Man, I really have to stop taking these long breaks between blog entries, smh. Well, since the thundersnow has a girl all stuck in the burbs without a chance of seeing the bright city lights any time soon, I should probably get to writing.
I recently attended a concert at the House of Blues where the very lovely and talented Ms. Hill blessed the mic. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am a diehard Lauryn stan. I’ve been quite concerned about her over the years, as it appears that she’s morphed into something so utterly different than the force that so many of us fell in love with what seems like ages ago. I approached the concert with such nervous anticipation. Would she be the Lauryn who was so authentically hip hop that she alone could spit verses that both effortlessly beat to the cadence of a woman’s heart AND pierced the most impenetrable facades of hard men who remember love? Or would she be the Lauryn whose eyes bore no semblance to those of the woman who saw way past her years and changed a culture because of it?
She was different yet recognizable. She performed songs that all of us in the crowd had loved the very moment we first heard them, but they were not totally familiar at this point in time. She started to sing Ex-Factor. Now there’s a classic. The energy in the place was electric as she began to belt “it could all be so simple…” It was clear, I was in the middle of a moment. It was one of those special times where the fine hairs that canvas the body stand at attention and tears streak cheeks without being summonsed. She sang the verses that every woman who had ever loved a man and every man who had ever loved a woman could identify with. She sang the song that makes one remember love lost whose taste was as sweet as peach nectar and whose bite as deadly as a thousand black mambas. As she sang, she took me to moments in my mind and recesses of my heart wherein I had loved so eerily similar to the way she sang of. With her melody alone she teleported me back into a world when a fierce love existed despite the reality that it should in fact end. Yep, I was in the middle of a moment.
So much about me since that world has changed and even still so much of me has remained the same. I’ve learned about myself that I love real hard. I’ve learned that once I make the decision to love, I can’t help the tenacity with which I choose to do so. That’s never going to change. If I love you, I loooooove you and if I don’t, I just don’t. I’m an all or nothing kind of chick. I’ve found that what has changed is how I choose to behave as a result of knowing this about myself. I must admit, these days I’ve been pretty over love. I’m not saying that I don’t think it’s a beau-ti-ful thing or that it is something I never want. I’m saying it hasn’t been something I’ve wanted lately, and definitely not something I’ve been pursuing. The thought of investing the kind of time required, giving of such large portions of one’s heart, compromising, sacrificing for a person who is often afraid of reciprocating the same things literally makes me itch. My closest friends know that the quickest way to stop receiving phone calls from me these days is to get too serious too fast. I don’t want to hold hands and look into each others eyes; I don’t want to talk on the phone everyday and until the wee hours of the morning; I don’t want to meet your family; and don’t even START talking about marriage- dude let’s talk about the football game! I want to be easy breezy. I want to kick it. I want to have fun. I want to laugh and be comfortable. I want things to be Uncomplicated. I want to be friends, really. I can say, assuredly, that every man who has approached me in the last year or so who was too obviously trying to work his way up to lover instead of fostering genuine friendship with me, I have STOPPED communicating with. But the crazy thing is, I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m like the love rock star, but man! My tolerance is low. I recognize that there are few men who are able to give and receive the kind of love that comes naturally to me. And in light of this recognition, the thought of even the possibility of love seldom crosses my mind with most men.
So I was in a moment. Isn’t it amazing how one song can take you to an entirely other place?
Ms. Hill sang, “tell me who I have to be, to get some reciprocity, see no one loves you more than me, and no one ever will” and I swayed to the rhythm of this dysfunctional love anthem captured by a world where I was once wrapped all up in love, a world I left reluctantly but one I’ll only return to soberly. The reality is that I am a woman and like most, want to spend my life with a man that I can love passionately and who passionately returns all that love to me. But I’ve said before that I’ll never fall in love again. If you fall in love, someone’s bound to get hurt. The next time I find myself in love, I will have chosen to walk in love rather than fall in it. She sang, “no matter how I think we grow, you always seem to let me know, it ain’t working, it ain’t working” myself caught in a world that I remembered both painfully and fondly. She sang the rest of the song as memories of who I once was and snapshots of who I am today flooded my mind.
I’m no cynic. I’m still in love with the notion of love. I’m not bitter. I still love men, probably waaaaaay more than I should. I’m not hopeless. I choose to be single. I’m a rare find; I can definitely upgrade you and am willing to for the right somebody. I’m just prudent, perhaps a little guarded, but open- nonetheless- to, at the right time, share my heart with a man truly worthy of such a risk.
It’s been difficult to articulate accurately where I stand and what exactly I want. The one thing that I have been able to say to people that makes sense to them is that although I’m not interested in pursuing romantic relationships, I haven’t been as turned off by the idea of allowing a friendship to blossom into love organically. But even with that, I’m not interested in an ordinary run-of-the-mill kind of love. Remember, I’m an all or nothing kind of chick. When I walk in that direction again, I want a something serious kind of love. Now in the dark, crowded, hell-hot House of Blues, I’m lost in a moment swirling with thoughts of former, and perhaps future, love with Ms. Hill providing the soundtrack and it happened. Toward the end of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill classic, Ms. Hill began literally singing my life with her words. “I want a fearless love; I want a pure, pure love; I want a fearless love; can you give me fearless love; can you do fearless love; I want love with no fear in it; I want love with no fear in it; I want love with no fear in it…” She was singing verbatim my heart’s refrain.
Love, in the absence of fear- on my part and his- is all a girl really wants. But that kind is rare, and until a fearless love develops, I’m more than good. I just wanna be friends. You ain’t gotta be my boyfriend. Maybe sometimes we can hook up, hang out…just chill.