Monday, October 6, 2014

She's Been There, from the beginning....

“Well there’s a piece of Maria in every song that I sing.
And the price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings.”
– Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby - Counting Crows

Many lyrics over many years have resonated deeply within me, from Counting Crows’ songs especially.  Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby has a few I quote quite a bit, but the one I just quoted above, has a very specific meaning to me....

The problem with the quote, is one that’s debated about quite a bit by their fans.  I was once even asked by a casual listen who Maria was.  She’s specifically mentioned in many of Adam Duritz’s songs, so its hard not to imagine that it was someone important in his youth.  There are many clues to try to figure her out, but in the end, apparently much research has been done and no one has turned up.  Though Adam himself has explained her as a reference to a female part of himself.

No matter how you look at it, or how anyone explains it, I will always see it one way, and one way only.  Because I’ve been there.

Early in my life, I can point to a specific person that changed my life for the better, who came through it with a whirlwind of destruction that destroyed who I was and made me rebuild.  The person I was before will always effect me, will always be me as I was when I was nothing but the audience.

I floated through life, living within my imagination.  It was highly cultivated by my grandmother, who allowed me to play without any true structure.  I was a living in a fictional world, while observing the real one.  Words fail me, because nothing can describe who I was outside of metaphors.  But one thing was for certain, I was not ready for life.

I was a bum, really.  I didn’t have any goals, I just remember when people started asking me what I truly wanted to do, the only thing I could do was quote what I’d seen in movies.  The one that was for certain, was I needed a change to my life.

Three years it took me to grow.  Every day was a different emotional learning experience.  As love blossomed, died, rekindled, flared, and then was passionately extinguished.  My own “Maria” sparked something inside me, a passion to “Do” instead of just observe.

“I can’t love the man you are, but I could easily love the man you could be, and that scares me.”  That line, burned into my brain.  Seared into my soul.  I had the potential to be someone truly amazing, but I wasn’t.  When I hung up the phone, a few days after a Valentines day in the mid-90s, I knew I had to realize that potential.  I couldn’t handle being who I was any longer, it was time to grow up.

Ever since then, everything I’ve ever written has contained a piece of that person.  Everything I’ve ever said, ever done, has been because of her words, that I wasn’t good enough.  I dedicated my life to not missing that opportunity again.  I used to wake from dreams in cold sweats because I believed I wasn’t doing enough.

My quest took me from the plains to the mountains to the forests, to the oceans, and back again.  I searched the entire country for myself.  And I finally found the truth when I stumbled and fell.  There on my knees, I had to get up one more time.  It was hard, to get up off the ground after falling, but I did it.  Why?  I couldn’t let her see me fail from my potential.  I had to be ready when she came back.

And came back she did.  Lisa is most definitely not the person that sparked my journey, but she was the reason for the journey.  A set of sisters started the journey, but I ended up exactly where I needed to be.  I knew I had to be the man I had the potential to be, so I would be ready for Lisa.

Convoluted?  Without a doubt, but it always comes back to that Counting Crows line.  Lisa often wishes we had met earlier in life, and fantasized about meeting me back in highschool.  But then I remember the person I was back then.  Before the passion to become myself was ignited.  I often wonder myself, what would have happened, but deep down, I know the truth....

I had to be broken and reforged.  I had to be destroyed so I could rebuild myself.  I wouldn’t have been ready to dedicate my life to her as I am.  I can honestly say, she is my “Maria” as much as those sisters were from my childhood.  Every poem, every essay, every story, every blog post.  Its all got a piece of Lisa in it.  Even the ones from before I met her.  Even the ones that are about other people, because I wanted those people to be my ‘One.’  But they weren’t, because she is.

Lisa was formed in my mind the instant I hung up the phone on that day after Valentines day, oh so many years ago.  My rugged path to the altar on February 22nd of 2013 was formed the night I made my friend Phillip miss the show he wanted to watch on TV.  Its been a long journey, and ‘Maria’ in my life has taken a few forms, but when I look into my wife’s eyes I see but, unadulterated love.  My heart melts and my dreams come alive.  I realize that its all been worth it.  Every slip, every trip, every time I’ve fallen to my knees and had to pick myself up.  Every broken heart, every bruised fist, every time I’ve cried in a darkened room because of a decision I made turned out to be the wrong one.

“Now that we're here, it's so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
And all the mistakes, one life contained
They all finally start to go away”
– So Far Away - StainD

So here’s a special Christmas wish to my one true love.  It took me a long time to find you, because first I had to find myself.  But now, you are my life, you always have been.  I’ve made mistakes and I always will.  I’ll always remember my past, because it was the road to you.  And I’ll forever love you, because if you hadn’t existed, then I’d have never have cared to live up to my potential.  I wouldn’t be who I became.  You are my ideal.  Thank you for being you, for making me truly happy, and for giving me my life, which you enjoy so very much.

A Brainless Nod - Find me on


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