You know that Bon Iver song, Skinny Love? Yeah, the one that, like, defined a generation. Well, did you know that it's not actually a love song? If you listen to the lyrics, it's…a break-up song. Then again, I guess that whole album is a break-up album. You know, a guy's band splits up, his girlfriend (Presumably named Emma?) leaves him, he retreats to his dad's hunting cabin in the woods and writes a very depressed, but ultimately incredibly successful album. It's a classic tale of love, woe, triumph and Kanye West. Anyway, not a love song, maybe don't pick it for the first dance at your wedding.
Skinny Love probably doesn't refer to a thin beloved, but rather an underfed emotion. Well, you know what's the opposite of skinny love? Yeah. That's what I'm feeling these days.
While I still have an intense need for solitude and independence, lately I also have a sometimes overwhelming amount love for those that I am spending my time with. And I don't just mean my cats and the husband.
Whether it be friends who show up unexpectedly and are up for spontaneous fun, or my funniest, best girls, or people whom I see almost daily and who invite us over for dinner at the end of a long, hard night, or those who go on walks with me in the cold and the rain, or all the amazing women who've sat me down in the last month and said really kind things about my writing, lately it seems like I've got everyone who matters in my corner and I'm really, really grateful for them.
They come and sit in the kitchen and drink tea and talk about deep things in the same breath as they make irreverent jokes, tell tall tales, are sweet and silly and self-depricating and honest. They send emails with the kindest words, for invitations and ideas. They are generous, with gifts that didn't need to be given, but are appreciated all the same, but most importantly with their time.
More than that, more than the people in my life, I suddenly feel a lot more able to love my life just as it is. Maybe it's partly just a hormonal balance being restored with attention and medicine, or maybe Mercury is about to come out of retrograde, but things are starting to make a lot of sense to me.
Let me be the first to admit that other people's problems can seem so small and manageable to me and their good fortunes appear more formidable than my own. I'm sure that this effect is all the more greater, if you're only looking at images of snowfalls and new ten dollar rugs and jars of goat kefir fermenting.
I know that from the outside my life might seem like one endlessly fun walk in the woods. In many ways and most days it is. But there are certain parts of it I'm not happy with, certain patterns I keep repeating and emotional issues left over from much harder times.
I know, have known for a long time, that I have lot to be grateful for. That in the grander scheme of things I'm really lucky. But there's a difference between knowing and knowing. One's own luck is hard to internalize. You may count your blessings day in an day out, with all your fingers and toes, and there'll still be days when you'd be ready to trade out lives with almost any old stranger, just to get out of the messes you've made and out of your own head for a while. At those times, it's easy to let your love starve.
I wish I could tell you that I'm so enlightened that I never struggle to love my life, friends, family, neighbors, enemies, strangers, or myself, for that matter, but that would be
But then along comes some real calamity, or a simple internal shift that reminds me just how good I have it.
I'm not exactly sure which of those two is happening for me right now, but I'm feeling my luck keenly these days. The forward momentum of this year seems to be moving things along, not just in the physical sense, but emotionally as well.
It's not often that the hard things seem smaller than the good things, the obstacles surmountable, even the most difficult people tolerable. So when it does happen, you don't have to tell me to patient, fine, balanced and kind.
And you certainly don't have to tell me to feed my love with maple candy.
How's your love? I hope it's well-nourished.