A shared language…and the wonderful state of limbo

I have a friend who’s been sharing music with me for a little over two years. One might even surmise that it’s been the summation of our entire relationship. I write letters and he shares songs he likes or thinks I will like…..and because I noticed early on the emotional impact on me of each tune shared, I began to save the links in an online account. As a result, most of the songs (even those with which I was previously familiar) are now forever tied to this individual, to various geographic locations, and to different periods of my life over the past couple of years. Some of them, I suspect, even give insight into his psyche, have expressed things he has felt and wanted to say, or have mirrored and reflected my own feelings at the time.

Whether any of this is the reality, however, I think it’s safe to say (at the very least) that the songs have been a means of connection for the two of us….a shared language that moves and changes with us through our days, months, years. Feelings may be temporary and ever-changing….but these songs are now like time capsules to me, taking me back to specific moments whenever I want. And yet, unlike the declaration of promises and feelings or the projection of hopes and expectations that occurs in many interactions, these songs don’t harbor the disappointment, regret, or longing for days gone-by that eventually results from such declarations and projections. Instead, they exist as separate and perfect moments regardless of any outcome and where we are in the present. They are, quite simply, a record of the ongoing and continued evolution of our lives, individually and collectively. They are, in fact, a bridge between us and a bridge between us and the rest of human kind…..as music tends to express the human condition/experience like no other art form can and these songs (as far as I am concerned) are a testament to that.

And yet, whatever really possessed or prompted him to share these songs with me and still moves him to share is likely to be a mystery to me for as long as I continue to receive them. I’m somehow okay with that, however. I don’t need to know the exact reason why. I don’t need to know whether they’re completely random, coincidental, or intentional. I don’t need to know whether he shares them with me only or a hundred women. And even if they mean nothing at all and they’re only a cop-out for real communication, emotion, or intimacy, well….I don’t feel the need to wonder about that either. All I know and need to know is that there are days I find myself longing for a song and he will somehow and unknowingly heed my call and I will get a link. If anyone asks me why this is different than me just listening to music I like from my own collection or some other person’s playlist, I can only assure that person that it is all the difference in the world.

So, with all of that said, I share here a compilation of songs from my growing playlist, along with a brief note or two where applicable. Please note that while this small selection doesn’t include the entirety of songs shared, it does include those that I tend to return to time and again to dream, feel, and engage my imagination. Anyone who has been reading my posts for any length of time may be able to see that I can be shamelessly gullible to romance and matters of the heart, despite my equal ability to disengage and see through deceit and superficial nonsense. Many of the songs from this selection, therefore, tend to reveal my more foolish side….the side that will take a word or two and let it carry me away to romantic bliss….and that’s okay. To be easily fooled by the simplest of gestures is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it may be the only thing that keeps me young. Inside, I am still a girl of 16 just wanting to run and spin around in a field under the night sky before falling into the arms of a boy for that first exciting kiss…..and a few songs my friend shared in the beginning really spoke to that girl. I think it only fitting, therefore, that I divide the songs into two groups…..those shared before we met in person and those shared after. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Before we met…..

Odd one for my list….but it impacted me. I didn’t know whether to feel inadequate, in danger of being used, or intrigued.
Oh, how I love this song. Reminds me of a poem I wrote years ago….
Significant because I had been staring at pictures of my friend (and love interest) for a month or so, not yet having seen him or having heard his voice.
I actually received a link for this on a night I had an informal date with someone I had met prior to my friend. My phone had been rather silent for a few days and I decided to meet the other person for dinner. Needless to say, my heart wasn’t in that…..but I was trying to keep myself somewhat sane at the time. Hah…..so much for that.
All of the Femmes stuff….so good. Just can’t NOT share.
This song and man still turns me on. And he’s not even my “type”…….
Oh boy…..where do I start. I love this song. I received a link to it while walking with my mother one morning…..my friend on my mind almost constantly at that point. The song fit so well in regards to how I felt, waiting to meet him….
Never was a Morrissey fan, but love this one. It grew on me, for sure….
I think my new friend felt this way…..ordinary. Never have seen him that way…..but have had many thoughts since that we see others as we see ourselves and they see us as they see themselves. Soooo…..for anyone who doesn’t SEE you or thinks you’re ordinary….well, they’re just freaking blind.
The first of three songs shared when I was just returning to Illinois from a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. My friend and I were to meet for the first time that week. I think the song says it all. I was definitely being torn to bits by the wait. He shared this song link with the words, “lighting, lyrics, intense, truth.”
The second song shared that night….his words accompanying the song link were “longing, drums, verbal jabs.”
A very familiar song that had no significance for me until he shared it that night……(the third of the series……his words were “listen, nuff said.”)
Way more meaning to this later……but that’s how some of the songs are. It’s why I revisit them from time to time.

After we met…..

Not long after we met in person, I made a trip to Iowa to visit and stay with a friend of 30 years. It was the month of the presidential election, 2020. This song and the next reflect that time quite well, I think….
This song was first shared with me while I was still in Iowa and shared again while I wandered a drugstore in West Branch, Michigan…..feeling like a ghost of sorts. Was a strange time. I had made the drive to Michigan from Iowa for a new job, thinking I was going to move there. However, I very quickly found myself feeling trapped and suffocated by the job and place, missing my kids, missing the comfort and peace of Iowa, and feeling rejected by the very person who shared this song and video. It was winter and the entire town was blanketed in snow. Beautiful, but possibly the most lonely I’ve ever felt in my entire life….
Again…..another favorite. I love this song and video of Neil. I must have played this a hundred times or more driving to and from Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines to walk….
Love it…..and found it crazy that I had never heard it before.
Maybe my words were “getting through”…..but I didn’t really feel like it. I had written numerous letters to my friend while at my friend Rachel’s house in Iowa. I was so starved for physical and emotional intimacy during that time. I signed up for dating sites and was just so utterly vulnerable. I learned a lot about myself then, however…..that my primary love language is physical touch and that I wanted just two things in life…..to be a bestselling author and to find “the one” (or whatever you want to call it.)
Shared during my time in Michigan…..the first few days or so when I still had hope that I would maybe see my friend again.
Another shared while I was in Michigan….December 2020.
This one was shared right before I left Michigan to return home for Christmas and then back to Iowa. I always loved this song when younger, but it is now connected to that time in an old Michigan motel…..
The second of three songs that makes me remember the old motel I stayed in while working in Michigan.
Okay, so I realize that everyone hates Nickelback, but had to share this third song that reminds me of my time in the Michigan motel. I was leaving the state that day, I believe….my friend not having made any attempt to meet me or see me during the month I was there, but he shared this. They say that actions speak louder than words…..and I believe they do. So much for being a word person most of my life….
Back in Iowa…..having ran from Michigan and a dead end job. I ran from rejection. I didn’t wait…..didn’t hold the line. I was afraid of turning my entire life upside down and chaining myself to a miserable job just to be near someone who wouldn’t make any effort at all to seed me. I suppose if I had learned anything up to that point, it was that I had to do what was best for me regardless of anyone else.
Odd how an older song like this is now attached to a person I met only a couple of years ago.
Great song. How did I not ever realize that Eddie Vedder is my actual soul-mate and all the other men just need to go away? I’m joking, of course…..kind of.
The concept of “home” is something I was really thinking about during the period when this song was shared…
This one was shared a couple of times, but I distinctly remember getting the link one time while at a Cedar Rapids grocery store. For all of the times I could have broken off contact with the person who shared it, I never did….never have. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that he could have broken off contact with me, too. I have confessed to falling in love with someone else and more, but we have remained friends in whatever capacity that is. Maybe it’s not what I had initially wanted or hoped for, but the lesson in it has been invaluable. It’s so easy for people to think that self-love is in direct opposition to unconditional love and acceptance of others, but it’s not. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, when we love ourselves, we are free to love others without resentment/expectation and our love is independent of what someone else does against or for us.
No words…….just a song I never knew the lyrics to until he shared it.
Can’t compete with a ghost…..
This one was shared during a brief moment when another friend of over 30 years reemerged in my life. This friend and I had a couple of really intimate and vulnerable conversations that brought out long-buried feelings in me…..but he admitted that he was in no emotional or mental condition to enter into any sort of romantic relationship. No problem, except that he WAS in the condition to engage in meaningless physical “activities” with me. As a result, I ended up feeling very emotionally “unsafe” with him….rejected any possibility of him ever touching me….and spent several days shutting out almost everyone in the effort to reaffirm my self-worth. Although the entire experience was not one I would wish to repeat, it did bring about a great deal of reflection on our intentions with others and how we can inadvertently play with their hearts…..not something I ever want to do.
Pretty sure this song and the next were shared while I was at a grocery store in Cedar Rapids…..again. Apparently, I spent a lot of time there….while in town to see someone else.
I completely love this song and video. Why I allowed songs like this one to keep me hanging on to some stupid possibility of “something,” though, I’ll never know. I think I just believed that clarity would come in time…..and still pretty much function this way. What we do in a moment is never fully telling. We do what we think we should at the time and so much is out of our control. Feelings, too, change. It’s a reality. Still…..I believe in the journey I am on…..believe it will eventually lead me to where I belong.
This one was shared after the conclusion of another romantic relationship. A person I had previously communicated with online contacted me and wanted to meet. I had to travel to meet him, but decided it was my last and final attempt at that sort of thing. I just didn’t have it in me to think about any “new” people I hadn’t already had contact with. As it worked out, I was not attracted to the person I met…..and here I am still, today….completely uninterested in anyone new or dating, etc.
Unsure exactly when this one was shared, although it was while I was in the car one day. I forgot to add it to my playlist, and yet I still think about my friend now when I hear it.
A good, positive song….
Matched thoughts/feelings of the time…
Oh, what a year it’s been……
Also never been a Dave Matthews fan, but I do have an appreciation of sorts. More so when my friend shares a song or two of his….
Funny story, but when my friend shared this one, I already knew it from another artist who had covered it…..and I had been listening to that version for months on Pandora.
A number of relevant Alanis tunes are included on the larger playlist, but what most of them meant to me at the time shared has been lost. So many interpretations can be derived from her music from one listen to the next that they defy the limits of individual points in time.
As of today, this is the most recent tune shared. I suppose I may decide to update this post from time to time, but perhaps not. It’s already a little strange that I’m sharing any of these songs at all….as it is strange that I’ve shared so many other things over past months. Because…..it’s quite likely that my personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences have no real value when they’re not tied to lessons and growth from which others can learn. And then, there’s the individuals involved…..who may not appreciate my sharing of any of it. That is always a risk, even if THIS is who I am.

So that’s it. If I count correctly, there are 50 songs here that function as a sort of timeline for me. I believe I referred to them above as “a record of the ongoing and continued evolution of our lives, individually and collectively.” However, as I wrap up this post, I wonder if the word “evolution” is accurate. Have I actually evolved? Have “he and I” as any sort of “us” evolved? Or do these songs, instead, more accurately reflect a state of limbo? After all, there does seem to be a consistent and unchanging thread that runs through them. The question is whether that thread is weaving itself into a story or just continuously spinning. Is it a tale of “undying” love between friends or am I just spinning my wheels? Is it a back and forth motion that gets me (and him or us) nowhere….or is it like the ebb and flow of the ocean, of life? Is there a rhythm here beyond the rhythm of any individual song?

I believe there is….a rhythm…..whatever else someone may make of it. And maybe I’m dancing to it….with him. A nice idea, perhaps. It could be limbo….a suspension of time. However, to take issue with that seems silly. Aren’t we all in limbo? Aren’t we all just caught in the ebb and flow of our lives…..in this existence? Aren’t many of us just trying to “get somewhere” without ever feeling we’ve finally arrived? And when we do arrive, where will that be? Death? Heaven? Enlightenment? And what comes after? Surely, something has to or it’s just another state of limbo, isn’t it?

I imagine that there will come a point when my friend doesn’t share the songs anymore…..when the dance may conclude. I use the word “may” in the latter case because while it is a guarantee that the sharing of songs WILL come to an end at some point, I think there is still a possibility the dance will go on or exist beyond that. You see, if limbo is nothing but the suspension (or even absence) of time and we choose to dance to its perpetual rhythm rather than attempting to get somewhere, then haven’t we already moved on to eternity or some state of bliss?

It is often said that to embrace life is to embrace death, but no one ever seems to want to embrace death. Instead, we fight against it and no one can fight against it without fighting, too, against life. We see something similar with “limbo.” When we fight it, it ends up being the very reason we never get anywhere. And it’s also why, when we seek enlightenment, it will always be beyond reach. I’m going to posit, therefore, that enlightenment exists in the dance…in limbo. One can’t spend a lifetime trying to reach a “place” and think that he can stop reaching once he gets there. It’s near impossible. Just stop reaching, however, and you arrive. So, perhaps, the illusion of time and place is the real “limbo” many of us are trying to avoid. We may feel productive, while Buddha sits for days under a tree at the top of a hill, but where are we and where is he?

I wonder how often we think of our personal romantic relationships in the same manner….so afraid of things becoming stagnant that we mistakenly think we have to move on in some way, either taking a relationship to the next level or dissolving it all together. How often do we turn down a chance to dance? There is often a brief moment in the beginning of a relationship when all seems bliss….and then it’s over. It’s over because one or both involved attempt to manage it the same way they manage the rest of their lives. They work to get somewhere. It seems obvious, on the surface, that time moves ever forward. They may think that to be in the flow of that is to move with it, but it’s really so much more. Moving WITH change is important….yes. But when one is really in it….in the flow….nothing feels like it is moving at all. That’s when everything is still.

Think about it. Imagine you’re working in a garden, totally immersed in tilling the ground and enjoying every second of it. You may say that you “lose track of time”…..because for you (at least) time comes to a standstill. Likewise, if you are on a river and moving with the current, your senses and mind may work together to tell you that you are moving. But what if, on the other hand, you remove all of your senses? How will you know you’re moving? This is the basic idea behind a “float” tank…..where a person floats in a pool of water inside a dark, quiet, sensory deprivation “tank.” Those in the world outside of the tank move around, no doubt trying to “get things done,” but the person floating is somewhere else. The person floating is in a place of complete stillness and is one with it.

That’s the flow. There’s no need to be anywhere other than where you are. And that’s the dance….what it means to be caught up in the moment, in the rhythm. In fact, it’s not even a moment at all. It’s not a “then”…..and it’s not a “now.” It’s also neither a “here” or a “there.” It’s something else entirely.

It’s the wonderful state of limbo.

One thought on “A shared language…and the wonderful state of limbo

  1. Hi Jeanie. We met on Facebook dating late last year. We talked a couple times, or that is, I talked, and you were kind enough to respond. Lol. I know you have said that is what you sometimes do. But I have followed your writing ever since, and have loved and admired how you express yourself. It feels like I almost know you. And if you really are how you write, it amazes me how similar we are in how we think. I’m just not quite as eloquent in describing what I think and feel. This post you wrote about someone sharing music with you really hit home as well. I have communicated with someone in that way in the past, although not exclusively in that manner. But music can sometimes elicit emotions better than words alone. Anyway, I was just really writing to let you know that I still find you endlessly fascinating and intriguing, and would love the opportunity to know you a little better. I feel like we share a unique outlook on life, or at least if feels unique. Maybe other people feel it and just aren’t as aware of it or open to sharing it. I know, for me anyway, it seems I’m often not very well understood. Maybe you encounter the same thing. But I can relate to nearly everything you write, and find it comforting to know that I’m not the only one that has those kinds of thoughts and emotions. If you’d like to keep in touch, feel free to send me a message, or you can text or call me at 618-201-1678. It would be a real pleasure to talk to you. I think we might share a real connection, and it would be nice to know someone that sees the world in a similar light.

    Hope you’re having a great week!

    Jon Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone Get Outlook for Androidhttps://aka.ms/ghei36 ________________________________


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