Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can I Get a Window Seat?

In the midst of all the controversy about Erykah Badu's video for the Window Seat, from her last album (that's right I said album!), the lyrics of this song got completely lost. This song is my freaking anthem.

When Ilya and I first split I called a friend to tell her about the pain I was feeling and her immediate response was to berate me for needing "attention." And to basically, without the benefit of knowing me or my marriage that well, tell me that the break was my fault. Because I wanted too much attention. Oh yes. In the middle of my tears, I stopped and really listened to what was being said and I apologized. WTF? I apologized to this person taking me in the weakest moment of my life and knocking my down.

That moment came back to me recently when I was responding to a friend on Facebook. She asked her friends to write how they met her. I borrowed the same status a few days later. But I wrote to her: "I met you during Freshman Orientation at Lawrence when you asked for a standing ovation!" We had the usual orientation company come in to do icebreakers and team building activities. But the hallmark of this particular group was having people ask for "standing ovations" at any point in the sessions that they felt they needed one and we would all stand up and give them a standing ovation. My friend Summer did the same thing at our IIN graduation - go Summer!

And I realized something. This friend was asking me to get small in my pain. To not own that I was hurt and that I needed attention and it was fine to ask for it. I, by virtue of my place on the planet, deserve it. As women, we cannot ask each other to get small. Never. If anything we need to hold each other up and ask us to grow and get bigger and stronger. And we should aid each other in that growth. And if you can't do that then for G-d's sake be quiet!

The last two weeks I have been sick. It was a real physical illness that caused weakness, vomiting and all over body aches, caused by my mind presenting its pain somatically. I am good for that. I have been known to lose my voice, literally, when I am not expressing the things in my heart that must be said. So the complete collapse of me this past week was really linked to an incredible mental tiredness. My mind trying to keep all the balls up in the air and make it look effortless. I did what I thought I was supposed to. I got small and didn't ask for my standing ovation. After all I must have brought all this pain on myself through poor life choices. And I, for some reason, put on Erykah. I had been listening to Bag Lady and thinking about all the bags I was carrying around with me and my intense desire to drop those suckers off at the nearest goodwill. Perhaps someone else could use my self-doubt, anger, frustration, fear and loathing. Something sent me to New Amerykah Part II and Window Seat. And these lyrics hit me so truthfully -

So, presently i’m standing
Here right now
You’re so demanding
Tell me what u want from me
Concentrating on my music , lover , and my babies
Makes me wanna ask the lady for a ticket outta town…
So can I get a window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
A look around
And a safe touch down

If anybody speak to Scotty
tell him beam me up!

Yes, I need that window seat. But she went on to say this:

But I need u to want me
Need you to miss me
I need your attention
I need you next me
I need someone to clap for me
I need your direction

But I need you to miss me
Need somebody come get me
Need your attention
Need your energy yes I do
Need someone to clap for me
Need your affection
Somebody say come back
Come back baby come back
I want u to need me

But can I get a window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
A look around
And a safe touch down…
I just need a chance to fly
A chance to cry
And a long
Bye bye..

Those needs are very real. And wanting that and searching for it - nothing wrong with it. Understanding, of course, that ultimately all of that love has to come from self. And sometimes, much like your kids, you just want someone to hold you and tell you it's gonna be okay. You know it probably won't fix anything but it will make you feel better in that moment when your heart is breaking. And you may be able to get up and keep it moving a little longer. That is the work of those who are in love with you - and remember for me that means anyone you are in a love relationship with. And we mothers, need that same love, since we give it all day long. And I can take care of my babies and my life and my work and still want/need that love and support. It does not make me weak or self-interested. It makes me a strong woman who asks for that which she cannot provide for herself. We don't have to be strong every second of every day. Sometimes we need a safe, soft place to fall.

So, I am going to get that window seat and go for my safe touchdown but I will be back asking for my standing ovation.

in peace tribe


Minkgirl said...

Your gorgeous writing has loosened the perpetual knot in my chest a little bit - I'm breathing easier as I write this - thank you for advocating A BIG LIFE - thank you for acknowledging the realness of our needs - as women, as mothers, as conscious beings who are open to the passion and pain of life. You rock.

Nanda Mama said...

Oh Dear Heart!
You are the one who taught me to want more than I could ever comprehend possible! I thank you for bringing me that BIG LIFE idea. And reminding me through your brilliant example that anything we want we can have, just maybe not all at the same time!!