Musings of Nataly Dawn: Araceli (with Video)

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I wasn’t one of those kids who was raised on Greek mythology. My two best friends in high school were the type of depressingly savant girls who knew more about literature at the age of five than most people will learn in the course of a lifetime. Unlike them, I did not come to enjoy books until much later, which is not to say that I was totally uncultivated. Having a pastor-theologian as a father gave me a real leg up in a lot of my classes, where I was often consulted on matters of religion. Had I been going to school in the States, I would have merely been “one of those Christians” (you know, the ones who know the difference between an apostle and a disciple and will correct you if you get your Marys mixed up). But since I was in a French school, my classmates were very impressed by the fact that I had actually read a Bible and not just been told about it by enlightened parents and teachers.

All that to say, I was raised with different stories. Beautiful, yes – but sometimes terrifying stories. And like many myths, the stories I was raised with were often about injustice: bad things happening to good people. One particularly infuriating story of injustice can be found in the Book of Job. If you are like me and were raised in a Christian home, this probably wasn’t your favorite book of the Bible. To sum it up, it tells the story of Job – God’s most faithful servant – getting royally screwed because of a pretty inconsiderate bet between God and the devil. You see, the devil bet that Job would turn on God if things got really tough (and I mean “Old Testament” tough: famine, plague, your whole family dies, your house and livestock are burned, etc.), and God was like, “Nah…” So, God stands by and watches his most faithful servant lose everything, but Job is faithful and thus God repays him in the end with even more money, women, livestock, etc.

Araceli is my version of Job: she’s the faithful servant who gets screwed over by the gods. She exists for their merriment, and, despite her integrity, she lives a cursed life. It’s a heartwarming story for the whole family. Yes, indeed. Many of the lyrics on my album attempt to reconcile my upbringing with what I believe today. That’s not to say that I was raised with the Book of Job as my beacon of truth. As a matter of fact, my dad never really cared for the book much. He was always more of a “New Testament” kind of guy. But I was definitely brought up to believe that God has a hand in things. And, more importantly, that God looks out for his own; that we were called to higher values and would in turn be provided for, loved and protected.

And that’s a difficult thing to believe in a world where bad things happen to good people every day. The funny thing is, Christians know that shit happens, but still believe that God will reach down and save them if they ask. I get it. I pray all the time. I hope for miracles. Despite all logic, I still find myself whispering under my breath to a God that I hope hears me. But I also know that no one gets special treatment. And it’s hard to be okay with that. I mean, I don’t think anyone is really okay with bad things happening to good people, but it’s especially hard if you’ve been raised with the expectation that God will take care of you.

In conclusion, religious people are wrong about everything. Just kidding. That’s really not what this song is about. I don’t have any of the answers and I’m not interested in telling anyone what to think. But here’s a weird little anecdote for you: When I was writing the lyrics to the song, I decided that Araceli was born on the 4th of July, but quickly changed it to “the month of Gemini.” The funny thing is, I don’t know anything about astrology. It just…felt right…so I left it. Sometimes it’s best to just write what you’re feeling at the time even if you don’t understand it, because it will probably make sense eventually. You’ll just be singing it one day and go, “Oh, that’s what I meant!” In this case, it was just dumb luck. I was doing a bit of research on Gemini the other day (“research”…that’s when you Wikipedia astrological signs, right?), and the first article I read actually blew my socks off. Here’s what it said about the story of Gemini:

“The classical myth is said to demonstrate the mutual reliance of conscious reasoning and unconscious belief to indicate ‘acute polarization of the spiritual and material, alternation between the extremes of rational logic and instinctive belief, and the quest to reconcile all contradictions in a central threshold where reason and belief, intellect and emotion, masculinity and femininity, merge into one.’”

I mean that’s some pretty eerie shit. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but at times like this, I still like to think that the gods are up to something.

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