Saturday, August 28, 2010


How come society defines us by everything else other than who we are as people? By our looks, our clothes, our weight, the food we eat, the music we listen to, the school we went to, etc. The list goes on.

Why does all of that matter? And it does. I was at a wedding once. I was sitting at a table with other individuals my age. And before they even asked my name, they asked "so what kind of music do YOU listen to?" In a snobby way. I felt instantly frozen. I felt whatever came out of my mouth at that moment was going to define me for the rest of the evening. Luckily someone else chimed in and I was spared being placed in a box, labeled.

I shouldn't gripe about this, because I feel like I'm socially stunted and these kinds of topics seem SO easy to talk about. I want to know why it isn't really acceptable to dive deep into the heart of who we really are as people, upon first or second meeting. It seems taboo to talk about deep things in our lives unless we know a person very well. I feel like we need to be the core of who we are at the very beginning, so we don't have to break down the barriers others have placed around us by their perceptions. Perceptions based on all those things I mentioned in the first paragraph. Sure. Those things are part of who we are, but they aren't the whole of us.

What about our childhoods? The moments who define us. The experiences that have taught us? The fact that I went to GVSU isn't who I am, it's the experiences I had there that do. But I can't wear those on a t-shirt.

I'm kind of on a soapbox about this right now. It just seems strange to me that we would limit our knowing of others. I know people and they know me. But they don't KNOW me. It's partially my fault, but the other part is that maybe I feel like they don't really care to know anymore about me than what they see in front of them. That's why it was kind of terrifying to write that last blog. People don't know me like that. Vulnerable, open, honest, hurting. You wouldn't know that about me by knowing I like acoustic music, or that I drive a Saturn.

I don't know if this makes any sense. It's one of those things that I've got tumbling around in my brain. The idea, the concept, in my brain is perfectly logical, but thrown out into cyberspace, it may seem a little jumbled. Sorry about that. :) Hopefully there are some tiny molecules of sense in there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The reason.

I don't typically do this. And I promise I'm not obsessed, but I feel like I need to further explain why it is I'm so defensive about Hanson. And I know you're thinking "Hillary, shut up about Hanson already" But I really feel like I need to explain myself, as to stop getting ridiculed for liking a band. Something I really shouldn't have to worry about anyways.

I don't usually elaborate on this part of my life, because I don't like to dwell on the past; especially negative portions of it, but here we go. Oh, and I don't like pity parties. I'm not one to bring up bad things just to make other people around me feel uncomfortable, SO don't pity me, but I am still going to explain myself here since people tend to not really listen to me that well.

In the summer of 1996, my family was basically uprooted. My dad's job was kinda shut down, and my parents opted to be transferred to New Jersey, so my dad could continue to work for BASF. We left everything, to go to nothing. Our family, our friends, our entire life was turned upside down over the course of a summer. My brother and I spent a year in the Stroudsburg, PA school district. The education was poor, the teachers were horrible. I spent that entire year of my life being made fun of and teased. Some things I haven't even really spoken of and to be honest I've blocked most things out. As a result of this, my mom pulled us of out that school and we were home-schooled for the next two-ish years. So I went from the area I loved, people I loved, people who loved and knew me. To nothing. Well, not completely nothing, because I had my small little family unit. And one friend, I had managed to make in school.

During the year of home-schooling, this friend of mine introduced me to a little band called Hanson. They had two songs out on the radio at the time. "MMMBop" and "Where's the Love". I fell in love with "Where's the Love" immediately. It was catchy and happy and made me not think about how lonely and defeated I was. I told my mom about this and she brought me to the local music store to buy "Middle of Nowhere".

Anyone else ever use music as an escape? I know you have. I did. I still do. All this was before I was a Christian. I was young, and I knew all about Christ and stuff, but I didn't know about it like i do now. I didn't know I needed to turn to Christ for all those worries. So I turned to music. Whenever Hanson would be tv, I would watch it. I had (HAVE) all their cds. Even singles and EPs and stuff. I decorated my room.

I literally got rid of all my sadness, by listening to this happy music. I remember the day I found out I was going to their concert. I was sitting on the counter in my kitchen and the tickets had come in the mail. My mom handed me the envelop. I cried I was so happy. And I remember going to the show. It was my first concert ever. It was at the Palace. I had binoculars and everything. We were SO far away, but I didn't care. I was just so happy. My mom even bought me all kinds of merch. Which I'm sure I still have somewhere. Thinking of that small gesture even now makes me a little emotional. There is more to this story, but I'm not going to get into it as I think I've communicated enough of it to help you all understand.

And that folks is why I'm so attached to this band. I love them and their music and how they got me through that difficult time in my life. I know it doesn't sound that tragic, but, for me, it was. Being lonely is the worse thing in the world for me. I still struggle with those things from time to time and I know it's an extension of that move. I've never been really great at making friends, I still struggle with feeling alone and unwanted, like I felt that year at the wretched middle school. Even now, writing this, I get a little teary eyed thinking back on it.

I know, trust me, I know, not everyone has similar tastes in music. What is refreshing to my ears, may not move you the same way and vise versa. And like I said before, I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad, or pity me, because God knows that's the last thing I want. I usually just keep my mouth shut, but I couldn't this time. So thanks for listening. :)

Lastly, I will nerd out for a moment and say I finally met one of the Hanson boys. I was SO SO beyond happy at that moment. I know it's dumb, but I can't help it. Their music has been with me for 13 years. They've gotten me through many things, and make me happy.

SO again, thank you Hanson for bringing me joy when nothing else could.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The secret.

I have a secret. It's taken me over ten years to be able to honestly tell people.

I am a Hanson fan.
From 1997:

To now:

13 years. Now if that's not loyalty, I don't know what is. The first Hanson song I heard was "Where's the Love?". The single released after MMMBop. I was hooked. I had (have) a crush on Taylor, the middle one, since I was 12 years old. Now it's basically out of nostalgia-sake. I used to write on my Hanson calendar what shows they would be appearing on that week, and watch them, as well as tape them. I listened to their cd non-stop. Other kids made fun of me, which is kind of why I stopped telling people. But in all honesty, and call me cheesy, or whatever, but their music got me through a tough time in my life. Which is why I think I've held onto them for so long.

As I grew up, so did they. As my musical tastes matured, so did their music. Hence, the loyalty. As long as they keep making music I enjoy, I will listen. And be a fan. Judge me! I dare you. Another thing I love about them: Each album is uniquely different than the one before. Almost as if they have a musical theme. It's amazing and keeps us guessing. I love it.

I'm going to see them play at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, where I will be giddy like I was 12 again, and jump around like a goon. So in preparation for that, I've been on a all Hanson music rotation. I've decided I will make a list of some of my favorite songs by them. Maybe if you're brave, you'll check some of them out. I promise they are talented, it may not be your style, but you cannot deny they are gifted.

So here's the list in no particular order (song, album, year):
~ Great Divide; The Walk, 2007
~Never Let Go; Members EP; not sure (probably my favorite, but it's impossible to pick)
~MMMBop; Middle of Nowhere, 1997 ( come on, you cannot deny how catchy it is)
~With You In Your Dreams; Middle of Nowhere, 1997 (written for their grandmother; very pretty)
~And I Waited; Shout It Out, 2010
~Give A Little; Shout It Out, 2010 (awesomely, fun song)
~Me, Myself, and I; Shout It Out, 2010
~Worlds On Fire; Stand Up Stand Up acoustic EP (one of many songs about social injustices in the world)
~Save Me; This Time Around, 2000
~A Song to Sing; This Time Around, 2000
~Strong Enough to Break; Underneath, 2004 (written as a result of breaking away from the music industry and creating their own independent label, free of the restrictions of the music industry)
~Lost Without Each Other; Underneath, 2004 (I dare you not to dance. I DARE you!)
~Been There Before; The Walk, 2007 (Classic)
~Fire On The Mountain; The Walk, 2007
~Blue Sky; The Walk, 2007
~A Minute Without You; Middle of Nowhere, 1997 (I forget about this song until I hear it live, where I jump around like a fool)

Long list I know, but me and Hanson go way back.

And one more thing you may not know about Hanson: Back before they recorded and released The Walk, they became involved in an organization called TOMS shoes. Many of you have seen me sporting mine. This organization promotes awareness of areas so deep in poverty, that families cannot even afford shoes. This causes many health issues, even some so bad they can lead to death, simply by walking long distances without shoes. To help promote this, before every show, Hanson leads a one mile walk without shoes. I haven't been fortunate enough to be able to participate in this, but hopefully I'll be able to this year.

Thanks for listening to my secret. I know all you music lovers with your favorite band will understand what I'm communicating here. So thanks to all those bands who remain awesome and true your loyal fans. We appreciate it.

And as Zac Hanson would say:
Peace, Love, & Bulletproof Marshmallows.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sneaking suspicion.

I usually have a pretty good idea when something is right or wrong. I can feel it, in my soul.

It's hard to explain. When I have decisions to make, so life roads to choose, I usually know if it's right simply how I feel about it. It's uncomfortable. And awkward, and usually I just don't want to do it.

I've got that feeling now.

But what do you do if this thing pleases everyone around you? It makes everyone else happy, specifically happy for me. In my heart though, I feel like it's not right.

I know I need to give it to God. Which is what I've done and I still don't feel right about it. And this is when I need to stop being so dense and go with what I feel because God seems to be encouraging that feeling within me.

I know this was really vague and cryptic, but sometimes I don't what to get THAT personal via the internets. :)

That is all. I hope I snap out of the case of the Mondays and have a productive day.

So far, failing.