June 19, 2006

A Moment of Clarity


I'm the kind of person who likes to listen to her favorite songs over and over and over again. In the sixth grade, I bought All-4-One's new disc and listened to "I Swear" on repeat. During my last year of college, my drug of choice was The Format's "The First Single." And for the past few weeks, I've listened to Snow Patrol's "It's Beginning to Get to Me" incessantly. It's repetitively catchy and purely addictive. I love it.

The song is about a relationship on the rocks. What started out as a beautiful relationship has turned into something cold and fractured. My favorite line comes near the end of the song, when the singer reaches out to his girlfriend: "I tried to tell you before I left/ But I was screaming under my breath/ You are the only thing that makes sense/ Just ignore all this present tense." I love the third line: "You are the only thing that makes sense." For me, this is the climax of the song. Everything else is a crescendo or diminuendo from this point.

While I was driving around town this weekend and listening to this song on repeat, I realized why I like this line so much: I want to be the only thing that makes sense to someone. I want to be the rock in a relationship. I want someone to need me.

And then like a flash of lightning, I had a moment of clarity. The past nine months suddenly made more sense. I finally understood why my heartache and sadness have lasted for so long. I finally realized why it has taken me so long to recover from a relationship that started to crumble last October.

Scott and I were a mismatch from the start. He was fifteen years older than I was and had never finished college. In his twenties, he was in a rock band and spent ten years drinking, carousing, and womanizing. Our values were completely different and we could never talk about religion without arguing.

But like they say, opposites attract. Scott and I were very different people, but we had a lot of chemistry. I had never met someone who was so much fun and who could regale me with so many amazing stories. And I had never met someone who looked at me the way he did---like I was the most wonderful and beautiful human being he had ever seen. He wanted to spend every minute with me and I was only happy to oblige.

Red flags flashed all over my eyes, but I ignored them because he needed me---and because of this I grew to need him too. All that mattered in my life was that Scott needed and wanted me. Out of all the women in the world, he wanted me and only me.

And I suppose this is why it has taken me so long to recover from our break-up. Scott didn’t need me anymore. Not even a little bit. In fact, he moved down to Mississippi when a job opportunity came his way. I felt like he ripped out my heart and shredded it on a cheese grater. And then he left.

But I’m finally, finally, finally moving on with my life. No more tears and no more angry rants. Only a little bit of sadness and slowly, acceptance. I’ve emerged from the relationship more mature and more insightful. I’ve learned a lot about myself---and especially how I yearn to be needed. I want my family to need me, I want my friends to need me, and I want any future Scotts to need me too.

I like being the rock in a relationship. I like feeling strong and sturdy and responsible. I’m a natural protector and guardian so I don’t feel entirely whole when I don’t feel needed.

So I look forward to playing my dutiful role as the rock. When it comes to relationships, I’m not necessarily looking for a patch of grass to protect or a delicate flower to shelter. Instead, I’m searching for another rock to lean up against---someone who is strong and sturdy, but incomplete without a companion stone.

A rock is a rock is a rock, but two rocks---that makes all the difference.

4 comments:

  1. You have great perspective Caroline and when you do find that someone, whenever that may be, it will be exactly what you imagined it to be and described in this post.

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  2. and I'M glad that you got that Snow Patrol album. Isn't it great??

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  3. Caroline, thanks for sharing that. Ditto what Heid said. Who knows, maybe your rock is in London...I hope so!

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  4. Hey C -
    I was thinking, while reading this, that it's good that we aren't perfect and that we do need people. If we were perfect then we would need no one and that would never give anyone a chance to serve us and ultimately love us.
    So, yay for problems!
    Another's problems help us love them and our issues let them love us. You want to be needed. So do I. And the truth of the matter is this...there is someone(s) out there that need(s) what only you or I can offer and terrifically enough, we need them in ways that only they can help.
    Together through service and love we become whole. I think that's a delightful thought.

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