The oddly cathartic 'Keep Going Song' will make you alternate between laughing and crying

2020 has definitely, for sure, without a doubt, been the strangest year we as a society have collectively lived through. And it's not even close. Remember when we all thought 2016 was a doozy? How adorable were we then?

We've all worked on ways to cope through the upheaval of a global pandemic, the intensity of social unrest, the chaos of political insanity, and the uncertainty of what comes next. Some of us are dealing with the loss of loved ones, unemployment and financial stress, helping our kids navigate virtual schooling, and the mental health toll all of this is taking.

Considering all of that, most of us can use all the help we can get in the coping department.

Perhaps that's why the "Keep Going Song" from The Bengsons—a husband-wife musical duo—is resonating with so many people. The song, which they says is "meant as a gesture of love, a try, a fail, a blessing, way to be gentle," is quirky, funny, alternatingly silly and profound, and overall just thoroughly delightful. In between the catchy "Keep going on song" choruses, Abigail Bengson speaks and sings a seemingly spontaneous narrative while Shaun Bengson plays a simple guitar riff in the background, and it all works in a weird and wonderful way.


In the beginning it seems like it's just going to be a goofy song as Abigail describes how they ended up living with Shaun's parents' house with their 3-year-old, but when she suddenly shifts into describing the universal truths of what we're all going through, there comes this unexpected emotional unveiling effect. Maybe it's the compassion in the lyrics or the sincerity in her unique voice. Maybe it's when she asks, "Are you okay? Are you alright? Are you okay? Are you alright?" or when she sings, "I hope you have enough good company or enough good memory to last you a long time," but it's hard not to feel understood and comforted by her.

The Keep Going Song (title track) www.youtube.com


By the time you get to the end, you feel almost like you've just had a heartwarming call with an old friend. And it's clear from the more than 2200 comments on Facebook that people found something in the song that hit a soft spot in people around the world.

"Thank you so much. I sent this to all my expat friends here in France and we all felt cared for. You are the proof that there are beautiful beautiful people all over the world...love," wrote one commenter.

Another wrote, "This is beautiful and raw and true and inspiring and so so healing and currently rippling around my little universe of Irish family and friends who are rippling it even further. Word."

Others added their gratitude as well:

"Somehow you seem to know my heart in both its joy and its sorrow. Thank you for sharing your prayers of hope and positivity. I will carry them with me tomorrow as I mourn my sister on her birthday."

"Thank you so much for this song. It's the first work of art that has come out from this time that resonates so deeply. Can't help but cry every time I play it (and it's been a whole lot). And sharing. We need this blessing so much. May it bring many good things to you."

"I'll just echo what everyone else is saying here - this is what I hadn't realized I needed since "the shit hit." I felt like I was being hugged by an old friend the entire time I listened. Thank you. All the love to you and your family."

"You have moved me and all the friends and family with whom I've shared this to tears. You went straight to the heart of this moment, fully inhabited all the feelings, and beautifully reached out to hold and be held by us all. This is a powerful gift that we didn't quite appreciate how much we needed until we received it. May you feel a little less alone, too. Thank you for making this Monday morning feel more possible to face now."

Some commenters asked if the couple had a Venmo or Cashapp or something where they could donate a little to say thank you, and The Bensons responded with this:

"Oh this is so kind! Thank you so much! We have the album for sale on iTunes and Apple Music and the money from that would wind its way to us. Or you could send those dollars to your favorite initiative! Here's one doing amazing (non-partisan) work for helping disenfranchised voters, Reclaim Our Vote: bit.ly/rov2020donate"

So yeah, they're as good a people as they seem in their video.

Thank you, Bengsons, for sharing your joy and rage and grief with us in a way that we all feel heard and understood.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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