Thursday, September 6, 2007

"I think about you..."

"…I think about you…
…eight years old
big blue eyes and a heart of gold
when I look at this world, I think about
You and I can't help but see
that every woman used to be
Somebody's little girl, I think about you…"
-Schlitz/Seskin

The first time I heard Collin Raye sing this song, "I Think About You"off his "Direct Hits" CD in the early 90s, I knew I would never…ever… look at young women through the eyes of puritanical disdain, generational appropriateness, or "oh my goodness did you see the way she was dressed"  looking-down-my-nose-in-disgust-at-her...again…ever! 

This song affected me deeply.  It still does.  I remember looking at my "baby" daughter (who was about 6 at the time) sitting next to me, on the long bench seat of our old Jeep, as we headed up into Big Thompson Canyon and thinking, "I can never forget that you will always be this little girl inside".  At the time she was all golden curls, big green eyes – full of wonder, and yes, a heart of gold…platinum…whatever is pure and of great worth...that was my girl…still is.  I couldn't imagine, as she sat there trying to get her teddy bear's arms through the sleeves of a doll's dress, her ever being anything but…but I knew that this moment was one to burn into my heart.  So I did.   But not just for our daughter.  It is the image I carry within myself, along with the words to this song, constantly. 

Last night, just before midnight, my husband and I took our daily walk through the quiet streets of our urban neighborhood of large historic homes on our way to The Loop.  It's our city's version of what every university-centric community has…a wonderfully eclectic village of coffeehouses, theatres, concert venues, restaurants, small shops that carry fair trade coffee and batik skirts and sarongs/incense/cards, "record stores" (you can tell what generation I come from) and art galleries.  At midnight, even on a Wednesday night, this part of town is still hopping... alive and dancing. 

As we passed one great restaurant after another...with the reggae band or jazz combo finishing up their last set for the lovers and stragglers scattered inside, or at sidewalk tables, I suddenly felt the words to Collin Raye's song bubbling up from deep within me.  I went with it and quietly, while we passed galleries and coffeehouses thought about the words.  Then I knew why.  We were weaving our way through the sidewalk tables in front of a great jazz club when I noticed her. She was sitting on the steps leading to the apartment above the club.  She seemed young, about 16, and dressed to be noticed.  She was beautiful…I say was, because her face at that moment was tear-stained and mascara smeared...but underneath there was something sad and lovely.  If I had to guess I would say she had been drinking and her voice was raised in a slurred wail as she begged the boy she was with to "just love me…why can't you just love me you stupid _________ (expletive). 

I slowed my steps and looked back through the lens of "I think about you…eight years old, big blue eyes and a heart of gold.." and I claimed right then and there the invulnerability of her innocence and purity and clear child-like thinking.  I stopped long enough to see the owner (or manager) of the club come out to intervene, and continued to pray as we continued our walk home. 

"Just love me…why can't you love me…" she had been crying.  Crying out a wail of hunger and hope and pain to the world around her.  Why can't we just love her. 

Purity and innocence are not passive qualities of being.  They are not just there until something with real power…like sophistication, worldliness, greed, sensuality…impose themselves on this lovely but passive child-like environment of thought.  NO!  Purity and innocence, goodness and sweetness are self-assertive, God-ordained and sustained.  Purity is NOT the absence of impurity.  Innocence is NOT the absence of sensuality.  We are not waiting until we get rid of impurity, sensuality, worldliness and "sin" to realize the pure and good and innocent in our "children"  Purity is NOT an absence…but a presence and a power.  It cannot be opposed, violated, disposed of, taken or imposed upon.   We cannot be dispossessed of our purity…and neither can she. We have the right so see our daughters' innocence as the power that unseats sensuality and greed...rather than as its victim of it.

We walk past billboards with young women splayed sensually against the hood of a forty thousand dollar car, we watch films in which 16 year old girls are acting out relationships with 40 year old men (all in the name of art) and then we award the directors with golden statues, and we are invited to be convinced that it isn't wrong, we are asked to suspend our disbelief ( our disbelief that someone would actually have a child on the set with an old man in an intimate way) with a cavalier "well they were only acting".  Are you kidding?  There was still a 45-year old actor on the set with an actress who was still under 18.  And that "actor" still had his very real 45 year old hands all over her very real under-18 year old body.   What are we thinking?  Oh yes, suspended disbelief.  What messages are we sending to our little girls with "big blue eyes and a heart of gold?" Well, I refuse to suspend my disbelief in the suggestion that greed has power, I refuse to suspend my disbelief in the lie that sensuality and victimization are natural to men, women...and children once they reach a certain age. What is natural is the desire to love and be loved. In this I believe!

Why can't you just love me?"  Her wail still echoes through me this morning.  A cry sent out to all of us.  Sent out to the universe…

"Just love me…why can't you just love me?"

Here's the whole song…

I Think About You
Everytime I see a woman on a billboard sign
I think about you
Saying "drink this beer and you'll be mine"
I think about you
When an actress on a movie screen
Plays Lolita in some old man's dreams
It doesn't matter who she is
I think about you

When I see a pretty woman walking down the street
I think about you
Men look her up and down like she's some kind of treat
I think about you
She wouldn't dare talk to a stranger
always has to be aware of the danger
it doesn't matter who she is
I think about...
You, eight years old
big blue eyes and a heart of gold
when I look at this world, I think about
You and I can't help but see
that every woman used to be
Somebody's little girl, I think about you

Everytime I hear people say it's never gonna change
I think about you
Like it's some kind of joke, some kind of game
I think about you
When I see a woman on the news
who didn't ask to be abandoned or abused
it doesn't matter who she is
I think about

When I look at this world I think about you"

Thanks Collin… for having the courage to record this song...and to each of you for having the courage to read it...here is the original video of "I Think About You" it is a bit hard to watch but it is so powerful that I thought I would include it here.
Kate

1 comment:

  1. CALL ME.
    You have GOT to share this.

    ReplyDelete