What's the Matter Here?

What does it say about me that one of my favorite songs ever (as verified by my ITunes most played list) is about child abuse?

I mean, I'd like to think that I'm drawn to the Natalie Merchant's chilling vocals on "What's the Matter Here?" more than the lyrics about witnessing child abuse and remaining silent, but there's got to be something deeper.

I blame my Dad. To be clear, he didn't beat me, but his favorite musical artists are Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, and Melissa Etheridge, which I'm sure has played a large role in me becoming the lesbian that I am today.

While growing up, the song's lyrics were relatively meaningless, it took a more important meaning in recent years. When I received my teacher certification, I became a mandated reporter, which meant I had a legal obligation to report any reasonable suspicions of child abuse. It's a responsibility I didn't feel mature enough to bear, but one of my coworkers assured me that it was uncommon and only arose once in her seventeen years of teaching. But with my luck, it took me only two months of teaching before I had to call Child Protective Services. As much as I didn't want to make the call, I knew I should; having been sworn to an oath helped make the decision clear. Afraid, the kid lied to the officials to cover things up, then lashed out on me for breaking his confidence. Things only got worse, and somehow I ended up feeling like the asshole for trying to be a responsible adult.

No lie, it's a huge relief to know I don't have to meddle in such affairs anymore. I'd like to think that if I encountered a situation where a child is being abused that I'd still intervene, but it's definitely easier to know I could not be legally prosecuted for minding my own business. But I'll probably keep humming this tune regardless.

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