The most difficult nine months of my life started five years ago today. (No, I wasn’t pregnant.) I’ve told more people at this point what I was going through during that time, but it’s still too personal for me to write about on a public blog. I will say, though, that this was the first time in my life where I realized that the crippling anxiety I felt sometimes might be a legitimate problem and not just a personality quirk, although it took me longer to do anything about it.
During this time, I discovered Beth Hart’s “Leave the Light On.” I listened to it over and over, and it kept getting stuck in my head. The specific lyrics didn’t have much to do with my situation—the song is about Beth Hart moving on from her life as an addict—but I kept hearing, “I leave the light on, I leave the light on.”
I’d read The Song Reader, which I’ve talked about here before. And the thing that strikes me about this period of my life is that I stayed optimistic even though I was sad and terrified. I don’t know if I could be that way if I went through another bad period of my life like that. When I look back at my journals from that period, there’s a lot of hope and humor mixed into it. So maybe the song was telling me to “leave the light on,” or reminding me that I already was, but either way, it was very comforting. Despite its obvious, heavy-handed message, I still find it comforting in sad times.