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we are beggars all.

Today I have been listening to and thinking about this song, the lyrics of which will be interspersed through this post.  The song is called “The Weight,” and it’s by the band Thrice.  My boyfriend brought it up the night he gave me my magic wand, and though I couldn’t think of how it went right then, I had heard it before and was taken in by it.  I honestly think I have never heard a truer expression of what true love is, and I am deeply touched thinking about it.

There’s many who’ll tell you they’ll give you their love,
But when they say “give” they mean “take”.
They hang ‘round just like vultures ’til push comes to shove
And take flight when the earth starts to shake.

Someone may say that they’ll always be true
Then slip out the door ‘fore the dawn,
But I won’t leave you hanging on.

Another may stay ’til they find someone new
Then before you know they’ll be gone,
But I won’t leave you hanging on.

No, I won’t won’t be that someone.

This will likely be a very candid blog — not that I am ever anything else, but you know.  Just a disclaimer.  I have often felt like a beggar.  In many ways, my life has been that of a vagabond or a drifter.  I’ve moved 33 times in 25 years.  I have gotten where I am today because of intensely hard work and because of the help and charity of others.  I use the word charity not to imply a sense of pity, but in the almost spiritual sense of giving out of the need to pass on the blessings one has been given.  More about the act of giving than the perception of need implicit in the receiving end of such a gift.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

Some talk of destiny, others of fate,
But soon they’ll be saying goodbye,
But I won’t leave you high and dry.

‘Cause a ring don’t mean nothing if you can’t haul the weight
And some of them won’t even try,
But I won’t leave you high and dry.

I won’t leave you wondering why.

In love as well I have often felt the beggar.  I have often felt myself unworthy of real love — I have been tossed aside often enough that I am supremely unused to having anyone stand by me.  I have always been at the whim of others’ convenience — there when it suited them and cast off when it stopped being convenient for them.  I think because of this, I don’t understand why anyone would want me when I am the mess that I am.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

And storms will surely come,
But true love is a choice you must make and you are the one.
That I have set my heart to choose
As long as I live, I swear I’ll see this through.

I spent quite a long time waiting for my current boyfriend.  We knew each other for a year and a half before we started our official relationship, and I won’t pretend that some of that time wasn’t incredibly difficult for me.  I still wrestle with the idea that I’m either not enough or too much or both at the same time.  I think everyone feels that way sometimes, but I have it honed to a fine art.  Which is why I think that this Thrice song is such a resonant depiction for me.  I’m not used to a love like this.  As one of my favorite gods said in one of my favorite books (by David Eddings), “Thou wilt warily give love, but you must also learn to accept it.”  I’ve never known a love like this, but come what may, I will see it through.  In the words of another, newer favorite song, I’ve got nothing left to lose.

Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and I see no end.

Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

In other news, my beloved city of Nashville, Tennessee is under water.  If you haven’t heard about it, the Cumberland and Harpeth rivers that both run through and around Nashville gained about 26+ feet over the weekend, causing catastrophic flooding and billions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses.  I-24 became a raging river, and the water was forceful and deep enough to detach homes from foundations and even sent a modular school building floating down the interstate.

One of my closest friends had to be emergency evacuated from her apartment — she’s very lucky, and it turns out the water only got ankle deep and her car even still works, but thousands of others were not so lucky.  My old boss had to sit and watch from his home as a man was stranded up a tree in his Forest Hills neighborhood — Tom couldn’t get to him as there was fast moving water that was far too dangerous to move through, and I’m told the man was stranded there for at least 20 hours in the pouring rain.  There are thousands of other stories like these.  I’m dismayed and disappointed that the national media is paying only cursory attention to this disaster.  Almost 30 people have died so far, and countless others are without power, clean water, and homes.  If you are at all able, please text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the relief efforts.

I only lived in Nashville for a year, but it is a truly lovely city full of warm and inviting people.  To see loved ones and colleagues entrapped in this disaster and also being nationally ignored is heartbreaking, and I wish I could do more to help.  I don’t get a ton of views on this blog, but hopefully enough people will read this and be moved enough to spare $10.  If enough people do it, it really does make a difference.

Please help.  We are beggars all.

❤  Emmie

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“To Arrange My Thoughts on Love and Life…”

Words by Parachute Musical, but they sum it up pretty well.  I’ve been listening to a lot of them lately…the main songs in my endless repetition have been Back the Same, Arrhythmia, and One More Song–they all seem to say something that fits.

So Houston, come in
My heart is plain out of control
And I’m not, I’m not
Willing to bleed anymore

There is a lot to be said for good song lyrics.  Right now I feel the need to just let it all go, just to be.  To figure everything out later, when and if it takes a turn toward relevance again.

At the current moment, I’m thinking about games.  I mentioned before that relationships are like an elephant dance.  They also seem to involve a lot of games.  I hate those games.  The endless tight-rope walking, wondering if there’s a net beneath you–I’ve always wondered (and lamented) why people can’t just be forthright and say what they think.

Because it’s scary, I guess.  To say what you think, you have to make yourself vulnerable, and the funny thing about sticking your neck out like that is that it leaves you exposed and naked, and someone can easily come along and lob it off.  That’s where trust comes in, I suppose.  Both trust in yourself and trust in the other person.  That said, it’s necessary to know where to place your trust–professing your undying love to Jerry down at the candy machine when you’ve never spoken is a fairly assumed recipe for disaster.

The language of love and relationships is often not particularly conducive to verbal meanderings, as well.  we have “like,” and we have “love,” where in reality, there are so many shades of those two words and everything that lies between them that it’s really not fair.  I feel verbally castrated when I try to write about love.  There are a good deal more sorts of words to use:  to adore, to be fond of, to care, to feel for, to appreciate, to have affection for, to be in rapture, to be infatuated, to lust.  All of these words are important, but the blurry spectrum of feeling remains opaque, unclear.

I’m not currently in love.  But the situations in my life right now don’t really lend themselves to discussion with the types of words above.  Other languages have it easier–both in Polish and German, to use the word “love” (kochac, lieben, respectively) is a statement of intense and profound emotion and a depth of feeling that every other word falls short of.  It’s not used very often in either language.  Couples will go years sometimes before those words cross their lips, and they’re rarely utilized in familial relationships and friendships.  English is different.  The word “love” seems to bubble out of our mouths after a couple measly months.  We tell our parents, our siblings, our friends often and fervently–but do we mean it?  Has love been so cheapened that we just throw it around like that?

My first and only serious relationship thus far didn’t use the word “love” until 7 months in.  I was the one who said it, and it wasn’t returned by my German ex-boyfriend.  Granted, we were already slipping away and I didn’t want to see it, but I did love him.

Anyway, all that said, there isn’t a lot of language in English set aside for the fuzzier parts of relationships.  The parts long before love is an option.  The crushy parts, the early clicking parts, where things just seem to work because they work.  It’s those parts that I’m trying to navigate.  I hate the games, the wondering when it’s okay to call, when it’s okay to email or text or say hello.  I try not to play the games, but I feel like I got dumped into one, and I really don’t know if I’m playing laser tag or Yahtzee.  I don’t know the rules, or the game board (if there is one), or if I’m winning, or if I just fell down a chute and landed in the gumdrop forest.  Or possibly onto Marvin Gardens, and someone just bought the land right out from under my feet.  I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

I’m not in a relationship.  I’m single, and I have absolutely no illusions or delusions about my current situation.  There is no happily ever after or magical moment of white horses and roses.  There is what there is, and what there is is good.  Maybe I’m being obsessively pedantic with the need to fit that into words, but words are my catharsis.  I don’t have any wild expectations of anything…I just want to know where I stand so I can gracefully bow out of the game and just be.

I’m oddly excited today.  I think something good is going to happen.  Huzzah.