Wearing a Disney Princess diaper and a monogrammed white tee shirt, I sang the lyrics to “Pour Some Sugar On Me” in the back of my mom’s car. My fingers tapped on the armrest of my car seat as I shook my small head to the beat the way my mom and dad always did. My mom smiled at me in the mirror and turned it up a few notches. My dad watched me from the mirror as well, singing along with me. My parents exchanged a look of amusement as I butchered the lyrics, singing words and sounds similar to the real lines. Sunlight filtered in through the car windows, the air in the car feeling like summer. Everything was orange and smiles. Goldfish and rolled-down socks. 

I wish that day had a timestamp, a date, anything to help me place it chronologically in my folder of memories. What day of the week was it? Was it during the summer? I feel like it was during the summer. It was warm but was that the warmth of love and comfort or the blazing Virginia sun? 

Hair falls over my closed eyes as a hand rubs my back. Warm hands with a soft touch. My eyelids would open every few seconds, fighting the sleeping that was taking over my body. My mother’s voice sounded out, soothing me the same way she had the night before and the night before that. “Silent Night” came before “You Are My Sunshine” which was followed by “Jesus Loves Me” and “Frére Jacques.” It was the same every night. I laid on the right side, Mom on the left, us smushed together on my twin size bed. Her fingers danced across my back to the words, the combination putting me to sleep around “Frére Jacques.” Everything is blue and safe. Tangled covers and chewed doll fingers.

I don't know which is my first memory of music. I don’t remember if it was the hoarse voice of Joe Elliot or the sweet sound of my mother’s whispers. I wish I knew, I wish one stood out. Maybe it would make things easier. But it’s all jumbled, the memories, the time, the moments. 

My whole life has been a tug of war match between God and rock n’ roll. A battle royale of who I am supposed to be and who I truly am. I still don’t know who’s the winner. God gave me ten rules to follow. Rock music told me to shatter glass ceilings. Church taught me to love my neighbor as myself. David Bowie taught me to shoot for the stars and melt into the solar system. My Sunday school teacher taught me to chose my words carefully. Joan Jett taught me to say what I mean. My pastor taught me to live for others. Brian Johnson taught me to live for the moment. A balancing act. Don’t jump too high, don’t kneel too far down.


Richmond, VA

Elizabeth AnthonyComment