I was in Junior High during a time where “emo” was a trend instead of.. well.. a word. Hell, that may still be the case for some people, but regardless it taught me to listen to more than good beats and a catchy hook.
Side bar: Don’t get me wrong, I love jamming to pop-country and the Hits 1 Countdown, but the majority of these tracks are band-aid songs. They make you feel good in the moment and they’re great to dance to at The Library, but the lyrics are generic and unrelatable and really not something you want to listen to when you’re actually feeling something.
More often than not we found ways to relate to songs. You could look at a title, listen to the first verse and think, “this is so me.” Instantly you’d hit repeat, illegally download 7 different versions of it on LimeWire, and slap it on your custom-coded MySpace page. Two days later, after another “tragedy,” you’d move on to the next song.
That was circa 2007, maybe give or take a year. I listened to anything from alternative rock to chart topping R&B. I wasn’t picky, because anyone listening to the good stuff knew that artists of every genre were feeling the same things.
I stopped searching for these songs somewhere between walking across the Taylorville High School graduation stage and earning my Bachelor’s. Yet a couple of months ago one of these songs found me, and to this day I find myself listening to it on repeat going down I-55 with tears in my eyes.
I don’t want to write about divorce to make excuses or blame anyone for anything. Like Lukas Graham said, “Don’t get me wrong I didn’t have it bad / I had enough lovin’ from my mom and dad.” I have two of the world’s greatest parents a girl could ever ask for. For what I can remember of the last 23 years, I’ve always had two best friends that I can count on for more than just your typical advice. I was raised by them. Cared for by them. I grew from them. Learned so much from them. I couldn’t imagine this life any differently, nor would I ask for it to be.
But for some reason I feel compelled to thank RaeLynn for writing “Love Triangle,” because everything I’ve ever wanted to say she managed to sing in under 4 minutes. Haven’t heard it? Check it out here.
“Did growing up with divorced parents just.. suck?”
“Oh, your parents are divorced. I’m so sorry..”
“So do you get like, two Christmases?”
No, I don’t favor one parent over the other. No, I wasn’t hindered socially or academically. No, I didn’t miss out on anything I wanted to be involved with. I’m a lucky one – I was blessed with two parents that knew they were just that; my parents. Their relationship may not have worked out but they made a lifelong commitment to me and neither one of them ever did anything without making sure that I was taken care of first.
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. As a child you don’t always understand why you can’t have the physical comfort of both parents at once and you can’t always make sense of why you need two separate parent-teacher conference times and two home mailing addresses. When I told my dad I wanted to spend my weekends with my friends instead of making the drive to Hillsboro we both had to deal with a difficult conversation and transition that wasn’t easy for either of us. I know that to this day it breaks my mom’s heart a little when I come home for deer season and can’t catch a minute to come in town to grab lunch.
Now that I’m older, I’m able to talk about it more and I’m aware of the difference it made in my life and how it molded me into the person I am today. I’ve learned how important it is to have quality people in your life who support your decisions and love you for who you truly are. I’ve been able to learn that opening up to people and sharing your story with them is healthy, not annoying. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let something impact your life a little negatively because you can grow from it.
I’ve also learned what it’s like to be raised by both Cardinals and Cubs fans – #Birds.
I’ll be honest – writing this is scary because I don’t even understand what I’m trying to say other than thank you. Thank you RaeLynn, for speaking on behalf of all the children who are caught in a love triangle. Thank you for writing this song and sharing it with all of us, because I know how terrifying it can be to share those feelings with those who “caused” them.
Thank you to my friends who have listened to me talk about this over the last two years. Thank you for supporting me and being there when things got stressful.
Thank you to my family – the Simmons and the Funderburks – for always making sure I knew I was loved, for showing me where I came from, for helping pave my path, and for always letting me be crazy.
Most importantly, thank you to my parents. You’re both incredible people that I’m blessed to belong to. Our stories together could have played out so differently, but really we’re the lucky ones. You both did great and should be really proud of yourselves, not to be conceited or anything. Love you lots. ♡