Tuesday, February 2, 2010

American Love

3 more days until I see Jack's Mannequin live!!! I'm sooooo excited!!!

As a songwriter, Andrew McMahon's style and his ability to write clever songs that speak deep into your heart and mind, and challenge the way you think about life and the things around you really inspire me to make the things that I write follow suit. Our words and experiences are obviously different, but the way he uses language to its fullest to convey a deeper meaning is just very inspirational to me. One of my favorite songs that he sings is called American Love and the funny thing is that the way the song came about was pretty different from his typical approach to songwriting—but he tried something new and it came to be this great song that challenges the way we see love. And it starts out like this:

You see I got this American Love
A brand new planet in my solar system
I kiss her neck but I just can't look her in the eye

And THAT challenges me because it's so true. As people, we crave intimacy, but a lot of times we're not willing to go through every situation that leads to true intimacy. We want to have love and touch and feel so amazing, but not if it causes us to face our own demons or our own issues. I've seen a lot of relationships fail. I've seen a lot of them succeed. The thing that separates them is the ability of the people in them to give and take equally, and readily face each situation with truth, honor, and unconditional love.

When I think of relationships and dating, I think one of the best things is the ability to learn more about yourself through the life that you take time to invest in, to love unconditionally, to grow with. It's a challenge. It's a blessing and a curse. But the best blessing and the best curse. I must admit, part of what frightens me about being in a relationship with someone else is having to step outside of myself and on a consistent basis put someone else's needs before mine. I'm pretty selfish. Most wouldn't see this right away. I value my close friends because they've spent quality time with me and have seen me get bratty because I didn't get my way or because I felt inconvenienced—and it wasn't pretty. But what I love about them is that they challenge me to get over myself. They walk through situations with me and they're not afraid to tell me I'm wrong or that I need to try to see things from a different perspective. And because of them, I learn all the time what my triggers are and what I can do to avoid a meltdown or a shutdown. And every time I learn, I get better and the next time isn't as bad. I haven't completely tamed the dragon of selfishness in my life, but I've gotten closer and I get burned less and less the closer I get to it.

All week I've been listening to Jack's Mannequin, and getting more and more excited. The words to American Love really do challenge me.

In my non-romantic relationships—do I let people see the real me? Or do I put up a front just to look like I've got my life all figured out? Do I offer them a friendship with stipulations or am I truly able to keep them close without strings attached? And when I come close to veering towards the negative side of things in the relationships, do I trust God and do I trust them to point me in the right direction?

In my romantic relationship(s)—will I be able to see past their flaws and meet them halfway in arguments? Will I value their mind as much as their looks and talents? Will I let them help me get over myself? Will I trust them fully with my heart? Will it just be about physical intimacy or will there be meaning and purpose behind the things we endeavor to do as a team?

It's a challenge. One I'm willing to take on. One step at a time and I will reach my goal—to live and love on purpose, with purpose, endeavoring to have meaningful relationships with people.

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