Heavy metal was not my thing as a kid. With its distorted beats and aggressive vocals, it was discouraged by my parents (and every other adult with authority over me). Although plenty of my friends and classmates liked it and wore those black concert t-shirts to school, I preferred bands like Air Supply, The Beach Boys, and Journey. As my sister and I became teenagers, we did venture into some hard rock music. She liked Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses. I leaned towards Styx, REO Speedwagon, and The Eagles. We weren’t strangers to Van Halen or Aerosmith, especially because they had songs on American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. Oh, and, ahem…we also knew every ABBA song by heart. So heavy metal…nah.
Funny that my husband loves heavy metal music. Always has, always will. His collection of tapes (yes, those old things) and CDs (well, those are becoming old too, aren’t they?) lives in a separate cabinet from mine. I just couldn’t meld them when we got married. And so they stayed. So he’ll laugh at the title of this blog, for sure.
One searing summer day not long ago, I was driving along Hwy. 50, listening to an oldies station and I heard “Here I go again on my own, goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known…” My memory knew those lyrics…not just from a Walmart ad showing kids going back to school. As the song played, my mind followed along with the lyrics. Words emerged in my head like sun peering from the clouds. Memory is indeed a fascinating thing.
I couldn’t figure out who sang it, so when I arrived home, I did the natural thing and googled it. Whitesnake showed up. Whitesnake??? I had to laugh. A heavy metal band.
I played the entire song, and the first several lines just hit me. I hadn’t heard the beginning of the song on the radio. And listening to it now, I related to the lyrics in a new way.
“I don’t know where I’m goin.”
I moved to the Sacramento area two years ago after living in Napa for 22 years. I really didn’t know where I was going in the sense of what it would be like and how it would feel to start again. As I traded one career for another after the move, it sure as heck felt like I had no idea where I was going. And raising a child (now a teen) with autism, there’s many a day where I don’t know where we’re going. It can be a scary ride.
“But I sure know where I’ve been.”
Yup. I’ve lived a lot of places from the East Coast to the west. That’s nothing special nowadays. People move all the time. Knowing where you’ve been is more than geographic knowledge though. And the older I get, the more “where I’ve been” seems to matter. Accumulating hindsight somehow does more than make you feel old(er) – it can make one feel wiser. And as far as autism goes, well, there isn’t a parent out there who doesn’t know exactly where they’ve been. Chances are, they’ve been “there” many years, and somehow, if they’ve left, they’ve never really totally left.
“Hanging on the promises and songs of yesterday…”
I think everyone looks back occasionally. Some not only look back but get locked in the past. And whether that’s good or bad or something else, who can say? Is it a bad thing to hang onto the promises of yesterday? It could be painful to do that, or it could provide a source of hope. Maybe it depends on how exactly we “hang.” Is it by a thread or the tips of our fingernails? Is it with every last ounce of strength we can muster? Is it with a firm and steady grip? Whatever it is, when it comes to autism, the promises of yesterday are not the same promises as those of today.
“I’ve made up my mind; I ain’t wasting no more time.“
This line from David Coverdale and Bernie Marsden’s song lit a fire under me. I’ve been working on my blog and website for a while: brainstorming, strategizing, writing, editing and writing more. If I hadn’t made up my mind to go live soon, it felt like I never would. A perfectionistic streak often keeps me from action. I ain’t wasting no more time. So here I go.
Here I go again. On my own. I’m going to walk down the only road I’ve ever known.
Putting myself out there and being honest and staying true to who I am. Like other special needs parents, who I am has a great deal to do with what autism has provided. There are aspects of life that I wish autism hadn’t introduced. But my child…my child is my child forever and I love and adore and respect him and ALL that he is – autism or not.
I will keep searching for the answers. Sometimes I don’t find what I’m looking for.
But I’ll pray for the strength to carry on. I’d like KeriMeHome to be a source of strength; not only for me, but for others as well. And maybe as I walk along, it won’t be a lonely street of dreams. There might be company along the way. Thank you Whitesnake.