Music is as much a part of me as writing is. I love to write, and I love to listen to music. Both have brought me comfort. Both have gotten me through tough times. Every few months, I like to add a song at the end of one of my Sunday posts here. The song has been picked because it usually compliments my thoughts. But sometimes, it’s the lyrics of a song that has actually triggered the writing. In the past, I’ve included songs from all sorts of artists. From hard rock and alt rock to everything in between, I’m always happy to share a tune that’s inspired me.
A few years ago when April turned blue, I started sharing what I was specifically listening to during that month which many of us would rather skip over. I turned off the news and turned up the volume of the music I was listening to. Not wanting to celebrate or embrace any part of autism or what causes it those 30 days, I drowned myself in music so as not to get caught up on the blue washing going on around me. Some songs I listened to were happy songs that made me dance. Other songs came with water works. With even more awareness going on this year than tangible action that some families desperately need, a new playlist is needed. In no particular order, here are the songs I’m listening to now.
Danger Zone – I had to laugh when I heard this the other day. This song! Oh golly, it’s cheesy, but how many of us willingly enter “the danger zone” of debating vaccines online when we log into our social media accounts? So many of us! I don’t purposely log in looking to take a troll down, but I will politely chime in when I see misinformation being shared. I will especially share my two cents when I have time and energy if the other side starts pontificating propaganda or disrespecting a parent’s decision. Mind you, I know I don’t have to say anything, but some days I do choose to engage. Knowing I may not change anyone’s mind, I tiptoe into the danger zone very carefully.
Get the Mercury Out – This song popped up on my newsfeed a week ago. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect song! I’d shared it on Facebook quite a few times several years ago and always got good feedback. The best comments came from the moms who were on the fence about vaccines. Knowing they “should probably look them up” but were unsure of where to start their research, posting this song offered the opportunity to drop some resources, websites, and truth bombs in a private message later. The beat’s good, the message is great. Go ahead, and give it a listen. I think you’ll like it. (P.S. I know it’s not just mercury that’s gotta go…I’d be okay if other ingredients were also taken out…or if entire vaccine program did a disappearing act, too.)
Everybody Knows – So what does everybody know? Everybody knows that vaccines are safe and that autism cannot be caused by vaccines. Duh. But, wait! Some of us disagree with that. Everybody should know that vaccines, like all pharmaceutical products, come with risks and that they don’t always work. But they don’t. Not everybody knows yet which is why some of us choose to speak up. We must! Until everybody knows the whole truth, we will keep talking, sharing, blogging, speaking, and writing about vaccines and autism and the link between them.
Lose Yourself – Being the parent of a special needs child can be all sorts of things. It can be rewarding. It can be thrilling. It can also be frightening. One day can be filled with one emotion, and the next with an entirely different one. Depending on the situation, we may see multiple emotions and all at once! It can be incredibly overwhelming to be the Mom or the Dad, especially if you have other children. Moms, Dads, be good to you. It is so hard to do sometimes, I know, but make sure you are taking care of you, too. When the good days are good, life is awesome. Focus on that because bad days can quickly bring us down a deep, dark hole. Just promise me that wherever you are on this journey, don’t lose yourself in the process. (*little bit language in this Eminem song…but that signing the young woman does – wow. Check out all that ASL!)
This Is Me – I heard this song for the first time last week. Minus the beard, I couldn’t help think, this is me! This is many of my friends, too. When it comes to defending our beliefs, we are no stranger to insults. Sharp words cut us down, but we are brave, strong and absolutely unapologetic for who we are. We believe something that society wishes we didn’t: that our kids were harmed. Guess what? They were! Some of our kids are still hurting. We march to a new beat because of what happened to them and to us. It’s not a life we ever thought we’d live. It’s not a fight we thought we’d have to fight. But that fight, that resolve, that intense drive to help our children has turned us into who we are. Who are we? Brave, unapologetic, and strong. This is me!!
Somebody’s Watching Me – This is my Hee hee hee ha ha ha! song for this year. I heard it about a month ago while driving and laughed out loud. It’s got good beat, it’s got the 80s written all over it, and it’s got perfect lyrics for some of us. You know who are – moms, dads, providers, and therapists who strive for recovery. We’re freaks. People try to intimidate us. They attempt to bully us for our views. Ready to pounce on us for what we do or say, it can be intimidated to speak our minds. When one Negative Nelly chimes in, they bring back up. From then on, we’re attacked and also being watched. Who’s watching us? Pharma shills who don’t sleep, politicians who delete our comments on their social media pages, medical staff who care not for our opinion. They’re watching you. Hey, they’re watching me, too! Thankfully that doesn’t stop anyone of us from doing what we do best – telling our stories and working tirelessly for our kids.
Someone to Watch Over Me – Somebody’s watching over us because they know. They know what they’ve done and they aren’t at all remorseful. That’s what happens when profit over people is the ultimate goal. I don’t think it’s always been that way. I’d have to ask the older generation how things were back in their day. They’ll know. The grandparents know that something changed along the way. We have a few here who diligently read, research and care deeply about what’s happened. To the grandparents who step in, who are raising their grandkids, who are knee-deep in a disorder that was so very rare when they were growing up…thank you for being in tune. To Granny Blue, Grama Peg, Bob, Maureen, and to MamaBear, thank you for what you’re doing now for the younger generation.
Winds of Change – Autism. 1 in 36. That’s what we’re being told is the current autism rate. It wasn’t a gradual rise from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 36 in just 30 years. It’s been a shocking, skyrocketing increase to 1 in 36. The CDC has yet to release a more updated rate (which we know will still not include many of our children), but oh, how we need to make some changes. I pray that that change will come soon rather than later. If it doesn’t, I cannot even imagine what the future will hold.
Whatever It Takes – Parenting is hard. Parenting (and grand-parenting) a kid like ours can be even harder. What will I do right now for my son to make sure he’s safe, happy, and healthy? Whatever it takes. I know a lot of you are doing that, too. Keep going, mamas. Keep working hard, papas. Do what you can. Do your best. And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.
More Than Words – I love this song. It’s so beautiful. Now, I know it’s more of a romantic love song, but hear me out. Who do we fight for? The child we love. Who do we stay awake with in the wee dark hours of the night with when they can’t sleep? The child we love. Who do we work tirelessly for? That same child, the one we’d give our life for. We love them unconditionally and forever. We love them more than words can say. We always will.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.
If you have a Spotify account, Fiona helped me organize this year’s playlist over there.
She helped me put previous playlists there also: