so line on up, and take your place
show your face to the morning
cause one of these days, you’ll be born and raised
and it all comes on without warning
“born and raised” by john mayer
it seems a strange undertaking to write about words. not just about using words, but about the words themselves. since the moment i started writing on a consistent basis again, they have completely consumed me. what is it about words that they demand such a response? great power lies within them. words have the ability to inspire, move, and transform. in my opinion, words are in their most powerful form when accompanied by music. when asked if i could choose anything in the world as a career, my answer is always musician. unfortunately, i can’t carry a tune. and i still haven’t learned how to play the guitar my husband bought me 2 years ago. it intimidates me so. alas, it seems i am destined to be a writer instead. i have only my words. no guitar riffs for emphasis. no drums for drama. not even a dadgum triangle. but my goal remains the same. every writer/musician/painter/sculptor/ARTIST aims to invoke emotion. i don’t declare myself to be any such artist, but if i am any good at this writing thing at all, maybe every once in a while you read something and think “wow! i have felt the same way, but didn’t know how to put it into words.” if i could be so lucky, i hope that no matter who you are or where you live, there are at least fleeting moments in which you are able to identify with this redheaded gal from texas.
john mayer happens to be this artist for me. every song he writes seems to flow from my stream of consciousness. my feelings, thoughts and musings brought to life with vocals and electric guitar. i have put serious thought as to why this connection runs so deep ever since writing about buying tickets to his concert in warring within. one might say it is because i have listened to john mayer for more than 10 years (a third of my life!), but i think it is more than that. i believe it is because those pivotal 10+ years were spent in a stage of life sometimes coined as ‘coming of age.’ i guess you could even say that he spent those years years coming of age too. after all, he is only 6 years older than i am. it is almost as if he did all of the growing up first, and then wrote about it just in time for me. there have been stumbles along the way, a few bonehead moments, and some jerky statements printed in the media, but i have always had such grace for him. i think it is because i too, recognize that growing up is hard, finding yourself is even harder, and i have had to do neither of those things with a microphone in my face. he’s not perfect, but he is insightful, deep and a little quirky. i appreciate quirky.
all this to say, john mayer seems to have written the soundtrack to my coming of age. he is my coming of age artist. as a lost college girl, one of his songs served as my anthem as i attempted to navigate the transition between high school and college. the whole world was before me and it was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. he wrote the song that i listen to every year on my birthday because getting a year older hurts my heart. he wrote the song that i cried to during the agony of watching my sweet papa die of cancer. i clung to the words he wrote about love and home when i needed to redefine my idea of home after selling our house.
coming of age means triumph and tragedy, success and failures, vision and revision. most of my posts have had this over-arching theme because i find myself deep in the throes of it, but nearing the end…i think. i continue to stumble through this life and learn as i go. (aside: is 30 a little late to be coming of age? i think it probably is, but i have never been on time for anything in my entire life. why start now?) for me, coming of age has not only been about finding myself, but finding my voice. it has entailed holding tight to every word around me, sifting through them, and searching for what makes sense. the Word, conversations, music, books, sage advice…each word has had an impact.
oh, and how was the concert, you ask? it was wonderful! i squealed, cried and might have embarrassed my husband. i had hoped to run into that 20-year-old version of myself so we could have a little chat. guess where i found her? hint: it wasn’t in the beer line. blech! turns out, she was with me all along. she has been helping this 30-year-old version of myself to be a little more fun, a little more carefree. i guess that’s what our younger days are for anyways. so that when we finally reach adulthood, we can still reach back and grab a little piece of youth. that’s the beauty of coming of age.
you also must be dying to know what i wore (just nod). this was the embarrassing part…for B anyways. i was pretty proud of myself.
i leave you with some of my favorite john mayer lyrics of all time. read them and feel them. you won’t be sorry.
pain throws your heart to the ground
love turns the whole thing around
no, it won’t all go the way it should
but i know the heart of life is good
“heart of life”
i’d like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve
i wanna run through the halls of my high school
i wanna scream at the top of my lungs
i just found out there’s no such thing as the real world
just a lie you’ve got to rise above
“no such thing”
close your eyes and clone yourself
build your heart an army
to defend your innocence
while you do everything wrong
don’t be scared to walk alone
don’t be scared to like it
know your fight is not with them
yours is with your time here
dream your dreams but don’t pretend
make friends with what you are
“age of worry”
someday i’ll fly
someday i’ll soar
someday i’ll be so damn much more
cause i’m bigger than my body gives me credit for.
“bigger than my body”
little by little, inch by inch
we built a yard with a garden in the middle of it
it ain’t much but it’s a start, you got me swaying right along to the song in your heart
and a face to call home
a face to call home
you got a face to call home
“face to call home”
stop this train
i want to get off and go home again
i can’t take the speed it’s moving in
i know i can’t, but honestly won’t someone stop this train
so scared of getting older
i’m only good at being young
so i play the numbers game to find a way to say that life has just begun.
“stop this train”
happiness is…coming of age.