Asking me to pick my favorite song or style of music is like asking someone to pick their favorite flavor of ice cream: it’s a near-impossible task. For the record, peanut butter & chocolate ice cream from Baskin Robbins is my #1 choice.
And if music genres were ice cream flavors, I’d say that classic rock is definitely rocky road. It’s timeless, gritty, definitely has its softer moments, and has the ability to make one instantly recall the sweetest memories.
One of my all-time favorite classic rock ballads is “Dream On” by Aerosmith. Joe Perry’s vocals are on point, the message to persevere until your dream comes true is awesome (not to mention kind of unexpected in a song from this band), and every note just hits your soul. Okay, maybe it only hits me THIS deeply, but whatever. I have awesome taste in music. It’s a cross I have to bear.
What I love most about this song has very little to do with all the awesome attributes I listed above. In fact, my love for this song boils down to one lyric: “You’ve gotta lose to know how to win.”
Although my Instagram account might show otherwise, I’ve gotten pretty good at the art of losing. I’m pretty much the Andy Warhol of “losing”: my fails are colorful, often repeated, and on display for all the world to see.
Like anyone else, I’ve had my highs and lows; however, it was over the past several months that I went through one of the most trying times of my life…. which is saying a lot considering some of the weirdness I’ve survived in my lifetime.
Right now it’s still too soon to disclose the details of my struggle – maybe I never will – but what I can tell you is that I became the worst version of myself. I was stressed out, irritable, easily angered, and the words that came out of my mouth would make a Soprano blush (or whatever foul-mouthed pop culture reference kids use these days). It was ugly. I’m also pretty sure I cried more in that one period of time than I have over the span of my entire life – and that irritated me most of all because it’s fun pretending I don’t have a soul or what the common folk refer to as “emotions” :).
I couldn’t see any glimmer of hope and spent a great deal of time wondering how I let myself get to this place. I’m talking, I questioned every choice I’ve made since I was child. I’m really fascinated by that whole “butterfly effect” idea.
Anyway, I was down for the count. Beat to the ground. This bug had met her end in the windshield of life.
Then one day I decided to make a choice. I chose to fill myself with joy and keep my focus pointed toward God. Slowly but surely my attitude improved, my outlook brightened, and my colorful vocabulary was more… “Captain America friendly” (Nerd joke alert).
And it’s a good thing I made this choice when I did because things only got tougher from that point on. I fought harder and harder to remain true to myself even when I was exhausted and physically and mentally ill from the stress I was enduring. Every day I felt like a soldier fighting the toughest battle of her life day in and day out, getting the snot beat out of her, and then coming back for more the next day. It was a painful experience.
Finally, it all came to an end. I no longer had to fight that battle and, by the skin of my teeth, God brought me into the winner’s circle.
What I didn’t expect was the post-battle “clean up”. I’ve had to actively work on regaining confidence, motivation, and the strength needed just to participate in daily life. In fact, it was only this past weekend that I realized I was back to feeling “normal” again.
As difficult as that struggle was and as low as I sank, I’m thankful that it happened because of how it shaped me. It was a great lesson in discovering what I really want out of life and who God created me to be. Above all, I learned I have the strength to push through difficult circumstances, was once again reminded that I do have an amazing family and circle of friends who will stick around and love me through the darkness, and grew closer to my God who is ever-loving and compassionate and big enough to handle any hardship life throws at me.
I’m proud to be the biggest loser because now I truly know how to win.