There are so many ways of saying goodbye. This thought struck me as I walked outside contemplating whether to light my first cigarette or not.
Traditionally, my goodbyes involve furious scribbles in my notebook after crying, reading and eating chocolates in bed. Whiskey? Eh, that’s a luxury and is enjoyed best after I have resolved most of my inner conflict. After the note scribbling, crying, gaining perspective from friends I do the one thing I love and fear most when my heart is involved. I compose music. Fair enough, I am being dramatic but the moment my fingers touch the keys of the piano, I have no control as to what will pop out of my mouth. Am I really ready to face my own failures? As this is what I am confronted with when I write music. Me. All of me. The good, the bad and the oh so ugly.
Every musician has an idea about the music flowing through their veins. We have chord structures, half baked lyrics or sometimes the idea of a person or scenario floating about. Yet, when the first note is played something else happens. When ‘something else steps into the room’ like Ben Harper said when working with The Blind Boys of Alabama, I have no choice but to follow the music and expose my very self to the elements. There are songs filled with such sorrow, mostly my own, that I cannot bear to listen to. I love music but the real cost of creating something sincere and true at times is rather steep…
Fuck. Fuck. Double fuck. There it is, the truth of what I really feel. The enormity of my mistakes or the downright heroic nature of my escape! Men and music has always been tricky. Somehow the men I am dating or half way interested in assume the music penned involves their asses. Honestly, only one man has been my constant Muse (not Ben Harper) and he could not care less. It was him I ran to. His arms that would never hold me. His voice I could never rely on. And that was part of the fun. I could tie myself into knots of crazed desire or free my skin of his influence whenever I needed. And the music was….glorious!
The most horrific allegation leveled at me by a man boiled down the following – I was using him, our relationship as fodder for music. So I could play the role of the victim. Now I must be honest…if I lacked self control I would have thrown something at him. Yet, the ugly truth was this: he did not hurt me enough to be granted a place in music. That thought shocked even me! Is this what it comes down to, I asked myself? The impact of any man’s love has to mark me in such a way that it leaves scars I cannot rid myself of? In that second another decision was made. I would not speak of the loss of his love at all. Besides, I have more than enough material on that subject matter. Instead I will remember the beauty, the luminescence; those moments when I was happiest and pen music from that space alone. Not only for my sanity but for whoever might require a reminder. Regardless of how short love blazed under my skin, it must be celebrated.
There are many ways of saying goodbye. Sometimes we are mildly aware of it. As we live past each other, as we confess our deepest desires to others and not the person we claim to love, when we search for safety in the arms of friends and family and leave the one we love on the periphery of our lives. Or when we allow their words, their truth to become our own and lose our voice. There are many ways of saying goodbye. And not all of them require shouting and screaming. I always tell my friends (so as to remind myself)…if you are dishonest about what you feel the universe will bring people and events into your life so that the truth can be uncovered. This process is usually traumatic in places. How can it not be?
And the other epiphany that caught me off guard was this… Even as I love deeply I am always prepared to leave, my bags packed, eyeing the exit. In my darkest moments I am convinced this is all I am to others. A conduit, a catalyst, a traveler, a nomad passing through their lives. Music will take me where it must and I will follow fearlessly. Music does not require I stand still for too long after all. And so the other allegation thrown my way surfaces. You, Auriol, have never loved…any of us ..enough. Not enough to fight. Not enough to stay.
There are many ways of saying goodbye I realized….and I have been preparing to leave for as long as I can remember. And so this is what remains. This is my next big task. Not to pour over the details of another heartbreak and compose music to puzzle myself back together. It is time I must uncover where and who caused my heart to contract the first time. Any why I chose to cling to that pain and punish myself over and over again. Then I need to bury that past, leave it behind and write music…