Tag Archives: love

Frank Sinatra Is Dangerous

I remember thumbing through old soul and crooner records in college while talking to one of my best friends about each new one we found and how nobody seemed to appreciate sentimental music anymore. We found Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald, and our favorite, Nat King Cole, and brought them home. A few hours and thousand discussions later, I wanted to flip the records and hear them again, but he said, simply, “I can’t listen to this kind of music that long or I start believing in it.”

Is it dangerous to believe?

The music they are playing in this coffee shop right now is dangerous. You know what I mean when I say dangerous, right? I mean the kind that makes you start to fall for it, the kind that makes you nostalgic for an era that you never even lived in, the kind that makes you close your eyes to soak it up, and the kind takes a string section and pins them right in your chest, until you’re a mess of harmonies and emotions and you think you might possibly be close to love, even if it’s with the person next to you on the bus or the drink in your hand.

I think as modern music fans, we’re all familiar with good metaphor now. Our popular music is so played out and sexualized that hardly a lyric hits home anymore or seems to shock. Very little is genuine or just openly sappy. It’s simply no longer cool to be in love. There’s still love songs being written, but they’re hardly as on-the-nose and swoon-worthy as Frank Sinatra was. There’s women coo-ing to men, but very few have the raw emotion of Etta James. You can hear feats of affection, but who has come close to “like a song of love that clings to me, how the thought of you does things to me, never before has someone been more unforgettable” in so long?

And so I turn to old music. I turn to music that sounds best in smoky jazz clubs or on a dark New York street, as words whispered between a couple walking under a streetlamp, and I start to let the lyrics ring true. This dangerous belief that love can knock me off my feet runs true in my veins. The notion that I could be so wrapped up that I end up singin’ in the rain or dancing all night without a care is true, and it’s dangerous.

But I keep believing, dangerous or not. Better or worse, I’m old-fashioned. I’m a romantic. I’m hopeful and I’m confident that there’s such a thing as an attraction that gives you fever, misty goodbyes and that just maybe, you’re nobody til somebody loves you. I’m to the point of dramatic that maybe there’s stormy weather when my man and I ain’t together, and the very thought of you makes me forget to do those little ordinary things that everyone ought to do. I’m hook, line, and sinker for this music, but I hardly seem to be rushing toward a cure.

And so what more could I leave you with than potentially the most potent one of all? “La Vie En Rose” literally translates into “life in pink” or the idea of living life wearing rose-colored glasses and only seeing the beautiful warm things of this world, and it sinks in. My best friend Carolyn gave me this song on a mix CD in middle school and it changed my life. I warn you to NOT listen to this if you’re not looking to be sentimental or not wanting to get that butterfly feeling in your stomach that makes you happy to be alive and capable of love, whether you’re in a relationship or not, because once you’re open to it, once you’re seeing the bright and sweet parts of your life and believe you can share them, well, you’ll never go back. You’ll approach situations with passion and fervor and feelings and most of all, be open to love and believe that yes, it does exist.

And that just may be the most powerfully dangerous lovely thing of all.

It Always Ends Up Being About The Beatles And Jesus

One of my favorite parts of the movie Juno (and yes, it has grown on me and I own the cutesy soundtrack, call me a hipster and be done with it) is when Juno’s talking to her dad and he’s reprimanding her about her pregnancy (oh yeah, sorry, spoiler alert, Juno’s pregnant) and he says, ” I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when. ” Juno pauses for a moment and says, “I don’t really know what kind of girl I am.”

(You can skip to the 1:39 mark if you want to hear the original integrity of said line-)

Anyway, I don’t relate to this line because I am also with child (I’m not! Promise this is not a baby announcement!), but there’s something in the simplicity of that honest sentence that I do relate to.

I know it sounds like a MySpace-era-rant, so forgive me, but I don’t really know what kind of girl I am at this point either.

My interests and time spent is so vast – one minute I’m insisting that I need to watch every single movie on the IMDB Top 250 List (and, for better or worse, I’ve seen quite a lot of them already) and the next I want to sell everything I own and go overseas, pull an Oprah, and open a school in South Africa for orphans and under-privileged youth. My day-to-day life is frustrating, feeling like I matter is frustrating, simply deciding what to do on Friday nights is frustrating.

I struggle to find my voice in writing. I want to translate all these thoughts in my head to something I can put down on paper or something I can type up, but I struggle to wrangle it all together in one category. Half of me loves to craft jokes and puns and dialogue and wishes and hopes to turn that into writing screenplays in the entertainment realm. Half of me loves to write songs and wants to put down feeling and emotion into lyrics and melodies to share with the world. The other half of me wants to write on serious topics and address hurts of the soul with the love and hope I’ve found in Jesus Christ.

(And yes, I realize I used three halves in that last paragraph, but hey, math was never my thing.)

I struggle to know what I want to do career-wise. Applying for jobs is confusing, putting my whole life on one sheet of paper to give to employers baffles me, and in interviews my voice sometimes gets shaky. I just want to do something I can be passionate about, something I can reach others with, even if it’s in the smallest way, and my head spins – either thinking I can do everything, or worse, thinking I can do nothing.

As much as I want to be a stereotype sometimes, I’m not. I’d love to define myself by one or two words, but I shuffle between all of them – struggling musician, sarcastic cold-hearted cynic, girly-girl, i’m-over-it twenty-something, childlike wonder, southerner, music-nut, vagabond, girl-who-takes-everything-too-seriously, girl-who-takes-NOTHING-seriously, party animal, homebody, gossipy teenager, fangirl, foodie, dreamer, hypocritical-christian, happy-go-lucky, sensitive sally, drama donna, negative nancy and about 25 more. In fact, as I was writing this, I sneezed, which caused me to knock over a cup of coffee that proceeded to spill all over my phone, which in turn, made me hit the phone and start my loud Beyoncé ringtone, so you know, I’ve even got the hopelessly-clumsy-romantic-comedy-heroine angle working for me right now. (Ps, don’t even think about stealing that move, Katherine Heigl.)

So, in this great transition of my life, I think about myself a lot, which is actually a pretty lame thing. I worry about not developing into someone successful or not being able to give a witty answer all the time. I worry about being liked, about being defined and it’s all so stupid.

Why do I get caught up in all this? Why do I worry so much?

I’ll admit that I don’t know what kind of girl I am, but I do know that I am loved.

I am loved, and since I am loved, nothing else matters. I am loved by a family that has raised me with care and humor and honesty. I am loved by friends that have made me better, that have celebrated the person I am. Most of all, I am loved by a God who doesn’t let go of me, doesn’t change his affection based on my mistakes, doesn’t desire for me to be anything else but in a relationship with him.

And didn’t the Beatles say it best? All you need is love.

I mean, really, you can call this cheesy, you can tell me that their sentiment is just an empty Hallmark-card-saying, but, all you need is love. Really, that’s all you need. You don’t need to define yourself with anything else. If you know that you are loved, if you can cement that in your mind and lean on that love, you can do anything. It doesn’t matter if sometimes you struggle to find yourself, struggle to find truth, struggle to find what you really want in this life – if you are truly loved, those struggles aren’t the end.

I don’t know if John Lennon and Paul McCartney had Jesus in mind when they wrote it and I certainly don’t think they had a big-haired big-mouthed blog-writing girl in mind when they wrote it- but – call me a hippie, call me idealistic, call me the one that too often makes song lyrics a mantra about Jesus, but, all you need is love. Love is all you need.

After all, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

And really, (WARNING: embarassingly-bad pun ahead) what’s not to love about that?