approximate representation of anyone listening to "Both Sides, Now"/ Love Actually (2003)
Somehow I missed last week and it kind of makes sense. It was so hot and my brain fully liquified in the heat and the *waves arms around generally* everything else happening in the world. I feel like I've said that kind of thing a lot in the last few years, we all have, and I keep waiting for a time where that's not the case or perhaps less the case but the world does not seem to be cooperating even a little bit—we will do what we can.
Have you heard Joni Mitchell singing "Both Sides, Now" at Newport Folk Festival this past weekend? Organized and encouraged by Brandi Carlile, this performance was unexpected and so needed by, I'm guessing, so many of us. I cried quite hard throughout my first watch of it and found myself incredibly moved in a way that shook me out of whatever depreche mode I had been in for a bit. What's the quote again? "The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea." I've gotten sweat and the sea this summer and the only thing left was the tears. They were good tears although I'm partial to the idea that most tears are good tears because you're feeling what you're feeling and that's just fine.
Listening to this version of the song, decades after I first heard the original off 1969's Clouds or the more recent version from 2000's Both Sides Now, brought me emotionally to a place where I was with the women in my family again. My grandma who loved this song on first listen so long ago and only realized what it meant lyrically as her own grasp of English grew stronger. My mom who grew up loving this song and found herself time and again in it and its newer versions just as she changed and became newer versions of herself. My aunt who discovered the 2000 version later in her shortened life, bittersweet to understand this kind of song when and how she did. And me. The last one standing and scribbling and feeling on this earth and left with so many stories and mysteries and hurts but mostly so much love. I can't think of this song without thinking of the women in my family and it feels meant to hear this so close to the end of this project—a sign of sorts, and you know I love signs (not a joke, Signs (2002) is a beautiful movie).
Recently I had an older sister type friend ask me what it would feel like if I separated my sense of self worth from the validation of others, specifically men, and I am still shaking as I consider my very raw ugly feelings about this question. A lot of words spilled over the decade plus of YE have been about men, some very not great men, some wonderful men, some very complex men; I don't regret it in the slightest but as I enter a new season of my life where I'm centering myself and my joy and my future for the first time in 35 years, I am thinking more and more about what it means to be a woman not primarily consumed by being an object of men's desire and passion and interest. I'm queer and I still am consumed by the messaging we receive from birth that we need to be desirable to men, that the ultimate goal is to be wanted by men. I sort of didn't realize how heavily I was carrying this even now and how exhausting it is. It is hard enough to live a life and be fully present in it but to add the layer of trying to do all this while trying to shine your energy outward and get attention? I'm tired. I need to shine my energy for me—I need and deserve as much of that as I want.
So the last few of these will be about the women I love most which luckily these days includes myself:
my grandma on August 10th
my aunt on August 17th
my mom on August 24th
and me & a goodbye to all this on August 31st
Next week we will be off and soon we will wrap this up. Until then, listen to that recording from Newport Folk Festival and take care of yourselves.