A Perfectly Cursed Life

Because Blessings Are Overrated

How long till my soul gets it right? July 28, 2008

I am one person with two minds.  The mind that is rational and can map out a solution to a problem in 2.5 seconds.  Then there’s the emotional mind that has trouble even looking at a spreadsheet and would rather investigate my motivations like an actor in rehearsal than rationalize my behavior logically.

This is a tale of another battle of those two brains.

Last week I spent about $30 on iTunes searching for songs and ended up downloading about $15 worth of songs that were songs I used to have on my old desktop in college that never made the transition to the ipod and then this computer.  These are songs that meant something to me at some point between the years 1999 and 2003.  These songs do more than entertain; they bring back floods of emotions that I haven’t felt in five years or more.

There are quite a few of what I call “Womyn With a ‘Y'” songs–Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Jonatha Brooke, Patti Griffin, etc.  These take me back to my days at the Women’s Center–planning events that I hoped would change the world, but knew would change at least one person’s mind.  They represent these coming-of-age tales that encompassed my life for years as I moved in and out of new places, in and out of back home, in and out of the country.  They remind me of my free spirited days.  While listening to them makes me happy, sometimes it makes my soul a bit misty for these times.  Even though I cried many tears those days, they were emotions I’d never forsake.

I also downloaded some Van Morrison favorites.  These are universal and very few of them relate to a specific part of my life.  But one of them, “I’ll Be Your Lover, Too” is a haunting song that never leaves my side.  I never really entertained the song much until I saw “Proof of Life” with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe (you know, the one when she allegedly left Dennis Quaid over the Gladiator guy?).  And since then, all I can picture is the last scene of the movie as Meg Ryan’s character rides away and Russell Crowe’s character just watches her–knowing he can’t have her–and the bittersweet tension that had filled the movie ends in a heartbreaking moment.  I remember being obsessed with the song after that.  How many times had I watched someone I can’t have walk, ride or drive away?  That song just filled the bill so perfectly that it was almost as if it were written for me.

Then this weekend I saw the new X-Files movie.  It’s hard to explain to people who don’t really let themselves be sucked into a cult-like phenomenon like the X-Files how your emotions can be tied up with it.  I remember being a young adolescent with dreams of uncovering the truth of something, though I didn’t know what that something was, and thinking of how brilliantly devious and haunting that show was.  I eventually gave up on it for reasons I never did uncover.  Since then I’ve been playing catch-up and although I like the show still, I never got sucked back in like I used to.  But when I left the movie theater Friday night, I felt that distant pang of a young girl who wanted to pursue a career of something bigger…or uncovering something bigger.  (And seeing Scully and Mulder together as a couple living together only worked to confuse these emotions, let me tell you.)

So you can imagine that while I’ve been doing this thinking what my dreams have been like.

Or can you?

The thing is that these dreams that are not haunting because they are surreal.  I could deal with that.  Instead, I’ve been having the most real dreams of my life–dreams of times gone by.  Not in exact replay, but close enough.  These aren’t just dreams about themes or symbols or songs or fears–these are dreams that encapsulate the exact emotions that I’ve tried to escape either by growing out of them or just simply leaving them behind.

I’d like to think that this is all just coincidence.  The intelligent part of my brain overrides the emotional one and informs me that this is not the case.  Coincidence can describe one dream like this…but not a week’s worth of them.  The fact is that I know exactly where this is coming from and I don’t know how to stop it.  More importantly, I don’t know if I’m ready for them to stop yet.

As wickedly cliche as it sounds, I think buying a house really is bringing up old fears of settling down.  It sounds ridiculous that this happens now and not right before my wedding.  To be fair, it did, to some extent.  But you get so busy planning the wedding that most times you don’t feel the accompanying emotions for more than a second.  By time you realize what has happened, you’ve already moved on.  Now that I’m legally committed to buying a house–with a husband no less–some sort of adulthood alarm has been set off in my psyche.

There is no moving home this time.

There is no changing majors.

There is no switching a CD to change a mood.

There is only the future and as simple as that may sound, it isn’t.

There’s something unsettling about “settling down” for a girl like me.  I’ve lived with two examples my whole life: (1) living as a couple and eventually a family and giving up any dreams held prior to the relationship, or (2) being a free spirit and riding out your dreams only to forgo the domestic bliss.  The two were never explained to me to be anything but mutually exclusive.  Now that I have the domestic part working towards bliss , have I conceded the old free-spirited dreams and ambitions? Does embracing my dreams and hopes concieved before the bliss was a reality derail the domesticity? It’d be silly to deny that by settling down we all give away certain things we though of while we were on our own (living in France, getting a master’s degree in literature).  But would it be just as foolish to deny that I still want some of those things?

In my intelligent mind, I know that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.  I know that one can have dreams and hopes and aspirations that are mighty and ambitious and maybe even non-conventional and still maintain a domesticity that gives you somewhere to call home, someone to call yours and something to call your own.  My emotional mind is not yet comfortable with the fact that I have to make my own model of that type of happiness. There’s no road map to the trail I’ve decided to blaze.

That, my dear friends is what scares me.

I like maps and charts and spreadsheets.  Hell, I’d even take a set of powerpoint notes at this point.  But there’s nothing out there that tells me how to get the things I want and keep what I have in any sort of helpful way.

So here’s to starting a new adventure.  One of setting the past fears aside and doing everything in my power to mesh my two dreams–of love and life and of dreams and ambitions.

But if anyone has a spreadsheet to explain this, though, I’d be glad to review it. Right after I get done listening to this next song…