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August 04, 2004


I was cleaning off my hard drive at work and getting rid of some documents when I ran across the liner notes I wrote up for the Soundtrack of Myself mix CD I created for a Looking Good CD swap earlier this year. This entry, for on song on disc two, stands out for me:

3. Shawn Colvin, "If I Were Brave" - When I got sick I lived in Greensboro, NC, but I moved back home to Florida for treatment. Beau's mom had died of lung cancer a few months before I was diagnosed. He was in grad school when I got sick, and we just decided it would be better for me to live with my mom during treatment, and he'd fly down every two weeks for visits.

Long story short - he didn't deal very well with my having cancer. Various lines in the song reminded me so much of what I was going through (the song came out after we broke up):

All the happy couples on their way to New Orleans
Reminding me of when we got along
They're only renting time and space to fill up with their dreams
And dreams are what they'll have when they have gone
How could it be that I was born without a clue to carry on
And still it is the same now I am older
Armed with just a will and then this love for singing songs
And minding less and less if I am colder

But I have this funny ache and it's burning in my chest
And it spreads just like a fire inside my body
Is it something God left out in my spirit or my flesh
Would I be saved if I were brave and had a baby

It was never clear what would come next
But that's the risk and that's the test

And you were the only one so far to follow
And no one talks about when one might stop and need to rest
Or how long you sit alone before you stop looking back
It's like you're waiting for Godot
And then you pick your sorry ass up off the street and

And what the hell is this? Who made this bloody mess?
And someone always answers like a martyr
Is it something you should know, did you never do your best
Would you be saved if you were brave and just tried harder?

So now I ride the ought one thirty five to New Orleans
I float a mile above life's toil and trouble
A thousand lonely lifetimes I still wait and then go on
A clown to entertain the happy couples

I can't even say we argued, really. He just sort of withdrew from me. I could sense that, and even though I was sick I was trying to also focus on keeping our relationship together. The "waiting for Godot" lines really reminded me of how I kind of tried to wait out this bump in our relationship until finally I just had to give up on it ("pick your sorry ass up off the street and go") because it wasn't going to get better.

And the last two lines I highlighted really resonated for me, because after I had broken up with him I could so clearly, embarrassingly, see how little I had cared for my own well-being - I had focused on fixing our relationship instead of fixing myself. And it was only when I was out from under the relationship that I could see how foolish that was. All I could do at that point was just hope that I hadn't compromised my health (and the ability to get into and stay in remission) by not giving everything I had to fighting the cancer, and instead causing myself so much stress over a relationship that had been doomed since the moment I found out I was sick.

Incidentally, I have no hard feelings about Beau. He did the best he could. It just wasn't what I needed from him.

Posted by Highwaygirl on August 4, 2004 10:04 AM to the category Stuff About Me
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