Shimmering, sensitive and splendid
I hesitate to confess that deep down, I am a very shy person. I am good at approaching strangers and pretending to be an extrovert, but actually I do need time on my own if I am going to fully be at peace. I feel emotions strongly but I do not always express them, so it is sometimes hard for people close to me to read my expressions. And when my emotions are particularly strong, I often prefer to avoid them entirely. If I sense conflict among family or friends, I behave like a rabbit… burrow in the nearest safe spot and wait for the storm to pass.
Perhaps this is what draws me to the song “Another Love” by UK artist Tom Odell, a pianist and musician, who cites Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” as an influence. The song is meditative and plaintive, with a mellow electric rhythm overlaid on a wondrous piano riff. “All my tears have been used up,” he sings, and tingles run up and down my spine. I can relate. There is only so much that a man can handle in his life, particularly when society’s mold for him does not seem to be sufficient.
Like many men, I find it difficult to allow myself to cry, because all my life I have shouldered a great deal of responsibility and burden on my own.
Odell became a solo artist, according to his Wikipedia page, because he “didn’t want to rely on people.” Unfortunately, for most of us introverts, this idyllic possibility is a mirage. We all rely on people in everything that we do, whether it is emotional support, appreciation, empathy, or respect. You won’t know I’m suffering unless I tell you, just as I won’t know you are suffering unless you tell me. The same goes for love. We fear what will happen when we open ourselves to someone, yet we desire to feel comfortable enough to do so. This is the balancing act of being wholly ourselves… allowing those we care about to draw near, while maintaining the strength of mind and composure to maintain and care for ourselves.
Odell’s voice seems haunted and lonely, revealing a difficult past and a passionate soul. There are things that he wants to reveal, but if he draws too close, he fears that he will be hurt. I’ve had friends who consider themselves ‘broken’, and I’ve instinctually been drawn to them. But I do not consider people to be flawed, and I tend to resist when I hear people say that, or when I feel myself beginning to think that way. I recognize that we all have personal demons, but I believe that the human spirit is stronger than struggles that assail us.
Love is the understanding that is shared between two souls. We are not simply animals, and we are not simply here just to survive and hunt and scream and fight and die. We exist with a spark of individual creativity given to us by God, and love is when my spark connects with your spark and suddenly, the world blossoms and its petals open and the sky falls around us. I believe that love is nothing less than the language of the soul, and the voice of the spirit, and the hope for it is what keeps us afloat in this mad, scary world.