Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love, Smokey, & Mirrors

It has been said that, “music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” Meaning that music has the ability to embrace and touch the roughest of souls. We know this to be true. Think of how often we use music to change and set our entire demeanor. We have music to clean the house to, what we play while we’re getting ready to go out partying, go on long road trips, to relax and unwind, and of course…”Mr. Nasty Time!” Yes music speaks to our very spirit.

One subject that always finds its way to music…is love. Love in all its forms has been the inspiration for a many a song. True love, precious love yes even unrequited love have flooded our radio station air waves for decades. I heard one song in particular that really made me think. Based on our views on love now, how would it be interpreted today? The author…one Smokey Robinson.

“I don’t like you, but I love you. Seems that I’m always thinking of you…you treat me badly, I love you madly…you’ve really got a hold on me.”

Now in today’s world this would be the soundtrack to an abusive relationship! We have become so far removed from the simple language of love that we dissect and try to interpret everything. This song would describe a relationship filled with turmoil, pain and probably violence. A scene straight from “Sleeping With The Enemy“ or possibly the first 50 minutes of “What’s Love Got To Do With It?“ We’d be looking for yellow police tape and this would be the attacker’s note left at the crime scene. So when did we go from the era of being a slave to love to jumping to the idea that someone is being a victim in life?

“I don’t want you, but I need you. Don’t want to kiss you, but I need to…you do me wrong now, my love is strong now…you’ve really got a hold on me.”

Fatal attraction anyone? This just screams of a 3 am phone call from the mistress! Make sure you do a “bunny check”. Or possibly “A Thin Line Between Love & Hate” moment…watch that toaster! The upside maybe it's a "Sugar Daddy/Momma" relationship, no fiancee but possibly a financier.

“I want to leave you, don’t want to stay here. Don’t want to spend another day here…I want to split now, I can’t quit now…you’ve really got a hold on me.”

It puts the lotion on the skin…

My point is, first in no way do I condone domestic violence or any other form of an abusive relationship. Dominating or terrorizing someone has nothing to do with love. Smokey wrote this in the 60’s, a period that boasted deep felt emotion and embraced the idea of expressing what love meant to people. Relationships weren’t perfect then. Sure there was infidelity, lying, addictions and everything else we have now, but something I think we’ve lost a lot of is that belief in love.

That, “you get on my nerves so bad, but there isn’t anyone else I would rather have annoy me“, “yeah he’s an ugly man, but he’s so ugly he’s cute”, “she can’t cook but two meals and they’re both bad, but I eat it, kiss her, and tell her I love it every time” kind of love. No it may not be that Dr. Phil definition of love, but it’s a “feeling” love.

A feeling of, “I want you”. That you are the one and there is no other person I want to be with…regardless. Today we’d tell this person they were wrong and had low self esteem or something along those lines, why? Why do we need to tell someone that fairy tales don‘t exist? Even when we see it we automatically shift to, “it’s not real”. Why can’t we allow them to want to be someone’s everything? Are we so jaded as a society that we believe all love is tainted? That if you’re under the age of 40 that “grandma/grandpa love” no longer exists?

Without that belief we damn near do scouting reports on potential mates based on everything but how we feel about them. Not expecting a “forever” situation we look at “best case scenarios” for when it ends. Do they have money? Do they look like they will produce attractive children? Do they seem like they’ll flip out and go crazy if we leave them? These questions have become part of the standard dating questionnaire.

The friends that song reminds me of all have something in common…they still believe in love. They may still need a little work in the proper partner picking department but they believe all the same…and I believe they will find it. Love isn’t about ego. It requires a degree of vulnerability, an honesty. We love to talk people out of that emotional honesty, usually because we’re too afraid to do it ourselves. We over think and analyze things so much that it creates a distrust and a pain probability. Don’t be stupid, but like another song sometimes, “you got have faith.”

Let’s work on getting out of our own ways, by not holding on to past mistakes and fears. True we should learn from the past, just remember that you’ll never see what’s in front of you if you’re only looking back.

So maybe we need to interpret less, open up more and keep it as simple as Smokey…


“I love you and all I want you to do is just hold me…you’ve really got a hold on me.”

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