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What Songs Do You Find Comforting?

When I was in middle school, I was forbidden to listen to…

…anything other than Christian music. Still, pop punk was having a moment, and because those tunes were forbidden, that made me want them all the more. Every day after school I’d take off my backpack, sneak into my room with a Snack Pack, quietly click my headphones into my boombox and drift away to the melodic angst of the early 2000s. It was my unwinding ritual.

Every now and then, while I’m in line at Trader Joe’s, a familiar 20-year-old tune will drift from the speakers and a smile emerges under my mask. Because no matter how not-my-taste that song may be, it takes me back to that terrible, wonderful time of life. My heart still skips a beat when I hear “This is the story of a girl…