Well Maybe I'm The Faggot America

“Here comes the rain again,
Falling from the stars,
Drenched in my pain again,
Becoming who we are

As my memory rests,
But never forgets what I lost,
Wake me up when September ends”

Green Day, Wake Me Up When September Ends

Over the years I’ve spent with K, first as friends, then as partners, now as husband and wife, she has endeavoured with varying degrees of success to educate me musically.

My musical education was incredibly poor, largely thanks to my older brother’s terrible attraction to boybands no one has heard of and my dad’s predilection for folk and country.

One of the bands K introduced me to quite early on was Green Day.

The song quoted above became something of an anthem for the two of us, but not for the reason you might think. In fact, it was because I so vehemently disagreed with the sentiment of the song, despite how much I love it.

Everything shapes us

As the lyrics say, we become who we are through the experiences we endure: no matter the joy, the pain or the suffering, it makes us the person we are. It may not be a nice thing to acknowledge, but it’s true.

One night when I was really struggling, K turned around and quoted the song at me, saying she just wished we could both wake up when September ended. But I disagreed.

The metaphorical September we were living through was horrendous, for sure – the tiredness, the illness, the constant bouts of IV antibiotics and hospitalisations, the hope and lost hope of the transplant that may or may not be right around the corner. I also knew, though, that September might be all we had left together and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it.

All too often we are too keen to escape bad experiences – and with good reason – but actually, it’s these Septembers of our lives that make us who we are, that shape the world we live in and that give us the strength we need to carry on, get tougher and to know that whatever life throws at us we can endure, no matter what.

And for people on the transplant list, there is no guarantee that there will be anything to wake up from if you choose to skip September.


Smile Through It: A Year on the Transplant List went on sale on Amazon Kindle yesterday. Chronically the final year before my life-saving double-lung transplant it’s just 99p and, in my humble opinion, quite a good read. Buy it here. Tell your friends. And sign the Organ Donor Register.

Photo: Sister72 on Flickr