Tag Archives: love

I am Human and I Need to Love.

We all need comfort, love, and thankfulness right now. This is a blog about those precious things, and finding, in the end, what truly matters.

Around twelve, I realized that pop radio stations were no longer playing music that meant anything to me. This coincided with two other catastrophes, puberty and a move in the middle of the school year. I had never been popular. But at least I shared the “my parents moved from Philadelphia” and even the partial Italianess that most of my South Jersey peers did.

We moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Home of the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch (who are German). It was rural. It was conservative. And it was heavily Evangelical Christian. It was a lonely time. Until I discovered Morrissey. And he hasn’t left me since.

When I first saw him on MTV with his band, The Smiths, he exuded this vulnerable, anti-macho, yet aggressive form of “It.” There he was, singularly beautiful yet awkward in his gangly beanstalk body with his institutional glasses. Dressed in thrift store blouses and costume jewelry, he warbled his witty lyrics and literary allusions as cover to his air punching fists. He flagellated pain and cruelty with bouquets of flowers. He created anthems dedicated to hanging DJs who played music that didn’t speak to his life and the savagery of our mistreatment of animals. He wrote lullabyes for his nephew. Used words like “Mother” and “Dad” without negative connotations. Described his sexual tension and longing with gender swapping lyrics and words like “conjugal bed” and wanting to get his hands “on your mammary glands.” He sang in falsetto, his natural baritone, he yodelled and laughed and sighed his songs.

He embodied everything the rock of the day was not. He was clean cut, shy, British, declared himself celibate, lamented the sadness of his post-industrial home town, and the cruelty of romantic love. He was the friend you’d hang out with in your room on long afternoons listening to music, just talking or not.

As I grew, so did he. More mature, growing into his six foot frame, writing torch songs so vulnerable that I could only imagine Sinatra with his tough guy image tackling. But it didn’t seem to bother Morrissey. He let people gossip about his sexuality, while remaining wisely mum. Anyone could love him however they wanted. He had no labels. He was his own.

“Dear hero in prison with all the new crimes that you are perfecting, Oh! I can’t stop quoting you because everything that you said rings true.”

And the music developed. He worked on his voice, all three octaves of it. He wrote about the fame killers received and chatting up hair stylists in order to snag an appointment with the same level of irony and aggressively free and unerring pop sensibility. He laughed at himself. He wrote songs that predicted where his life would go, comparing his music to a used condom that you may fondly remember from those momentous days when music and love were everything to a young heart. 

He committed the most elegant, unsparing, and gorgeously lush midlife crisis ever to disc in Vauxhall and I. Families broke up, old friends went their separate ways, and there were folks waiting to use you, hoping for you to fail, or waiting for you to die. It’s a perfect album. But then he just kept going.

“There’s going to be some trouble. A whole house will need rebuilding. And everyone I love in the house will recline on an analyst’s chair quite soon.”

He worked with Ennio Morricone (composer of spaghetti western soundtracks such as The Good the Bad and The Ugly) and his orchestra at the iconic Cine CittΓ‘ studios in Rome. He never ceased to experiment, adjust and develop his voice, or call things as he saw them, which he lampshaded in the early tune Big Mouth Strikes Again.

But, while he changes, he’s still the same deeply weird dude whipping gladioli around his head. Except now he’s a man who loves his nephews and nieces, mourns his mother’s passing, and contemplates the passing of time and mortality marginally more than he did before. He loves his fans. His fans love him. It may be his most enduring love affair.

And I’m one of those fans. I designed a full-sized flag of him to hang from a pole. He’s all the flag I’m willing to fly. I keep his albums, CDs and cassettes like the day I bought them. I have his Funko Pop doll. Tee shirts and buttons too numerous to count. And of course my hair is faded, and I can style it up in that 50s pompadour.

But why? Why would a grown person be so silly for a pop singer? Because he steals from Oscar Wilde and Kurt Vonnegut? Because he uses words like “sycophantic” or calls out Oliver Cromwell in a rock songs? Because he sings about his shoes looking shabby or his hair being flattened by rain? Because his voice exudes warm, buttery depth and wraps you up in a warm velveteen blanket?

“Freedom is wasted on me. See how your rules spoil the game?”
“You have never been in love until you’ve seen the stars reflect in the reservoirs.”

That’s all part of it. But he has always been there for me, too. Through my teens, when my Dad died, after my Dad died, and beyond. And yet he’s temptingly forbidden.

How does a “nice young man” become forbidden? Well, because Gen X dudes still think it’s OK to use “gay” as a put down. Because Rage Against the Machine and Wu Tang possibly appeal more to young men than Morrissey’s underhanded, self-aware self-deprecating style. Because of the absolute shit-fit the media throws at whatever happens out of his unguarded mouth.

“I have forgiven You Jesus for all of the love You placed in me when there’s no one I can turn to with this love.”

Before I married my x, he liked Morrissey and The Smiths, but that door closed as he was drawn deeper into alcohol and cocaine, mainly. Then he decided to hit me, a lot. His irrational hatred of vegetarians, which included me to a point. I couldn’t have anything or anyone for myself that I loved and made life worthwhile to me. Not even the music that comforted and saved me. I wasn’t “allowed” to listen to Morrissey. But I did. In secret. Which is why those jewel cases, albums, and cassettes remain intact. You don’t cut drugs on Morrissey’s face. Not on my watch.

I’m not being dramatic by declaring that Morrissey saved my life. Not just then, but in the horrific period when I left x. When I began seeing an old friend. And since. Whenever I felt sad. Felt alone. Felt angry at life’s vagueries. Or just sticking it to The Toxic in a decidedly British by way of Dublin fashion. When I felt most alone, when I howled into the void, Morrissey could get through to me. If I’m depressed, Morrissey commiserates, and then throws in some fun, danceable pop, laughing at something, anything, until I am up singing and dancing with him.

Life right now feels like The Pit of Despair in Princess Bride. The machine that sucked years of your life out of you. Or the ancient curse, “May you live in interesting times.” So maybe I need to soothe myself with what I love. And cherish them.

All of that. Because what comforted me and i cherish most is that friend I dated. We’ve been together now longer than I was with x. And I have never been able to actually see The Mozzfather in concert. Ever. But Morrissey will be appearing near us, and my guy got us tickets.

“And when you’re standing on my fingers, Ah — can you see it in your heart?”

I haven’t placed any expectations on the show, entitled “An Evening with Morrissey.” I’m even attempting to manage my expectations that he’ll sing that night. He’s never been the show must go on type. No, this feels more like a pilgrimage. For the experience of Morrissey up close and real. If I were Catholic, he’d be the Pope.

He takes gifts from his audience from the stage, signs autographs, and hugs stage crashers before security ushers them off. I’ve wondered what I would do, bring or say if I had a chance. I’d definitely take the hug. I’d probably thank him. After all, don’t I have the thing he sings about wanting most?

I have love. I will hug and thank my dearest friend and partner, Stan. For buying the tickets, for knowing what it would mean to me, but also because he is the man who has stayed by me for real. Because somehow, two wrongs make a right with us. Thank you, my handsome Stanman.

Thanks to Moz for getting me to Stan.

-JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ–€πŸ––πŸΌπŸ’

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My Best Ally

My last blog was about hate, this one is about love. And I’m well-endowed on the love front as well. I want you all to meet my best friend and the best ally ever, Stan. We share our life, our home, and our values. (And, boy, is it ever great to have a Marine combat engineer on your side!) Having support at home in resisting Trump is a gift. Especially in the one you love.

OK, so, yes there are some incredibly practical aspects to having someone like Stan when you live in a house that’s 130 years old with land. I know he’ll also keep me safe, and always be there for me, but it’s his goodness and humor that truly shines through to me.

Here’s a guy who served his country during wartime, and has never viewed himself as “political,” but suddenly he’s become the Bruce Lee of social justice. As he says, “I’m white and male and a Marine. I’m going to let my freak flag fly!” And he has.

Since the election, he has been exercising his status for good. He got laughs and applause at a local convenience store when he said to the old white woman screaming “Go back to your own country!” at an young hispanic lady, “Well, you must be the whitest Native American ever.”  Because, seriously, people standing in line the Friday before Christmas, waiting to pay for gas and cigarettes really just want to get out without being screamed at or hearing a crazy person screaming! So score one for team decency.

On Inauguration Day, which I can hardly believe is only last Friday — seems like a million years! — he stopped by the grocery store that sells beer (that’s a big deal in PA), and he noticed an older black woman actually sitting on the curb in the parking lot, in the rain, crying. So he stopped and sat with her for a bit, and let her talk out her fears and sadness. Even though they both acknowledged the weirdness of a white dude giving this woman, who despaired of a lifetime of struggle with both black and women’s rights, some human comfort.

Firstly, I cannot believe that we have come to this point as a nation — here in the US — where people are openly weeping in public over their fears of the election of that alternative-fact, Alt-Right, Russian supported, greedy, pussy-grabbing, Manchurian Candidate Trump. But I am heartened by the millions who marched in the Women’s Marches and Sister Marches ALL OVER THE WORLD, and the zillion anti-Trump and commiseration groups on Facebook, right there with that woman on the curb, and myself. Never have so many suffered so much for so few. And it’s good to know there are some who should, in theory, be on the other side, out there performing random acts of decency.

We all need to know we have each others’ back! No matter what. Whether in the marches, in the groups, or simply in a grown up Boy Scout who happens by. He even challenged a guy talking about “fat chicks” in the marches just yesterday. In a way it’s odd, but it’s really about Allies and support. And it makes all the sense in the world. There are plenty of white males out there who hate Trump, and I’m glad they are using their privilege to help oppose him. It’s a lonely world, and we all need to be each other’s support. Intersectionality is Unity is Power.

So, I’ll keep ‘splaining the issues, and keeping my voice strong, practicing my action lists,  but I’m beyond grateful to have my best ally right here with me. I know a lot of women don’t have that in their other, and I acknowledge that I’m fortunate. He gives me hope and strength and laughter. And that matters as much on the personal level of daily interactions with real people as all the Facebook groups ever.  Everyone should have a Stan. Who is yours?

Thanks Stan. You’re a mensch. (And you’re my mensch!) πŸ’–

 

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! πŸ˜Š

While you’re there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

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We All Shine On (Still)

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Man killed by gunman believes in peace.

Hope is not for the faint of heart.

I still believe that “Yes” is the answer. I still believe in Peace, Love, Rock n Roll, Star Trek and Star Wars.

I still believe in Beatles. I still believe in Lennon. I still believe in you. And me. And that we all shine on. And on.

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead
What in the world you thinking of
Laughing in the face of love
What on earth you tryin’ to do
It’s up to you, yeah you

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin’
Join the human race
How in the world you gonna see
Laughin’ at fools like me
Who in the hell d’you think you are
A super star
Well, right you are

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on
Ev’ryone come on

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Ev’ryone you meet
Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you’re ev’rywhere
Come and get your share

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
Come on and on and on on on
Yeah yeah, alright, uh huh, ah

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
On and on and on on and on

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun

Instant Karma! (We All Shine On),
John Lennon, 1970

Listen.

“Make love, not war, I know you’ve heard it before.” – John Lennon, Mind Games


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