‘Cause I gotta have “Faith”…

Remember when I was telling you all about the rain drizzle weeks I lived through?  I know, I know “Stop talking about it already!!”  I promise, this is the last time I shall refer to it (this week anyway).  I bring it up because during those weeks I found that people had different coping mechanisms to deal with their SAD.  There was binge watching tv.  Extra snacking whilst watching tv.  Going out to eat instead of cooking.  (Ok, a lot of food references).  Going to the gym to exercise.  Movie night.  Those are just a few ways that folks were distracting themselves.  One that I did not mention, which I know makes a big difference and might be obvious is:  MUSIC!

Has anyone ever asked you, “Who is your favourite band or singer?”  Perhaps they have inquired about your favourite song.  In my younger years, while hanging out at THE bar after work, we used to play the Island game.  “If you were stuck on a deserted island, which album would you want with you?”  Good question!  This was not a judgemental question.  It actually led to a lot of great conversation about the type of music your friends liked and why.  Island living was basically forever so what could you tolerate for that length of time.

During my SAD time, I actually did turn to music.  I will be honest with regards to my listening choices.  In order to escape reality, my favourite thing to listen to is actually stories.  I subscribe to an old time radio show where stories from the 1930s up to the 1955s exist.  I love hearing tales and imagining the scenes in my mind.  It’s a beautiful distraction and my mind is fantastic at creating the scenes.  However, sometimes when I need to get into a better mood it is music that lifts my spirits.  I love upbeat music.  In most cases it is not even about the lyrics.  It’s about the beat.  I need a great hardcore thump-thump beat and there are so many musicians and/or singers that provide this for me.  So, when I hit my slump and I need a boost I turn to my recorded/downloaded tunes and dance away in my beloved kitchen.

Music has so many dimensions.  I used to play an instrument (looked like a mandolin, but it was a tambura).  I also sang in the church choir…from pre-pubescence to adulthood.  Music and song are a strong part of my life.  Listening to music on the AM radio was also a life changing experience for me.  When I finally got my own radio, it made me feel like I was friends with kids at school.  I was the outcast.  Being able to identify with the girls about music on the radio and the “rad(ical)” DJs helped with my un-coolness.  The AM radio phase became the FM phase (which I was not privy to), but music was still a huge part of my life.

Not only was I a member of the church choir, but I was privileged in that my parents let me quit the musical sect of Croatian culture (my tambura…prima) and let me join the dancing sect.  I LOVED (and still LOVE) dancing.  I was beyond grateful for this opportunity.  I sang well.  I played…mediocre.  Dancing…I was born for this!

I started off in the junior group because I had never done it before.  I did great!  I loved it!  I was absorbing everything so quickly that within a year I got to do stuff that I had only dreamt of doing.  I loved my group.  I loved our performances.  I appreciated everyone and everything that led me here.  I was enjoying living my life.  Even better…we got to go back to the “homeland” to perform in several cities there.  Us…from Canada…going to Europe. Pack your bags and your costumes and away we went.

Now, I know I have focused a lot on our Canadian dance group.  We were like a mini family. That was the greatest thing.  Not only were we traveling abroad, but we did have many practices to ensure our professionalism.  We had strict curfews.  Most importantly we were friends watching each other’s backs.  This was a trip that not only inspired us to do our best, but it created new friendships and several friendships led to marriages.  Quite the trip right?  The reason I bring this up is because there was one song that we, as a group, listened to over and over and over and over again in the travel bus.  It became our theme song.  It was a song that most did not know the words to except for one word.  When the tape deck (yes…it was a radio/tape recorder) came to that section of the song, everyone yelled it out in excuberance and happy defiance.  It became the anthem of our dance tour.

Thank you, George Michael, for the song that will always bring fond memories back into my life.  Your passing made me think about my life and how it would effect others.  If you can hear me, I would like you to know that your song “Faith” became a memorable part of our lives and perhaps the lives and memories of many others.  When we yelled out “BABY!” we all broke out laughing at our synchronicity.   You were special and so was your song.  If I were on a desert island, my go-to song for partying would be…

Paul Simon’s:  Me and Julio!

Sorry, not being mean, but truthful.  However our favourite line that we screamed and yelled out on our bus over and over again:  “BABY!”  from your (George Michael) song, “I gotta have faith” would lead me believe that I would be rescued.

P.S.  GM…you were so gifted.   You shared that musical talent with the world even though many did not understand you.  Thank you for pursuing your dream.  You were and are special in my life and the lives of many.  We truly believe that our lives will be great because we “gotta have faith.”

The sun’ll come out…tomorrow???

I think I am finally over that horrendous sinus-stuffed / bruised-rib coughing / voice-losing bout.  I believe I am on the mend after four tortuous weeks of headaches and hearing loss.  I am alive and I am (almost) well.  I believe there was one main ingredient that I had been lacking and I also believe that this crucial element to my normal daily routine is what made this illness continue to haunt me.  It made my usual chipper self, quite miserable on a daily basis and I could not release myself from this funk.  I have been ill before (though not quite this like this) and I have managed to fib myself to wellness.  “I am not sick.  I’m not sick.  I am well.  I feel fine.”  This little mantra could always get me back to my happy, smiling self.  What was missing?

It appears that my good ol’ friend, the sun, decided to go away on vacation for awhile.  Had not been seen in weeks.  Why would this matter?  Well, I recall reading about SAD people.  No, not sad people, but SAD people; those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It seems that if we do not get our daily dose of those beautiful rays our serotonin (mood balancer) levels drop.  With the lack of Vitamin D that we get from the sun, our moods change and we end up in a sleep slump that could lead to depression.  So, while good ol’ fireball went into vacation mode, the rest of us trudged daily through our lives.  Our sloppy, squishy, rain-soaked lives.

So, here was I was thinking I was not getting enough sleep and that this was the cause of my awful, cranky mood.  True, I wasn’t sleeping well on those mega-cough nights, but then I’d make up for it with an almost coma-like sleep the next night.  Yes, my ears were plugging and unplugging, which was annoying, but I had really never been that irritable before.  After week three, and more rain in our forecast, it hit me.  I had not seen the sun in many, many, many days.  Living in Canada we are used to lots of snowstorms at this time of year which is accompanied by bright sunlight that bounces off the newly fallen snow and blinds you from time to time.  Here we are in January (one of our usually worse winter months) and no snow.  No flakes falling.  Nothing to shovel.  I was grateful for not having to perform that miserable task and yet, the daily rain forecast made me even more crestfallen.  What was a girl to do?

I did what everyone else around me seemed to be doing…skulking.  I would go shopping to get groceries and people were wearing their best scowling faces.  Cashiers would ramp up the: “Hi how are you?” when starting to process your order, and would then turn off the bling smile until the obligatory: “Have a nice day.”  Yeah, even smiling was becoming a chore.  What is the point of warmer weather if you are constantly walking through a downpour or even worse, the ever present drizzle of rain.  It was like wandering through a rain forest without the actual accompanying heat.  Not fair!  When was this going to end?

Update.  Weather forecast.  Cold.  Colder than the weather we had been having.  Hmmm, what was this?  Snow?  SNOW!  That meant NO MORE RAIN!  What else did that mean (besides shovelling)?   You guessed it. Look who came back!  I missed you!  We all missed you!  Gorgeous!  Absolutely fabulous!

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So what did I do?  I looked right up at that beautiful burning ball in the sky (and promptly blinded myself for several seconds. Meh…it was worth it)!

I am no longer SAD…yes, I think I did catch a quick spell of it.  It is amazing how this glorious Vitamin D provider can, literally, affect one’s mood.  This morning I was happy as a lark, singing as I went outside into the cold air to view my good friend above.  Thanks for coming back. You really were missed.

I would like to take a wee bit of time to review the lyrics to “Tomorrow” from Annie.

“The sun’ll come out / Tomorrow / Bet your bottom dollar / That tomorrow / There’ll be sun!”

My dear Annie, it was a few week’s worth of tomorrows, but the sun finally DID come out!  Hallelujah cause now I’m “Walking on sunshine / Ain’t don’t it feel good!”  (Shout out to the ’80s crowd!)