These days, I’m finding that the songs I prefer to listen to have been sparser, more contemplative. I suppose that has a lot to do with how busy I am at work—maybe I am under the illusion that the more space my songs give me, the more space my work tasks will give me, too.
Is that how it works? No, I don’t think that’s how it works. It feels better though, than listening to ska—which is riotous and usually wonderful, but not for me these days—or music of the alternative variety, which frankly, in the mood I’m in, seems far too… alternative.
I have a friend at work who confides in me. She and I are like day and night. She’s a lot like ska, riotous and wonderful, a union of influences, all trumpets and insistent beats. I’m a lot like Radiohead circa In Rainbows, warm and moody, a murmuring voice and tired percussion.
She was talking to me today about her date happening tonight, and contrasting one guy from another. The longer I listened to her, the more I realized how much harder communication and relationships become the longer we are in this arena called Life.
See, you listen to someone else’s problems, and you think if you just suggested to them, “Well why don’t you just tell them how you feel,” they would listen to you and you would’ve fixed their problem. Just wrapped it up in a big red bow for them. Tell them how I feel… Oh yes, of course, why didn’t I think of that??
Well, duh, genius. Of course they’ve thought about it. (I’m not being rude, this is what I tell myself all the time, listening to people. I’m not telling you, per se.)
Ask yourself, would you take that advice? Personally, my response is: HELL. NO. Who wants the truth, as intense and real as it is? First I’d say that, then I’d say things like, “I don’t want to scare them away with my real feelings anyway.“
Or, in the case of relationships going sour, “no, you don’t understand, it’s too late to make things right” or “no, you don’t understand, I fucked up too much” or “they fucked up too much” or “the universe fucked up too much”… Apparently, there are a lot of incompetent people out there.
These are just excuses adults seem to have no problem articulating, to justify their inability to articulate. I know this, I’ve been through it.
I’ve been at a point in a relationship where I thought things were too drastic and dysfunctional to ever be right again. You can’t un-cook the egg, un-toast the toast, un-ring the bell. If I were watching myself in a romantic movie, I’d think, “Why can’t they just apologize to each other and each admit they were wrong? What’s all this romantic comedy nonsense of waiting ’til the last minute to realize you love them, and running after their taxi to stop them from getting to the airport to stop them from flying out to Boston where their new job and future await? [Cue hopeful, energetic song that signals the beginning of the happy ending.]
I used to watch these movies as a kid and think adults were ridiculous. Now, I look at myself and think I’m ridiculous.
How do we get locked into these patterns of communication breakdown?
At what point do we grow all the things that stop us from finding real happiness? Pride, insecurity, a need to overthink?
Being an adult is great, don’t get me wrong. The range of emotions you feel is more dynamic. But being an adult versus being a child is akin to being in a car crash sober versus being in a car crash drunk—your body when you’re sober is stiffer, and impact hurts more. (I know, it’s a horrible example, but out of personal experience, the latter was better for my body. I was better off in the front seat inebriated and relaxed.)
It’s difficult, I think, to stop a downward spiral unless you feel a jolt—that wake-up call violent enough to break the habit. And really, maybe sometimes it’s too late. Adults are like huge ships; it takes a lot to move them in the opposite direction. But sometimes, maybe you do have to be that almighty force for yourself.
Why not just go ahead and tell someone how you really feel? Why not eradicate all the uncertainty, and just do it? You are coming from an authentic place. What more could the universe expect out of you?
I don’t know. I still don’t have it figured out. I’m not authentic all the time. I lie, I repress things, I make assumptions. Maybe you should just forget everything I said.
See, I’m adulting again. Dammit.