*my dad is going to disown me after this post
Last night a ticket to the Dixie Chicks sort of fell into my lap. I am not a rabid fan but I almost never say no to live music. Also, I had seen the girls on Oprah a few weeks ago talking about their new movie "Shut Up and Sing" and was curious to see who was showing up to their concerts these days.
The group I was with had all kind of things to say about the big controversy over what the lead singer had said about the president and the backlash that followed. I'll admit, when I first heard the clips from that show I was bugged. I am always annoyed when I pay $50 to hear someone's music and they think I really care what their mostly ridiculous political views are. But the longer it has dragged on, and the more people act as though there is something unpatriotic about expressing frustration with an inept President, the more I want to tatoo the Dixie Chicks logo on my forehead in solidarity. I love living in a country where we absolutely get to think and feel whatever we want and what's more, we can say it publicly. Natalie Maines doesn't hate America, she is frustrated with an administration that has nothing but mess things up since they got into office. After this week's elections, it looks like maybe she was just saying what plenty of people were thinking.
But this isn't really supposed to be a political rant. Whether or not I agree with what she said isn't actually the point. Last night when the show started, and these three beautiful, confident, immensely talented women come out on stage like they owned the place, I got incredibly emotional. Oprah had asked the other two members of the group if they ever wished Natalie hadn't said what she said and one of them responded, "you don't even think about that. We're family and when one of us gets attacked, you protect her. You don't worry about what she should have done, you just circle the wagons and take care of each other." The decision to stick by her comments hasn't been great for their reputation or their album sales. But I admire the heck out of the courage it takes to stand up for what you believe in even when it's not what the folks around you want to hear. As Natalie's voice was giving me goosebumps and Emily and Martie played a game of "watch how many instruments I can play and still harmonize like it's no big deal", I thought about the CMA awards this week and the drivel that won while these freakishly talented women didn't get so much as a mention. But then you look at them, doing the thing they love, with their very best friends, husbands and seven kids between them running around backstage, the courage and integrity to be themselves in and out of the public eye and I think, these are the kind of women I hope I can be when I grow up.
The highlight of the night though was when they played a song off their new album called "Long Way Around" and some of the lyrics snapped into focus a bunch of things that have been floating in my head for the last year or so
"Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around"
I guess I've fallen into the trap of thinking that because I fall a little bit outside the lines of your typical Mormon girl that somehow I've messed up. All of the sudden it became really clear that taking the long way is not wrong, it's just another choice. In my heart I think I already knew that but my brain has been doing a really number on me lately. The order of things, the amount of time you spend in a job, the places you move, the heartaches you choose to enter into, the friendships you hang onto-those aren't a matter of right or wrong. My good friend Mike told me that turning 30 was what finally set him free of all the unreasonable expections of "order" leftover from the lists we make in high school. I'm tearing mine up as we speak.