Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lush - For Love



Yesterday, I wrote about a song which I believed was about me from the very moment I heard it. Today, I present a song which I liked when I was younger, but which I didn't ever consider to be about me, but which I now think describes an aspect of the person I once was.

Given the way I present myself, one would be forgiven for assuming that, in matters of the heart, before Fred and I began dating, I was always the wronged and tortured party, that I was noble and good. In fact, this is usually the story I tell myself when thinking of the past. However, the truth is not nearly so simple and I was not nearly so good. I wasn't bad. I was never intentionally cruel. I tried to be sensitive to other people's feelings. In this, I think I am superior to the people who broke my heart (they never even tried to spare my feelings, they didn't really care if they were cruel or not). But trying doesn't necessarily mean one succeeds and I was so young and, this will come as no surprise, so self-centered.

Silly little girl, she tries
Thinking she is good, and wise
Doesn't recognise the lies
Pouring from her lips, she sighs


Our society tells its daughters fairy tales. We were all told that if we just waited, we would find the man who would sweep us off our feet and take away all our sorrows. It was understood that we were good and noble and that we could do no wrong in matters of the heart. Even today, when we should know better, the little girls are all about the Disney princesses and their stories of finding their respective Prince Charmings.

What the fairy tales don't prepare any of us for is the reality that one may encounter many frogs along the way and not all of them turn into princes, so we end up hoping that every frog we encounter is, in fact, our prince in hiding. What are we to do when we realize that, no, he may be someone else's prince, but for us, this man will always be a frog?

What the fairy tales don't tell us is that finding a prince should not even be a goal in and of itself.

What the fairy tales don't tell us is that just as we are always the heroines of our own stories, sometimes, we are the evil stepsisters in other people's stories.

What the fairy tales can't tell us is the extent of the damage we inflict upon one another. We are left to assume based on what we can see and, as Salman Rushdie said in The Satanic Verses, "You can't judge an internal injury by the size of the hole."

What the fairy tales don't tell us is if we will be judged for our actions, no matter how innocent and clueless our intentions.

In Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, when Shadow dies, he is judged in the Underworld
He was as naked and open as a corpse on a table, and dark Anubis the jackal god was his prosector and his prosecuter and his persecuter.

"Please," said Shadow. "Please stop."

But the examination did not stop. Every lie he had told, every object he had stolen, every hurt he had inflicted on another person, all these things and more were extracted and held up to the light by the jackal-headed judge of the dead.
We are bound to our impression of ourselves and what we remember. It is strange and disturbing to wonder what pieces of our past Anubis will find lurking in the shadows, just out of our sight.

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