I Get Off On the Pain


This post might be a little all over the place but I’m going to try to knock it out the best I can while Rachel is doing her afternoon “quiet time” (since she no longer naps). I’ve recently been reminded over & over again, because of the whole Covid situation as well as the upcoming election, among other things, of how incredibly frustrating it is to me that so many folks are frankly so one-dimensional. As I told one of my best friends recently, I am continually disappointed in how completely predictable so many people are. When I find those rare jewels of people whose opinions I cannot accurately predict on most every subject, I smile & retain at least a little hope for humanity. I’m not asking for everyone to agree with me on everything. What a boring world that would be! I just wish that more people weren’t so damn predictable!

I am often reminded of the Walt Whitman quote “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” I love that quote because to me it encapsulates the complexity of the human experience & how we are all at times hypocrites because we all contain so many complex emotions & ideals that often contradict each other. And that is ok- that is what makes us alive- & interesting!

I just wish more people realized that we don’t have to fit into the neat little boxes in which society tries to place us. And even if we do choose to align ourselves with certain groups, we aren’t obliged to always agree with those groups on every single issue. We can be individuals- we don’t have to have a herd mentality!

For example:

You can ascribe to most aspects of “gentle parenting” even if you don’t co-sleep, breastfeed for extended periods, baby-wear constantly, home-school, or partake in a vegetarian/vegan diet.

You can ascribe to a lot of moral ideas without actually being religious.

You can 100% support the concept of black lives matter without supporting the actual organization of the same name.

You can have tattoos &/or piercings &/or “crazy hair” & still have a professional job & be just as great at it as someone who looks more traditional.

You can love rock/metal music & not have any tattoos or piercings or dress in all black & that doesn’t make you any less of a “real” fan.

You can abhor gun violence but still staunchly support the 2nd Amendment.

Caring about the poor does not have to equate to being a socialist (or communist).

You can abhor drugs but still believe they should be legal.

Just because you don’t support a ton of government welfare programs does not mean that you don’t care about the poor or believe in helping them. (Government, after all, isn’t the only means for helping people. It’s often the least efficient method, but that’s a post for another day.)

Being a Democrat does not automatically make you anti-racist & being a Republican or Libertarian does not automatically make you racist.

Believing in the importance of the nuclear family does not mean you do not support other less “traditional” family structures.

You can believe that men & women are equal while acknowledging our differences & not seeking to tear down the opposite gender.

You can support the legalization of prostitution (for adults only, obviously!) while still believing that sex is best in the context of a committed, loving relationship.

You can support free speech & the right for women to say or do anything they please but still find Cardi B’s WAP to be straight trash. (Guess her WAP wasn’t so great after all, seeing as she is getting divorced due to her husband’s infidelity… Yep, I’m probably a bad person for laughing about that…)

How do I know all of these things are possible? Well, for the most part, I just described myself…

On a seemingly unrelated note, I have recently rediscovered my love for country music artist Gary Allan. I guess I never truly forgot about him but I haven’t listened to country radio in YEARS so he’d just kind of fallen off my radar since the only country singer I religiously follow is Eric Church. In any case, YouTube recommended Gary’s new song Waste of a Whiskey Drink a week or two ago & I’ve been hooked ever since. You could quite fairly call the song cynical & I’m sure there are some angry hard core feminists out there decrying it as the epitome of sexism, but I don’t care because I think you could reverse the genders in the song & it would be equally accurate.

Anyhow, that song led me to listen to a bunch of Gary Allan’s older songs, some of which I’ve known & loved for years like Watching Airplanes & his cover of Best I Ever Had. But I also came across a lot of others that I either never knew or had forgotten. May I just say that this man’s gravelly voice is perfectly suited to that particular brand of melancholy that only country songs can elicit? Off the top of my head three excellent examples of this are Today, Smoke Rings in the Dark, & It Ain’t the Whiskey.

Of course this post isn’t about country music or even my love for Gary Allan, though I could certainly do an entire post about him someday. But for some reason I felt compelled to explain the wormhole that led me to rediscover his song Get Off on the Pain & how that song seems to perfectly encapsulate what I’m trying to explain here today. Now superficially the song probably doesn’t seem to relate to my life very much- I’m not a man, a traveling musician, or someone who’s been in a bunch of bad relationships- but if you think about the broader meaning of the song I can relate to it in so many ways.

Because I am the “crazy Libertarian” that I am, I find myself constantly being told that I’m wrong, crazy, heathen, don’t care about others, & a lot of other things that I generally don’t believe are true. I frequently long to have a greater sense of belonging but any organized group I’ve ever belonged to has left me dissatisfied sooner or later. The truth of the matter is, like the song says, I think I get off on the pain. As much as I sometimes long to be more content with life, to not question things so much, to be more accepted by society, at the end of the day I don’t think I’d be happy that way. I’ve always been a bit of an outsider & that’s the way I think I’ll always be. It isn’t always an easy road to take but it’s the only one I’ve ever really known & it’s the one I’m going to keep on walking as long as I can.

P.S. I apologize for not including the YouTube links to the songs mentioned in this post like I normally do but WordPress has changed its blogging format & I’m still trying to figure out how to add links to posts. I never said I was tech savvy…

P.S.S. If this post seems to have lost steam half way through it’s because Rachel left her room & has been interrupting me constantly… #momlife

Things I Learned From Country Music


For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge music nerd.  I listen to music almost constantly & firmly believe everything in life is better with musical accompaniment.  I love all kinds of music though I usually spend more time listening to rock than any other genre.  However, I go through spells a couple times of year when I also listen to a lot of country music.  I suppose that is somewhat inevitable when you live in the South & grew up in a small town.  This past weekend I got a notion that I should try out a short blog series featuring “things I’ve learned from such & such genre of music.”  Since I’ve been on a country kick lately, I decided to start with country music.  It was hard for me to choose only a handful of songs that have great meaning to me, but I don’t want these posts to be ridiculously long so I limited myself to five songs.  I’m going to attempt to write one of these posts for every major genre of music (though I’ll admit rap might not happen but I will give it my best effort).  For those of you who think country music is only about wearing cowboy boots, fishing, skinny-dipping, or drinking beer, please check out the songs listed below which I hope will serve to broaden your horizons a bit.  I have conveniently included YouTube links to each song because I am awesome like that.  😉

follow your arrow

  • Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves

    • No matter what you do, there will always be naysayers & one of the greatest lessons in life is that you truly cannot please everyone. Thus it’s better to just do what you know in your heart is right for you because at the end of the day you are the one who has to answer to yourself for your own life. I think in small towns this sentiment is especially true because everybody knows each other so rumours & gossip can start & spread so easily. I like how Kacey points out that life is often viewed in extremes; for example, “If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore/if you don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a whore-able person” (great play on the word horrible, isn’t that?) when in reality the truth often falls somewhere in between such extremes.  And, yes, this is probably one of the only country music songs to ever openly support gay rights, which I love.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg4YdXUaCg0 P.S. This entire album is AMAZING & you would never guess that Kacey is a mere 25 years old. Her song-writing skills & insight into life are superior to many who are two or three times her age. Even if you don’t usually like country music, I beg you to look up Kacey Musgraves on YouTube & give her songs a listen. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  • I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

    • This is one of those classic songs that just never gets old because it’s so beautifully written & the message is one that bears repeating. This song reflects on the importance of never losing the wonder of being alive whether it be standing in awe at the sight of the ocean, dancing every chance you get, or learning that love sometimes hurts but it’s worth the chance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw

  • Bleed Red by Ronnie Dunn

    • This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. The message is so simple but so beautiful: we are all human beings with struggles, scars, fears, hopes, & dreams trying to make the best of our lives. We all make mistakes & need forgiveness from time to time. At the end of the day despite differences in race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, or any other “external” factor at our deepest core we are all the same: “We all bleed red.” If every one of us took this song to heart every day of our lives I’m quite certain we could end (or perhaps even avoid) a lot of conflicts, including everything from squabbles between husbands & wives to international wars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AMcwxAug1Q

  • Life Ain’t Always Beautiful by Gary Allan

    • Gary Allan’s rough voice adds to the magic of this song for me because it seems to perfectly match with the message of the song: “Life ain’t always beautiful but it’s a beautiful ride.” Truer words have never been spoken for indeed life is often difficult, challenging, & scary but in the end it’s still a fascinating, wonderful journey & the hard times really do make us stronger & wiser. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VDNMtn0t2A

  • I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice

    • The best way I can describe this song is achingly beautiful. I heard it for the first time as I was driving into Appomattox on 460 for my dear uncle Robert’s funeral. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The song is written from the perspective of someone who lost a soldier friend but the feelings behind it are applicable to anyone who has suffered the loss of a close friend or family member. I love that the song addresses both the pain of such a loss as well as the anger that we all experience as we beg God/the universe why it happened because no matter the circumstances death is never easy for those left behind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCSMCgqlc-0