i went to bed last night with a song in my head that i really haven’t even heard that many times but absolutely fell in love with from the very first time the song found me, and it haunted me (in a soulful, silvery sort of way) throughout my unconscious hours to such an extent that i awoke this morning with the lyrics spilling from my dreams and into my heavy-lidded daybreak. i couldn’t remember hearing the song in the past few days, and i really only knew the chorus, but i couldn’t release myself from its grasp. then, something movie-esque occured — pulling out of the driveway this morning i turned on the radio, and the song was on. i know these things happen, once in a blue moon, but it nearly blew me away. is god trying to get my attention through a john mayer song? okay, so i will admit that i went through a period where i claimed to think john mayer was my soul mate (when i reality, all i was doing was painting a hyperbolic picture of how intimately his lyrics and melodies seem to attach themselves to my soul and consistently apply to my life, causing me to become infatuated with his musical persona and by no means with HIM as a living, breathing creator of such perfection — but who doesn’t crave a little unrealistic-by-design romantic infatuation now and then?). so this song, then; his newest masterpiece, “say,” with its almost island-like guitar picking in the beginning and the simple poetry of his quiet lyrics that urge us to crawl out of our reticence and lay our pride aside long enough to “say what you need to say,” pushing past fear and self-doubt and allowing love to spill from our lips in the form of words we might have dreaded uttering in our calculated views of self-preservation. how often do we say what we NEED to say? oh, i’ll be the first to admit that many times i say so many things i need NOT have said and repress the words i’m screaming inside, preferring to embrace a lifelong flirtation with superficial repartee in order to conceal even the very fringes of my vulnerability…but by doing this, aren’t i just hiding myself away and saving my hopes for real relationships for a hypothetical “rainy day”? and i’m not naive enough to assume i’m alone in this — i think most of us are at least moderately-versed in the act of saving face.
i can’t even begin to count how many times i’ve heard a similar if not exact sentiment in my life, someone imploring people to say what they need to say while they still can, before it’s too late — the whole idea of only living once and seizing every opportunity, letting people know how you care about them while you still have them — the whole bit makes perfect sense in theory, and on paper, and provides an encouraging topic of conversation (or for written exploration), but how often do we realllllly take great pains to consider if we are saying what we need to say (or SHOULD be saying) at the right time? and what IS the right time, then? what if we say what we need to say (or what WE think we need to say) and the recipient of our expostulations wishes we’d learned the art of biting our lips? ahhhh, as hamlet so put it, “therein lies the rub,” or the catch. words carry a very specific risk, a delicate charm of their own that sets us precariously counting our steps to into another’s orbit and sometimes require we spin our tops at breakneck speed, risking all pretenses of self-consciousness in the singular act of spilling words our frozen lips locked latent for too long.
i’ll be the first to admit, i save words for the very purpose of self-protection and the feathery notion of the ever-over-romanticized unrequited love (or those slippery imposters that tirelessly fool me with the trappings of infatuation), but i grapple with the elusive fringes of Hope’s tattered coattails and convince myself that there are things better left unsaid.
may they not be the proverbial death of me, these things i adhere to the walls of my mind and swallow with difficulty when they threaten to jump. how very un-romantic, the irony of death by choking on words unspoken. perhaps if you open up a vein on the inside of my paper wrist, i’ll bleed sentimentalist semantics ever-so-elegantly upon the toes of your shoes.

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