Thursday, July 29, 2010

Love is the Truth I Realize, Not a Stream of Pretty Lies

I have been on a few musical binges lately. These are episodes during which I play the same song over and over and over again. Then once more, for good measure. Listening to songs on repeat is so easy now. I remember back in the day, right after college when I was commuting to NYC from Long Island (good God, this was 20 years ago), I used to have to play the song, hit rewind on my walkman, and then play it again. I had so many cassingles. I thought a Discman was the most amazing invention and was happy to endure skipping CDs for its many advantages. Don’t even get me started on how iPods changed my world. But I digress…

Songs that were/are the object of my obsession are sometimes lyrically significant, sometimes not. I once overplayed Prayer for the Dying by Seal because of one lyric: “Playing with fire and not getting burned.” Because at that time, I was playing with fire and not getting burned. How convenient. I thought I was having my cake and eating it too. (However, I did learn that being the burner and not the burnee, well, that kinda sucked too. So much for playing with fire and not getting burned.) “You Get What You Give” is tightly woven into the beginning of my relationship with Nicole, and I have been known to binge on that song, as it always puts a smile on my face. However, the lyrics of that song are not tightly wound into us at all.

Lately I have been wearing out three songs. In the car, I blast Where the Street Have No Name so much that when the song ends, Avery yells out “Again, Momma, again!” For reasons I don’t quite understand, this song makes me think of mortality and death. And, as I have said before (maybe on Facebook), I hope I hear the intro of this song in my head when that day comes that I lay dying. Morbid, no? I’ve been thinking a lot about end of life again. Lots of health scares and aging reminders and death circling around these days. But it just seems so fitting, that intro. Uplifting with juuuust a touch of sadness. If I really had my way, I would hear the intro to that song, followed by another U2 hit: Beautiful Day. That is, to this day, the only song that I had a very ugly memory attached to that I managed to turn into a happy memory song. So if I am on my death bed, someone needs to make this mash-up happen.

The second song that I can’t shake lately is Pure by the Lightning Seeds. I ran five miles the other day listening to it on repeat. That is almost 45 minutes of the same song. Torture for some; heaven for me. The lyrics get me every time, and the song itself is the very definition of infectious. It brings back good memories and makes me think happy thoughts. The third song, well, I think I need to keep that one to myself. My heart starts to beat a little faster and my stomach launches up to my throat when I start to think about it. Listening to it is bittersweet. The song makes me cry, so I need to be careful when I do play play it. But I love the ironic nature of its title.

But I can say that the third song is sort of wrapped up in my current state of insecurity. First of all, my closest friend, the one I talk to 16 times a day; the one who talks me off of my ledges and talks sense into me; the one makes my day better just by existing; she just left with her family for a three week vacation to Italy. I am not good with goodbyes, even of the temporary variety. Her twenty-one day absence will affect my daily life in a big way.

And then, in a mere two weeks, before Jen even gets back from Italy, my brother and his family are moving far, far, far away. By far, I mean a 12-hour plane ride away. About as far away as they can get on this earth. While I understand that they are just disappearing off of the face of this earth, I can’t quite get my mind to agree with that. I held Leif when he was an hour old and I swear to God he changed my life. And then came Skye, this beautiful, perfect little angel baby who almost died when she was four months old. She spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from a near-death experience and I swear that made me appreciate life and her just a little more than I did before. Both of them came in rapid fire succession after Nicole entered my world, and have brought me nothing but happiness and joy.

I was saying to Nicole recently that my relationship with them is the purest form of love I have ever experienced. This is not meant to be a slight to my own children or Nicole; but being an aunt is a different dynamic than being a mother or wife. I get to spoil them, indulge them and not enforce any boundaries. And I do all of that, in force. I have never hurt Leif and Skye and they have never hurt me. We don’t have spats or quarrels or periods of ebb. It is just love love love, pure and simple. And now, they are leaving. For good, maybe. My niece and nephew will call another country home.

This has sparked a flare up of insecurity. Insecurity is not a fun place to be, and people who don’t experience it have no idea how lucky they are. I can tell stories of insecurity that would make heads spin. Like how with one relationship, I was afraid that if certain *words* were mentioned, it would set in motion a domino effect that would end that relationship for good. I am not kidding. That is what it is like to live wrapped up in intense insecurity, which was my specialty.

I know exactly how this insecurity manifested and even when. No mystery there. And, thankfully, I can pinpoint its end date: Nicole. When she came along, the planets aligned in some perfect way and through the sheer power of her love (yes, corny, I know) I suddenly felt safe, secure and fearless. I do deserve some credit: I did plant the seeds of this change. But Nicole was the sun, fertilizer and water that made it all bloom. She might have picked a few weeds too. The point is it happened, she helped, and I maintained. I did not worry that she was going to leave or disappear. I did not feat that a word would set off those dominoes.

I extrapolated all that into all of my relationships. How great is it to walk through life feeling secure and confident in relationships. My friends for life really are friends for life. They aren’t going to walk away if I don’t return a phone call in an hour; and similarly I am not walking away if they don’t return my call right away either. Friendships are not measured in how quickly calls are returned. The relationships that I put time and effort into will reap the rewards of that time and effort. And love, well, it will be, as I told someone recently, strong and passionate sometimes. And hard and annoying sometimes. And slow and comfortable sometimes. But it will always be.

But this impending move and Jen’s loooong vacation and various other factors have reignited this insecure flame. So I am struggling to remember that this too shall pass.

Pictured above, Madeline as a bee. She ran around yelling Buzz Buzz. Avery on the beach. And the girls playing with their cousins. Both have a knack for lacrosse! Well, at least they have an interest in lacrosse. That's a start.


K J and the kids said...

That is so tough. I'm sorry you are feeling abandoned and insecure.
You really are so very blessed to have someone you can talk you down from cliffs 16 times a day. And such loving family that you find complete happiness in....and that will give you an excuse to travel to the other side of the world to see.
Someone needs to warn Nicole.

If you need someone to talk you down girl...I'm always here :)

Anonymous said...

I Love the girls hair. :) all those curls make me smile. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who can listen to the same song for an hour. I so get what you are saying about the Auntie is the best. Hang in there...3 weeks isn't to long and well...I know how much you hate to fly, but maybe this will give you a reason to just do it...those kids are worth it. L

giggleblue said...

i needed to read that.

Mary said...

I enjoy your writing. I hope that the time while your friend is away goes by quickly and that soon you will be able to see your family. Are you going to go visit?

IndigoTwo said...

You have a way with words. You and insecure doesn't match up with me. Yay, it will pass. I really enjoy your posts and wish you would post more.

Briar said...

So sorry about the big move away....

But a huge THANK YOU for reminding me about that Lightning Seeds song!!!!! It was a total repeat song for me when it came out and now I must immediately buy it. LOVE it and LOVE you for reminding me.

Stop me if you've heard this before said...

De lurking to say I LOVE Pure too!! And I'm digging your posts.

Jennifer said...

Karen- She is not only the cliff-tlker-downer, she also indulges in the minutia of my day. And I can underwhelm with the best of them! Please, I already know you are there. You've done your tour of duty!

Jennifer said...

Ahh, f*ck it. If someone bothers to read the comments then they deserve to know the third song. It is "Nothing Lasts For Long" by the samples. Makes me cry, thinking about my niece and nephew. And here I thought this song wouldn't apply until they were, oh, 18 and off to college. Punch in the gut.

psapph0 said...

So many things I could comment on here... but each letter I type is another ear-piercing scream that I am not answering.

Three things---

1. I find it funny that you mention the lyric "playing with fire and not getting burned." There was a horrible country music song my mom listened to when I was in high school (actually, it was a whole cassette of horrible, depressing country music), and the only redeeming thing in it was the lyric, "When you play with fire, it's alright to get burned." I took that line as a bit of a mantra... still love it. What do those two lyrics say about our points of view?

2. Come hang with us while you're feeling abandoned. We'll play with your girls and hand you a screaming infant dressed in clothes we got from your girls. It'll be awesome!

3. This is guaranteed to make you laugh. If you don't find it funny, you might not be my friend anymore. (Check the left hand side, there are two sections. One about babies and one about toddlers. They're both fantastic.)