I remember when I discovered music.
Okay, actually, I’m lying. Actually, I don’t remember that moment. I remember lots of ‘that moment.’ I remember sitting in the car trapped with my angry mother and my hostile sister but Raffi was singing about changing the world and I thought, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to grow up and change the world.
Then, when chauvinistic medieval chivalric culture poisoned my mind, that thought changed to, ‘I’m going to save this world, because I love this world. So much.’
Maybe this world does not need to be saved. Do you think?
Maybe we humans just need to take responsibility for ourselves. Stop trying to change this world. Maybe this world is fine just as it is. Maybe it always was.
How many thousands of years of agriculture and animal husbandry, and the only thing we’ve proved is we can control everything to its doom, and ours.
I tried to control him, I suppose. I told a lie, and tried to control him. I tried to machinate my way to a happy ending. I thought his happy ending was my happy ending.
I thought, I’m the witch. The best I can hope for is to cast a spell on his life and make sure he gets his happy ending. With someone else.
The witch never gets the guy. Them’s the breaks.
If I could choose between the musical Rent, which raised me, and the musical Wicked, which found me, I wouldn’t choose the musician for his all-American chiseled jawline and rugged rage. I’d choose the scarecrow who gave up a cushy life married to the golden girl, to follow his heart.
It’s okay to be a scarecrow. In my view. It’s even okay to be a monster. I wasn’t afraid of what he was, underneath. I liked what he was underneath.
The wounds are the cracks that let the light shine through.
Things I meant to teach him, and never did.
I always thought there would be more time. Somehow.
Arrogant. Hubristic. I thought I could fix it all. Rewrite the world.
I still think I can save the world. Can knit it back together with words.
I think that because I love him, I can save him. That because I love this world, I can save this world. But I can’t.
When I discovered music. My mother recorded somebody singing “who’s that happy, smiling Rebecca? Who’s that girl” and I felt like someone knew I was alive. Like my real family was out there, and would come find me, someday.
I think my parents are my real parents, now. I think these parents they’ve become are my real parents even though they are not perfect and even though my mother is still not free. But at least now I know that they love me.
Even if they cannot be honest about the things they did to me. At least I know they love me. At least I know now that I can be loved.
I didn’t know that before. Not really.
I hated my name. I hated the way other people treated me when I had that name. I hated the way I did not know how to defend myself and no one seemed interested in defending me. Calling myself Ariadne made me visible before a white colonialist audience. Gave me a mystique, a restored femininity. A peculiar, fragile, breakable kind of femininity.
I miss my old name. I miss being Rivka. I am trying to write myself back together, too. To tell my family’s story and tell it correctly.
The things they did to me.
I learned to sing “Shine, Jesus, Shine” in a church in England and the song was so beautiful. I can still sing the chorus even though I have not heard the song for twenty-two years.
I learned to sing in synagogue, in Hebrew School and it was almost worth it, almost worth the unbearable hours of drudgery and the odd sense of shame in my changing female body. Worth it just to sing, to feel what it felt like.
I learned to sing in the woods in Santa Cruz but I also learned in Viet Nam and I also learned singing Rent in high school with tears pouring down my face. Tears of relief because I stopped taking antidepressants and my brain finally felt like my brain again.
I look at him, and I see music. I listen to his voice, and I feel the compass in my chest reorient and find its grounding. I close my eyes, and hear him still.
It’s not because anything so objectively special happened, I guess. Between us. No one moment I can point to. When I fell in love with music. Or when I fell in love with him. It was just always there. Waiting to be discovered.
Love I suppose is not a process of creation, but a journey of discovery. Of discovering what you already knew.
I don’t want to journey any more. I need to grow but I don’t want to journey. I need to be independent but I am desperate for connection, balance is hard. Boundaries are hard and I thought if I was wide open, if he could take anything he wished, maybe he would have use for me.
I don’t know who I am but I want to be someone special. Someone who knows what it is like to love. Myself. This earth. Him. Music.
Someone who remembers that the reason we started saving each other all those millenia ago is because we loved each other. We went the wrong way. We made the wrong choices.
Him and me. We made the wrong choices. And this species. We were wrong.
Sandra Cisneros was right. All we want is to love and to love and to love, and not be told that we are crazy to want that.
All we want is not to be loved. It’s to love.
All we want.