The road on which I was traveling happened to be straight through the Badlands of Alberta. The magnific hills rose up in poetic motionlessness around me, the sky a rich blue in perfect contrast to the greys and browns of the Earth. The summer sun was high in the sky, illuminating the mid afternoon with a golden glow. I had the drivers side window of my car rolled down and the warm air moved through my hair the way only a summer breeze can. It was the perfect recipe for the perfect day, yet there was a restlessness within myself that kept my smile at an arms reach from my lips.
The year behind me had been a hard one, and I was in place low enough to almost drown under the sadness. The choices I had been making were all turning out to be wrong, when I was trying so hard for them to be right. I was letting myself down at every turn and the mounting weight from my own pressure was threatening a full-scale collapse of my spirit. I had been grasping outwardly for a hold on happiness, and this solo road trip had been one of those extensions.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and as I traveled down the Canadian highway, I could almost see those intentions whizzing by, like landmark beacons, gleaming brightly with promise and asservation, then fading slowly into dull insipidity in the dark reflection of my rear view mirror.
“She spends another night all alone with the choices that she made…” The words fell out of my car speakers with such deliberation and assurance that they made me stop and pay attention to the song that was playing instead of it being mindless background music that it often times is when one is in deep thought.
Had someone wrote a more straight-to-the-heart song for me, it would have been a true out of body experience. I let the melody surround me, the lyrics painfully parallel to my own situation just months previous. Within the safe confines of the desolate Albertan landscape, all the emotion I’d been carrying in the background of my day to day came rushing out in a flood of relief and I let the tears come freely and under no judgement.
Sometimes, music is the door through which one needs to walk in order to heal. It is the cast that holds a broken soul together when it’s not strong enough to do so on its own. People heal people, and music is the catalyst.
As the lyrics unfolded before me, it invoked painful memories of my many failed attempts of letting go of the things I didn’t want to see leave, the things that I couldn’t change, and the people who had already given up on me. I cried because maybe instead of mourning the fact that I wasn’t what others wanted me to be, I was mourning the fact that I was trying to fill a mould that I knew I could never fit. I cried because as I listened to the song over and over again, I started to see the harshness that I’d been treating myself with and the expendable reasons behind it.
The more I listened to the song, the more I found myself in it, as one with heartache often does. Maybe I should stop apologizing for who I am, because I have nothing to be sorry for. I’ve done the best I could with what I had every time. I’ve made mistakes and although I’m not done making them, I’ve learned from each one, and hopefully they have made me into a better person.
As the haunting melody reverberated around me, I noticed I had been singing the chorus to myself. Not as in singing alone in my car. As in an apology letter to the one person who I’ve been the hardest on… and the one most deserving of forgiveness.
“I didn’t mean to let you down, I’m sorry I’m not sorry / I don’t need to fix myself, ’cause I’m not broken / I feel you in the air I breath and I know you’re waiting for me / I don’t need to fix myself… ’cause I’m not broken.”
Age of Days (formerly Age of Daze) is a Canadian alternative rock band that formed in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 2005. They are on tour in Canada and the USA this fall with Papa Roach and Pop Evil. You can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Ageofdays or on Twitter @ageofdays