Thursday 13–13 Songs Pop Songs that Still Move Me

Some years ago, when I was quite a faithful blogger, I did an exercise I called the ”Thursday 13.” I think I borrowed it from a dear friend and colleague Elizabeth ”Zee” Ashworth. And it was great fun, and rather a nice exercise in that it just kept my writing muscles limber a bit. For the record, that blog has disappeared into the ether, by which I mean I deleted it; I have no regrets.

But I have been thinking lately of pop songs, mostly from the 90s, that I still go back to. We all have those, right? Maybe these don’t so much move me as they inspire my hurting, tired body, so often exhausted by fibro and other illness to want to move, or they just pluck the strings of nostalgia. So here I offer a quick list of 13 pop songs that I still go back to over and over, in no particular order.

  1. “Island in the Sun”—Weezer, because ”Hip, hip.” Then again, Weezer just never disappoints. I mean that. I like nerdy guys making music. Why won’t one marry me?
  2. ”Self Esteem”—The Offspring
  3. ”Santeria”—Sublime
  4. ”Pour Some Sugar on Me”—Def Leppard (not the 90s but it gives me all the feels)
  5. ”Birdhouse in Your Soul”—They Might be Giants (I really have a thing for TMBG. They are so underrated, if you ask me.)
  6. ”Here Comes Your Man”—Pixies. I really like the Pixies, like a lot.
  7. ”You Learn”—Alanis Morrissette
  8. ”Angel”—Aerosmith (also not 90s, but my junior high self somehow thought this was the most romantic song ever. What was I thinking? Still gives me all the feels tho)
  9. ”Something to Believe In”—Poison (Someone pushed for this to be the theme song for my 9th grade homecoming. Can’t remember if that got approved. Doubtful)
  10. ”Linger”—The Cranberries. Honestly, I could listen to any Cranberries song from any album any time and still love them all, even now.
  11. ”Mysterious Ways”—U2 (This song felt so big and stadium and epic to me at the time)
  12. ”No Rain”—Blind Melon
  13. ”Walking into Spiderwebs”—No Doubt
  14. BONUS: Almost anything by Tom Petty, but I especially like ”Last Dance with Mary Jane.” There was one summer, maybe ’94 when I listened to it over and over ON CASSETTE tape.

I Need to Write. …

I haven’t been writing, and yet I identify as a writer. I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. Reading has kept me sane, has allowed me to be who I am, and writing came later. Yet writing probably allowed me to find myself and hold on to whatever shreds of sanity remained even more than reading. Writing is how I found my voice. Writing IS my voice. But the struggle with chronic illness, chronic pain, chronic exhaustion seems to have stripped from me the ability or the opportunity to write and even read. I don’t want that to continue. I need to read and especially to write, to write about what I’m reading. And not just to write about the written word but about how I’m “reading” the world I see around me. I need to find my own voice again. It is only through the written word that I know how to feel heard. So here I am trying to find a voice so that I don’t have to continue to feel as though I am screaming in silence, feeling unheard. Do you hear me, dear reader? I know that you must, if you are still reading.

What can I tell you about myself? I am Drennan. I am 46. I live with debilitating, chronic, complicated / complex PTSD, springing from a variety of traumas. I cannot look too closely at those traumas today. I live with chronic physical pain, much of it psychosomatic, triggered by those very traumas. The physical pain is with me every moment. I am a Believer. By that I mean that I believe that the God-Man who walked the earth approximately 2,000 years ago and made a truth-claim to be the Messiah was and is who he claimed to be and that his substitutionary atonement has saved me; this means that I can say with Job that ”I know that my Redeemer lives and shall stand at the last day” and that even now although my body is in the process of dying, in my flesh I shall see God. This is the reason that I ultimately have hope. I identify as a “confessionally Reformed Christian.” I’d be happy to tell you more about what that means. As you can likely tell, I am interested in theology, especially Reformation-era theology and its various traditions. I am trained as an academic, and before I became disabled by chronic pain and exhaustion, I worked teaching university-level literature and some writing. I believe that the reading and study of literature matters, and I am passionate about the study of literature and text.

All this to say that I want to write, I need to write, just for myself, for my well-being. My writing muscles have become rusty. I don’t know that any of you particularly care. I don’t assume that anyone else needs or wants to read any of this. But I find writing here, in this space that is, in theory, public to be empowering, healing, something I need. I acknowledge right now that this project will likely get messy. I will offend some. But I am tired of feeling oppressed by others who have no right to imposed their man-made rules on me. I am tired of submitting to the legalism of extra-biblical fundamentalism that has driven me to despair for so many years. I love Christ and do want to honor and obey, but I am not obligated to obey the dictates of men.

I want to find my voice again. I want to write about literature and popular culture. I may even post my thoughts about the theological works I’ve been reading, for I don’t submit to the idea that women have no business having opinions or reactions to theological ideas. Oh, and if anyone is interested, I’m currently reading Calvin’s Institutes. I want to be able to have the freedom to voice my own experiences, for I have been silenced for far to long by sexist power structures. I am no longer afraid of losing relationships or even my reputation. At this point, I have no reputation to lose.

I am making no promises about frequency of posts or the type of content. But I know that simply writing, whether it be about serious things, silly things, book reviews, or simply processing traumas from my past is what I need to do for myself, for so many reasons. I know that I may and likely will piss some people off in the process. And I have reached the point that I am fine with that. Because this is my space. And I need to have my voice. Dr. Seuss has famously said that those who matter won’t mind and those who mind won’t matter. I’ve taken some liberties here. But you get the general idea.

So here’s to a new chapter. I invite you to join me on this journey if you dare.