Taking the Long Way

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I have been enjoying the Dixie Chicks new CD. Now, it may have to do with my rebellious streak and the fact that Wal-Mart refused to sell it. I mean, you can sell "Miss New Booty", but not the Dixie Chicks? I'’ll take the politically mouthy chicks and try to keep my ass in its pants, if it's all the same to you, Wal-Mart.

The first song on this CD is called "Taking the Long Way", and I view it as a summation of my life. I am a classic "long way" taker. Add in "long, and generally more difficult" to the way and it is me, to a tee.

My mother's favorite stories of my childhood involve times when she would try to persuade me that there was an easier, or more efficient way to do things. I would dig in. No. I had a plan and I was sticking to it. Nothing would dissuade me from my plan. No amount of tears or anguish could convince me that there was a different or easier way to accomplish something.

When the Chicks sing about not being able to do it the way everyone else could, that resonates with me. Even as I can SEE the easier way, I can't do it. I can't follow. The times I have tried have been disastrous. Those are the times in my life when I have stuffed my voice, my opinions, deep down and done what I was told. I get sick - physically and emotionally. Then I explode. Just ask my therapist.

"It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself, Guess I could have made it easier on myself, But I, I could never follow.."

It was like they took the words out of my head. My eternal goal is to live out loud. To truly show myself and to make as few apologies as possible. And yes, that is hard. It is a hard road to choose, for it makes you oddly vulnerable, and often very mis-understood. You tend to seem too loud, too opinionated, too exposed, too Much. Encountering someone like me evokes one of two reactions. You instantly love me, or I make you so squeamish that you must run, far away. My compulsion to be authentic, however, is genuine. Don't ask me if you don't want to know my perception of the truth. Once asked, I can't NOT tell you.

The truth isn't pretty. We are all scarred and scared human animals. Exposing those frailties makes you stronger, in my opinion. It toughens that delicate skin and makes you more resilient. The other option, that of living in fear, hiding or indecision, is not one that I can accept. My promise, to myself and to others, is that I will always be real. What I say is the truth of the moment. I am not foolish enough to think that the truth is unchangeable, for it is. However, if I say I love you, then dammit, I love you. No games, no trickery. No agendas.

There are people that I love who live in that trap of fear and indecision. It is terribly hard to watch them struggle through this, as it seems very clear to me that they can choose to step away from this. But they can't. And they don't. And I can't help them. My lesson in this is to watch, and wait and do the thing that I hate most - nothing.

What would happen if all the things we are afraid of everyone knowing about us were revealed? What would we find out? That we all do these things? That we all fear things, and have desires? That we doubt and question? That we have feelings that can't be neatly boxed up? That we aren't perfect and don't live model lives? What if I told you that I deeply doubt my marriage, sometimes? That I sometimes dream of starting over with someone else? Sometimes I have thought about leaving everything behind, that there are people in my life that I will never forgive for the pain (Hi, Bio Dad!) they have brought into my life?

Why, I would say that I am just like everyone else. Just more out loud about it.

Care to join me on the long way around? There is plenty of room, I am a fun road trip companion and I can assure you that each day will be different.

19 Baleful Regards:

Jess Riley said...

Dawn, what a wonderful post. And I can not believe Wal-Mart won't carry the Dixie Chicks new CD. Wait a minute. Yes, I can. Just reaffirms my long-standing boycott of the retail behemoth.

mothergoosemouse said...

I'm all for being real. It takes courage though, as you said. Courage that I don't always have. But I'm getting there. You could say I'm taking the long way.

And by the way, I'm one of those who love you.

motherhooduncensored said...

I think they are fabulously talented musicians and I love them. Even though they're country. Thanks to you, I'm buying that CD.

Nowly.

And being real? That's all I know. It took awhile however.

Fraulein N said...

See, this is why I love reading your blog. I live in "trap of fear and indecision." Hell, I pay rent to the trap of fear and indecision. It's nice when someone can put those feelings into words so eloquently, as you do.

But ... "Miss ... New Booty"? Um. Do I even wanna know what that song is about? I mean, I can guess, but...

Elizabeth said...

On the season finale of "Medium" this beautiful song kept playing right through the closing credits. It was "Lullaby" from the new Chicks CD. If I hadn't just discovered that we have 400 dollars to last us two weeks-that's right!-I would get in the car and go buy it RIGHT NOW.

And sign me up for that forthright truthiness of yours. Some of the biggest fights that Chris and I have ever had are because we both tell each other the truth, even when it is brutal and mean. But it's better than bottling everything up until it explodes out of you.

P.S. Sign me up also for being one of those people who love you.

C.ELLA said...

If I was in one of those blogging cliques that nominated "Perfect Posts" this would be my choice. What I am beginning to realize is that people like you better when you stop pretending or in my case hide your freak parts. You are true to yourself without infringing on others and without sanctimony.
Thank you for sharing all of yourself. You emboldened others.

Dawn said...

Actually Kristen, this is the least "country" sounding of all their CD's. I had never been a fan until I heard "Not ready to make Nice" a few months back and thought - "These women sound like my type of women"- Rick Rubin produced it, so it has an edgier sound, more rockish. They also sound like adult women, which I just adore. Give me complex adult women any day.

TB said...

Oh man, this is tough, but so rewarding. I have gotten over being afraid to be me, ( trying to be anything else is just too exhausting) but I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry about what people thought of me sometimes.
Love this post.

Diana said...

I'm working on the "not caring what people think" thing...I'm trying.
Wonderful post, keep keeping it real. I'm one of those that loves ya.

Sugarmama said...

See, this is another reason I really think we should meet one of these days. If you're ever in NC....

I'm not that ballsy when it comes to the loud and opinionated part, but I don't lie and agendas of any kind make me very nervous, even when it would be in my best interest to not show my cards, as it were.

Andrea said...

This was an absolutely awesome post. I'm in the process of learning how to behave with my real personality, and that in itself is the long way for me. I've always been the type to shut my mouth if my opinion was different because the times I spoke up were the times when I found people around me running away. I should have known then that them running from me was better for me all the way around. And I've learned that the people who stick with the real me are the people I want to be around, to share my experiences with, and to share theirs.

Lately, my biggest struggle to be real is a question of how much to reveal on my blog of the things swirling through my head. There are some things I'm not yet ready to reveal, though maybe someday. I still have some learning to do, but I'm hoping this long way 'round business is much like "the road less traveled", that when I get there, I can look back with fewer regrets.

madge said...

Sometimes I read your posts and imagine myself dressed in a warm-up suit, shell-top adidas and a side-ways baseball hat, listening to Beasties, because all I can think of to say is...WORD.

And, I love you.

Lisa said...

My hubby bought me that CD because it got rave reviews. (I remember seeing them on an interview when they were just starting out. They were so feisty, I was a fan before I even heard their music.)

But I love that song. To me it meant that they have stayed true to themselves. What they believe might not be popular with some people but they make no apologies for who they are. And I really respect that.

lildb said...

A-men.

(A-woman?)

I would run - toward you.

Beth said...

a woman after my own heart - you say the things i think.

loving "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice" - adopting it as new theme song.

E. said...

I was just reading a review of the new Chicks record and thinking I should buy it if for no other reason than to support them for speaking their minds even though it's losing them a hefty portion of their mainstream country base. But it also just sounds like a good record.

I like the long way. "The Long Cut" is one of my favorite Uncle Tupelo songs, speaking of country-but-not-entirely music.

Nancy said...

I love you. And I'll walk with you even if you take the longest road possible. I do believe that the journey and the effort you exert on the journey are just as important as the outcome. If it takes you longer to get there, so what. At least you travel with integrity and you are true to yourself.

Bobita said...

Excellent post. I am in the midst of a mindfulness exercise. I have a few words upon which I meditate (whenever I get the chance, but mostly hold the words in my thoughts or wear them on a bracelet around my wrist...) and for the past year or more I have been meditating on compassion and on being congruent. For me, congruent represents being real. I want my thoughts and my actions to be congruent; my ideals and my behaviors; I want to practice what I preach; pay attention to my own lectures! It can be a deeply painful process...and deeply rewarding...all in the same moment!

I love you, and love your blog. My marriage proposal will be forthcoming...

:)

beth said...

I really liked this post and look forward to reading more from you. I'm in the middle of this, realizing that backing off because I've been too MUCH has ending up causing a ton of needless pain. I should have just gone for it in the first place. Finding my voice now, and loving it..thanks for the inspiration!!!!!

 
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