here's how you know you really, really love one of your friends. you see this person in trouble, you go out of your way to support your friend through a horrifically rough time, and when you know full good and well you could get exactly what you want, you pull yourself back from the edge and say no. impulse control, in spite of alcohol, temptation, and incredibly open talk. that's how you know you walk the walk and talk the talk with your friends. that's how you know that sometimes, just sometimes, it's enough to be a friend to someone. you don't have to be anything more, regardless of how immediately desirable it would be. the mere threat of long-term disaster, not to mention the fact that there's always a morning after that changes how things look, is enough to pull you back from the brink. and believe me, there's always a brink there. but being able to look that danger in the face and turn it back? well. that's how you know you're really a friend, someone who can be trusted to help someone in need. there's an element of pride in that, no matter how tempting the short-term gain is. if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. but vulnerability, pain, and sorrow are only beaten back with restraint, empathy, and long-term vision. and if you can do that, well, you've already proven your worth as a friend.
"and every time you're driving home, way outside your safety zone, wherever you will ever be, you're never getting rid of me." scars are funny things. most of the time, once the wound has healed and faded down to nothing but a pale shadow of itself, you don't even notice that there's anything left. but every so often, in passing, you notice that the skin that used to be so taut, so smooth, is now thick and irregular. the lines twist over your body, letting you know in no uncertain terms that you. are. changed. you'll never be the whole person you were before; those days are gone forever. it doesn't matter how long ago it happened, but when you notice that scar, you're instantly confronted with the trauma of whatever mauled you. even if the sting of the memory is infinitesimally brief, the sting still jolts you. not all scars are created equal, but all remind you of something you'd just as soon never dwell on again.
"you own me. there's nothing you can do; you own me." the injured is forever tied to the injurer when the injury leaves a scar. no matter what you do, there's always a connection. when the scar is on the soul, the heart, or the mind, the tethers pull you together even harder. the shared experience of giving and receiving psychic pain creates an iron-clad union between the aggrieved and the menacing. even if you carry on the rest of your days without acknowledging it, there will be one day, when you least expect it, when the sorrow whipsaws through you, leaving you breathless, if only for a second.
"you could've made a safer bet, but what you break is what you get." breaking someone's heart is never a simple task. there are repercussions far beyond the actual confrontation. maybe you pay for the act in the moment, or maybe you pay later. there's guilt, pain, shame, anger, and the inevitable feeling that you will never, ever be free of that person again, no matter how goddamn much you try. everyone you love, even in passing, gets bonded onto your heart in one way or another. breaking that bond isn't as simple as slicing something off and walking away. pieces rip. the honeybee's stinger is left in the victim's wound. the venom hits its target. the honeybee is torn in half. that's what breaking a heart is. you're left with a piece missing, and no matter how great the relief you may feel, there's the gaping maw left by the part of you that's no longer there.
"you wake up in the bed you make; i think you made a big mistake." the silent - or not-so-silent - accusation of the lover scorned. it howls at you, nips at your heels at all times. you were right to end it. you are right to be gone. but that doesn't stop the doubts, the hurt, the memory of the wounded eyes staring at you in disbelief. shared love equals shared pain. breaking up is hard to do? heh. don't insult my intelligence. breaking up is murder. plain and simple. once you pull the shrapnel out of your body, shake off the shock of the explosion and collect the scattered debris of your life, you still carry the scars. it doesn't matter who pulls the pin. no one walks away a winner. that's why we stay in bad situations, we linger on with the weight of dead love settling harder onto our chests. the dull pain we know is far better than the unspeakable agony we can see around the corner. when you finally say "enough," when you move past the apathy and act, your reward is the endless connection to your failed past. there are no winners here. there can't be. all there can be is the slamming of a door, the tearing of a fabric, and the slow, throbbing trek towards... well, towards whatever lies ahead. you're changed, now and forever. take the change and move on.
"there's nothing you can do. you own me. you own me. lucky you."
"i ain't looking for your prayers of pity; i ain't comin' 'round searching for a crush..." you always make things so easy for me. i blow into town every now and again, turn your world upside down for a few days, then disappear. but you never complain. i'm loud, messy and, let's be honest, quite crazy. you spend your money on me, you spend your time on me. i guess you're getting something out of the deal too.
"i just want someone to talk to and a little of that human touch..." or should i say that i KNOW you're getting something out of the deal. it's the perfect trade-off for a man, i would think: listen to her bitch and act weird for awhile, then take her clothes off. but it's funny; though it sounds totally one-sided (and kinda pathetic, really), i get everything i need from you. i don't need a promise, a vow, some great proclamation of devotion from you. that would actually wreck a really good thing.
"oh girl, that feeling of safety you prize, well, it comes with a hard, hard price..." this is the devil's bargain i've made. you get your freedom, the most important thing in the world to you. i get just about everything i could want. almost. sometimes the ambiguity tears me up inside. you have this habit of doing things that would, if i didn't know you so well, make it seem like you want more from me. but you don't. i know this. i knew all along that you'd never go there with me in a million years, even though you know i'd cut myself open and bleed for you if you asked me. but you also know that you've got me forever, no matter what.
"you can't shut off the risk and the pain without losing the love that remains..." so i don't shut it off. i come to this messy, risky adventure with arms wide open. bring it all on; i'm a big girl, i can handle it. i like to let you think i'm tough. i know you know better. but this? oh, this i can tough out for sure. there's enough good here to cancel out the danger, the sleepless nights. at the end of the day, i know where i stand with you. you have your reasons for the way you are. some of them i understand. a lot of them i don't. but just as you take me in spite of my insanity, i take you in spite of your circumspection. that's the way it is.
"you might need someone to hold onto when all the answers, they don't amount to much; somebody that you can just talk to and a little of that human touch..." so i keep coming back. you do too, for your part. we dance this way time after time, giving everything we have to each other. well, almost. and if that's the cost for feeling this way, i'll pay it gladly. it's worth it.
this is a regular monday feature over at ian's. here we go...
Have you ever peed in the shower/bath/pool? seriously?
What is your biggest pet peeve? unrealized potential. oh, my god, it KILLS me when smart, capable people underachieve.
What's the story behind your blog title? when i worked at a gourmet food store in DC after college, my boss noticed that i grew up in the south. he christened me "magnolia" from that day forward. it's the best nickname anyone's ever given me. he was such a great guy. i can still he him saying it. "maaaaag...nolia."
What is your definition of success? when you do something you love and do it well. emphasis on DO SOMETHING.
If you were famous, what would you want to be famous for? i want to be famous for doing something of value in this world. politics, law, something.
girl-type person, not quite 30. lawyer. excessively educated. hopeful cynic. devoted girlfriend, loyal daughter, tenacious friend. staunch defender of the gulf-coast way of life. lover of cities, sports, and music. liberal. chaser of adventure. hater of capital letters. master of duality. writer of fictions.
i write my life here, but with a slight fictional twist. sometimes the things i say here are 100% true, but other times i've taken license. i don't name names; if you know me, though, you may recognize yourself here. be warned. now let's get down to business.