The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Headphones October 26, 2009

Back in April, Jars of Clay released their newest CD called “Long Fall Back to Earth.” Instantly, I was a fan. (In fact, I think it’s been out of my car for maybe a week total since then. I listen to it all the time.) The song called “Headphones”, however, reminded me of my one true addiction in high school (besides chasing the boys, of course).

I couldn’t go anywhere without them. I had them at school (so that I could listen on the trip to and from, of course), while I cleaned our church, on quiz trips. You name the place, and I probably had my headphones with me. Back then we didn’t have mp3 players, so I had to settle for lugging around my tote of CDs as well. I wasn’t even deterred when my CDs were stolen at a church camp, it just proved that I needed to keep them with me rather than leave them with my stuff.

One of the times I was at work cleaning the church, the pastor of my church said something to me in passing, something I took personally and was offended by at the time, but now I look back and realize that he was right. He said something to me about  how maybe I spent too much time listening to music, that it was an idol to me.

Looking back, I realize that I used them to block out everything going on around me. I claimed that I just connected with the music and used it as an “outlet” to “express my feelings.” In reality, I was expressing nothing. I was listening to others express while I only empathized with what was being said, as if I knew the lives of the artists or something.

Since then, I’ve learned of other ways to actually think for myself and express my own thoughts. (Crazy, I know!) Writing has become one of those outlets. I wrote minimally in high school, but college is when I realized quite how much I could use them to my benefit. Now, let’s just hope that I don’t become quite as dependent on my pen as I was on my headphones back then.

I’ve included the lyrics (and a link to a YouTube clip) to the song I mentioned at the beginning in case you want to know the exact lyrics.

by Jars of Clay

I don’t have to hear it, if I don’t want to.
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you.
it’s a heavy world, it’s too much for me to care.
If I close my eyes, it’s not there.

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television, but the sound is something else,
Just a song played against the drama, so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I’m chilled by the current events
It’s so hopeless, but there’s a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me.
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see.
I want to tell you
(It’s a heavy world)
Everything will be okay —
You wouldn’t hear it,
(I don’t want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on

I don’t wanna be the one who tries to figure it out,
I don’t need another reason I should care about you,
You don’t want to know my story,
You don’t want to own my pain,
Living in a heavy, heavy world,
And there’s a pop song in my head,
I don’t want to have to hear it.


Part of Your World [Get a Job Remix] September 28, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — Erin Joy @ 12:42 pm
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A few weeks ago, I watched The Little Mermaid for the first time all the way through in English. The only other time I’d seen it was in high school French class. I was one of the few girls growing up who didn’t dream of being Ariel or repeatedly watch the scene where she sang with all her gadgets and gizmos in the cave. That’s okay though. I’ve decided to make up for lost time by writing a parody of the song with respect to my current situation.

And just a clarification before you start reading, I don’t hate spending time with all kids. It just gets tiring when you seem to only spend your time babysitting kids, especially when you would rather spend time at a job doing something else. Even still, I’m thankful every day for what income I do have.

“Part of Your World” [Get a Job Remix]

[spoken] Maybe he’s right. Maybe there is something the matter with me. I just don’t see how a world that employs so many people could find me so bad.

Look at this stuff,
Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my life’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl,
The girl who has everything?
I’ve got a home,
Friends all around.
How many blessings can one person have?
Looking around here you think:
Sure, she’s got everything.
I’ve got bubbles and puzzles a-plenty.
I sit babies and toddlers galore.
You want Handy Manny shows?
I know twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal,
I want more!

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna be, wanna be with them workin’
Walking around at those – what do you call ’em?
Oh – jobs!

Watchin’ the kids, you don’t get too far.
Ideas are required for writing, working
Scrolling along down a – what’s that word again?

Out where they write, out where they have fun
Out where their sitting days are all done
Imagine me free – wish I could be
Part of that world!

Know what I’d give if I could live out of these pressures?
Know what I’d pay to see loans come to an end?
Bet’cha you can, and they understand
That they’re not stuck living with their daughters
Proper women, independently dreamin’
Ready to stand

And ready to know what the people know
Ask ’em my questions and get some answers
What’s a job and what does it – what’s the word?

When’s it my turn?
Wouldn’t I love, love to explore that world with no kids,
No more babies?
Wish I could be,
Part of that world!


Mockingbird August 31, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 7:32 am
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As a reader, I know that a lifetime isn’t long enough to read all the great books out there, not to mention magazines, blogs and even tweets. I feel so insignificant and can’t get over the question, “Why should someone read my words when they can read Tolstoy, Anne Lamott, Stephen King or the Bible?”

The answer is because I am not Tolstoy, Anne Lamott, Stephen King or Moses. Though we may be saying the same things (not all of us), I won’t say them the same way, and maybe you, as a reader, will benefit from it.

When I first heard Derek Webb’s song Mockingbird (you can listen to a cover at the bottom and read the lyrics) I had already accepted that, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecl. 1:9). I knew I couldn’t prove how unique or special I was by writing something unlike anything else printed.

At some point, I began a transition that this song moved forward. I went from vainly searching for something new to say (the cow punched out the alien’s grandma, is that anywhere in Western literature?) to telling the Truth. The same-old news that Jesus Christ, the incarnate son of God died and the Father resurrected him, all for the sake of reconnecting the Creator to the created. 

And suddenly, I don’t feel so bad about being unoriginal.

The gospel repeats itself with different people in different places and different times. It is my job to take that Truth and transform bits and pieces of these old stories into fiction, poetry, songs or whatever means work best for that story to share with the world.


Rollercoaster May 14, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 4:20 pm
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Life gets a little better, life gets a little gray
Live it up, live it long you can always count on
Those unexpected moments when the pleasure just sweeps you away.
We were made for something better,
Something better than this inconsistency,
So while you wait to respond to what’s really going on,
Under shame, under doubt, what’s the whole thing all about,
Sing to me.

– “Rollercoaster” by Kendall Payne

“So while you wait to respond to what’s really going on . . .”  On my drive home from Indiana, I realized that I have been just sitting around just waiting for the next exciting thing to happen to me. I haven’t made much effort in finding anything new.

A few years ago, I made the declaration that I would not be afraid to go where God was leading me, but now I am looking at where I’ve been since I said that, I realize that my life has only been encompassed by fear. I have not experienced as much as I could have, and I have notcome very far because I haven’t been willing to step out and take a risk.

After a conversation I had with a friend yesterday, I have decided that I need to escape the rut I’ve fallen into, whether it’s by going somewhere I’ve never been or by trying something new. I just know I can’t stay where I am at, and I can’t let fear hold me back anymore.

What is holding you back while you’re waiting for what’s next in life?