The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band

The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band

This is a song that will forever have meaning to me.

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"The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, is etched in my mind as part of my childhood. It reminds me of days filled with playing in the sandbox in our backyard, watching the commuter train through the hole in the fence, and sitting in the hot tub on the back porch with my dad and younger sister.

My dad is passionate about music. There's always music on in my house, and it's something I associate so closely with home and with my dad. Bruce Springsteen is his favorite. He plays Springsteen songs all the time at home, in the backyard, and in the car. He even sang a Springsteen song at my aunt's wedding. Springsteen is a significant figure in my life as his music influenced both of my parents. While I know the music and the chorus of most Springsteen songs, I was especially drawn to "The Rising" when I was 4 years old. I loved it so much I learned every word. As a kid, I liked the beat and the instruments the band used in the song. I was also intrigued by the uplifting chorus which was my favorite part of the song. I could be heard singing "Come on up for the rising, come on up lay your hands in mine... " wherever I went. I had no idea what the song was about at the time, but I knew it had an empowering message. Something about the song made me happy as a child, and I believe that even back then I knew the song was about love. I would sing it with my dad all the time, and I couldn't help but smile as I sang along with him.

As I've gotten older, I love the song even more because I know the meaning of the song, what it was written about, and the healing powers it possesses. The song was written about a firefighter during the September 11 attacks in New York. Springsteen, a native of New Jersey, used music as a way to help families processes the tragedy, begin to heal and be strengthened. Springsteen wrote the influential song, and the entire album, about this event in order to show our country that we are stronger than terrorism and most importantly, hate.

When I hear the song today I think about the different meanings it has for every individual living in this country, and I think of the importance it has in my life as well. In 2013, the song took on a new meaning to me in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. That tragedy hit close to home for me because some of my family members ran the race that day and experienced first hand the chaos and fear of terror.

Music is an important part of my life and family. Even though songs mean different things to different people, music brings everyone together. For me, "The Rising" is a song that makes me think of the resilience of the American Spirit; but also of a girl and her dad, bonding over a song they both love, and fond memories of home.

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18 Things That Only Children Are Tired Of Hearing

Throughout my 18 years, I've received a lot of annoying, rude, or just plain weird questions/comments from people after they find out that I'm my parents' only kid. Here's the worst of the worst.

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I do not have any siblings, which a lot of people find to be weird or unusual. Because of that, they tend to say weird or unusual things. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the things that they say to me.

1. "You must be super spoiled!"

I am more spoiled than I would be if I had siblings, I'll admit that. However, my parents are still ultimately working-class people who did, in fact, raise me to be independent. It's rude to assume that I'm spoiled or that I get everything handed to me!

2. "I'm so sorry, that must be awful!"

I get that you have the best of intentions and you are just trying to offer sympathy; poor little me must have grown up completely friendless and alone, right? Wrong!

Just because I don't have siblings, it doesn't mean I don't have other family, friends, and neighbors to look to for guidance. When I was younger, I would play with my friends at school or in my neighborhood. Sure, I definitely get lonely sometimes and do wish that I had a sibling or two, but it's not the end of the world.

3. "Ugh, I wish I was you!"

On the other end of the spectrum, people have said this to me. Yup, it's true, I've never had to deal with sibling rivalry or fight with someone over the remote or chores. But like I said above, it CAN get lonely, and it's not necessarily a coveted life.

4. "Oh, so you're an introvert?"

To be fair, yes, I am introverted, but there's no relationship between me being an introvert and me being an only child. I've met plenty of extroverted only children, and plenty of introverted children with siblings.

5. "College must have been a HUGE ADJUSTMENT!"

Again, this one is partly true; it took some time to get used to having a roommate. But this comment gets boring after awhile. College is an adjustment to anyone, not just only children.

6. "Do you even have any friends besides your parents?"

Obviously, I do, yes, although I will admit that I'm close to both of my parents. But there's no need to assume that an only child's best friends are their parents. I mean, you don't assume that all siblings are best friends, right? So, why assume that someone WITHOUT siblings is friends with the only other people in their house?

7. "You must have trouble sharing!"

I was still raised with manners, you know. I went to daycare, preschool, and kindergarten just like you did, wherein I learned how to share and play with other kids.

8. "I bet that you love attention."

Not necessarily. Sure, everyone is a fan of positive attention, but I don't see myself as liking or needing it more than anyone else does. Am I perhaps more used to my parents' attention than someone with siblings may be? Sure. But do I love it more than those people do? No, I don't believe so.

9. "Guess this means you'll never be an aunt."

I can still...get married...and become an aunt that way. Even if I happen to marry another only child, well, it'll be alright! This is just frankly a shitty thing to hear, and it makes me feel almost guilty in some way. I can't help the fact that I don't have siblings. Even if I truly never end up becoming an aunt, that doesn't mean I'm incomplete or anything. I'll still have other family!

Just don't tell only children that they'll never be an aunt/uncle/etc. It really hurts our feelings.

10. "Are you going to have a lot of your own kids?"

I might, I might not! I just don't like the assumption that I need to "make up for something that I didn't have." If I have a lot of kids, cool. If I have a few, great. If I have one, nice. If I have zero, I'm running out of adjectives, but you get the picture. Just because I'm an only child, it does not necessarily mean I'll want my hypothetical future children to be the opposite.

11. "That means you're SUPER INDEPENDENT, right?"

This is complicated because I AM independent, but I don't think it has much to do with me being an only kid. I like to believe that my parents would've taught my siblings the same things they taught me if I had any. I'm not extremely independent, just as much as one would expect.

It's not like I came out of the womb and started filing taxes immediately. Sure, I had no older siblings to lean on, but I still had caring parents and fun childhood.

12. "That sounds peaceful."

Some aspects of it were, but it was a double-edged sword. I do find myself yearning for the chaos and craziness of having a big family, or at least ONE other sibling.

13. "You don't seem like an only child, though."

Wow, are you shocked? I am! Shocked that you would say that, I mean. What does that even mean? How is an only child supposed to act? Are you relying off of stereotypes, perhaps?

14. "I'm not surprised that you're an only child."

This is sort of the opposite of the above comment. It's just a passive-aggressive remark about how I come off as bratty or spoiled, I suppose? Newsflash: I truly am not those things, and if I act annoying, just call me out and I'll apologize and change. No need for you to bring my lack of siblings into it. No correlation!

15. "Were you homeschooled?"

Yes, I've actually been asked this upon revealing that I'm an only child. I guess the thought process is, "She was an only child, so her parents had no one else to focus on. So, she must have been homeschooled." But that's just a guess, because this assumption truly makes zero sense at all.

I was not homeschooled. I went to public elementary, middle, and high schools, and I am now in college.

16. "Aww, I bet you're shy!"

You think that because I was somewhat sheltered and lonely during my young years, that I must be shy. I'm not! Well, maybe a little bit at first, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I was raised without siblings.

17. "Christmas/Birthdays/Hanukkah/Holidays must be nice."

Look, I'm not going to deny that I get more gifts and food than I would if I had siblings. But I'd sacrifice extra presents, money, and snacks for someone to share it with.

18. "So like...all of your friends growing up were in your head?"

I did have imaginary friends like most children do. Perhaps I did have them for a bit longer than I should've (summer before first grade). But I had real, in-the-flesh friends, too. What's wrong with imaginary friends, anyway?

On a related note, I'll admit that I still talk to myself sometimes, not out of the horrors of only-child loneliness, but because it genuinely helps me focus when I'm trying to remember something or work something out. My parents are convinced that it stems from the fact that I had no one to talk to when I was little, but I'm not convinced. I think I'm just weird.

This list may seem like a lot, but mostly, it comes down to common sense when you think about it. I understand that people tend to view only children as a sort of minority and that those who grew up with siblings will be VERY curious about what our lives and childhoods were like.

That's absolutely fine! I'll answer pretty much any reasonable question about my childhood, but some questions and statements get really repetitive after a while, to say the least.

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It's The Most (Miserable) Time Of The Year

As January approaches, the once-happy winter season ends.

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Temperatures have dropped below freezing, mounds of black snow line the sidewalks, and all the pretty lights put up a month ago have vanished. That's right folks; it's January!

Given the gloomy weather and lack of activity, it comes as no surprise that post-holiday January is considered one of the most depressing times of the year. Only a month ago it was the "happiest season of all," but after all the gifts were given and the families (finally) returned home, the anticipation and warmth associated with the early winter months left. And then we were forced to return to school and work. It's a depressing combination, to say the least.

The "winter blues" aren't just a colloquialism -- for about five percent of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the months of December, January, February, and March can mean severe depression. The disorder, more commonly found among women, is believed to be caused by changing circadian rhythms, a result of shorter days, and/or melatonin imbalances in the brain.

It's worth noting that SAD is rare, and though most people do not experience such severe depression in the winter, no one is completely immune to seasonal sadness. In fact, the third Monday of January, dubbed "Blue Monday," is commonly referred to as the saddest day of the year. The concept was first introduced in 2005 by public relations firm Sky Travel and backed by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a former tutor at Cardiff University in Britain. The date is formulated by a combination of factors that affect seasonal depression, like post-holiday debt, bad weather conditions, and low motivation to act on New Year's resolutions.

Although "Blue Monday" has no scientific standing and is usually used as an advertising ploy, the idea that January owns the most miserable day of the year doesn't sound too far from the truth. But it doesn't have to be so gloomy -- there are multiple ways to ease seasonal depression. One of the most popular of these, light therapy, involves sitting a few feet from a light box right after waking up each day. The light box mimics the natural sunlight so often lacking during winter and is thought to act as a mood-booster.

Yes, winter may be a particularly terrible time, but all this isn't to say that it's the only melancholy season. Those who suffer from depression show symptoms no matter what the weather. It's important that we make our mental health a priority all the time, not just during these few somber months. 'Tis always the season for self-care.

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