Tuesday, December 29, 2009

this thing hurts like hell / but what did you expect?

i know i've posted this before, but it bears re-posting. since i heard it, i've listened to it more than a hundred times. i put it on my ipod on the drive back to montevideo from punta del este yesterday, during a stretch of rolling hills and farmland(1), after which i listened to kid a in its entirety. that sets the general scene for where my mind was at. today we went to the cemetery in montevideo where there are plots for both sides of my dad's family-- one from 1903, and one from 1936. we put some very nice daisies(2) on each of them, and i listened to this song on the walk from one to another, just to be alone with my thoughts for a minute, since i've had increasing trouble over the last couple of years getting in touch with more than surface-level emotions. it really helped.

on the drive back the day before, i got to thinking about a few things that i hadn't had the time or desire to chew over very much recently. i'm not particularly interested in going into a detailed overshare, but i have been undersharing for a good while and since i assume only my friends (and only a few of them at that) read this(3), it may be worthwhile. my farcical relationship over the summer is something that has not totally settled in my mind, but it definitely bothers me. when i listen to the song i posted above, apart from the bits that trigger very specific personal memories, it mostly reminds me of how hard i tried, in that instance, to be the sort of person i've always wanted to be-- calm, reasonable, interested, flexible, supportive, etc. basically, an adult. and guess what? i did! i totally fucking did. best boyfriend ever. i would recommend me in the future. part of being a good person, in my mind, is doing what you can and having faith that other people will do the same. when that turned out not to be the case, i at least rest easy knowing that it absolutely was not my fault. the trick, though, is this: when you've been so burned, you've got to still be able to extend that faith to other people, but even if you (as i have) tell yourself that you are, and can, and will again, it's hard not to be a bit wary. as much as i feel like i've grown into somebody pretty cool, it's still difficult to allow chaos into my pretty well-ordered world. in fact, i think it's harder to allow myself to feel any sort of more-than-surface-level vulnerability now that i feel in control of things a bit more, since, you know, i've grown up a bit since i was 16. or 18. or 20. or 22. whatever(4). i don't know whether it was the drive, the music, the several months that have elapsed for me to unconsciously go over and over all the crazy bullshit that happened and try to find some sort of rationality in it or accept it for being insanity, or the insane driving down here in a recalcitrant stick shift truck, or what, but it feels pretty good to at least feel scared or tired or sad in a less controlled way. being in a strange country(5) helps that. and, of the many, many things i like about this song, my favorite part during the first couple days of my trip has been the first crescendo into the chorus:

She said one day to leave her
sand up to her shoulders
waiting for the tide
to drag her to the ocean
to another sea’s shore.

This thing hurts like hell
but what did you expect?

who doesn't feel that way? fuck, man, i started feeling strange and guilty for NOT feeling like i was buried to the shoulders. but this is not a sad song, and really, i'm not telling a sad story. it's just life. lots of things remind us of that. including the chorus:

And all you can hear is the sound of your own heart
And all you can feel is your lungs flood and the blood course
But oh I can see five hundred years
dead set ahead of me
Five hundred behind
A thousand years in perfect symmetry

there's beach and sea absolutely everywhere you go here. and it's not a bad place to think about anything.

(1): the eucalyptus trees are all planted in straight rows, probably about a meter apart, so from a distance they look like patches of forest. when you drive by, though, since their trunks are mostly free of vegetation, you see the lines perfectly in a flip-book or stop-motion effect, and the foliage makes for a kind of archway. it's like driving through the alhambra. so wonderful.

(2): we bought them from a lady at a stand across from the cemetary, who we talked to at length. long conversations with strangers happen all the time and i expect they will continue as the trip goes on. they're usually wonderful and interesting and she was no exception. turns out she is italian (from salerno, south of naples), has lived in montevideo for a long time, has family in italy, australia, and toronto and so has been to all of them though she speaks no english. she said, interestingly, that americans and canadians "son frios" or are cold. i thought that was pretty interesting, and from her perspective she's exactly right. as an example, she said, with apparent amazement, that her son lives in an apartment building but knows none of his neighbors! it's amazing to people here. everyone, and i mean everyone, is extremely friendly, neighborly, and helpful, to the point that they even tolerate my crappy spanish.

(3): dangerous. i may make this invitation only but i feel like that'd be a lot of work. bah.

(4): i may join a gym in the new year. i still either eat way too little or too much. i'm not ever as funny as i think i am. it's a process. it's certainly not done.

(5): that is especially strange because a lot of things seem so familiar but aren't,

1 comment:

Maura said...

the internet was invented for oversharing. just like traveling was invented (not to get from one place to another, not to eat better food, not to take pretty pictures) but to look at something foreign and say: "ah! interesting! time for some introspection." why do you think i'm always jetting off to different places? writing in a journal = ohhh you're that kind of girl. writing in a TRAVEL journal = wow, cool, what a neat hobby.

hope you're enjoying your trip!