When Reflection Stings

My nostalgia isn’t always fun and playful objects or a yearning for an era, sometimes it hits closer to the heart in a less inviting way. British singer Adele’s newest album includes a song called “Someone Like You.” While I have never been a particular fan of hers, this song has struck a chord with me (as I’m sure it has with multitudes of others). I posted this song (VH1 Unplugged) on Facebook several weeks ago, and since have seen various other friends posting it. It seems I can’t quite escape it. I’ve included a video of her performing it at the 2011 Brit Awards (Her emotion at the end is achingly beautiful). Her voice is beautiful and I enjoy her much more in this acoustic live environment other than what I have heard on her albums. But I digress. I sometimes like to wallow in my emotions (it makes for good artistic expression when I paint, and come to think of it, when I write) and this song leaves me dripping with inadequacy, foolish illusion, and a fleeting uneasiness. So I thought I’d resurrect something I wrote a few years ago (I’m also feeling a bit lazy), that sort of reminds me of this song. And I have no problem looking a little foolish over it. (I wear that hat quite well.) Humility for the sake of art . . . or something like that.

Adele, when talking about writing this song, said she imagined herself running into her ex years down the road. He would be happy, married, and settled down and she would still be on her own. . . Thank you, Adele, for pinpointing it so perfectly, singing it so hauntingly and with such raw emotion, and letting the rest of us know we are not alone.

The missing piece . . . once again, missing.

(originally posted 04.10.2008 on MySpace blog – Brain Vomit) How does one deal with those moments when she feels like she doesn’t even know herself anymore? Thoughts, emotions, expectations, all come out of no where and you’re left wondering, “How did I get here?” And the next question that soon follows is, “How do I get out of here?” It’s much easier to be immersed in a situation and quickly stumble over all the thoughts and emotions, but it is a drudging, punishing, awkward journey making your way out.

I guess you kind of know where it came from- the past, it sort of snuck up on you, and just waited until it could really shock the piss out of you. When you were least expecting it. And when it did reemerge it knocked the wind out of you, it hit you like a freight train, painful and messy. And if you’re the person who says, “The past is the past, time to move on,” then it’s no big deal. But this past, oh no, this doesn’t work for this past. This is the one past that that saying doesn’t hold true for. And at first, you thought, “Go away past. Why are you back again?” But then you remembered why it even came to be in your life in the first place, and inside opened up a warm, fuzzy place. So you say to the past, “Okay, I’ve missed you, this is nice.” But, like always with this past, it’s never that simple. This past does something to you, it has a hold of sorts on you. It started from the moment it was your present, you didn’t quite recognize it at the time. And after years of overlooking what was your present, you realized that it had you, and you didn’t mind. And so before you know, now, it starts stirring thoughts and making a commotion with your affection. But you still maintain it’s a nice chat you and the past are having occasionally, because your chats before were wonderful, so there’s no harm. But oh, there it goes again, this past does the most simple things and there goes your mind, right off the spectrum. And because, as a song says, “it’s better to say too much, than never to say what you need to say again,” you decide to tell this past exactly what you’re thinking. Other sources may say it’s a bad idea, maybe too much information. But you know the kind of person you are, you know your emotions and your psyche are not BS inclined, so you tell, you tell all those little goings on in your brain, what you’re thinking, what you have thought, what you’re feeling. The past is, of course, taken back by this development. Even though this past has told you before that you don’t open up enough. This past has a hard time expressing itself, it usually is not so upfront as you are. It tries to respond with something legitimate, but once again in your eyes its still restrained, there is nothing unbridled about this past, it hasn’t changed at all. But your frustration with the universe, nature, cosmic forces, karma -whatever it be called, tells the past more juicy information from your brain. And you call the past out. You say, “You talk the talk (sort of), but you can’t walk the walk. I need you to, I want you to walk the walk.” But you know very well, it won’t. But you’re okay with this, you and the past can still have those chats, teasing and picking at each other’s brain once in a while. But the past recoils even from this. All you hear are the little cricket chirps coming from it’s side. So you think, “Well, the past is entitled, we all take time to gather our thoughts and what not.” But more time passes, so you try and figure out if the past is okay, is the past hurt, lying in some alley neglected, bleeding or is it troubled by conflict? No response. And as the thoughts of this past spin in your mind and wrench your heart, you can’t help but attempt once more to coax the past back out, if for nothing more than to know: did you hurt it’s feelings? Did you piss it off? Did you scare it away? You’ll never know. Because the past ran away, it scampered off and hid behind the nearest thing it could find. And now you think, “Wait. This isn’t right. It came back to me, trying to be my present again. I let it back, I embraced it. And now IT’S the one leaving?” This is hard to comprehend. Because this past came back, it reminded you of what a treasure it was to have it in your life. It told you how much it missed you and how it was never going to let you go again. How it wanted you back. You wonder to yourself, “How could it say all the things it has said to me, yet disappear again?” You had given the past these words once, “Remembering your touch, your kiss, your warm embrace, I’ll find my way back to you, if you’ll be waiting.” Perhaps the past took these words for granted, it has assumed it can run away as much as it wants and leave you hanging. Those words were true, if the past wanted them, if the past was genuine.

The past indicated before it left again, that it wanted to be the present once more, even the future. You were okay with this, however there were other things standing in the way of this. This past is far away. Talking of doing something about distance and doing something about distance are two vastly different things. The past doesn’t seem to think it’s that important. Using phrases such as, “If I could. . . I would. . .,” and the indication of “If it were up to me. . .” Well, it is up to the past, and it’s up to you, it’s up to the two of you. No greater being is going to wiggle it’s nose and say “Tada! It’s done.” And now the past has gone about trying to be your present in all the wrong way. How does it think figuring out being the present is going to work, when it stops talking, when it runs away? You are confused by this and hurt by this. Shame on you past. But perhaps the past wasn’t really sure it wanted to be the present again, perhaps it got a little ahead of itself. Perhaps it decided that you are not good enough for it, it needs something better, perhaps you are not what it wanted after all. But who knows, not you, because the past isn’t telling you this.

But it also kind of reminds you of the book “The Missing Piece.” That little circle with the wedge missing. It’s so sad, it rolls around talking to worms, and frolicking with butterflies, going on adventures, but all the while it’s lonely and sings about it’s missing piece and how it so wants to find it. It goes through all sorts of pieces, some not so nice and others that don’t quite fit. When it finally finds the piece that fits snugly and it goes so well, it’s so happy. But then it realizes things have changed, and so it puts the piece down. And it rolls off, sad again, singing of it’s missing piece. Perhaps this is what has happened to the past. The two of you fit snugly and seemed to go well together. You, finding this very scary and overwhelming, yet exciting and amazing at the same time. This past felt like that missing piece. You and this past had a connection no one could describe, you both felt it. It was marvelous and lovely and unique to the two of you. Something you never expected to experience in your life. This past was everything you never knew you wanted. As cruel as the world can be sometimes, this past made it feel safe. Wherever you were, it made it feel like home. And you’re the person who never even gave any of this much thought. You’re the person who was going through life care-free and having fun. But now that you’ve had it, you know just what you’re missing. And because the past is not letting you know, you can only hope that you find that a second time.

Because right now, you are still hearing only those chirping crickets from the past’s side. And you don’t know if it is crouching, hiding nearby watching you, wanting to say something, or if it is already far beyond, not even looking back in your direction, but just back to being the past again. And because you do not know, you say, hoping either the wind will carry it to the past’s far off ears, or that wherever the past is hiding nearby it will hear, “Goodbye, past. Best of luck to you.” And then you walk off in your own direction, perhaps singing, “oh I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece, I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece. . . “

6 thoughts on “When Reflection Stings

  1. I have some posts at my website about some other 40’s singers including some YouTube videos of Helen O’Connell singing Tangerine. She used to host the Today show years ago.

    Good to see the record player on your home page.


  2. Great post… I like the “The Missing Peice” part… 😦

    “Adele, when talking about writing this song, said she imagined herself running into her ex years down the road. He would be happy, married, and settled down and she would still be on her own. . . Thank you, Adele, for pinpointing it so perfectly, singing it so hauntingly and with such raw emotion, and letting the rest of us know we are not alone.”

    I have to say the same thing, I get bad dreams like this once in a while when I feel lonely…

    Sorry for the sparse reply, I’m a little brainblocked :)… But I enjoyed the trip well. Thanks!


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