This Shit’s Magical

It’s not a very nice title, is it? I should watch my mouth. Nonetheless, the fact remains: This shit is magical. What shit, you ask? Christmas music.

Oh, I know. It’s not even Thanksgiving; however, I don’t care. 

I’ve been in a mood lately. Probably since Covid-19 hit, but we’ll say the last few weeks. Between a pandemic, the CDC telling me to have Thanksgiving with only the people in my household (that’s a whole other post itself), politics, my daughter, my daughter and politics, people on Facebook pissing me off about politics and the pandemic, trying to lose weight, and my job I’m mostly in a bad mood. It’s a lot to deal with. But today I took my iPod into work, put an earbud in and listened to Christmas music all day long. Like magic I was in a better mood. I didn’t think it was going to work. I really didn’t. But it did. By the end of the day I was ready to start working out hard again and celebrate the holidays regardless of who might be around and who might not be.

I’m going to download some more songs tonight so that I’m not listening to the same 60 songs for the next 6 weeks because I fully plan on listening to Christmas music again tomorrow. As my new Christmas t-shirt advises: In a world of Grinches, be a Griswold. I’m trying!

How Do You Sleep At Night?

The Chicks, formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, are back, feisty as ever with their new album, Gaslighter. Little tip for anyone who might need it: Don’t cheat on a person who can chronicle your behavior in song and then make millions off of it.

Unlike Taylor Swift who seems to delight in superficially calling out the various men she’s dated and dumped (or been dumped by) the songs on this album detail the agony of infidelity, the craziness you feel during all of the gas lighting and lies, and the sorrow of a long term marriage ending in divorce.

The title track song, “Gaslighter” kicks things off. You find the song playing on repeat in your head despite the subject matter. Natalie is bold and brash; she’s not holding back. She calls him out and lets him know she knows exactly what he’s trying to do. “Tights On My Boat” lightens things up a bit. I hope you die peacefully in your sleep. Just kidding- I hope it hurts like you hurt me. She also gives him notice that whoever left those tights on her boat can have him now. “Something Good” is more reflective. The singer begins by listing the things she’s doing to try to keep herself distracted before asking, “Should I have known? Should I have seen a sign?” Isn’t that what we all wonder? How did I miss those red flags? She then goes on to tell him: I hope it’s really worth it. Twenty years of hanging on. Now it all adds up to nothin’. Gave up on the moon and back. Thought you’d found a better half. Ah, I hope it’s something good.” The true gem though is “Sleep At Night.”

The song itself is far too uptempo for what’s coming. When it begins you think it’s just another song that you can bob your head to. Oh, this is nice. And then you listen to the lyrics.

Not that you asked

But I’m getting past everything, everything

I’m doing okay

Just glad it’s not yesterday, huh

Yeah, they never do ask us how we’re doing, do they? They don’t really care. They matter. Their happiness matters. We’re inconsequential.

My husband’s girlfriend’s husband just called me up

How messed up is that?

It’s so insane that I have to laugh.

I know that’s what I’ve told myself for five long years. The things he’s done are so horrible you’ve only got two choices- let it take you down while you cry, or shake your head and laugh about it.

Then she hits us with a bombshell.

But then I think about our two boys trying to become men

There’s nothing funny about that.

Oh. My heart. You try to roll with the punches for your own sanity, yet how do you protect your vulnerable children? How do you explain that this isn’t acceptable behavior while not standing in the way of them having a relationship with this person if that’s what they want?

It brings the fact that there are children living through this to the forefront. They are collateral damage in all of this. Yes, you go find your happiness. Turn my life upside down and force me to live in an alternate reality where your girlfriend’s husband calling me is the norm. While you’re doing that try not to forget that we have children and they understand what’s going on. They’re seeing everything.

The chorus asks:

How do you sleep at night?

How do you tell those lies?

Lookin’ me in the eye

Livin’ a double life

Tell me, how do you sleep at night?

How do you sleep at night?

In the second verse she tells the story of how he brought his mistress to her show where the mistress gushed over her and how much she loved her and was such a huge fan.

I joked that you can love me as long as you don’t love my man.

There’s nothin’ funny about that.

The lies. The duplicity. Duper’s Delight, as Chump Lady puts it. Nothing more exciting than shoving your affair partner right under your spouse’s nose and knowing that person is so trusting and/or naive that he or she will never suspect a thing.

Again she asks:

How do you sleep at night?

How do you tell those lies?

Lookin’ me in the eye

Livin’ a double life

Tell me how do you sleep at night?

Confession time. I was singing along to this song yesterday and I was so angry. As I sang I envisioned myself demanding to know, “How do you sleep at night?” I actually got a little teary eyed wondering how Jerry Lee could sleep at night after all he did to us.

They’ve encompassed the pain and horror of betrayal so beautifully- all it’s absurdities, all the pain, all the horror, all the questions you want to scream out.

Sadly, after about the third time I sang along I shook my head because I realized the answer to that question, “How do you sleep at night?” is, “I sleep fine.”

They don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. The only person they’re worried about is themselves. Our pain doesn’t matter. Our children don’t matter. Only what they want matters.

Therein lies the catch-22. You could ask a normal person that question, and a normal person would be haunted by what he or she had done; then again, a normal person wouldn’t do those things. They wouldn’t think it was fine to bring their affair partner to meet their spouse. They wouldn’t think it was okay to cheat in the first place! A normal person would care about what this is doing to his or her children. A normal person wouldn’t inflict this kind of pain on another person. Lying wouldn’t be second nature to a normal person. They wouldn’t live a double life.

I still love the song. I think it’s powerful and emotional. Let it serve as a warning. Let it call out those who are doing wrong. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can shame a person like this. It can’t be done. They’re going to sleep like babies.

For My Daughter… & My Son

Have you heard Kane Brown’s newest single? It’s called, “For My Daughter” and it’s his  promise to his daughter to be the dad he never had.

I’m not going to lie. I teared up a little bit listening to it. It tugs at the heartstrings. I hope he lives up to all of his promises. That little girl will be incredibly lucky.

I did like how he acknowledges that they say the past is supposed to shape you, but then goes on to say, “Well, I guess that’s up to me.” Far too often what we get are excuses instead of explanations. His father left him. He survived an abusive stepfather. He could easily shrug his shoulders and say, “What do you expect from me? I don’t know any different.” Instead, he tells his daughter, “I learned what not to do. I grew up without a dad. I’m gonna be the best one I can be.”

You know, when my daughter was born I remember Jerry Lee crying, his voice full of wonder as he said to me, “We have a daughter.” My friend reminded me of the story of all of us going out to dinner and him remaining focused on Rock Star the entire night. Apparently I said something to the effect of, “If nothing else I know he will always be a great dad to our children.” I honestly thought I had picked someone who would never abandon his children. Someone who wanted to give his own kids what his own father never gave him. Someone who wanted to coach Little League and teach them how to hit a baseball. Someone who would be there to cheer them on in whatever they chose to do. Someone who would want to spend time with them and create family memories. I thought he loved them.

Since I made such a colossal mistake in choosing a father for my children I’ve taken to re-writing the lyrics a bit. To both my daughter and my son:

They say dads are supposed to shape you, in a way I guess yours did.

You know what not to do if you ever have a kid

They say history repeats itself

Well, I guess that’s up to you

Yeah I’m sorry ’bout your dad

but I’m gonna be the best mom I can be.

That’s how I sing it now. Chin up, chitlins. You both know what not to do- from cheating on your partner to abandoning your kid. You can let this change you for the worse or you can tell him to suck it and be the best damn people you can be. Don’t let him win. It sucks to be abandoned and discarded by your dad, but your mama loves you. I’m going to do my best to make his absence go unnoticed. I’m going to love you both so hard you’ll hardly miss him. I’m going to do my best to make up for his failings.

To Hell and Back

The mobster and I have a whole playlist of “our songs”. This song by Maren Morris made the list recently.

So much of what she sings on this song fits us perfectly.

You didn’t save me. You didn’t think I needed saving.

You didn’t change me. You didn’t think I needed changing.

He’s never treated me like I was broken or less than. When I wondered, “Why would you want someone like me?” his response would be, “Why wouldn’t I? You’re amazing.”

“But I’m poor. I work two jobs just to make ends meet. I live with my mom. I’m going on year two of a horrible divorce from a horrible person. I don’t have a bedroom to call my own. I’m fat, no longer some slinky, sexy little size 6 and I have two teenage kids- hardly the kind of attributes that make you highly desirable.”

He didn’t care. He saw all my flaws and thought they were pretty awesome. He didn’t think they were flaws. He didn’t think I needed saving. He’s always believed I was capable of great things. There were so many things I did in my old life that I never received credit for and he would tell me how amazing I was for doing what I did. He’s always propped me up and told me how great I am.

He didn’t try to change me either. He didn’t try to fix everything. He didn’t give me a list of things I could do to improve myself. He doesn’t go over all of my faults and I never feel like I’m a constant disappointment to him.

Instead, we are two people who both suffered through pretty miserable marriages for years. We weren’t appreciated. We weren’t valued. We sloughed along and did our best, despite the little encouragement we received from our spouses. We found each other. We appreciate each other and lift the other up. Our wings are frayed and what’s left of our halos are black but lucky for us our kind of heaven has been to hell and back.

Better Off

Excellent advice! Seriously, they get off on our pain, I think. What better validation for their entitlement than to have someone begging them to stay, crying, pleading? Fuck that shit! They want to leave? Help them pack their damn bags! Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya! Don’t beg for something that should already be yours. If you have to beg them to stay, to love you, to do the right thing, then it’s already too late. And honestly, as much as you may not believe it when you’re in the very early stages of all this bullshit, you really will be better off without that person. You know why? Because a person who loves you wouldn’t do that to you.

 

This Has Disaster Written All Over It

I have written before about my obsession with Pistol Annies. Miranda Lambert as a solo act appears more than a few times on my Freedom song list. I love her music but more and more it appears she’s a disaster. She seems to be one of those women who gets mighty pissed off if her man does her wrong, but she doesn’t have a problem with fucking someone else over.

It seems common knowledge that Blake Shelton left his wife for her. And apparently she dumped her own boyfriend for him. They dated for six years and were married for four. Who knows what actually ended that marriage because neither one would say much about it. She talks about her broken heart being a catalyst for all her recent music, and supposedly doesn’t want to field questions about his new love. He, in return, makes it seem like she was the one who stepped out on him.

It’s very hard to say because shockingly I don’t know her. All I know is what Google offers up for me to read. These last few years it has been having a field day!

After her divorce she very quickly took up with Anderson East who, as far as I know, wasn’t engaged or married or dating anyone else when he began dating her. That lasted about two years.

Soon after that she hooked up with Evan Felker, a member of Turnpike Troubadours, the group that was opening for her on her Livin’ Like Hippies tour. Perhaps it was coincidence but they toured together and “developed a connection” a mere two months before she would break up with Anderson East.

Evan also happened to be married. According to gossip reports (and Google, thank you very much) he slapped his wife, Staci, with divorce papers a mere fifteen days after meeting Miranda for the first time. If that’s not enough the ex-wife, through Instagram, went on to accuse Miranda of harassing her by calling her repeatedly at all hours of the night. This was while she was sleeping with Staci’s husband!

Evan and Staci divorced in August of 2018 and right around that time Miranda and Evan broke up.

Fast forward to now. I don’t know about your Google feed but mine is abuzz with news of her secret wedding.

It seems to me she really likes the idea of men leaving their wives for her. This one didn’t have a wife, but only a day or so after the news broke, when everyone was trying to figure out who this Brendan McLoughlin was, it was reported that he had welcomed a son with another woman only three days after meeting Miranda. Oh boy.

Then news surfaced that he had an ex-fiancee as well! He had been dating and was engaged to a woman named Jackie for two years. She was playing soccer in Europe for a few months. Maybe that is when he met and bedded Kaihla, his baby mama. If the ex-fiancee’s mother is to be believed he was living a double life! He was begging Jackie to still marry him even though Kaihla was pregnant with his child.

How could this go wrong? It has all the hallmarks of a successful relationship. Short courtship? Check. Met and married in three months. Long distance relationship? Check. He’s a NYPD officer from Staten Island, I believe. She’s a mega famous country music star who lives in, well, I’m not sure where she lives but I know it’s not New York City. Baby with another woman? Check. That baby is brand spankin’ new! Born the first week of November. Thankfully for the new mom Miranda does not strike me as the mothering sort. I don’t think she’s going to be very invested in trying to be the new and improved mommy.

They already made the news when Miranda lost her shit at a steakhouse in Nashville and dumped salad in somebody’s lap. Every day it seems a new revelation about her “hot, new husband” comes out.

As I said, this has disaster written all over it.

My New Obsession

I am currently completely obsessed with the group Pistol Annies. Oh. My. Word. I had heard of them. I knew Miranda Lambert was part of the group. I hadn’t heard any of their songs before, though.

They just came out with a new album and reviewers were talking about the new releases. The one they were talking about was, “When I Was His Wife,” and I hopped over to YouTube to listen and watch the video. I gave it a listen and in the meantime I saw they had a cute little divorce anthem, “Got My Name Changed Back” so I watched that video, too. It’s definitely a toe tapper!

 

Then I decided to listen to some of the other stuff on their new album, Interstate Gospel. This has led to a full time addiction. I cannot get enough!

I love this song. It is hauntingly beautiful. I have listened to it over and over again. Everything on their new album is gorgeous. Their voices are like honey. The songs are engaging. They seem to either be deeply moving, or they’re raucous loads of fun.

 

Here is an older song. I love everything about it. I love the lyrics. I love the music. I love the timing. Give it a listen. I hope you like it as much as I do.

 

Finally, here’s another one off their new album, the one that started the obsession for me, “When I Was His Wife.” I think that many of us can relate to this one.