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Let’s Call it Love Part 3: Sympathy

A testament to mothers. One woman who nearly lost her child pens a song for those that have. Her voice aches because she was almost one of those parents who brought a child to term only to have them taken away too soon. She prayed for her child’s life even though she doesn’t pray. She has faith when she needs it and her knees ache from being bent, begging, pleading with some unknown force to not take her child from her so soon. The near tragedy is wrapped in four minutes of music where a woman whose heart is split wide open, aching, finds peace and is gifted with the life of her child, but she grieves for those who were not so lucky.

God please let me be able to have children

A nine year old girl in hiding asks for help. She doesn’t quite believe in the mystical, but she thinks it can’t hurt. She has good grades and does what her parents ask of her. If someone needs help she’s there and she thinks to herself she’s a good person. If anyone deserves to have a prayer answered it’s her. Her fingers run across a bible bound in black leather with a false name printed on the front- a name she rejects. She knows this book condemns her and it weighs heavily in her soul that she might go to hell if she ever lets anyone know who she is. She wants God to fix her, and with pain that shouldn’t be in the voice of a young angel she asks god for magic. The bible is clutched in her hands and exasperated cries of a confused young girl are lost into the darkness of the night.

Please let me wake up in a new body
I want to be a girl
I want to be like all my friends and I want my parents to treat me like their daughter
Please let me be a mommy someday. I think I would be good at it
I take care of Tyler all the time and I like kids
I’ll do anything you want me to if you make this happen
I’ll go to church all the time and be good. I swear. 
Just please let me be someone else 

She puts everything away and looks at the stars wondering if anyone heard her. She goes to bed that night and she’s excited in the same way she would be before Christmas, because she knows she’ll wake up and God will fix her.

I am this girl, but this story never came with a happy ending. Disillusionment and reality set in and I knew these things weren’t possible. I’d never bring a child into this world, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to be okay with that, and while I’ll never fully understand being so close and having something taken away like how Corin Tucker explains here I have the pang of numbness in knowing pregnancy isn’t even an option. So I sit in the darkness every other night feeling grief over something I never lost over something I never had.

But there’s this song that means so much to me when I’m feeling this dysphoric grief. The truth of why I write about Sleater-Kinney and why they mean so much to me lies in how they’ve become the soundtrack to my own survival. Sympathy in particular is a coping mechanism. It is my most played Sleater-Kinney song because I’m often at odds with my body over this one specific thing I cannot fix. I used to pray all the time, and I don’t believe in god anymore, but I still find myself wishing at night I’d wake up differently. Corin would sing “I only come to you, only when in need” and I still find myself falling back on those prayers I used to when I’m feeling horrible. I guess I still pray when I’m in need as well.

There is one part of the song that resonates with me more than the rest. Corin’s most powerful moment as a vocalist is in the bridge of Sympathy when she sings “And I’m so sorry, for those who didn’t make it, for all the mommies who are left with their heart breaking”. I listen to this song over and over again for those words. The optimist in me hopes science will one day catch up, and give me the opportunity to bring a child into this world, but I know that’s very unlikely. At least I’ll have this song to soundtrack my own pain and that’s better than being left alone inside myself. But I wish it didn’t exist, because no parent should have to go through what Corin did in fearing for her own child’s life. In a perfect world Sympathy wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t need to listen to it every day.

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