07 June 2016

In which I Voluntarily Risk Making a Fool of Myself and That's Okay

it's been a really long time since i wrote. most of you know i had to put my horse down; i felt i should write about it and when i kept procrastinating, realized i really don't want to. i first started riding her nearly 25 years ago, and i have not the words nor the desire to say more. so here is what i want to say instead:

i used to be more musical than i am now. by which i mean: i used to devote more of my time to playing music. in college i had a passable (though not great) voice, and decent (although not exceptionable) guitar skills. most of all, though, i loved it, and i gave a lot of time to it. i wrote songs that i liked to play and other people often enjoyed to hear. one of my favorite things to do was to set poems to music. i still love it! i often putter around with melodies and rhymes in my head. i even still like many of the melodies i wrote all those many many years ago ...

so the other day i am driving back home from the "northern DC area" and into my head pops Yeats's achingly wistfully beautiful poem "When You Are Old", and i think how it is perfect for a song. having but two of the kids with me and both of them sleeping, i started messing around with the lines and rhythms and things, and i loved it. i loved it, and i realized anew how lazy i am with my music, and it's because i'm afraid.

here is something, though: life is too damn short.

too short to care much about "fitting in" or winning other people's approval. i cringe when i recall how much time and energy and tears i have wasted - WASTED - in the course of my life trying to earn or win approval and acceptance from people who just don't care so much about me. for whom i will never be enough. or for whom a single misstep is enough to elicit a stream of verbal vitriol and derail the whole friendship. or who "just don't have time" to squeeze in a visit. we all find time for the things that are important to us, for the people who matter to us. (listen, obviously we all go through seasons where we don't have time even to shower. i get it. believe me. i'm talking big picture here, not those hard hard moments of overwhelm and isolation we all endure.)

I'm done with that.

it is coming up on two years since Sarah died. one of the absolute greatest gifts she gave me was the belief that i had something to offer that was of value, that was good and unique and important. so much of my life i have allowed those experiences of rejection (and they've been real, and strong) to rule my general approach to people. i have allowed their rejection to define my view of myself.
here's another thing: there will always be someone smarter. thinner. sexier. funnier. wittier. livelier. richer. holier. calmer. more stylish. more together. more competent. more je ne sais quoi. there will always be that "inner circle", that enticing group, that really cool clique that attracts you so much.

Let It Go.

spend your time and efforts and talents with and on and for the people who want and value and need and appreciate you. let go of the social vision you're clinging to so hard, and find the people who love you for who you are. who won't take your likes and dislikes personally. who forgive and forget and embrace you with open arms when you mess up. who aren't "too busy" to let you into their lives.
those people do exist. stop chasing rainbows and let them in.

all of which is to say that i took a crappy video on my phone of this little melody i found for this little poem i really like, and i'm going to post it here. in honor of being who i am, of not needing to have all the skillz or all the whatever, i give you my little bird song. because not quite perfect, my friend, still can be good enough.

so, without further ado, my knee singing "when you are old":


Jenn said...

Your knee is talented and lovely and I'm so glad to know it! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jamie,
I wish I was closer to you. Closer to risk myself to visit to show my love, my friendship to you. I really miss you - cause it was you who shared our daughter Sarah in a way we couldn't. Life is too short to anticipate or wonder what I could have done differently. with almost 2 years of grief experience I can say I have learned to let go and let God. I have learned to savor moments in life that seem insignificant and I have learned to love more and judge less. Be courageous Jamie, cause in a blink of eye your small children will be big - keep singing and playing you making memories for your children. You are a beautiful women and a beautiful mother and wife who has a God given talent to share with everyone. thank you for singing for me today. Bonnie Schulzetenberg

The Oak Leaves said...

So glad you make time to visit this anxious lady. And to share yourself with me and mine

j'aime said...

my knee (and the rest of me!) is so very glad to know you, too!

j'aime said...

dear Bonnie! thank you for your words. truly you raised an amazing daughter who was and remains such a tremendous blessing to myself and so many others. we still very much feel her loss, but i often feel her presence, as well. i often am a coward about friendship, but it is largely becausebof Sarah and in her memory that i have been wrestling to conquer my fears. i am always here, whenever you want or are able to talk. much love, sweet lady, and prayers.

j'aime said...

very much reciprocal. we are so thankful to have you guys! thanks for taking a chance on us :)