Thursday, May 26, 2011

"If I don't, have you..." (what does that mean for me?)

Share my life, take me for what I am
'cause I'll never change all my colors for you
Take my love, I'll never ask for too much
just all that you are, and everything that you do
Whitney Houston, "I Have Nothing"

I was going about my evening doing the usual: procrastinating on this cover letter I've been writing for approximately eight days, listening to Pandora, and refreshing my Facebook page thinking, when my need-to-write desires linked hands with some able-to-be-articulated thoughts, and here we are right now, in the low-light, together, at last.

Since the lights are already low, let's not beat around the bush: I love singing. If you believe in past lives (I'm pretty sure I do), in my past life, I was a nightclub singer. Slinky blue dress with sequins, lying on top of a piano in a smoky room, one white light focused on me, singing my heart out to men who are infatuated with the way my voice makes them feel, but don't actually love me.* (Yes, even in my past life, I'm pretty sure that love was a torment to me.) That was me. So, whenever I get the chance to sing along to a song, particularly a ballad, I do. Pandora helps me out with this often, and the ballad that was given to me this evening was Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" from The Bodyguard soundtrack.

Now, I was some type of child when this movie came out, but I vaguely remember it. Creamy looking black woman (Houston) and white man who is presumably her bodyguard, hence the title of the whole damn movie. (Costner.) I remember them being someplace where it snowed, and him picking her up and carrying her. (Or maybe it was a child who almost drowned? Shit, I don't know.) I also seem to remember that they aren't together at the end of the movie, on some Casablanca ish. (Go figure.) Anyhow, that's what I remember. That aside, I've always loved this song, and so my Pandora listening wouldn't be complete unless I sang along with Whitney as she belted out her frustration and pain. Being that you can't sing a ballad without enunciating and articulating, and henceforth knowing all the words, I made sure to pull up the lyrics so I could be on point with my singing.

While singing the very first stanza, I realized that I must have never known what the hell Whitney was saying. The first stanza of this song articulates something I acknowledged in a former post, and something I was ruminating on tonight via Twitter. I am starting to accept the fact that my fierce loyalty to my ways of thinking and my ideals may leave me perpetually without lifetime partner.** Just like how I talked about deluding myself into believing that someone will accept me just the way I am, I suppose I also have to accept the flip-side of the possible delusion, that being that no one will be able to deal with me as I am.

In the first stanza of "I Have Nothing," Whitney pretty much shuts everything down and gives whomever she's talking to the reality of her emotions: she tells the object of her affections to take her as she is, and to be a part of her life, but she's not changing any-damn-thing about herself for this man. She's offering her love, not necessarily as an option--she doesn't say take it if you want to, she says take. She tries to offer the reassurance that she won't ask this man for too much of himself, until she tells him in the very next breath that she needs everything that he is, and everything that he does.

This is my favorite part of the entire song. The rest of the song is still beautiful and melodic, but these words resonate most with me, and they are the strongest, and thus, my favorite. It's very cliche to tell someone you can't live without them, or that you have nothing without them--I'm sure at some point in your life, you've either felt this way, or told someone you felt this way. But to tell someone that in exchange for accepting the love you're giving them, they will be receiving someone not willing to change anything about themselves, and someone who expects damn near the world from them? Well, that's some type of resolve. Such that may very well find someone perpetually without partner, as it seems was the fate of Whitney by the end of her ballad.

Never changing my colors for someone is an ideal I find to be very powerful, especially after what feels like a small lifetime of having been a chameleon for the sake of acceptance, but I think it's the smartest route to accept the possibility that maybe my desire to not change my colors will ironically leave me with no reason to change my colors at all.

*--Who, do you love?/Girl I see through, through your love/who, do you love/me, or the thought of me?/Me or the thought of me? --John Mayer, "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)"
**--before you say shit, stop: I don't care that I'm not that old yet, I don't care that you may feel that I have plenty of time, I don't care about any of the cliche shit that people like to say to you to try and talk you off the ledge of your emotions. Yes, I'm 23, and yes, I'm talking about love and relationships again. /rant. I am taking control over my own self-awareness and realizing some ugly truths that I would never have been comfortable acknowledging a couple of years back. Though I can acknowledge the fact that my loyalty to my ideals might not ever sit well with someone for long enough for us to have a legitimate future together, it doesn't mean that I'm wholly a fan of it.

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