I don’t know much about girls, but I know what it’s like to have a crush, and that’s what’s speaking to me in this song by Little Big Town. ‘Girl Crush’ is really about being envious of the girl who has everything, including the guy. More than that, though, it’s one of those spring songs that cracks through the cruelty of winter and offers a ray of hope to render the heart raw and tender.
Spring has that power, and when aided by an evocative song like this, it turns everything into emotional flotsam and mental debris. Obsession and longing, wanting and desire ~ these are themes that informed my early life, and as I ease into middle-age, I look back and remember how they changed my world, in ways both destructive and delicious.
I was never one to do something in a half-assed way. Even my crushes would be epic. Sometimes all it took was a quick throw-away smile that I caught on the fly, some small insignificant gesture of simple kindness or matter-of-fact decency. I collected such meaningless trifles, imbuing them with all sorts of nonsensical backstories and symbolic import, erecting the grandest sandcastles from the flimsiest shambles of carelessness.
I fell for boys who glanced over my head, but tripped over my pile of bones. I stepped in their way and refused to be ignored. I wrote them love letters and made them mix tapes and felt so strongly that they were meant to love me back that I was blind to how little I mattered. How could all that I felt for them mean so little? How could they not feel anything?
They were mad crushes. Mad in every sense of the word. Crazy, some would say. They made no sense, and for someone whose every move was intricately planned-out and deliberately choreographed, the wilderness into which my heart wandered was foreign and thrilling, and it scared the shit out of me. It made me sad too. I cried a lot, over a lot of people who never even noticed. That sort of lonely terror is something you never forget. Yet it gave me a sliver of strength, some inner-structure like the steel ribs of a corset that pained and protected. Those crushes destroyed me, but I rebuilt myself, again and again, until, phoenix-like, the burning no longer stung and the ashes were no longer bitter.Back to Blog