Friday, November 4, 2011

::manner and means

I was listening to Bright Eyes this morning.
It's been way too long since I did that. 

His lyrical skills are unparalleled. 
As I listened to him harmonize with Emmylou Harris on the delicate, lovely Landlocked Blues, I was reminded of an occasion of "tough love" that I experienced earlier this week. 

I am a highly and unusually sensitive person. 
I have trouble with confrontation and avoid it whenever possible. 
When called upon to speak painful truths or receive them, I'm a nervous wreck. 

As I sat in a semi-uncomfortable chair three nights ago, thrust into a situation wherein I was required to both give and receive confrontational-yet-loving statements, I was terrified. 
My insides knotted, my eyes spilled over, and I managed to handle myself with grace and a fair amount of poise, but it was decidedly unpleasant. 
Afterward, I slipped away to be alone and exorcise residual toxic emotions. 
The next day, I still felt as though some sort of surgical procedure had lacerated my psyche.
I was tearful and raw, then angry and bitter, then terrified, then tearful again, and on and on...
Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) provoked me with these (slightly paraphrased) lyrics: 

A good friend will pick you apart;
A box full of suggestions for your possible heart
You may be offended and you may be afraid
But don’t walk away, don’t walk away

My fragile feelings had been hurt, and I felt as though I'd been probed and splayed open, utterly exposed. 
I cannot foresee "tough love" ever feeling comfortable or being anywhere near enjoyable. 

But maybe it's a big fat lie that love is supposed to be this hearts-and-flowers amalgam of saccharine pleasantries.
To truly love someone, I once learned, is "to want the absolute best for them, and to do everything within your power to make sure that they have it." 

So if I love you and you love me, I suppose we must acknowledge each other's self-destructive behaviors and express our deep concern. 
We must offer our assistance with firm sincerity. 
We must say the things that hurt in order to do the things that heal. 

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