a bad thing), they would tell her that she was changing, that she wasn’t the same person she used to be. Not realizing that that was the point. They would make her feel guilty about choices she made and the life she was choosing. They made this about themselves instead of accepting that this was not about them; in fact, it had nothing to do with them. This was about her; the life she wanted, the changes she needed.
And by making it about themselves they were causing themselves to be a change.
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She didn’t belong to any of them, she belonged only to herself and the only person she would have to face and be accountable to at the end was herself. She reminded herself of this constantly.
She doubted herself and questioned herself. She suffered because instead of supporting her when she needed them, they tried to guilt her into playing her same role, into being the same person that she was obviously not capable of being anymore. She struggled for a long time with many relationships, many close relationships that wanted her to stay the same and refused to understand that what they were asking of her wasn’t in her best self interest nor was it even possible because as people we change and grow and become different and evolve.  She had grown. She had changed. And the only choice for them to make was to support those changes or not and to realize that the changes she was making was not about pushing them out but about letting herself in. 
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My Total Truths: #2 Cut Your Losses

My Total Truths is a series based on my truths; a list of things that I know to be true and have served as mini life lessons in my experience. 

# 2 Cut Your Losses
“In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him til he cried out
In his anger and his shame
‘I am leaving, I am leaving’
But the fighter still remains.”

                                        – Simon & Garfunkel
                                         “The Boxer”

This isn’t something I say lightly.
I am a fighter and a competitor and, to the core, fighters and competitors don’t believe in losses because a loss equals failure and failure is not an option. But in the past year, such immense milestones transformed my life that it inevitably made me see many things that I used to see as truths in a different light. And now, cutting your losses seems more like a winner’s strategy than a loser’s outcome.
One of the first things I should mention is that cutting your losses is a lot like emotional warfare and is not easy, especially when those losses you are cutting are people. It requires you to eradicate someone from your life that at one time might have been important to you, central to you, valuable to you. It requires you to really evaluate and be honest about who is worth keeping, who still makes your life better or whose time in your life has passed and is only still around because they have always been. I don’t say this from a place of anger – if anything I say this from the corner of sadness and healing. I have realized in the last year that not everyone will stay in your life and not everyone should. And sometimes, cutting these losses is a necessity.
Maybe it’s as trivially put as blaming it on my pregnancy hormones or maybe its born from the significant changes that happen to us in the midst of such huge milestones as leaving your country, a death in the family, getting married and becoming a mother, but for whatever reason, at the times in your life when you are supposed to realize who your friends are, I realized who they are not. 
It is incredibly sad to me that when I think back to the single most momentous and meaningful year of my life, all of those miraculous memories will also stand alongside great grief. Some grief, like losing my grandfather, was unavoidable. It is a loss that has to be cut because there is nothing that anyone of us can do to escape the inescapable. But some grief was inflicted by people of supreme trust and total love. It is a loss rooted in selfishness, causing nothing good and leaving only heartbreak. This kind of loss breaks down even the strongest of fighters. 
But great fighters, and remember we are all great fighters when we need to be, come back stronger. And I had the most important reason to fight, growing inside of me. Life threw me too many punches in 9 months. I tried ducking and dodging, weaving and dancing, swinging and breathing and resting, but in the end, the only way to win the prize that mattered most, a healthy baby, was to concede those other fights and cut my losses. 
I needed my rest for the only fight worth fighting. And with planning a wedding “stress” and moving from the country “stress” and sitting in the hospital with my grandfather “stress” and then losing my grandfather “stress,” fighting people who should have been in my corner seemed – well – not worth it.

It wasn’t always not worth it, it just became a fight not worth fighting any longer. 

Being a fighter doesn’t just mean being strong. It means being smart enough to know when to let go of the things that are unhealthy, draining, and damaging. It means knowing that not every fight is worth winning and not everything is worth fighting for. 
But knowing that no matter what the outcome, you are always a fighter.

Photo Credit:
Rocky Balboa: Jase Lam

My Total Truths: #1 If you don’t like the life you’re living, create a new one.

My Total Truths is a series based on MY truths; a list of things that I know to be true and have served as mini life lessons in my experience. 

# 1 – If you don’t like the life you’re living, create a new one.
I read this or something very similar to it recently and it put into words something that I had thought and felt for a long time.
I watched “Bridesmaids” the other night for the first time – I know I am super late – and while I loved the main character, Annie, and I thought the things happening to her were side-splittingly funny (especially that plane scene) I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her because she had no control of her life. At some point, she stopped realizing that she (and she alone) had the power to make the changes that she wanted. Instead, she blamed her problems on her best friend getting married and moving forward with her life, she blamed Helen, she blamed her roommates, she made excuses for the jerky ex-boyfriend that treated her like what you would expect a jerky ex-boyfriend to treat you like. Um, hello Annie, the only common piece to all of that is you
It is all too easy to put the blame of how life is turning out on the world around you. Watch: My job makes me miserable. My roommate smells weird and touches my stuff. My boss is incompetnt. My apartment is old and the rent is too high. There are only a few good men out there…and they’re gay or don’t live here. See? See how easy that was to make life seem like the bad guy? But life is only giving you back what you are not willing to change.
Once you feel like a victim to life, it’s usually because you are one. It’s like that scene when Annie has to move back home after being kicked out by the strangest brother and sister roommates ever to walk Milwaukee and she says to her mom, “Remember when you thought I hit bottom… that wasn’t bottom.”  I have had many moments of feeling confused about why life had chosen to bully me, to kick my ass. I’ve had moments where I thought “if something, I don’t know what, would just change, I’d be happier, healthier, smarter, stronger, skinnier, better, prettier, fancier dressed, brighter teethed, shorter nosed, smaller eared, longer legged, rounder faced, higher paid, more traveled… 
But it turns out that the only way to live the life you want is to – wait for it – live the life you want. That’s it. That’s the secret. If you don’t like your job – quit it. Find another one. Be smart about it but don’t keep using the same excuses as a way to stay. If you don’t like the quality of men you are meeting, stop going to the same places to meet them, stop sleeping with them on the first date, stop allowing them to treat you like garbage, stop running for the hills when a normal one comes along (Remember Annie and the cop?). If you don’t like your apartment, your scenery, your city, your state, your country – move. Leave. Be where you want.  Why are you staying? Ask yourself that. 
Like Annie, we all at some point take a life hit. We compare ourselves and what we have to others and what they have. We get mad that life has been unfair. That we don’t have the job, the car, the man, the house, the kids, the clothes, the face we want. And like Annie, sometimes you misplace your unhappiness on the backs of others or on life itself.
It is hard to make changes. I know this as well as anyone. And I could only speak for myself when I say that being brave and making change has allowed me to live a life I have wanted in many ways.
So, I urge you to stop blaming life and if you don’t like the life you are living, create a new one. 
(Ring that I have that reminds me of this simple truth:
 “Love Life” and on the inside of the ring it says, “Be Brave”)