Music Therapy with a Side of Happiness Infusion

I don’t really have the words to describe the response to my previous post. The interwebs and social media worlds definitely straddle the fence between good and evil in my mind. There are valuable connections to be made from behind my laptop monitor, but of course, it can also be a festering cesspool of hateful garbage at times. But, your outpouring of love, support and commiseration was lovely. It is good to be reminded that there is, indeed, a lot of beauty in this hard world.

Four days after posting, I hopped a plane to Missouri, where my family laid to rest my Grandpa Elzy, effectively wrapping up a generation, as he was the last grandparent Chris and I had. For a slew of reasons, I made the journey without my immediate family. I’m just going to say the relationship between my grandfather and me was complex, and far from ideal. And, he lived a long, full life, so saying goodbye was largely unemotional. It did, however, leave me scatterbrained enough to miss the therapy appointment I had scheduled for the day after my return. Can I use my so-called depressive episode as an excuse for my inability to read a calendar? I hope so.

However, I can tell you there were no calendar mishaps when it was time for me to board a plane to Mexico a week later. Today I am finishing out an entire week of days by the pool, hours upon hours of reading, meals I didn’t have to prepare or clean up after, and four nights of amazing shows, all featuring bad ass women performers. Again, I lack the words to describe it, but can confidently tell you I’m blissed out with gratitude to have had this time.

I’m going to tell you about this music festival now, not in an effort to brag or make you jealous (although it likely will make you jealous), but it was amazing on a number of fronts and needs to be talked about.

For the past two years, Chris and I have attended Avett Brothers At The Beach at the same resort. Both years were phenomenal. All the luxuries of being at an all inclusive resort AND evenings filled with live music by some of our favorite artists. A few months ago the Avett Brothers announced they would not be doing a third year of the festival, and Chris and I had an epic big sad. BUT, a few months later Brandi Carlile announced she would be putting on Girls Just Wanna Weekend, and we did not so much as blink twice before signing up.

Therapy comes in many forms. This week it’s been massive amounts of vitamin D and girl power. In the form of music (Brandi, Indigo Girls, Maren Morris, Lucius, Mavis Staples, Shawn Colvin, KT Tunstall, Ruby Amanfu, and The Secret Sisters), but also in the form of being around so many people who were just so damn happy. The constituency of this event was overwhelmingly female (though Brandi made it crystal clear from the get-go that all would be welcomed, and I don’t think the handful of men here had anything less than a stellar time). In addition to being overwhelmingly female, the crowd was also overwhelmingly lesbian. Chris ended up having to miss the event for a work trip (work is bullshit, y’all), so I ended up here with my friend Angie. It was either fully apparent that we’re just friends, or folks thought we were some sort of self-loathing suppressed version of lesbians who don’t really touch one another. That’s a lame attempt at humor, but what I’m getting at is that we were in the minority as straight women. Which shouldn’t really even be worth noting, but that simply isn’t the world we live in.

Obviously, as a straight white person, being a minority anywhere is pretty damn usual for me. And this event reiterated how much I take that fact for granted. Not that being a minority was a bad thing in this case, in fact it was pretty damn fanatic, because it felt like being in the midst of a large group of people collectively letting out a sigh of exhalation. Of course, it could have just been the sun, or the utter lack of responsibility, but I’m inclined to believe there was more to it than that. I would guess that nearly all of these women have spent at least some share of their life having to be less than truthful about who they are and who they love- a phenomenon I’ve been fortunate to not experience, because I really can’t imagine how that would feel or how I would deal with it.

But there was simply none of that here. The only other people I knew here were Lauren, diaconal minister at my beloved church, and her wife Michelle. Michelle posted on Facebook about how this was effectively the first time they’ve been on vacation together without everyone assuming they were friends or sisters, and how amazing that was. While I have a fairly vivid imagination, I can’t fathom what it would be like if everyone assumed Chris was my brother anytime we went somewhere. I’m fairly certain I’d have a nervous breakdown at best, or completely lose my shit at worst.

So, this occasion, one of the few being a minority wasn’t actually like being a minority at all. At one point, while sitting by the pool, Angie looked over at me and said, “There is so much happiness here that I could just cry.” I couldn’t argue with it.

all photos courtesy of the girls just wanna Facebook page

Except these. These would be Angie and me enjoying dinner with The Indigo Girls. Well, maybe not really with them, but GAH.