I've found this new path I'm traveling at times can be a lonesome one. Not only am I physically on a different level than most people, but there are a multitude of things that separate me from the life of the walking. Not necessarily huge things. Sometimes, it's as small as trying to navigate a store where ladders and carts have been left in the aisles. In other moments it's the unexpected surge of emotion when lurking on Facebook and seeing updates of growing families, joyful mothers with new born babies, friends devouring brisket at The Salt Lick (since my stomach only works at 4% capacity I live on a steady diet of Campbell's chicken noodle soup and baby food (which I've discovered, baby food is actually REALLY tasty, especially bananas and pears)), and newly engaged couples taking pictures amongst the bluebonnets in my home town of Austin, TX. I used to take experiences like those with a grain of salt. Now, seeing others live seemingly normal lives can make a pang pound in my heart. I recognize the road I am now wheeling down is different from the one I worked so hard for the last 30 years. I spent countless nights as a tween lying in bed listening to Celine Dion, Selena, and Hanson (Mmm Bop! I didn't realize it was a boy band for several months. I daydreamed they were me singing to adoring fans screaming their heads off for, "More Aliiii!"). I spent hours dreaming up my future filled with epic adventures requiring the use of my feet. Funny how before Charcot I was still working towards that "future" which I KNEW would bring me a sense of fulfillment I couldn't quite catch. Now, I realize there is no such thing. The future is now, and fulfillment, for me, is found in the smallest of things. Like hearing my dad's laughter from the other room, listening to my mom about her day after working hard at the hospital, Sasha Bear morning puppy kisses, a mug of hot tea, or even just a simple song.
In moments where there is no hand to hold, during times when there is no shoulder to cry on, I can always count on my constant companion, music. I prefer music to movies or television. Why? Because music inspires me to dream up my own stories. Our imaginations are limitless. The key to unveiling our dreams lies in lyrics and melodies. Music unites the pieces of ourselves while simultaneously connecting us with the universal feelings we experience as humans. Some times we're in need of a song to bring us to our knees allowing the tears to flow, and other times we need to dance as if we are the Queen Bee herself. There is a song for everything, a lyric for every feeling. Oftentimes you will still find me lying in bed listening to the same song on repeat like that twelve year old girl, dreaming up stories and adventures for herself.
So, I'm sharing two very special things with you.
Firstly, there is the song "We are One". This is the first song I ever wrote. It was 4:00 a.m. during a muggy Hawaiian morning. I was experiencing true loneliness for the very first time in my young, 22 year old life. I sat down at my little keyboard and asked, "What would you sing to yourself right now, Ali? What would you sing to comfort another person feeling the way you are?" and this song came pouring out. This song is on the very first album I recorded, nearly ten years ago.
By, Ali Dugger
Secondly, here are my top five Spotify playlists! These are pretty much the soundtrack to my life. I'm always updating them so if you are inspired, please follow. I hope you find a tune that sings to your soul!