I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
To send me a private message, please e-mail me: flylittlewordsfly@gmail.com
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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Pearl Jam's Just Breathe

Again, with the songs. This time, the one that won't go away is Just Breathe, from Pearl Jam's Backspacer - one of the best albums I've ever heard. This is the song Vedder said is the closest he's come to writing a love song. And yet, it's more about the quality a of life than it is about romantic love itself.

Although the song is overtly about dying and romantic love, there are lines that resonate really really strongly, even though my illness is thankfully not life-threatening and I have no significant other.  The song has been twirling more in head recently, as I've been reflecting about how lucky I am to have people to lean on and how much we all share the basic stories, pain and joy that is living (related posts: On the Village, Here's to Good FriendsEverybody's Got a StoryGracias a la VidaCelebrating the Bestest of my Best Friends).

I'm a lucky man to count on both hands the ones I love

I'm even luckier than the man in the song, because it would take both my hands and feet, and those of a few other people as well. I've got an amazing network of fantastic people with whom I share unconditional love. It wasn't always so, and it took me a long time to realize that my own actions and attitudes played a big part in my isolation, and are what now draw good people to me. When I started to really examine how I related to other people, patterns emerged, that I worked hard to change on my end. The people I related to had no choice but to allow the relationship to evolve or to dissipate. I am grateful that so many grew with me and allowed me to grow closer to them. And this is a great segue to the next verse:

Practiced are my sins, never gonna let me win, aw huh, 
Under everything just another human being, aw huh,
Yeah, I don't wanna hurt, there's so much in this world to make me bleed
Stay with me, you're all I need

Oh boy oh boy, have I sinned - if I believed in sin, that is. What I do believe, is that I have led a full and adventurous life that has led me to this very moment. I love that the focus of the phrase is the sin, not the sinner. There's no fault in the statement - there's no active subject in the first two lines. There is "just" humanity, with all its faults. No guilt. No shame. No blame. But the pain... the song does not shy away from pain but seeks relief in the company of a loved one.

We humans, we make mistakes, and we mess up, but together - well, this is how I see it: by sharing the pain we divide it and it shrinks to the point that we can actually bear it, but by sharing the joy we multiply it and it grows until it takes us all to carry it. Either way, we are better of dealing with life together.

Everything you gave, and nothing you would take, aw huh,
Nothing you would take, everything you gave.
Did I say that I need you? Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,
No one knows this more than me. I come clean.

How often do we neglect to tell the people we love how much we appreciate them? We tend to wait until it's too late, fearing rejection or feeling we don't have the right to say it, and we wait until we regret never having said anything. And then what?

That's part of the reason I write often about the people who surround me, who are holding me up right now. I want them to know - I need their support, and I love them all the more for offering it with such generosity. I'm coming clean in this blog. I'm letting my words fly away, and land where they may. I'm reaching for honesty and finding value in the paradoxically simple and complex act of opening up.

You can listen to the whole song here (there's an ad, but its a lovely live version).
Full lyrics here.

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