When Your Love Is Safe/Your Hope Is Gone
- Don't wanna be in love just with anybody -
Warning: This post has all of the feels. It has some serious realness. I'm glad you're along on this journey with me, and if you can stick it out until the end, you'll learn a little about love, and a lot about what has shaped me into the person I am now. It technically qualifies as a Tune Tuesday post, because all of the highlighted lines are lyrics, and the images stills from music videos. Ready? Let's do this.
Music is so absolutely incredible. People who don't find relief, comfort, solace, or hiding spaces within music are strangers to me. An ex-boyfriend once told me his parents didn't listen to music while he was growing up. He has no memories of them playing music in the car, talking about bands or groups, or engaging in conversation about albums. How is that possible? Are you so comfortable to be constantly entrenched in your own thoughts that music simply does not appeal to you? How do you escape the frustration of the everyday world? What do you do when you just cannot sit in silence? How do you deal with heartbreak?
In 2011, my darling friend Elizabeth introduced me to Active Child, which is the musical project of Pat Grossi. Armed with an electric angel's voice, harp, and dreamy pop tendencies, Grossi's sounds wormed their way into my heart. I spent countless nights listening to the album You Are All I See on vinyl in Elizabeth's living room while her sweet husband cooked dinner and we drank wine. Sometimes we drank so much wine we ended up on the porch during those thick, muggy Saint Louis summer nights, smoking cigarettes and laughing until our ribs turned to rattling, brittle cages. Time spent with Elizabeth was time meant to cast out memories.
- Just trying to forget, but this ain't no ordinary love -
At this point, I was newly single. I had spent the past 6 years weaving in and out of a relationship that was so gravity-based, I can't even begin to tell you how I survived. We were two comets that collided in our teenage years - in the most literal sense. I crashed headfirst into him on a water slide at the pool we both lifeguarded at. We were too young, too inexperienced, and too close to see that we couldn't be what the other person really needed for so, so long. The relationship suffered from differences, insecurity, and finally, long distance that crumbled to pieces between Saint Louis, Missouri and Lansing, Michigan.
I'd often ride home at night crying, muffled, through Tower Grove park on a hand-me-down baby pink bicycle that Elizabeth gifted to me. I blasted Active Child's You Are All I See through my headphones, catching onto every phrase and every lyric that so perfectly matched my emotions. Everything was so completely, overwhelmingly uncertain. Which way to go next? I would lift my feet from the pedals and spin along dizzing paths through the trees. I'd shove my bicycle into the basement of the apartment I shared with my best friend, wash the tears away, and crawl haphazardly into bed. I had loved too much, too deeply, too wildly. I had thought we could make it. I had thought he felt the same. When you feel that your love is safe, sometimes it means it's the exact opposite. Sometimes that feeling prefaces a great unraveling in your actual safety net. How ever could I deal with the heartbreak I felt at the time?
- This is happening, this is happening -
This past November, I met up with that teenaged love for coffee. We rarely speak. I sent him a "happy holidays" message in December and never received a reply. Before we saw each other in person, our contact was limited to sporadic texts. He has been dating the same young woman for a couple years now. He is studying to be a doctor. The day before we met up just recently, I had broken it off with my only other long-term boyfriend. They both have the same first name, and the same first middle initial. Life and love are strange beasts. Before we parted ways, my teenaged love admitted to me, for the first time ever, that he had just not been ready to fully commit. That he had not been ready for me to move to Michigan to be with him. He went on to say that at about the age of 27 (my current age), he had looked around, realized a lot of his peers were "settling down," and he felt left out. He said he thought he was getting old and needed to be serious about finding a partner again. Now he's 30, living in a house with a girlfriend, a dog, and a career ahead of him. Did he jump into all of that for fear of being left out? Is he cultivating a true, honest relationship from love, or from dreading being alone?
- Wish that I could change enough to be yours -
No one will change to be with you. When your chest aches so terribly at midnight on a bike in Tower Grove Park that you can't tell whether it's your loneliness or your poor stamina, you try to wrap your mind fully around that concept. A man can tell you within weeks of meeting you that he will change for no one, and will always be a bartender - and you will accept that. Over two years later, your branches have grown and shot in every direction possible, and his haven't budged. They haven't even blossomed. Nothing about him has changed. His ambition, his dreams, his willingness to learn more about you, his effort put into understanding you. Your blog takes on an important role in your life - he admits to never reading it because it's "only about stuff women like." You begin DJing as a way to have fun, become more involved with music, and perhaps have something to share with him - he only comes to two of your gigs ever, and once basically by accident because he locked himself out of his apartment. You send him songs you think he'd like or might mesh well with his live sets via email, text, Facebook message, you name it - and he almost never listens to them. You learn quickly that you crave genuine support and true camaraderie, and the lack of those things in your relationship is causing you to wilt and lose color.
You learn that you are a crooked little creature. Your tail has been stepped on so many times, and yet you continue to loft it above like a flag of victory. You come out on the other side of your last relationship rather astonished that you just did not listen to the warnings directly from the horse's mouth. And you are confused for his future romantic interests.
- I just can't keep hanging on to you and me -
I want to be chosen. I want someone to meet me, get along with me, understand that I too am interested in them, and look at me and think, "THAT ONE." I want to eventually be chosen day in and day out, and not only hear from my partner every 12 hours because he's a bartender who takes smoke breaks to visit with his friends, but can't be bothered to text me "Hey beautiful, I know you're asleep, but I just wanted to say I love you." And I think many, if not most, of us wants something similar.
I do currently enjoy being single, because it means I don't have to be uncertain at this time. And I do also understand that being in a solid, honest, open, communication-based relationship means that you are not uncertain.
You are not worried about your tail being stepped on once again.
You are not worried about being told that you talk too much. When in reality, your ex-boyfriend kept dating you even though he barely spoke at all while you were together, which then in turn caused you to do all the talking... which in turn ended up with you being told "Sometimes I just want to say, 'Woman, you talk too damn much!'"
Your love for yourself is safe. And hope is not gone. Because maybe one day you'll find someone who isn't afraid to be real, honest, open, and ambitiously step in stride with you.
Until then, drink your wine, do your yoga, cuddle with your puppy, write on your blog, DJ your parties, and don't give a rat's tush what anyone else is doing or thinking.