It’s an ash-colored morning, typical of late February in Michigan. I’m steering my car down the Interstate, dodging potholes and icy patches, heading into downtown Detroit. I’m on my way to a training session to be a literacy tutor. I should feel excited, inspired and enthusiastic. Instead, my soul is as dirt-flecked as the roadside snow. I need a sea change. I tap the CD player button on my dashboard and release the sweet notes of this ditty:
Hey little apple blossom
what seems to be the problem
all the ones you tell your troubles to
they don’t really care for you
Come and tell me what you’re thinking
cause just when the boat is sinking
a little light is blinking
and I will come and rescue you
Lots of girls walk around in tears
but that’s not for you
you’ve been looking all around for years
for someone to tell your troubles to
Come and sit with me and talk awhile
let me see your pretty little smile
put your troubles in a little pile
and I will sort them out for you
I’ll fall in love with you
I think I’ll marry you
–The White Stripes, “Apple Blossom,” De Stijl. 2000
This song parts clouds. It turns gray to blue. It radiates sunshine. It coaxes buds into bloom. It’s simple, sweet, perfect.
I twist the volume knob to loud. I hit replay two, three, four times. I belt out the lyrics.
If ever I had the guts to sing karaoke, this would be my song.
If the universe is sending a message, I’m listening.
Because it all comes down to having someone to tell your troubles to, someone to respond when your light is blinking. Even if that someone is yourself.
I want to be honest.
I want to keep it real.
I want balance.
I’ve always needed someone or something to tell my problems to: a diary, an imaginary friend, a best friend, a loving grandmother, a school counselor, a therapist, a lover, a neighbor, my husband, the cat, the Internet.
Creating my own blog was supposed to lift the heavy burden I’d dropped on friends and family and lovers and spouses. I can drop a heavy load. I’ve been told.
Secrets don’t always stay that way. Violators force open my diary’s delicate pages and ravage her secrets. Gossips spit out my stories in venomous bursts. Lovers bolt, taking their comforting arms and patience with them. Husbands grow bored with broken records. Loving grandmothers die and their ears go deaf, their mouths mute. Neighbors move. Therapists increase their rates. The Internet figures out who you are.
Why the need to spill?
If I knew the answer, you wouldn’t be here reading any of this, would you?
Thank god for the healing power of music. I leave you with this: