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Let the Words Fall Out

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I’ve long been a sucker for a cheesy pop tune, and sometimes the simplest ditties evoke things deeper and more powerful than anything ever produced by a Mahler symphony. (This in no way puts pop music above a composer like Mahler, but if I need a quick jolt of inspiration and energy to do what needs to be done, I’ll grab Madonna over Mozart any day.) In this instance, it’s an infectious song by Sara Bareilles ~ ‘Brave.’ I’ve been hearing it on the radio for a while, and only a few days ago discovered its quirky video, and the meaning behind it (she wrote it for a gay friend who was coming out).

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Most people who know me through this website, or my FaceBook or Twitter rantings, probably think I’m a pretty blunt guy – a guy who has no trouble saying what’s on his mind, a guy in complete control and utter command of where he is and what he’s doing. And in part, that’s true – it has to be, because there’s no other choice. But the truth is, I’m a pretty dependent creature – on friends and family and husband – and I never had to do it any other way. Until now. It’s a little late in the game (38 is kind of nearing the end of the time-to-grow-up curve) but it’s not yet too late, and so I’m beginning to do this.

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave.

There have been a lot of distractions – whimsical fluff thrown up into the air, like glitter on the wind, floating bits of ostrich feathers leaving a trail of enchantment, the lingering memory of something fabulous, and a lonely beauty, shimmering in the crimson night of broken blood vessels. It was all about crafting an image, leaving an impression, and being what I felt the world wanted me to be.

It wasn’t all bad, either – there was magic in what I was capable of conjuring, there was value and worth, hidden deeply within. There were moments of goodness too, and I know I wasn’t completely self-serving. But looking back I could have done things differently, and the only way to make it better is to start again from the beginning. On my own. It’s something that only I can do – not Andy, not Mom or Dad, not my best friends, and not the most well-meaning of acquaintances or online comrades.

It’s not easy to be brave like that. So much of me is disguised weakness, a vast expanse of all that is meek, coated in sparkles and pizzazz and a flamboyance that struts its stuff so brazenly no one would dare believe otherwise. Yet being brave now – and being brave alone – is the only way to carry on.

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

We’ve all had moments when we’ve had to be brave. Somewhere inside of us we can access that courage, we can muster the strength to move forward. We have to, because there’s no other way through. You can’t run around Darth Vader. You can’t bypass the greed of Gollum. You can’t pretend all the bad things that happened to you – and all the bad things you did to others – never existed. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to do that, trying to escape from the past, trying to create a new future, and largely I’ve failed. It’s time to take ownership of those mistakes, and at the end of the journey I’ll have quite the tale to tell – and I won’t be afraid to tell it.

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave.

What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Where do you want to go, who do you want to be? What is standing in your way? These are difficult questions. They may never be completely answered, but in confronting them there may be some way of figuring things out. In the words of another cheesy pop song, we’ve only just begun…

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