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.*** 

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