I know that this is a topic that I keep returning to and I don't mean to give it as much importance as it appears that I do. But these two songs (again) remind me of the summer I turned 16 and I was sent off to boot camp. The reason that I have such strong memories of that summer is because something that I strive for in my life is a sense of belonging. I've never really felt that I belonged. Being mixed race, moving around a lot as a child, coming from a broken home, having different life experiences to those around me, being an American expat. It all seems to add up to not belonging.
And so, for those four brief weeks that summer, I did really feel like I belonged somewhere. I was part of a crew. We lived together, we had a job to do, goals to accomplish. We had to work together to set up our camps, cook our food. We all went through the tough living arrangements. No showers except on weekends, wearing the same dirty, sweaty clothing in the heat, the incredibly hard labour. The aching muscles, the fatigue of waking up at 4:30 every morning. It doesn't sound it, but I loved it. It's a huge disappointment to me that I'm not still in contact with my other crew members. I did track quite a few of them down over the years, but our lives had all moved in very different directions that it wasn't really possible to remain friends. After all, that summer came to an end and so did our shared experiences.
While we were there, we needed some sort of entertainment. Music players and that sort of thing were all banned. So we had to rely on those people who weren't embarassed to sing out loud and were then limited to the songs they knew all the words to. It was mostly just the one girl singing the same Belinda Carlisle song, but then another girl knew most of the words to One Week and it was always a fun game to try to remember more of the lyrics.
Which particular period of your life has been the most important to you?