I wrote this step-by-song guide/blog/thing to accompany the release of my “epic breakup album” 3 AM, but there’s one song I hadn’t included yet. That’s because the first song on the record was the only one I wrote while he was still here. It was the writing on the wall, I just didn’t want to read it.
I’m part of a songwriting group that meets weekly to bring in new stuff and get feedback from each other. I could barely be with this song when it started poking its head out it cuz it hurt too damn much. When Song Salon rolled around that week, all I had was the first line, “Don’t make me beg for your attention,” and then tears. I wasn’t planning on playing it that night, I just knew I needed my tribe around me so I went. When it came to my turn, I warned them. “I don’t know, you guys. I only have seven words and then I cry.” “Play it anyway,” they said. So I did. They told me it was definitely worth finishing. And then they hugged me.
Hearing my trusted writer friends say I was on to something good was helpful, but I already knew that one line bringing me to tears is usually an indicator that I’ve rung the truth bell. I just really hated the truth there was to tell.
All of us need to feel seen, heard, acknowledged, honored…especially from our partners. None of us wants to have to ask for any of these things cuz the thought of that registers pretty high on the “things that feel shitty” scale. But when these needs go unmet and we don’t acknowledge it, that’s when doubt, fear, resentment, and sadness creep in and start informing our behavior…which probably* (*definitely) won’t help an already half-borked situation get any better.
Here’s the thing, though – if there’s writing on the wall, you’ve gotta read it. And you probably have to read it out loud. Doesn’t matter who wrote it, somebody’s gotta read it, cuz Keebler elves ain’t coming under cover of darkness to magically clean that shit up and leave cookies. It’s never fun to bring up hard stuff – it’s awful and terrifying, I know. It makes you sing seven words and then blubber like a baby. But it’s the only way things can move forward. Half-borked SUCKS. When you start talking, things are either gonna get un-borked or borked beyond repair. Either way, you’re not hovering in a wordless, shitty limbo praying for elves with magic erasers and cookies.
I hope you can’t relate to this song. I really do. If you can, I’m so sorry. But I’ll leave you with this suggestion: ask for what you need. It’s ok to do that, and sometimes it’s downright imperative. You’ll either get what you need or you’ll learn that whoever you’re making the request of is either incapable of giving it to you or just plain unwilling. If that’s the case, screw the elves; make yourself some fucking cookies. You may even find someone else down the line who would love nothing more than to bring you all the delicious cookies your heart could ever desire. Without you having to ask.