“I need to have you next to me, in more ways than one. And I refuse to leave until I see the morning sun…”
I love Luther Vandross.
Those close to me know that my admiration for his talent knows no bounds. I remember listening to him croon from my mother’s radio when I was a little girl. I didn’t know what he was singing about, but I knew that whatever he was singing about touched my mother to her innermost being. She played him so much that I had many of his songs memorized before I could fathom the tales he wove with his voice.
Now that I’m much older and have experienced a few things in life, I better understand why she played him so often. Luther used his gift to bring happiness, joy, excitement and comfort to millions and although he is no longer with us on Earth, his music will last generations. His voice continues to evoke feelings of adoration, sadness, longing and desire through his songs.
As I was listening to the Luther station on a platform which I will not name (they aren’t writing me a check and I’m not trying to get sued), my mind went to my former romantic relationships and how it’s quite possible that I have an unrealistic view of love and romance.
I’ve been spoiled by love songs.
“Anyone who ever loved…could look at me, and know that I love you.”
I pondered whether or not I could really relate to the emotions that Luther Vandross seems to elicit out of others. That’s not to say that I haven’t been in love before; I think I’ve been in love one and a half times. Yet, I can’t say that I’ve felt the “never too much” kind of love. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that a partnership is solely Luther-esque love. I have gone through enough to know that lasting love takes commitment, sacrifice, communication, vulnerability and tons of effort. It’s just that when I really sit and think about it, I can say that I honestly relate to songs about heartbreak (a la Mary J.) much more.
Why is that?
Part of it could be that I have unrealistic expectations of love. I’ve heard thousands of love songs over the years and my desire to have one smidgen of emotion that the artists awaken in their listeners is indescribable. I have to wonder if it is possible at all. I have loved deeply. I loved someone with what I thought was every feeling that I could muster. Yet it ended in disaster. I knew, in my heart, that he didn’t feel the same way. If he did, he wouldn’t have hurt me in the ways (and number of times) that he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t count that experience, or perhaps I should cherish it as being as close to this feeling I’ve longed for?
At the same time, songs are often based on the writer’s experiences and brought to life by the entertainer’s expertise and flair. This means that someone has experienced this love and lived to write about it in the hopes that someone else could relate to it. So, I should be hopeful, yes? There have been too many incredible stories and accounts of lifelong, deep, unimaginable love. It has to be out there.
“It’s so amazing to be loved. I’d follow you to the moon in the sky above.”
I used to be the ultimate hopeful romantic. I would daydream about the man who would move my heart so much that I would play Luther and smile because this man made me feel the way Luther melodically murmured in his music. I did my best to treat my partners in a way that made them feel cherished, desired and adored. What I didn’t realize is that not everyone I was in a relationship with wanted those things, not even if/when they expressed those feelings. Some weren’t ready. Some just flat out didn’t want that love and used my offering of such to take advantage of me in other ways. I can look back on that now and take responsibility because it took years for me to realize that not everyone is worthy of that love. In the same vein, I’ve never had a man beg for me to come back to him and give him another chance. I’ve never had someone tell me that they feel lost or incomplete without me in their life. Does that mean I haven’t added that kind of value to someone else, or does it mean that I have but that person was too prideful/angry/ashamed to ask for me to return to them? I’m not sure.
“Hearts get broken all the time. Never used to worry about things like this. But the trouble is…this time, it’s mine. This one is mine. (See, the problem is) the heart is mine.”
What I also understand is although I came to that realization, it would be much harder for me to scale back that affection. However, I know that it’s imperative for me to do so. It’s a matter of self-preservation mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If you continue to pour from a cup without being refreshed, the cup will eventually empty and that’s the last thing I want to happen (that’s how bitterness is birthed). The desire is still there indeed, even though it has diminished. But I am hopeful. I wonder if mothers like my Mom let their sons listen to Luther and how many of them long for those feelings. I wonder if I’ll ever come across one of those sons and he’ll have those feelings for me. Until then, I’ll continue to let Luther fuel my faith in love and hope that I get the chance to give a Luther-inspired love a try.
“Darling, have a heart. Don’t let one mistake keep us apart. I’m not meant to live alone; turn this house into a home. When I climb the stairs and turn the key, oh, please be there saying that you’re still in love with me.”
*Featured image courtesy of AllThingsJazz