Wednesday, May 29, 2013

George Michael and Other Lessons on Love I've Yet to Learn

Quote of the Day: 
Joy, sadness, confidence, anxiety, love, hatred, fear--all of these feelings 
and thousands more that make up the human "heart" are as useless to the living dead 
as the organ of the same name. Who knows if this is humanity's greatest weakness or strength? 
The debate continues, and probably will forever.
~Max Brooks~

Current Local Weather: 
The glorious freckle-adding warmth of summer's arms 
have finally joined me for hugs, kisses and tea.

Currently on my iPod: 
"Kissing A Fool"
George Michael

Currently Reading: 
White Teeth
Zadie Smith

Dear Family, Friends, and My Family of Friends, 

One of my favorite tunes of all time is George Michael's, "Kissing A Fool." When his album Faith hit the airwaves it was scandalous and I believe it was the catalyst in my life for learning the definition of, love. Yep, love. 

I had the album on vinyl. I still remember running my stubby almost not-kid fingers over the album cover all the while ogling his pierced ear and that coy look that couldn't quite be seen through the high collar of his leather jacket. He was a bad boy and I knew it. However, my unripe hormones prevented me from knowing exactly what all of this meant. I was quiet about my inner-feelings for Mr. Michael, but hell, I couldn't help myself! The music was great and he was a guitar-toting boy-no-more singing fool.***

When all of this was going on in my loins and petty-hormone stained brain, I was an upstanding member of the fifth grade class at Compton Elementary School in the progressive metropolis-like city known as Powder Springs, GA. Surely, I jest.

However, my most fond of fondest memories stems from our end of year talent was one of those sweltering, sticky Georgia kind-of-hot pre-summer days. A few of us walked on stage and made silliness out of our talents in front of our class. We knew that there would be quite a few folks we'd never see again as we were all on the verge of parting ways and moving on to that glory-less place better known as MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Personally, I feared it. I knew there were kids that had gone into the building as 6th graders and were never heard from again. Big kids, pre-teens that could eat me alive walked up and down, trolling for lunch/6th grade meat. Oh, the stories were endless and no matter how hard I tried to quit school to move onto better things as a 5th grader, my parents were strangely adamant that I at least make it through High School. Sheesh, what the heck did they know? 

But the theme du jour for our talent show (I can't remember the actual theme) had to have been: Reckless Abandon. We were a talented bunch of kiddos. All was not lost on us. Culture? We had it. Or at least I thought we were some defining generation just waiting to bloom. Our teachers were VERY supportive of us and all of our talents. 

Yet once this kid that went by the last name Cathey, first initial J. (must protect the innocent) came sauntering onto the stage, many of us girlie girls changed our mind about the definition of the word TALENT. 

J. was wearing tight jeans (pegged at the ankles, of course. Duh!) and a leather jacket. I can't remember if he actually had a clip-on earring or not but nonetheless, he looked like every fifth-grade girl's dream, kinda, and I think George Michael would've been proud. But when the music started playing and Jay started shaking his hips to the tune, "Faith," lip-syncing all the while...everyone started clapping, laughing, blushing. Girls giggled as if Mr. Michael himself had showed up to fork over plenty of sure-fire examples as to why the tax-paying citizens of Powder Springs should donate and care about public schools and their "arts" programs. 

I digress. We left that day with a bird's eye preview of what was in store for us as "older" kids. The first "taste" of love/lust, still fresh on our lips, had been handed to us from one of our very own. And it was as digestible as circus peanuts and Fiber One cereal. 

What the hell were any of us supposed to do with this? We were fools.   

I know that J. and the rest of us girls present that day are now closer to the age of 40 then we were the age of 13 back then, nonetheless, he still represents that year of my life in a very strangely funny/serious way. Many of us are responsible citizens now paying taxes so our children can attend public school and get albeit, very different educations than we received, an education in life, love, and the great beyond just as we did.

But what I failed to learn and am still trying to find the appropriate "Dummies" book for is how to handle the feelings of love, lust and the grey area in-between. I think most of us considered ourselves in "LOVE" with J. that fateful day. Yet, it was obvious that we were in lust despite the fact that lust wasn't allowed at that age. And as an adult, I can't say that I truly believe in myself and my ability to know the difference between the two, at least not 
at first. 

I've had a number of intense loves in my life. I've had plenty of lust and won't ever say that it was ever, ever, ever a bad thing. Most always a great thing. Except for that one time. KIDDING. However, what I find to be my biggest challenge as an adult approaching the middle school of life, a.k.a. post-divorce life and love and dating, is knowing the difference, acting on what is right not only in the loins but in the heart and making sure that no one gets hurt in the process thereof. And as the picture above kindly points out, if you combine the two, both words create the product of love and lust known as LOST. 

Most days I wish I was back in that gymnasium thinking that J. was the new definition of love. It was seemingly easy to feel everything in the world while nothing happened. Sixth grade was on the horizon and boys were sure to be there.  

But I'm not in the middle of the summer before middle school. I'm nowhere close. I'm lost again, not sure of where feelings begin and end and how to start trusting that love isn't always lust in disguise...a criminal sans faith that enjoys stealing my emotional GPS system from my car, leaving me lost. 

What I do trust in the here and now is the feeling of love for friends and family. My life has blossomed in many more ways than it did that summer. I've got far away friends that I'm absolutely falling in love with. No, I'm not IN LOVE in that way, I'm in love with their love and loyal-for-no-reason friendliness. I'm in love with the world, lusting after all it has to offer on the other side of a hospital wall. The world has become my George Michael vinyl cover. My friends are the scandalous types, earring wearing, leather jacket bare-chested shelter from too much of a good thing. We are all fools for the J. Cathey's of the world regardless of our age and our past loves and lusty experiences. Divorce and broken relationships may change our/my ability to trust and have faith, but there is always the church of life waiting to show us how to be "born again" in love. Sometimes having reckless abandon and faith in the world is the safest, most fool-proof method to happiness. Sometimes, the world is too scary to have faith in it. But there is always going to be that tempting first taste, even if the taste is foreign and peppered with scandalous seasonings that burn your is our job as the up-and-coming older kids of this life to let expectations go and become those bright-eyed, fearing middle schoolers of love, 
wanting/needing our friends to sit and giggle at it all right beside us, again. 

It's summer for Pete's sake! Go out and find your definition of lust/love, again. 

Yours in Love, Lust, and Lessons Lost Among the Lazy Days of Summer, 


***Backstory, rather, fast-forward story...I must confess that great music and the musicians bringing music into the world are always lovely...I love most musicians I meet and even those I don't meet...and it's surely not's that instant, sweet, sticky-kisses, bubble-gum rock kinda love. I want to make musicians cupcakes with little hearts on them at all times and have to stop myself from doing so.*** 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Staring at Myself in the Mirror

Quote of the Day: 
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny;
it is in ourselves.
~William Shakespeare~

Current Local Weather: 
WTF? 100% chance of 
no discernible seasons

Currently on my iTunes: 
"Fix You"
X & Y 

Currently Reading: 
Manuscripts. No-name, generic manuscripts.
Too many of them to count.

This is for all of you. And yes, especially you. 

Dear Friends, Family, and my Family of Friends,

     There are so many of us today that are alone. We're divorced, afraid of commitment, on tour, recovering, on the prowl for our best friend, waiting for calls that never come and wondering if this is the norm. We aren't alone in our numbers. However, we're sleeping alone, waiting in line...alone, sitting in our living rooms...alone, fixing hot tea...alone, drinking wine...alone. Life, it seems, just didn't follow the script we initially drafted nor were supposed to live out according to the society that attempts to dictate the norm. It seems as if this loneliness is just one ugly, hermetic, hateful bitch. 

However, when this loneliness strikes, although most of us, including myself, have the knee jerk reaction of crying and crawling in a hole to make the most out of our pity party, it isn't always a bad thing. This lonely life is sometimes a blessing. Maybe we have to take this "blessing" at its face value. Regardless of how hard it may seem...just like the doctor telling you to lose weight the same day your boyfriend tells you to lose weight. It's hard to hear but maybe it's the truth. Or when your mom comes to town and says she hates the safety orange color on your walls right after your husband came home and started crying at the sight of the walls you painted while he was at's not that you didn't have good intentions or love behind your eyes, it's just that what your hearing or feeling or experiencing may be the most truthful form of experience and time you've been privy to yet. 

Whatever form it comes in, loneliness is astonishingly humbling and bring most of us to our knees when we're at our worst. Even the strongest and most fiercely independent people can be brought down when company is needed but nowhere to be found. I have a friend that is severely depressed right now. I can't possibly do what I want to do for her. I can't possibly change her situation. Yet she spent a lot of nights and days helping me out of my own depression and offering up love when it didn't seem there was much to be found. And yes, there were days when I wouldn't talk to her, just as she doesn't want to talk to me now. I understand that completely. COMPLETELY. Sometimes, I wanted to be lonely and run amuck in my own muddy waters singing my own version of the Blues. 

However, my depression didn't (thank the heavens) sink me below my personal drowning level. I was fortunate enough to have people that would sing to me until I fell asleep if I asked or at the very least, call me up and say good night if I asked, tell me they love me (even when I didn't want to hear it), and there were more than enough good people in this world that don't know me other than on the internet that would call me when I woke up to tell me to get my ass in gear (if I did or didn't ask), some even yelled at me and told me to keep on keepin' on regardless of my obstacles (didn't matter if I asked, ever). Thank God. I was alone but not lonely;  I was lonely but not alone. I had bi-polar depression. I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted to be alone, stuck in my ways or lonely and wishing I had someone at all times to bug me, even when I didn't want it. I suppose indecisiveness is the best most of us can hope for when we're at our worst. Deciding on the worst is never an option. Deciding on the best is usually overlooked. Deciding to choose happy just doesn't happen enough. 

Too many of us know someone out there in the here and now, whether in person or online, that are in this situation. Too many of us are busy working, talking, chatting, caring for others, caring not to care. Too many of us choose to send benign messages of hope to those we know are hurting. And although we want to think that what we're saying is to them is doing them good but all too much it is self-serving and doesn't serve the person who needs it most. Having been on both sides of the mirror: the one that stares back at me and shows me for who I am and the one that stares back at me and shows me who I think am/want to be, I know all too well that people in the position of severe loneliness, often can't see past their nose. People who don't hear the words, I love you, before they go to bed, begin to whither away or turn into that ugly hermetic cat hoarder at the end of the street with no will to live. But it doesn't have to be this way. 

At all. 

There can be loneliness without being alone, there can be alone time without loneliness. Promise. It can change with you. And in the immortal genius of the Beach Boys, "God only knows what I'd be without you." Try to be there for the people in your life that are suffering. When you look in the mirror don't let it show you two different people. Stand tall and look at ONE person. You. And if you're the one that's lonely and looking in the mirror night after night, wishing that someone would answer your call or that someone would magically appear in your living room to hold your hand, stand tall and know that help is coming. Soon. You're not going to perish alone. You're not alone. You're not going to be the picture perfect version of lonely. Promise. 

We will take care of you and make sure that the stars you're staring at through your tears are the same stars we're sitting under while thinking of you. If no one has told you they love you, know that I do and always will. Promise. Don't worry about what we think of you in this moment. Don't worry about how you'll look when you ask for help and love. I've been there and it doesn't serve a purpose. I've tried on more than one occasion to send myself to the other side of this lonely world. I'm horribly unsuccessful thanks to all of the schmucks, loves, friends, lonely beings that recognized my worldly scares and cares and took the time to save me from my lonely thoughts. 

So, even if I don't say it or am in a phase of sheer loneliness too, I still feel it and mean it. Patience is a virtue, cake/wine/brownies/love, even from afar, is a gift, and friends are your lifeline. Call us. Call me. Send us a message out across the sea and tell us that you need us. We'll respond. As the song, "Fix You" by Coldplay says, 

and the tears come streaming down your face, when you leave something you can't replace...when you love someone but it goes to waste...could it be worse? Lights will guide you home. And ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you...if you don't try, you'll never know just what you were. 

It's too hard to be alone and fix yourself. It's much harder to feel lonely, alone, broken and not know where the human equivalent of duct tape is in the junk drawer of life. Please stop looking for the tape. That's only temporary. Just rest, close your eyes, let the tears water your flowers and help them bloom. We're here. I'm here. I love you.

Yours in Staring Contests in My Mirror, Seamless Stars Sewing Broken Hearts, and Soundless, Sleepless Nights,