Oh Hello Middle School

This morning on the way to work, I heard We Will Rock You, which took me (kicking and screaming, if you know me at all) back to 7th grade.

Middle school was an evil, dark time for me. But one of the realizations I came to this morning was that there was one truly positive part of those (blessedly few) years: music. When everything else in my life was confusing and cruel, I found true love with pop music and discovered my bad girl side during my earliest forays into rock.

My parents were fans of neither, and I wasn't allowed to listen to popular radio stations until 11th grade. Which meant that at age 12/13, any time I was left alone in the house for five minutes, I had the radio tuned to something good while listening for the sound of the garage door going up.

I discovered, sliding around on the linoleum in my socks, that music soothed the aches and pains of growing up. Feels Like the First Time and You Make Loving Fun conjured desires to know what first time love felt like at all, and I Just Want to be Your Everything described perfectly how I felt about that cute guy in PE who never noticed I was alive. I danced in the kitchen to Knowing Me, Knowing You and More Than a Feeling. I sang along to What's Your Name while wondering what it took to be the girl who inspired those lyrics.

Music helped me feel connected during a time nothing else did.

As I drummed on the steering wheel this morning to the sound of Freddy Mercury, I thanked him for giving me that lovely memory of participation as he stomp-stomp-clapped his way across the late seventies, while I stomped along with him.

Tammara Webber

New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction