"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

Today I put one of my sister Julie's cd's in to listen to on my drive to work. I do that sometimes when I want to feel connected to her. I kept all of the cd's she had in her car cd changer at the time she died. They're labeled in her neat, slanted handwriting in her typical organized, logical way--Latest Mix #1, Latest Mix #2, Workout Mix. The one labeled Where I Am Right Now is one I listened to over and over in the weeks, even the months after she died, trying to understand, looking for clues in the lyrics. 
They were all custom mixes that she'd made herself. She did that frequently as her musical moods changed as often as her emotional moods. Her choices at any given time in her life were a snapshot of where she was at in her head at that time. 

Today I listened to the one labeled Latest Mix #2. I realized as I loaded it into the player that it really wasn't that current of a mix anymore, being at least three years old. It's like a time capsule of sorts, filled with musical messages about my sister and her musical choices in early 2010. It started out with Lady Antebellum's song Long Gone, an upbeat country song about a woman telling a man that he's missed his chance with her, she's long gone. 

It's so like you just to show up at my door
And act like nothin's happened
You think I'll sweep my heart up off the floor
And give it to you
Like so many times before
You're talking to a stranger
I'm not that girl anymore

That girl is long gone
Boy you missed the boat it just sailed away
Long gone
She's not drowning in her yesterdays
Betcha never thought I'd be that strong
Well this girl is long gone

Don't waste your breath with baby baby please
Cuz I am so not listening
Don't bother getting down upon your knees and try to beg me
I'm tired of how you twist the truth
You're not talking to the same girl
Who used to forgive you

Next up was Nancy Sinrata's These Boots Are Made for Walking. Who doesn't know those lyrics? The video while dated, still resonates with the message of a woman who just isn't going to take any more bad treatment from a man. She's empowered, she's strong, she's sexy, and she's walking away. Haven't we all at some point in our lives felt like Nancy Sinrata? I know I have. 

I listened to those two songs and thought of Julie. Did she add those songs to her play list during a time when she felt strong enough to end her destructive relationship? Were the words her anthem during those times when she had walked away from him? Or were they words of inspiration, songs she listened to trying to gather the fortitude to walk away, to tell him exactly the kind of person he was and that she deserved so much better? Either way, I wish she would have taken them more to heart. I wish she could have sung along with conviction, believing the messages and walked away for good. 

If only I could have made her see that she was strong, she did deserve better, she could put on her boots, literally and figuratively, and walk away without looking back. When I listened to those songs today I was sad. Sad for Julie. Sad for me. Sad for everyone who loved her. Sad for the people that didn't get the chance to love her. But most of all, sad that I'll never again get to see her dancing happily in her red boots. 
Amy, Julie and I at a Super Diamond Concert.


  1. I have her play list that she put together for me for Mother's Day or Christmas or something. Julie's music taste was eclectic and typified her rich personality. Was she influenced by the music she chose, or was the music chosen to fit the mood? Who will ever know. I think we would find it hard to answer that question for ourselves regarding our own music choices and our moods.

    On the other hand, I wish she'd have put on those boots and walked away, very far away, from a certain person. That was hard when she worked with him and he had so much control over her work environment.

  2. What a beautiful memory of a beautiful person. Julie is someone I will never meet, but because of you and Sally I feel I know who she was. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. Keicha, you tell such a powerful story with your words, full of unanswered questions and clues, a story where you know the end, but not all the parts getting there. It breaks my heart. This is simply beautiful.


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