Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Guest: Kerry Kijewski - Perfection

Welcome to "The Guest"
Jingle Jangle Jungle’s Guest Blogger Series
Week 27

Each and every Sunday, you will find a new Guest here. I have booked some really AWESOME bloggers (and non-bloggers as well), from all over the internet, and I just can’t wait for you to “meet” them all. Thank you for stopping by today to join us for this week’s "The Guest".

Today's Guest is: Kerry Kijewski

Kerry is a writer and blogger from Ontario, Canada. She was born visually impaired. She writes to make sense of the world around her and music is a huge part of that.

She loves music that is passionate, hauntingly nostalgic, contagiously upbeat, or achingly sad and touching.

You can find more of her writing, including reviews of the music she is listening to, over on her blog:

A few examples of her reviews are:­concert­review­the­music­that-soothes­my­soul/­than­sheesus/­ones­2/­to­no­need­to­argue/

Twitter ~ Facebook 

Her Headache

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There were a lot of us, crammed into that van, crossing the border on bird business.

I don’t know what for now, but my uncle was into big birds like peacocks and pheasants. He kept them, in what to me seemed like screened-in gazebos, in his yard. Their sounds could be heard loud and clear.

My brother and I were staying with my aunt, uncle, and five cousins while our parents and brother and sister were away.

For the first time in weeks I felt safe and secure. I had been sick for a long time, at twelve years old, and everything had been a struggle for me. School was a nightmare and friends just didn’t understand why I couldn’t keep up, both in school, socially, and physically. I was no longer able to run around, at recess or during gym class, sight or no sight.

As we drove, aunt and uncle, my brother and myself, and five cousins under the age of eleven, I felt at peace amongst the chaos. My two-year-old cousin crawled from seat to seat, lap to lap, under the benches.. The monitoring of seat belts wasn’t quite so common yet.

I could relax. I wasn’t being judged or observed. I could gorge on Coca Cola, sunflower seeds, and Salt & Vinegar chips. I could meet my wild salt cravings, caused by the kidney disease that was taking its toll.

On the van’s stereo system were two albums, us kids played in rotation for the entire day-long journey: Weird Al and Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”.

There were many musicians and bands with hit songs in the mid nineties: Oasis’s “Wonderwalls”, The Counting Crow’s “A Long December”, and many of Alanis’s hit songs from her breakout album. These were on my mind because they were getting me through the rough time I was having.

It’s hard to believe “Jagged Little Pill” turns twenty years old this year. It’s strange to look back on the last two decades, since its release, to see just how far things have come for music, feminism, and for me too.

Of course, this particular album was a young woman’s outcry. It was and still is full of passionate indignation and a heartbreaking accuracy on what love, breakups, and adulthood are really like. That is my perspective on what it represents, as I see things now.

I however, at twelve years old, knew little to nothing of such things. I did not claim to understand the lyrics of a more suggestive nature, scattered throughout. My aunt may have picked up on them and disapproved, or not, but she never would have said so.

We all know “Hand In My Pocket”, “Ironic”, and of course “You Oughta Know”, but another song on her album caught my attention, if not the radios’, for the secret feelings of not being good enough I was harbouring at the time.

I was letting everyone down: my parents, my teachers, my friends and myself. I finally had a proper medical diagnosis, but I still felt like I was failing from every angle.

I couldn’t run laps without collapsing onto the grass in exhaustion. I couldn’t keep my friendships going. I couldn’t remember a math problem we’d gone over multiple times the day before. I couldn’t continue to prove to my parents, my educators, or myself that integrating their visually impaired daughter and student was working out.

I knew my parents were there for me, no matter what. People just did not understand. How could they?

The answer was they couldn’t possibly understand, but Alanis seemed to.

By the afternoon and the drive back across the border from the US into Canada my aunt had had quite enough. She put a stop to our fun, turning on her country music for the remainder of the trip.

I, along with everybody else, would continue to listen to the radio singles that Alanis put her heart and soul into, but it was a little known song called “Perfect” which I had entrenched deeply in my heart going forward.

“How long, before you screw it up? And how many times do I have to tell you, to hurry up?”

It sticks with me, all these years later, for its simple desperation and its sadness, perfectly incapsulating my situation then.

“Be a good girl. You’ve gotta try a little harder. That simply wasn’t good enough, to make us proud.”

As the song grows in desperation:

“What’s the problem? Why are you crying?”

Even now, when I hear it, I break down, remembering what a failure I thought I was. It’s a wondrous thing how a song or an entire album can mean so much, so many different things, to so many people who all are going through different hardships in life.

JAGGED LITTLE PILL does this and so much more. Happy 20th Birthday JLP, and thank you for the memories and the support.

I hope that you enjoyed today's Guest. Be sure to visit their blog and social medias.
Thank you, Kerry, for being today’s Guest!

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