(posted by Mike)
Hey ho, here it comes. As the crowd cheers in delighted recognition, Dymbel and I exchange meaningful shrugs. Massive fan that he is, this one has never done much for him. As for me, I grew tired of it a long time ago. Even in the context of last Saturday in Hyde Park, where so many dull songs by lesser acts took on new, grander resonances, I remained unmoved. Now, I simply tune out and drift off.
In the cottage, late last Friday evening. K has gone to bed; I can already hear the snores from upstairs. I’m staring at the telly, pleasantly trashed, not yet ready to let the feeling end, giving free rein to the right side of my brain, letting it lead me through whatever unexpected connections it chooses to make.
Which is when it hits me.
The part of me that I hate, that causes me all the wobbles, the angst, the Self Esteem Issues…
The part that procrastinates, that under-achieves, that won’t dare to try because it’s so sure that it will fail, that’s ruled by fear, that has erected thick barbed wire barricades around the prison yard of its comfort zone…
The part that says I can’t, and I won’t, and why bother, because you can do it better than me anyway …
The part that ties itself up in Gordian knots of guilt and blame…
…it’s just a part of me. It’s not all of me. It’s not even most of me. And so I shouldn’t fall into the trap of letting it define me. Because the greater part of me is better than this.
How do I know this?
I know this because I am loved by the most wonderful man I have ever met.
And if he can see worth in me, then ipso facto, that worth must exist. Because, for all the accusatory shit that I might choose to fling at myself, two irreducible truths remain:
1. All sentimental bullshit aside (she’s the best mum in the world/they’re two little angels), he is the most wonderful man I have ever met.
2. His love for me is beyond all reasonable doubt.
Why hasn’t this occurred to me before? I am loved, ergo I am worthy of love. Accept this truism, and it could me give me some of the strength I need in the perpetual battle which I wage with my darker, weaker self. Indeed, there is no reason why I cannot use the greater part of myself to heal the…
And you’re back in the football stadium.
Having stated and re-stated its lyrical themes, the song is now peaking, by means of an extended instrumental passage. Insistent, repeated triplets, steadily increasing in intensity, are rippling out from the stage in waves of pure, positive emotion, accentuated by wordless, staccato barks from Michael Stipe. The stage lighting is bright now – so bright that, even at this distance, I can feel something of its warmth in the cool, damp, dusky air.
In front of me, and indeed all around me, thousands of pairs of hands are stretched up high in assertive V-shapes, obliterating the view of the band, engulfing me in one shared feeling of joyful, certain release.
So, hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. Everybody hurts. You are not alone.
Ambushed by unexpected emotion. The corny ones will get you every time.