Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Still Crazy After All These Years...

One of my favorite songs is by Paul Simon (disclaimer: I have MANY favorite songs), called Still Crazy After All These Years. Simon's ability to tell stories, and weave lilting melodies with driving rhythms is what makes him a master at his craft. He is also, in my opinion, a muse of the feeling Saudade. A Portuguese term, it clearly expresses the powerful cocktail of emotions that range from sadness, longing, remembrance, reflection, bittersweetness, loss, regret and loneliness.

Personally, I am able to feel exquisite joys, but Saudade courses in my veins, my emotional DNA I embrace instead of try to escape. I have always been this way.

Here, are the lyrics

Still Crazy After All These Years

Words & music by Paul Simon

I met my old lover

On the street last night

She seemed so glad to see me

I just smiled

And we talked about some old times

And we drank ourselves some beers

Still crazy after all these years

Oh, still crazy after all these years

I'm not the kind of man

Who tends to socialize

I seem to lean on

Old familiar ways

And I ain't no fool for love songs

That whisper in my ears

Still crazy after all these years

Oh, still crazy after all these years

Four in the morning

Crapped out, yawning

Longing my life a--way

I'll never worry

Why should I?

It's all gonna fade

Now I sit by my window

And I watch the cars

I fear I'll do some damage

One fine day

But I would not be convicted

By a jury of my peers

Still crazy after all these years

Oh, still crazy

Still crazy

Still crazy after all these years

I have thought of this song often. I have been both parts of the equation. I am not as jaded or aloof as the main character in the song. His confession "I ain't no fool for love songs that whisper in your ears" seems more like denial (like 10 cc's song, 'I'm Not In Love'). (I wear my devotion for love songs on my sleeve. I am a singer, dancer and a poet, after all, the Sufi turning, the gopi in the field, spinning my Om Mani Padme Hum ring as I write this!)

So I have reflected on this song many times, and Simon's music, perhaps like Springsteen's lyrics, are even more poignant, profound and meaningful, as you get older. We all do.

This weekend, the trigger was a twice removed example of the song's story. Saturday, I met the old lover of my old lover. Confused yet? I met my old old beau's most recent ex (-I hate that word) girlfriend. It was serendipity. She was teaching a class at the facility where I also teach. She knew who I was, but I wasn't aware of her relationship. She was so pleasant introducing herself to me. Kind, sweet, searching and genuine. I was happy to meet her.

Sadly, she explained that she and Mr. X (we'll call him that) weren't together, and for no real reason. Impossible you scoff, there's always 2 sides to the story, and a 'reason'. Well, yes, if you are being rational and logical, this might be true. But, when you factor in a past of mental health issues among other things, well, let's say it changes the rules of the game.

There's more to the story than is appropriate to reveal here in a blog. It's funny- it's been years now since we were together and yet I am still in a quiet way, compelled to 'save' face or conceal what happened. I wonder, who am I trying to save?

Those who know me are aware that I can be upfront about what plagued that relationship, and it person, can be frank about its dynamics. Were there good times and love? Of course, as there should be between any two people in love or a relationship. I dreamed big and envisioned a technicolor world of hope, beauty and never ending discovery, trust, creativity and support for each other. I thought we had a future together.

And, we played our hand out, so to speak. Many times, again and again. I went back for seconds and thirds, despite the problems, which were major, and I seemed to have an endless well of understanding, support and naivete about what was going on.

Yet, I don't divulge the details. The stigma I feel, real or imagined, is heavy. I've been known to say, the relationship was a lot like a Jerry Springer existence. The laundry list? Well imagine the worse and that's it, except no arson- only arson of the soul. Singed. Blow torched. Burnt.

But, like the proverbial phoenix from the flames, we each 'survived'. I liken it to a forest fire. Completely devastating and heartbreaking, but after the worse, new growth, sprouts of green, shoot up from the Earth, and there is rebirth.

It has is quiet ways, taken years to recover from someone like Mr. X. We used to have an exchange with each other, which he started: "You've ruined me. I'll never be the same. Thanks.". It was said in jest and in truth. It was a joke and declaration. It was scary and exhilarating. It was true, for many reasons.

I internally cringe to think of the break ups, heart ache and let downs of years ago. At home alone, I would weep, my dogs would stay close at hand, knowing I was very, very sad indeed. My mother, who was exhausted and upset at my agony of the heart, would say "Willow, when will you stop being sad? You need to get on with your life!" (I actually can't stand it when people say that. We can't really speed the healing of the heart. It has its on kronos or timing).

But, I knew she was right, and I didn't want to hurt and I recall saying to her "Mom, I just don't know if I'll ever be able to love that way again. (Mr. X) has ruined for me. I will probably compare every man to him and I don't want another."

Thank God, that is not my reality! To think we are capable of feeling this! But at the time, it was real, my truth. I was wounded. Funny thing is, we did get back together after that 'incident' and when we did part, it feel easier to do.

I know that I am a better person now- not only for being it that relationship- but more importantly, leaving it.

To choose myself, happiness, sanity, trust, honesty, health and believe, no, KNOW, that I deserve those things as everyone does, was a major epiphany for me, and one that others hopefully come to as well, when facing a similar scenario.

Miss Saturday, as I will call her, thankfully didn't endure the same dynamics as our relationship, but the symptoms were the same. One day, he just decided to leave, and she too was dreaming in techincolor, wanting all the things I though we too would have had.

I assured her that her intuition was correct, and that she simply happened to fall in love with someone who doesn't know how to love themselves. Cliche? No, the truth.

A lovely lady like her, radiant, healthy and wise of the soul, tender, delicate and positive, will find an amazing person to love her, cherish, adore, be supportive, dream, build, laugh and eat together, and importantly, hold her.

I know it can happen, because it did to me! But that, is a story for another time.

Believe in yourself, Believe in happy endings - and beginnings!

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