I hate country music.
I think my distaste for it runs so deep because the worst of my childhood bullies were “good ole country boys.” You know the type– Jocks who drove lifted trucks, wore camo jackets year round, and despite growing up a quick drive from Canada, thought flying confederate flags made them cool.
But yet, I spent the eighth day of the new year painting this.
Pause. Rewind. Let’s go back a little further, a week in the past. New Year’s Day. I was stressed out. My roommate told me, at 11 PM no less, that he wasn’t renewing his lease because he was moving back home to Georgia to save up for a working holiday in Japan. I’m off lease and living paycheck to a week before paycheck, so that’s basically saying, “Hey, you’re out on the streets in two months.”
Whenever I get bad news, especially if it’s a shock, my broken little brain’s first thought is, “Oh, I think I need to kill myself.” I wondered if CVS was open that late and if they would have anything to help me do the job. Surely ceasing to exist is better than being homeless for the 4th time? But it was cold and I was lazy so I didn’t walk to the pharmacy.
But I was still too worried to sleep. The night between the 1st and the 2nd is the first night ever that my insomnia was so bad that I pulled an all nighter. (The night before early morning travel doesn’t count. I purposely stay up so I can sleep on the bus.) I had one thing running through my head. “Who is going to help me? Better not tell anyone. No one cares where I end up. They have their own lives and families. I’m all alone.”
Then an unusual thing happened. I wasn’t alone for long. Because I got desperate enough to post about my situation on Facebook, people started texting me with ideas: a place to crash should the worst happen, potential alternate roommates who could fill up the empty bedroom, ways to sort out my jumbled-up finances. My coworker covered for me without a question when I had to leave work because my pulse was too high. (Thanks a lot, anxiety.)
Now, back to the music thing. After I left work, I was laying in bed and listening to all my sad sack music on Youtube when a song I had never heard of showed up in my recommended links. I had only listened to the singer a couple times at this point and I didn’t even know that she sang songs in English. Sleep deprived curiosity told me to click.
The lyrics told me what real life was telling me. Love is hard. Being vulnerable is hard. But even people who have the potential to hurt us can make us better.
Later on I found out it was actually a cover song originally written by an American country band I never would have listened to. (Their version, IMO, was too twangy.)
Weird things happen.
Sometimes your roommate bails because he wants to backpack across Japan.
Sometimes you spend a few days, or weeks, or months, not knowing where home is gonna be.
And sometimes the internet decides to send you a message from six time zones away. “Don’t quit yet. IT’S OKAY TO LET PEOPLE HELP YOU.”
And here’s the song, just in case you like covers as much as I do.