Say What You Need to Say   Leave a comment

Even if your hands are shaking/ And your faith is broken/ Even as the eyes are closing/ Do it with a heart wide open. John Mayer

John Mayer is one of those artists whose songs I either love or hate. There is no middle ground. (Don Henley falls into this category, too, as does Katy Perry.) Either I want to play the song in question on a continuous loop (Say), or I change the radio station as soon as I hear the first two or three notes (Your Body is a Wonderland, which I find to have some of the most insipid lyrics I’ve ever heard; it’s rotation on the popular music station I like to listen to made me keep my finger hovering over the search button for several weeks <shudder>).

I don’t always know why a song speaks to me. (There’s a play on words here that will become more obvious the further you read; it should be worth it. At least I hope so.) Sometimes it’s the lyrics. Continuing in the John Mayer vein, I find Heartbreak Warfare both powerful and insightful and would listen to it all day long. Except the lyrics would send me crashing into a deep depression. There is a brief harmony in the Salamander Crossing cover of Five Days in May I wish I could isolate and play over and over until it becomes part of me; it is that beautiful. And the purity of kd lang’s voice when she sings Constant Craving leaves me breathless.

Right now Say is resonating for a specific reason, though. Regardless of the number of words that come out of my mouth on a fairly regular basis – and, yes, I am aware I talk a lot – I’m not good at discussing serious things. Like my feelings. Or lack of the same.

Opening up about myself terrifies me.

It’s not that I think people are going to make fun of me… Oh, no, wait, that’s exactly the reason.

Now before anyone goes jumping all over me, please know this is a holdover of things in my past. When you’re a short, chubby, smart girl who is different (not a lot of Jews where I grew up), and isn’t into the things most other kids are, you tend to get treated… differently. Was I bullied? Not in the traditional ‘cram the kid into a locker’ sense, no. Was I teased? You. Bet. Your. Life. Mostly I just tried to draw as little attention to myself as possible. Not always successfully. What I became was reserved, a trait that has stuck around to this day.

This is not to say I didn’t have friends. When I was little, there were a few hardy souls who either were popular enough in their own right not to care what people thought about us being friends or simply didn’t give a rat’s ass. There were others who lived in towns you actually had to drive to (slightly more difficult when I was under 16 and even after then when I shared my parents’ cars) and didn’t have to deal with the social cliques in my school. (Honestly, I am probably the only Jew you will ever meet who loved going to Sunday school. For years it was the high point of my social life. Really.)

Things improved immeasurably when I got to high school and found my tribe – and if you’re reading this, thanks, guys! – who, interestingly enough, almost all seem to have gone either to the other middle school in town or to one of the parochial schools.

Go figure.

But, by that time, the damage was done. The reserved overlay had taken up residence in my head and wasn’t budging.

I didn’t tell anyone about my first crush – actually, I think I still haven’t – because I couldn’t visualize the concept of a guy ever liking me. (And, yes, three years post-divorce I am past that. Mostly.) I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around the thought that someone would actually want to be seen in public with me. And when there was one who did, I was more ready for the concept than the reality and freaked. It’s kind of funny how that works, isn’t it?

Then came my marriage where I wasn’t exactly encouraged to talk about how I felt. Which, at times I found highly entertaining, as I remember a friend of my ex gushing about how lucky I was as “he liked to talk about your feelings.” I pointed out to her that he didn’t like to talk about his feelings, he liked to have others talk about theirs. Except for some reason, me, which I didn’t say to her. I think my feelings made him uncomfortable as their positivity or negativity a) were out of his control and b) at times depended on him. Which no longer matters.

What does matter is that it has taken me over eight hundred words to get to the actual point of this post. (I know. I talk a lot. So sue me. Or don’t. Please.) So here goes:

I’ve started seeing someone.

He’s not who I expected I would find. He’s nice (okay, I at least hoped for that; I have no interest in being treated badly), caring, and gentle. He meditates and is okay with the fact I can’t. He walks next to me instead of two feet ahead of me, buys me flowers, and is okay with the fact I can’t give him as much of my time as he would like and isn’t pushing to move faster than I am willing. Or able. (As an aside, he’s also really, really tall. Like 6’3”. Which completely blows my mind.)

And I like him. Do I know if it will become more? No. My magic eight ball is on vacation somewhere else, and I’m not hankering for it to come back any time soon. Because I don’t want to know. I want to watch this unfold as it happens.

But – and, of course, there had to be one – it means I’m going to need to work on my reserved tendencies and actually learn to start talking about how I feel. Maybe without interrupting myself with updates on the weather or local wildlife every few sentences. (What can I say? My kid comes by his ADD honestly…) And I know it will be difficult. I’ve spent years building and developing the protective walls around me. Heck, some of them are even decorated. In lovely shades of blue. And, there I go again…

So, while I’m working on finding the correct mental instrument to knock down those pesky psychological walls, I’m going to keep listening to Say. I’ll add it to my anthem playlist. (Which if you’ve been paying attention, is now up to four songs. Yay me.)

As a matter of fact, I think it’s time to listen to it right now.

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Posted August 10, 2016 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

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