Last Sunday night, I went to see Fiona Apple at the Hollywood Palladium, because that’s my tortured, talented, spiritual-ass girl. Let it be known that I ain’t a bad apple-I’m a FIONA APPLE (one “apple” joke or metaphor had to make its way into this post-naturally).
Seeing Fiona live was one of the most starkly beautiful, visually interesting, and intense experiences I’ve had in some time. Watching Fiona belt out her songs, while writhing around the floor possessed by the melody and beats of her own music-I felt like I was watching a musical exorcism.
“Apple’s music makes private pain unifying” is how an L.A. times piece described the experience, and that’s the ultimate “keeping it 100.” Fiona’s voice is so gorgeously powerful and acoustic, but acutely, distinctly melancholic.
As you would imagine, a lot of Fiona’s set was about pain, heart break, longing and feeling imperfect-all channeled into a powerful, triumphant, vocal honesty. These are feelings I can relate to-obviously. Paying homage to my own pain-I want to share a very personal, real moment from that night.
I was debating about putting this out there, but keeping it 100-I’m going to release this. While I was at the bar ordering some vodka cocktails, I turned my face for one millisecond and caught eyes with the man who inspired my very own “Paper Bag”.
If you don’t know the lyrics:
“I said, ‘Honey, I don’t feel so good, don’t feel justified
Come on put a little love here in my void,’ he said
‘It’s all in your head,’ and I said, ‘So’s everything’
But he didn’t get it I thought he was a man
But he was just a little boy
Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills
‘Cause I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up
I got to fold ‘cause these hands are too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love.”
Actually, I saw this man with his new boyfriend, and it stunned (and momentarily stung) me. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and there he was-at the Fiona Apple concert-alive but totally dead to me. And then something even more peculiar happened: this man smirked at me.
Without revealing too much or too little: I suppose this man smirked at me because he wanted to hurt me in some childish, basic way. As basics do-he wanted me to feel badly about seeing him with his new boyfriend. However, his smirk had just the opposite effect.
Up to that point, I had this unhealthy tendency to occasionally drift back into selectively positive thoughts about good, meaningful times we shared together-we were really good friends after all. And I think that’s normal, when you care about someone and you let them into your heart.
In fact, sometimes my mind drifted back to all the remarkable times he told me he loved me-trusting his sincerity, and I wondered where it all went wrong. Sometimes-I thought about the time he came to Church with me and held my hand. Sometimes-I thought about the time he told me he wanted to meet my Mom.
Sometimes-I thought about that perfect moment when he looked into my eyes and held me under the Hollywood sign. Sometimes-I thought about the time he told me I was one of the most important people in his life. There were so many moments my mind sometimes drifted back to, almost negating all of the pain he caused. Almost.
And then he smirked at me, and the smirk snapped me right back into reality. The reality is-I am so lucky that this man showed me his true spirit, so I could free myself of his toxicity before I got any deeper.
In the game of dating gullible dudes who might be able to help his career-congratulations-I think I should pat him on the back-because it seems like he’s succeeded (in a very laughable, transparent way I might add). Actually, I’m smirking now as I type this.
And seeing him there-smirking at me-I realized that I could never be like him-a wholly selfish human being-who uses people and then moves on once he’s gotten everything he’s needed.
I also realized he’ll never be really happy because true love isn’t about using people for what they can do for you-only satisfying your own happiness and needs-it’s about loving people with your entire heart and soul-enhancing the shared happiness and love.
And Lord knows that narcissist will never be capable of thinking about anyone but himself. But it doesn’t really matter-not even a little bit; because I’m actually happy.
For the first time in a while-positive changes are carrying me into a new destiny, and I’m Destiny’s Child (you can read that anyway you want). At the concert-I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with some truly amazing, fabulous people-people who are symbolic of the future direction my life is heading into (hint:it’s fabulous!).
And I felt like it was a total sign-seeing this person who had caused me so much pain in the past, and then walking away-back into my new life, filled with new people and new wonderful experiences.
It’s almost as if anything is possible, and now the “anything” I’ve always dreamed of is happening. And I’m especially grateful and happy to be done with such an emotional vampire, who continues to remain the human parasite that he is with some poor, unsuspecting human.
As Fiona would say: “Just go back to the rock from under which you came
Take the sorrow you gave and all the stakes you claim -
And don’t forget the blame.”
Incidentally, I sound just like Fiona when I sing that lyric. And I got my feet on my ground, and I’m no longer sleeping to dream.
As per usual, this represents everything I feel on these types of conversational topics.