High School

Flashback Friday: Bad Day

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Ya’ll… I KNOW you remember this song. I’m sure some of you hate it as much as some of you love it and feel all 2005 when you hear it.

I have a necessary relationship with “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.

2005-2006 was pretty rough for this chick. While 2005 was the year I graduated high school (which to this day was one of the most relieving and liberating days of my life), I also went through some rough transitions. Earlier in that year I was broken up with, which just SUCKED SO BAD at the time. It was the worst! And thinking about it now, I feel silly even bringing it up. But at the time, it was so devastating to me. (You can read all about it in my LiveJournal…. if you can find it).

So “Bad Day” along with Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” got me through most of that. Oh, and Jesus… I guess. Or maybe it’s better put that Jesus allowed those songs to keep me going, since I really wasn’t going to surrender anything to him, even though I claimed that I was a Christian.

I also did a semester at FIU, which I was not excited about at all. So, 2005 was weird, but kind of normal life. Then 2006 happened. I can look back at 2006 and pinpoint what may have been the beginning of the #RealLife Sanctification process.

My family started falling apart at the seams. It was one of those things I think I always knew was going to happen, and it was like a waiting game to see when the shit would finally hit the fan.

It hit, and the fan flung suffering all over us.

An argument turned into chaos on the front yard which pushed me to slam pictures on the terrazzo tile inside because I couldn’t contain my sorrow  and rage anymore. My sister disappearing into the dark night as my brother cried in the garage while begging me not to go stay at Jessica’s house.

(It is really hard for me to share those last two sentences, because it forces me to relive them. I’m still forgiving myself for leaving my little brother in that hell). 

The rest of that year is still one of the most painful years I’ve ever known (although the past 6 months are really trying to top that). The chaos only kept on coming, to the point where my mom and I never knew if everyone was going to be alive by the next day. People at church treated me and my sister like outsiders. My life was literally falling apart and all I got was a lot of religious platitudes.

(Disclaimer: if we went to church together during this time, please don’t hear that as a condemnation on you or our Church. I was just as guilty of doing to others what ended up happening a little bit to me, so there is no judgement coming from me. We’re all sinners in need of grace). 

For the sake of everyone’s dignity, I won’t share much more details of that year. But this song… this song stuck with me. Back when Motorola flip phones were cool, “Bad Day” was my ringtone for everyone. I just wanted to hear it anytime, all the time.

One of the only redeeming moments of 2006 was when I had to spend the day in Downtown Miami to 1) go to court over a parking ticket and 2) visit my dad in a psychiatric ward. So pretty much the two worst things ever. After court, I had time to kill, so I took the Metro Rail to Dadeland mall, and let someone put makeup on me in Macy’s. I don’t even know why I did that, but it made me feel better. I got back on the Metro Rail to go to the hospital, and my phone kept ringing…

Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don’t lie
You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

I didn’t answer it. I wanted to keep hearing the song. In that moment, listening to “Bad Day” on the Metro Rail with my face fresh with makeup and strangers all around me, I felt like I was going to make it to 2007. I even started giggling, and said, “how bout you’ve had a bad year,” and giggled some more.

So, it’s 2014, and I’m still alive!

Maybe one day, ya’ll can convince me to talk about my closet ZAO obsession in 10th grade.

What songs have helped carry you through life?

March Writing Challenge Day 6: Little Girl You’re in the Middle of the Ride

Jimmy Eat World Bleed American

I remember walking into my Algebra 2 class on one particular morning, the stench of 10th grade stinging my sleep-filled eye balls. I went through the normal, inescapable motions before school, which involved getting up way too early and eating sugary cereal that left me hungry by 9. Getting up at 6 to be at the bus stop by 6:45 in the a.m. never ceased to be taxing. I sat down in that olive green chair, feeling the weight of yesterday’s math test begin to pile on my shoulders. But nevertheless, I laid my head down on the cold, wooden desk in hopes that life would grant me a few more moments of unconscious obliviousness  before the wretched day began.

My teacher, Mr. So-and-So ( I can’t for the life of me remember his name) walked in with his shirt barely tucked into his oversized khaki slacks, hair all over the place, and a somewhat disappointed look on his face. Let me talk about this guy’s hair for a moment, because even though it made him look incredibly goofy, there was something so accessible about it. He had one of those mushroom cuts, but it came down the side of his cheeks and met right at his jaw line. Just a smidgen too long. There wasn’t another teacher in all my fifteen years of life that had such a hair cut; that kind of style was probably considered unprofessional. But this guy… you could tell he fell hard into the 90’s, and never really came back up. I loved that.

When the last bell rang, he walked slowly up to the front of the class and gave the entire room a look-over, as if he was preparing himself for some kind of farewell speech. The next part scared me a little. He didn’t say anything. He just started handing out tests from the day prior. He seemed to become more sluggish after putting each piece of paper down, desk after desk. No one muttered a word.

After the last test was handed back, he sauntered back up to the front of the gray room, and proceeded to tell us how he was fairly disappointed with the way our scores came out. Apparently no one in the class got higher than a D, which was kind of shocking. We were a decent class that managed to produce pretty high grades. That test just happened to get the best of us this time around. I will say that I was somewhat relieved knowing that we had dropped the ball as a whole. We all went down in flames together.

Typically, Mr. So-and-so would go on with a lecture about the meaning of life (according to his experience) and how we can apply this said truth to math. We all expected this to happen, but no one was really in the mood for it. Apparently, neither was he, because he proceeded to do one of the coolest things a teacher has ever done.

With a little more pep in his step, he shuffled over to his black boom box and said, “this is how I feel about you guys today,” and pressed play.

“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World began to fill our ears.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet, it’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on. Just try your best, try everything you can, and don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away…”

Some of us started to lift our heads, a few began to crack a smile, and a couple of students even laughed a little. When the chorus rolled around, a few of us started to sing along like we were all of a sudden transported into a cheesy high school musical (not to be confused with the actual “High School Musical”).

“It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine, everything, everything will be alright, alright…”

Mr. So-and-S0 let the tune play out all the way through, and then started teaching as if that awful test had never happened. Student’s faces beamed, feeling lifted up. Heck, even myself in all my hatred for school, felt refreshed and encouraged.

It dawned on me sitting in that freezing cold, prison cell-like classroom at the butt crack of dawn that what that man just did was something a good leader does. Figuring out the attributes and characteristics of a leader wasn’t even on my radar yet, for my mind was mainly focused on the guy I had a crush on and the homemade nachos I was going to make when I got home and watched Boy Meets World re-runs. But that morning, that morning that felt so familiar, so much like every other dreadful morning, turned out to be a little different from the rest.

A display of grace took place. It didn’t happen at church, where that word was constantly mentioned. It didn’t happen at home, where the heart is supposed to be but was not for me. It happened at Southridge Senior High School in my 10th grade Algebra 2 class, surrounded by the people I struggled to relate with and love.

My most unexpected of places.