Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2017

Music feeds my soul and is an absolutely crucial part of my life.  I don’t sing in a band; although I do think that being a front woman in a band was a calling in another life.  But I don’t really know who I would be without my love of rhythm and lyrics and song.  It guides my emotions to a place they need to be and takes my heart on adventures I never could imagine.  And there are certain songs that take me and lift me up and drop me right into a certain moment of my life.  There’s a Father John Misty song that takes me straight back to the first summer after my divorce, a time when I was gracefully unhinged and navigating waters of a brand new life.

Sometimes music drops me in an uncomfortable place, though, and it’s those times in which I find reckoning.  Either that or I find myself desperately punching a button to skip past the song once I hear the first notes.  A couple of months ago, I was tending bar and waiting on a group of men and we started having a conversation about songs.  I joked about how so many songs had been tainted for me because they reminded me of exes.

One of the men looked at me and said “Don’t ever do that.”

“What?” I asked.

“Don’t ever let a man take your music from you,” he said.

That comment from a stranger shook me to the core.  But then, like sometimes soul shaking things do, I forgot about it.  Enter the upcoming Huntington Music and Arts Fest, which is a wonderful local event that we have in our town.  It’s a day of outdoor music and community and it’s something that I look forward to every year.  Well, every year except for this one.

You see, I had attached a pretty jagged memory to this event (HMAF, as all the cool kids call it).  Last year at this time I was involved in a new but pretty intense relationship with a man.  Because I’m not quite ready to go into detail and in the interest of keeping this short, I’ll just say that our ties together started fraying and unwinding the day of HMAF.  They continued to do so for a few more weeks before we called an end to it.

That ending came about because of music as it turns out.  We had gone to a music festival together and we were watching one of my favorite artists, Josh Ritter.  He started performing my favorite song, one about a girl in a war with eyes like champagne.  I had seen Josh Ritter three times previously and he had never done that song live.  So when those first notes were played, my heart burst all over Cincinnati and I began to cry.  I grabbed the hand of the man I was with and knew in that moment he had no interest in holding it; he would never be able to give me that moment or any other moment for that fact.  Later on Band of Horses starting singing a song about how no one is gonna love you the way I do.  I asked the man I was falling in love with to let me go that night.  Our ending twisted and turned a little more but none of that is important.

And so I declared to my friends that I would not be attending HMAF this year.  And then yesterday I started making a new playlist for my yoga class that would be happening the day of HMAF.  I was listening to the artists that would be in attendance and started getting sad that I would not be.  I told a friend of mine that today at lunch.  She looked at me and asked me if I remembered what that man said to me at the bar that night.

I had forgotten.  I was letting a man take my music from me.  I was negating all of the times that I had been to HMAF before last year, I was giving them up so easily in reverence to this one bad year.  I was denying myself the right to dance and laugh and be with my community.  And that’s just silly.

I remember my moment I gained closure from my divorce.  It was on a ferry en route to the small town in Costa Rica where I was going to attend my teacher training.  This was a few months following that summer that Father John Misty played in heavy rotation.   I had been on that ferry before….on my honeymoon.  Yes, I was doing my training in a town which I had first visited as a newlywed.  On that ferry, sea spray hitting my face, caliente music booming  from the loudspeakers, I questioned my decision.  I wondered why I was revisiting this place.  And then I decided that I would not revisit it; I would reclaim it and make it mine.  And I did.  I took my flag and stuck it in the place where the new life would soon spring.

I have a hard time learning the lessons of closure.  The rational part of me knows that I am the only one who can give myself the gift of closure.  That, as much as I may want it from another person, they might never give me what I want.  But I have that power to reclaim what is rightfully mine.  I have the right to my music and my songs and my ferry rides.  So if you see me this Saturday, maybe grab my hand, give me that moment….give me a new story to weave in between the lines of the song being played.  But a warning–I might drag you straight to the dance floor.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

And So It Begins….

I just celebrated my 39th birthday.  It was a hard one to swallow, the final year of my 30’s.  From talking to friends, I know that I am not alone.  There’s different ways of coping.  And mine is to declare celibacy for a year and attempt to write a book.  Which is kind of funny to think about because both of those things seem like drastic measures and I wonder if I’m fooling myself about the fact that I’m cool with this whole train-to-40 type thing.  But  honestly from the moment I dreamed up the notion, I have been so excited about it.

The amusing part is hearing people’s reactions to the whole thing.  I’ve had a few people say “Wow, you’re going to write a book?”  But more often than not people have said “Wow, you’re going to remain celibate for a year?”   And it is hard to tell which one of these things will be the biggest challenge.  But I know in my heart/gut/soul/tiny little voice that this is just what I’m supposed to be doing.

I’ve always wanted to write a book.  There’s been a story inside of me that’s been trying to find it’s way out for quite some time now.  I just never knew what it was until about a month ago.  And when the idea floated into my head, I seized it and didn’t let go.  I put out an open letter asking women to tell me their stories about love and connection and heartbreak and longing and all the little things that exist in between.  And the response was overwhelming.  Within a few days, I had dozens of emails.  The women who responded have ages that span 40 years, distances that spans thousands of miles and stories that run the spectrum.  Some of them want to tell me a story that they’ve never told anyone ever before.

I told a friend a few days later, humbled and in awe, “This has become so much bigger than me.”  She shook her head and said, “No, this is just your size.”  I suppose some of the reason behind my decision to remain celibate during this time (and celibacy including dating and any kind of intimacy or romantic encounter) is to fully honor the space that needs to be created in order to receive these stories.  I’m just not sure I could properly hear a story of heartbreak if I was falling in love.  And I’m not sure I could hear a story of love in I was in the depths of heartbreak.  But from where I stand now, I have been through almost all of it by this point.  I joke to others that if it’s one thing all of my attempts at love have given me, it’s the ability to provide great advice to others in a variety of situations.  Some of it may be ‘do as I say but not as I do’ but whatever.

But there’s more.  I have some work to do on this ol’ heart of mine.  I’m ready to come to terms with some things.  I’m ready to change the tape reel in my head.  I’m ready to redefine who I can be as part of an ‘us’.  In short, I’m ready to figure my shit out.  And I’m ready to see what could happen when I spend a whole year giving myself the energy that I usually freely and carelessly throw to anyone who I become involved with.

In the weeks since I started laying the roots of this project, I have already been in contact with some pretty incredible people.  I spent a weekend at a yoga camp and learned more than I ever thought possible about sisterhood.  I’m developing strictly platonic relationships with men, something that I’ve never really done before.  And here’s the big one……I met a really nice man who was nothing but kind and sweet and adoring.  And on my birthday I ended it because this project is more important to me right now.  I chose myself.  And he completely understood.

Today I went to a complete stranger’s house and she made me coffee and we talked for two hours about love and sex and celibacy the idea of ‘the one’.  It was a beautiful story; one that at many points I could see myself in.  That’s kind of the whole idea of this…we are all on these crazy, undulating and intersecting roads and there’s a beauty that exists when we stop at a crossroads and share what we have learned.  I’ve got 51 more stories to hear.  And I’m so ready, for all of it.

I’ve still got room for a few more stories.  If you or anyone you know is interested, please email theintimacyinterviews@gmail.com

Read Full Post »