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That song. You know, the one that’s been stuck in your head all day. Your favorite lines drawing figure eights through your brain, tattooed onto your frontal lobe, no possible way to etch the beat out.
I feel it, right now, running through my veins. Only this time, I want to remember it. This time, I invited this song to stay. This time, this song means a lot to me.
About a month ago, I was riding in the car at night, back seat, head against the window with my earphones in. My napping playlist was running its due course when a song came on that I had only added to my iPod because I had gotten The Fray’s whole CD, and I couldn’t dare leave this one poor song out.
I really only had a mild liking for it.
But this time, it was different.
Staring out the window with my knees hugged into my chest, there was silence enough for the words to really take root. There was even silence enough for me to feel this song affecting me, hitting me, stabbing me, whispering, “I told you I was a good one.”
I felt it.
The lyrics were genius, but I’d just never paid attention before. They’d never mattered until right then, that moment, watching the dark hulking forms of trees pass by in the black-on-black night horizon. It erupted like a water balloon inside of my chest, exploding with this feeling of pure happiness.
When it was over, I checked the name of the song so that I could taste this sensation again, and the name of the song really was "Happiness".
I realized then that the song had made me emotional in a way that I wasn’t used to. I hadn’t been prepared that night for a song to take over everything. But again, this song was different.
Even after that car ride, as I was trying to fall asleep, this one part wouldn’t unglue itself from my mind:
“Happiness is like the old man told me
Look for it, but you’ll never find it all
Let it go, live your life and leave it
Then one day, wake up and she’ll be home.”
And then the song ends with a long, gorgeous plead of,
“She’ll be home
She’ll be home
She’ll be home”
I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own happiness that we’re overwhelmed with the fear that we’ll lose it, so much so, that we do lose it. We can’t be occupied with happiness, it has to occupy us, and we can’t ever control that.
To this day, I get that feeling of pure joy every time I listen to the song, simply because it reminds me of times that never really seemed that happy, but really were.
As soon as the song starts, memories flash through my head.
I see one of my best friends pulling her hood over her head and doing a dance in the hallway because there’s no one else to see. I feel my palm, sweaty but sure of itself, holding onto another friend’s hand as we walk the track for Relay for Life in the dark. I remember walking that same track at my school for gym class, and hearing, for the first time, someone tell me that they see potential in my writing. I see my sister and me crying with laughter in a parking lot after making our best cat impressions, and I remember falling asleep next to my cat and realizing that people aren’t the only ones you can love. I see the video I recorded of an old friend dancing to Janet Jackson. I hear the rush of music blaring at a concert as I dance with a newfound freedom, and I sense the intensity I felt pressing my fingers against the glass as I saw my nephew for the first time.
Maybe you’d experience something different if you listened, but I saw my whole life. I saw my closest friends, and my friends that I wish I still had, and my family, and my life. I thank God for all of that life. Life that I didn’t even know I had until I listened to that song and remembered.
I think sometimes we forget, amongst all of our ambitions on our so-called paths to success and happiness, that life is happy. It’s sad also, yes, but it’s filled with innumerable accounts of bliss.
And I think that, for me, remembering all of this happy made me feel, for the first time ever, really happy. Actually happy.
So happy that it didn’t matter that I’d never had a boyfriend before.
Or that I’d never been kissed.
Or that I was socially awkward.
Or that I was going down a road in life that didn’t guarantee success or money or stability.
My happiness had found its home.