Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Heart's Gasp

There's that moment - you know the one - when things seem to fall into place.  That moment when your ideas, beliefs about and dependencies on the feelings of another person fall into your lap as nothing more than empty words and silent tears.  The time spent in bliss turns to painful memory.  That moment when things are unbearably clear and you're left with the unfulfilled promise of eternal love.  Your mind races with the urgency of panic-stricken grasps at straws that no longer exist.  The tossing and turnings of that sleepless night when things finally start to make sense.

You've been duped.  You've been used to increase the ego of another.  Easily forgotten and discarded.

You feel like nothing... no matter the bank balance... no matter the time and emotional energy invested.  The words are empty.  You may have found an old note to someone allowing for the same words whispered to you in an intimate setting.  Perhaps you've been granted the unfortunate privilege of seeing an email not meant for your eyes.  You try to breathe but can't seem to inhale.

You. Feel. Powerless.

Living yet dead, you walk, numb, through your day, doing your best to find a way to cope.

You're nodding... yes, you've been there too, yes?  Rest easy... you're in good company.  We all have.

The Cutting Crew released a song in 1986 written by it's front man Nick Van Eede titled "I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight" outlining this very phenomenon.  His unique turn of phrase did a masterful job of utilizing word, phrase and music to bring us to this place in a shared experience.

Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must have been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight (Chorus)
A skillful job of setting the stage - Eede opens the song by slowly punctuating the first two words of the song in a loud whisper.  The words themselves lend their weight to the rest of the song.  Clearly, some part of the author's world has ended... and ended within what he thought was a loving embrace.
 I keep looking for something I can't get
Broken hearts lie all around me
And I don't see an easy way to get out of this
Her diary it sits on the bedside table
The curtains are closed, the cats in the cradle
Who would've thought that a boy like me could come to this (V1, L1-6)
What keeps us from finding the things we can't get?  For that matter, what is it we're actually looking for?  The answer here is painfully obvious.  Love in the midst of a battlefield strewn with broken hearts and broken lives.  Our author, in the throws of tormenting pain, illustrates the scene before us.  He's found everything he thought he wanted... love, fidelity... loyalty.  It is shattered in short order by words in a diary... these words have clearly moved aside the gauzy curtain of fantasy and exposed the often embarrassing and always heartbreaking reality that so many of us have felt... what was everything to him was only a plaything to her.  His misery is compounded by the sudden destruction of his self image in the glaring light of the reality now splayed out before him.

Eedes follows quickly with the repeated chorus:

 Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been something you said
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should`ve walked away (Chorus [Full])

Obviously, still holding on to the last shred of the illusion she's woven for him, he allows his emotions to swallow his soul - trying desperately to understand, to find some reason for his nose-dive into an imagined relationship, he relates it to the first kiss... and as we all do, he turns to hindsight, telling himself that he "...should have walked away." (Chorus, L6).

Is there any just cause for feeling like this?
On the surface I'm a name on a list
I try to be discreet, but then blow it again
I've lost and found, it's my final mistake
She's loving by proxy, no give and all take
'cos I've been thrilled to fantasy one too many times (V2, L1-6)

The prose takes on a somewhat frantic momentum in verse two.  Eedes does a first rate job of taking us to that place where we are sitting perfectly still, alone in a dark room while the heart races as fast as the mind... that place we all fear.  Alone with the self-depreciating thoughts of the used and forgotten.  Our imagination runs with the nightmare scenes of how well our ex must be doing while we sit in the darkness of our despair - a broken toy discarded in the attic of the heart.

The author has tried to justify what has happened... asking, as we all have, 'is there anything more I could have done?'  I see you nodding... good, you're here with us.  You've felt the desperation of the calling-and-hanging-up, begging-for-one-more-chance, questioning days and nights Eede brings us to with the phrase "I try to be discreet, but then blow it again." (V2, L3).  You've sat in tearful solitude after the painful realization that your partner has been "... loving by proxy" offering "... no give and all take." (V2, L5).  With the final line of verse 2 we realize that the author, like all of us, has been deceived by fantasy... perhaps this is the final time.  Lesson learned.  Maybe. 

We are given a glimpse into how this happened for Eede, and perhaps sadly, for ourselves as well in the final verse:

It was a long hot night
She made it easy, she made it feel right
But now it's over the moment has gone
I followed my hands not my head, I knew I was wrong (V3, L1-4)

Here is the scene of the crime: a long, sweltering summer night in what may have been an exotic location or a small hovel in a town no one has heard of.   "She" made the author feel at ease, fully open to share his deepest feelings and plans... allowing him to 'use his hands', or explore sexuality, perhaps calling it love-making to draw him in and provide for more excitement.  The author clearly outlines his mistake... he fell into the trap, following her leading... following the urgings of his hands and heart... knowing what might happen.... knowing it was wrong.

Lets take a moment and remember... remember those tear-filled nights, feeling like the world had collapsed... like there were no more options... like we weren't worth anyone's time.  Forgotten.  Discarded.  Broken.

Now, let's look at the lesson and how we can apply it.  Yes: we've all been hurt to the point of lunacy.  Yes; it's made us jaded in some ways.  Yes; it's been cause for every one of us to simply give up on the chance at love.  Before you step out of the ring, however, please read on...

There are a million reasons to stop looking for love.  There are a myriad of pitfalls and hazards to navigate within the terrain of the heart.  There is one reason, however, to continue forward:

Your soul still searches.

Whatever you tell yourself now, there is still that part of you, your hear-and-soul, that yearns for that very thing you were created to express:


Without it we are mere lemmings, trudging about our daily lives like ants pushing crumbs of bread.  Our purpose is negated without love to drive us onward.  Our soul craves it... every beat of our heart cries out for it... when we find it, we find our meaning.  

Don't allow the pain to shadow the purpose.  Learn, yes.  Remember, of course.  You will survive this, my fellow traveler... one day you will open your eyes and things will seem easier... you will feel more a part of the world.... on that day, you will see that your search is not over.... continue, my friends, to live... continue to search for your soul's counterpart... they are out there.  Find them and never let them go.