Wednesday, October 28, 2015
the words in your song
A week or so ago, we were all five of us sitting in our car driving to Melbourne for a party when a Tracy Chapman song came on Indi's playlist.
Sorry, is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like sorry, like sorry...
All of a sudden I was right back there in high school, fifteen or sixteen maybe. A bunch of us were sitting outside somewhere and one of my friends was singing this song to me. Performing it loudly with words that suited our situation and with hand gestures. She'd kissed my on-again-off-again boyfriend and was apologising. In song.
Forgive me, forgive me...
My memory all these years later is a happy one. She'd kissed him, and even though I had a hunch that he actually cared for her more than for me, she was apologising, and singing and we were laughing.
I can't even remember what happened after that. I can't remember if they got together or if I ever kissed him again. All I do know is that it turned out OK in the end. She's happily married, I saw him last year for the first time in twenty years and he looked good too. And there I was driving to Melbourne with a car filled with my happily-ever-after. Well mostly.
I know that back then I must have written dozens of entries in my teen diary about my feelings for him, I must have cried cup-fulls of tears, I must have dissected the relationship with anyone who would listen and as all great teen romances go, we definitely shared some great ups and deep downs, but they were then.
And as Tracy sang I visited them for a little bit and came back and told the girls about it. It's funny because they are almost the same age that I was when I was listening to her way back then. And it's funny because they are way back there now.
After I told them, they were immediately and fiercely loyal to me. They were shocked and wanted to know details. They threw around terms like 'cheating' and 'unfaithful' and were maybe even a little bit surprised that it isn't a big deal to me, that I think it's cute and hold no bad feelings at all.
For me, this is one of the trickier bits of parenting teenagers. My knowing and trusting that so many of the details that overwhelm and threaten to swallow them whole right now, will end up as cute little stories in 20 years time. All the heart aches and angst and yearning and desire and drama and passion and dreams and despair, they are all awesome, and they are all healthy, and they are all part of being a whole teenager.
I just wish that I could assure them that it'll all be OK. To feel the sadness but to feel supported also. To really dive right into the deepest lows and the floaty highs because they are part of being alive. And to trust that the wrong boy who does all the right things but is still wrong, the right boy who keeps choosing the other girls, the friends who seem to have everything you want and that feeling you get sometimes that nobody else understands, they're all part of the story.
They're all words in your song.