Songs that inspired Catching Tatum (click here to listen)
Star Spangled Banner – Whitney Houston
Because I couldn't wite a book with a baseball-loving military brat protagonist and not hear our national anthem!
I Don't Dance – Lee Brice
This is the song that inspired me to write Catching Tatum in the first place. From the very first time I heard it, the muse moved me to write a story worthy of the lyrics.
Meet Virginia – Train
Dedicated to Tatum over the radio by a boy in a recollection she had that never made it out of my head into the story, but the song fits her too perfectly to leave out.
No More I Love You's – Annie Lennox
Tatum's motto after she says it one too many times with no love in return. Also, though it's not written this way, this is the song I envisioned Tatum playing over and over again on her pitiful run around McChord AFB, and when she cries on her bed, and when both boys break her heart again.
I'm Not Who I Was – Brandon Heath
When Tatum makes her rules and stands up for herself and becomes a woman of strength and mystery, because of the boy who broke her heart.
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
This is the song I imagine playing on the radio when Tatum drives to work after Justin Parker changed her station.
Rude – Magic!
Another inspirational song for a scene in the story that didn't make it to the final version. This is when Cole comes back and asks Tatum's dad if he can date her and he shuts him down. Then of course, Cole the-persistent comes back and permission is granted.
All She Wants to do is Dance – Don Henley
’Cause I couldn't have two exhibitionist characters like Cole and Tatum and not have them dance to this in front of a crowd of fans. And, anyway, it's perfect for that 3rd inning sing-along!
Better Together – Jack Johnson (but only the harmonica version will do)
When the boy who gets what he wants finally gives in and gives Tatum what she demands—the perfect dance for two stubborn souls.
Redeemed – Big Daddy Weave
When Tatum finds her redemption in the arms of a heartbroken Airman.
Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy
For the season of Tatum's life when she loses both Justin and Cole. This was another song that haunted me, like a muse, from the first time I heard it and demanded me to write for it.
Hello, My Name Is – Matthew West
I don't know; it's kind of the song I hear when the two of them finally, at long last, say “I do.” I think it's the best way for them to end their courtship, which is filled with memories of regrets, and say “hello” to a new life together.
Nature is sanctuary to my soul.
As a child, East Coast crickets, fireflies, deciduous trees and schist hills were refuge from confusing early adolescent emotions. Walking warm, sticky Appalachian trails, losing my breath on the uphill and finding life croaking beside babbling brooks soothed the angst and promised that there was more to life than streets and sidewalks and social norms.
When I moved back to the Pacific Northwest, I was no less captivated. The Stillaguamish was my safe place, which was strange because it never stayed the same. Spring and autumn flooding promised chaotic change, but always it flowed; across the street from my nightmare life, my gestating addictions and night-time fears. I went to its banks, laid, eyes-closed, on damp, mossy logs and listened to the promise of nature.
The promise: life is steady and unstable and it will not stop. It changes; it is horrible and wonderful and sounds like birdsong and crashing rotten trees, it smells like mold and decay and roses and honeysuckle, and it always goes on… until it ends. And life, all life, all the time, always ends and leaves evidence of what once was and is no longer.
There is life. There is death.
My life ebbed and flowed and, like the mighty Stilly, its course changed over and over.
Then I was alone.
I was drawn to the woods. Day in and day out I walked up the mountain behind my house to read a Psalm, to be at peace, but never too far; because I’d never been too far alone. I asked people to take me further, the answer was no. I found courage and strength to do it alone. In my car, petrified to get stuck, I drove into the mountains and realized I’d forgotten to use my feet! I left the car… but never too far, and wandered and breathed in the air.
As always, the beauty of creation overwhelmed me! I was in love. I wanted more silent rugged trails and windy rolling ridges that stretched as far as eyes could see. Then sanctuary made friends with my real-life. There were people at my gym planning a hike.
Maybe I invited myself, maybe I was invited. I do not remember. Someone said Mt. Cashmere was a ten mile hike, and Mike said the top gets a little sketchy so if I was unsure, don’t summit. I was in! I ran half marathons, I worked out, I knew my body could handle it and I wanted to go to the mountains! The group would be my conduit to finally go too far!
I had no clue what to bring. All I knew were long drives and short hikes. The morning came. I tried to pretend like this wasn’t a big deal. We got to the trailhead and someone said the hike was eighteen miles!
EIGHTEEN MILES!!! I had never done anything remotely close to eighteen miles in my life! My insides were sick! I was scared: to make a fool of myself, to admit I’d never done anything like that, to be the slowest person on the hike, to not be able to do what I planned to do. Fear invaded me. Then we hiked.
Steve, Andrew and Marisol were the only people I knew, and these only slightly from the gym. Casey, Ana, Shane and Ed were strangers I walked the woods with. Ed was a runner training for his first marathon. Shane knew some of my favorite friends. Casey spoke of fires that scarred the hillsides. Ana and Marisol, ethereal beings of beauty, moved with strength and grace. I did my best to keep up, praying to the Lord that I didn’t embarrass myself. Steve had a hard time hiking that day. Now that I know how it all works and where I fit best in the pack, I would have stayed back with him, but that day, I didn’t know; and that moment in my life… I had a thing to prove to myself.
I needed to do it. We hiked, up and up and up, past beautiful lakes and forest trails, past burned trees that squeaked and hissed under my fingertips. The char and cinder of once alive trees leaving black evidence of death, reminding me I was alive... and as long as I wasn’t last, I wasn’t lost.
It took forever. I bouldered, I tested limits, I ached and I didn’t summit. I was unsure, so I waited in the bitter, cloud covered cold, in the cleft of a hard, rigid rock, on the spine of the mountain. They summitted; I waited alone… afraid. It was scary but it was perfect! Me and Jesus and a downloaded version of the Bible. They came down and the trek reversed. I thought I got lost. Andrew guided me to a trail I could see, then I sent him on, or he sent himself; it didn’t matter I wasn’t afraid anymore! I wasn’t last. I wasn’t lost. I wasn’t lonely. I was just alone for miles… in my sanctuary, streams and leaves and wood and rocks and one foot in front of the other; down, down, down.
Then it was over. I didn’t make it to the top but I did it! (here are the pictures to prove it!)
I go on to climb new heights figuratively and literally. I am grateful! I see God and His amazing design and skill and talent in creation. I am blessed that these, once, strangers allow me to hike with them. I am humbled at our collective ability and agility and know not everyone can move like we do.
A year ago this week they touched the peak of Mt. Cashmere and I summitted my fears. I am strong, I am brave, I am full of life! I will go too far into the woods, the rivers and the mountains as long as I can … I will be dead some day so I ought to live life well now!
This isn’t a self-discovery post, this is a request post. If you know of any training to convert a “freezer” to a “fighter” or “flee-er,” please share! I’m not quite 40 so, I’m sure there will be other times in my life when I need to be able to DO SOMETHING instead of freeze!
Something happened this week that scared me. I’m not talking the scared I get when a spider eases her way down a spindly line of silk (which also happened this week) and surprises me and makes me scream hysterically. I’m talking the, in-your-face, primal, adrenaline rush kind of fear that blindsides you when the unexpected happens and pushes you up against the core of everything that makes you, you. The kind of fear that sticks in your lungs but won’t let you scream, the kind that sees every thing in slow motion… over and over and over again. The kind that jolts you awake every half-hour in the middle of the night and won’t let you fall back to sleep. You know the fear... we all do.
It’s happened to me before: in a nightmare, in a closet, in a spinning car on a sheet of ice, with a gun drawn and a yelling SWAT officer in front of my car, in the rushing water of unforgiving early summer rapids. I know this feeling and every time... I freeze!
I hate it!
I don’t scream, I don’t yell, I don’t run, I don’t fight (OK maybe I fight a little) but mostly I … just… freeze!
I HATE this! I hate myself for reacting this way! What is wrong with me?! Everything inside me screams; DANGER! RUN!!! FIGHT!!! SCREAM!!! Instead... I turn into an idiot opossum and do nothing! My skill set, when faced with the things that scare me on a primal level includes…
1) Doing nothing...
2) Staring dumbly...
3) Letting bad things happened….
4) Watching wide-eyed as the bad things happen...
5) Pretending to sleep…
6) Or unwillingly playing the reluctant accomplice...
What the heck?! I am a strong, intelligent human being. I’m quirky but I’m smart. I process differently than most but I problem solve excellently. I’m resilient! I’m quick! I figure things out! I am a woman of action! But in every situation where I feel threatened at the core of my being I cease to function and freeze!
I HATE IT!
How do I fix it!?
“They” say we have two primary reactions to fear: Fight or Flight, BUT “they” say, if you face fear as a child, with limited experience, strength and support, “Freeze” (or disassociation) is the typical response to fear. “They” say the body always releases endorphins but in the case of a freezer it serves as an analgesic to make the trauma less horrifying since the brain has decided that it cannot realistically either fight or flee. “They” say once you identify as a “freezer” or “disassociative” that becomes your fear response.
Well, I reject what “they” say! It’s stupid and I want to fix it! I’m a smart, strong, capable adult now… I am no longer a child! I am no longer weak! I am able to resist fear… so…
How do I fix it?!
I don’t have an anxiety disorder but, statistically speaking, if I live an average life span… I have yet to face a handful of traumatic situations where I need to Fight or Flee! Instead my stupid reaction is to disassociate because of trauma in my past. I can’t anticipate a traumatic event or debilitating situation. All I want to do is figure out how to do something when it happens! I’ve taken first aid courses in case I’m ever in a situation where I need to know what to do to treat someone in physical distress. What about when I’m in distress? There has to be training for this, right?! I’m not talking EMDR/ Sensorimotor processing mumbo-jumbo… I know all that. I’m talking about what do I do to avoid freezing and fight when water is pouring over my head in a river and I’m sure I’m going to drown? What do I do to avoid freezing and flee when hands grab me and hold me down, then let me go and I have a split second to run? In those moments… what do I do!? How do I learn to not disassociate but instead use the chemicals rushing through my body to give me the strength to get me out of a dangerous situation?
I NEVER want to feel like this again. I want to analyze a frightful situation and say with confidence I fought my way out or ran my way out, or at least everyone at my funeral can say I died trying. I’m tired of being an opossum… they’re ugly and dumb!
For the first time in my life I love my body! This is ironic because signs of age are creeping in and they won’t disappear. Scars, stretch marks, extra skin, and damage of years gone by linger. I had a beautiful body as a teen. I hated it. I remember looking in the mirror and poking the ugly parts and hiding the parts that might get me noticed. I used my body to turn heads and often did, but I didn’t like it when the wrong men looked the wrong way.
I’m a product of a culture that tells me #1) A woman’s body shouldn’t be objectified and #2) A woman’s body should be objectified. We yell at our men for looking at us inappropriately and then dress in such a way as to sell, food, cars, clothes, you name it, with it #3) I ought to love/celebrate/enjoy my body just as it is… #4) I ought to ridicule the overweight or too skinny #4) I ought to dress professionally to command respect #5) I should be able to show my bra, midriff, thigh if I want, wherever I want and shame the man who looks.
No one wins. Men lose whether they look, keep their eyes down or “bounce” them. Ladies lose whether they dress modestly, professionally, sexy or trashy. I lost. I hated this thing I had to move around in.
Then I started working out. All of a sudden my body wasn’t a thing to look at it was a thing to do stuff with. Run, lift, climb, squat, jump... My body became the best, most wonderful tool I’ve ever known. I didn’t care what it looked like but I was amazed at what it could do!
I am a sensuous single woman looking to not be single long. I expect my body to be one of the first things noticed. I hope it’s appreciated. For me, there are a couple physical features I am supremely attracted to. I will notice big arms no matter how a man is dressed. They’re my thing; my eyes notice them. A man doesn’t have to do anything, dress any way, move at all for me to see them. It’s just how it is. I would never choose a man solely based on physical features BUT I would like to be with a man that turns me on. I do not resent or hold it against men that there are features about the feminine form that are attractive to them and that their eyes just see. If it’s natural to me, I can only assume how much it happens to them.
I like to feel pretty. It’s overwhelming to hear nice things about how I look, but yes, I like it! It’s quite nice to know people think I’m pretty and that my look can turn a head. A big part of sexuality comes from how we move and carry ourselves within our bodies. Whether it’s right or wrong, I want to be pleasing to the eyes. But I don’t want to be “that” lady…
Here’s where it gets tricky. I am proud of my body, God gave it to me and for the first time in my life I’m exploring and appreciating it for what it can do not how it looks. I have hidden my body because I was ashamed of it; because I didn’t take care of it and I wanted to minimize the “bad parts” or because I didn’t want “bad guys” to see it and take advantage of me.
I want to dress and carry myself in such a way as to say, I am a good steward of the body God has given me… feel free to observe, but don’t be rude. I don’t want anything so low my nipples say hello, or high my vagina can carry on a conversation because, I think, that gives an impression that my body is my only asset (but even if I did wear something like that it’s no reason to be used or abused). I think dressing “like that” gives a negative impression and invites a lower quality of men to notice, and touches the more depraved parts of all minds.
I want to be recognized as fit/classy/beautiful, I want to be able to dress in such a way as to feel comfortable working out in the gym or professional at the office or beautiful for a night out on the town and not have to stress that MY choice in attire might lead a man to lust or assault me. But then again, I want to be noticed for my beauty. Yes, I want to honor God and men and not be a source of unnecessary temptation but He’s the one who gave me this body and part of the reason it looks the way it does is because I made an intentional choice to take better care of it.
So, I love my body, I am not ashamed of it, I dress mindfully, to keep myself safe from monsters, to keep from provoking depraved or negative thoughts in good people and to look as beautiful as I modestly can to honor the one and only material thing God has guaranteed me on this earth.