Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On Colors

Everything is blue
His pills, his hands, his jeans
And now I'm covered in the colors
Pull apart at the seams
And it's blue
And it's blue
Everything is grey
His hair, his smoke, his dreams
And now he's so devoid of color
He don't know what it means
And he's blue
And he's blue

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time will tell you I can become frantically obsessed with music. I'll be watching a season finale of a show and the beginning chords of a song will play, one or two sentences crooned across the speakers, and I am a Google'ing frenzy - who sings it, when was it released, and for goodness sake, can I buy the song yet? (See Rivers and Roads by the Head and the Heart.) And then I want to share the music with everyone I know. Friends will receive random, middle of the night texts that simply say "Let's talk about - - -" or "If you know what's best for you, check out - - -" (See She Burns by Foy Vance) I feel music, as I feel most things, deep and viscerally. I remember songs from certain times in my life - snapshots of moments that have been freeze-framed in the lining of my heart's memory; I can hear the beginning of a song and instantly be in a yard surrounded by people I grew up with, releasing balloons and whispering rushed prayers - convinced they would only be heard as long as I could see the tail of the ribbon I had just let from my grasp. (See Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World) So it's no surprise when I was listening to music the other day and a song came through my ear buds that made me type the same word three times in a row because I was so distracted by the lyrics being sung. Halsey has the type of voice that can unnerve you. It's throaty and cutting, which coincides with the words she's singing quite nicely - many of her songs have language that isn't considered clean - so if you're easily offended by language, maybe Halsey isn't for you.. BUT, you should definitely check out the song that made me type the same word three times in a row... because anything that stops the flow of words from someone who writes for a living has to be worth at least a listen, right? (See Colors by Halsey)

She begins to sing about a man - presumably someone who was once her lover - in the shades of color that represent him. He is blue, like his pills, his hands, his jeans; he is grey, like his hair, his smoke, his dreams. He was red - and she was blue - and then she becomes lilac and he decides purple isn't for him and there is something electric about this, to me. I started to think about colors and people; I began to consider my "persons" and what colors they were in my life; I began to try to identify myself as a color and then became incredibly disheartened at the range of color I so often feel within a 24 hour span of time.

As it turns out, my emotional range can lend itself to me feeling like that grayish/brown blob that develops when, as a child, you attempt to mix two or three different colors to create a new, original color exclusive to you. You start out imagining the words inventive and extraordinary and unprecedented will be applied to your mad color mixing skills, but when it's all said and done you're left realizing that sometimes yellow and purple and that mint green color you want to lick like ice cream don't look much like anything, mixed together,  other than what you imagine the color of the pit of your stomach is when your heart's broken for the first time.
So I don't know if I'm blue or purple, green or orange; I want to believe I am the softest, warmest shade of butter yellow, but my anxiety rings in at an alarming red and the depression I unsuccessfully try to kick to the curb sits steadily at the most bland shade of brown. 
I'm not always warm. Or inviting. I'm not always laughing. Or wanting to talk. And I'm learning that's okay. The people pleaser in wants to apologize even when I don't need to, to make sure everything is okay, even when I know for certain there's no reason for things to not be okay. And slowly - the warm yellow that wants to give light feels sucked dry and begins to resemble more of the dried sweat stain on that white t-shirt you used to wear all time.
I guess what I'm trying to say... what I want to leave here on the page . . . is that we cannot continually be everything to everyone - and we should not expect it of others. It's not realistic. In fact, I'd argue it's harmful - both for those of us who expect that consistency and to those we are consistently expecting it from.
This is something I'm learning, y'all.
We cannot always be the one being checked up on. Sometimes we need to reach out and do the checking in. We cannot always be the one expected to bring joy. Sometimes the joy needs filtered in to the grey spots.
I think grace needs to be a shade we extend much more often than we do. This is something I'm working on. I cannot tell you how many times I've said to myself, in the last month, 'get out of your head, Duff.' Are things hard right now? Do they feel heavy? Do I feel a little more lost, relationally, than I have in a long time? Sure. But I cannot walk around in a constant state of puke green, feeling sorry for myself. There comes a time when ya gotta let the light in.

Let's let the light in, love.

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