Reflection: Tattoo of the Sun
I’M MAD AT YOU, AND I’M MAD AT ME, TALKING ENDLESSLY, NOT A KIND WORD TO SAY.
Isn’t it funny how we can just go off on people we’ve never met, like people over the Internet?
Especially now with the climate of the country we sure can say a lot in 140 characters or less.
It seems, though, often times the people we are closest to are the people to which we have the hardest time expressing exactly how we feel. So we either say everything unfiltered and vomit words we’ll clean up later with apologies, or we say nothing at all. Tattoo of the Sun is a new favorite of mine. It wasn’t until the 2017 re-release that I fell in love with it. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready for it until I had the pain of a breakup to relate it to.
When you feel the breakup looming, but you’re still going through the motions of the relationship, I think we say nothing because we have to actually think about and choose our words. Sometimes we just can’t do that without trippin’ on how they’ll be received. And once something is out there, you can’t take it back. When I sat down to write this piece I started coming up with all different angles for anger and regret. I think I was trying to find any other way to reflect on the lyrics of Tattoo of the Sun without actually talking about the relationship the lyrics remind me of most; a three-year-long romantic relationship that started off on the wrong foot (because the other foot was with someone else).
Frankly, to even continue to talk or write about that particular time seems like that moment when Milli Vanilli’s cassette jammed and skipped. “Girl you know it’s… Girl you know it’s…”
I hesitated to reflect back, but what a fraud to not truly talk about what these lyrics mean to me, since this song really does speak about a relationship that’s dying a long agonizing death.
I SPENT THE LAST THREE YEARS SETTING MYSELF ON FIRE FOR YOU. I SPENT THE LAST THREE YEARS NEVER KNOWING IF WHAT YOU SAID WAS TRUE.
I wasn’t the primary relationship for the person I was choosing to spend my time with, so I ignored A LOT. And put up with A LOT. And I was REALLY accommodating. I romanticized and fantasized and convinced myself that all this time, work, and energy I was putting in was for something. The heaviness of the situation on each end would cause us to split for days or weeks at a time. Eventually one of us would creep back into the others life and the cycle would start all over again. Months leading up to the breakup were difficult. But then suddenly, a week or 2 before we split for good, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that’s a lot of what I dwell on when I think of the situation. It felt like we were out of the woods… only to get out, find a road, and be hit by a speeding car.
When going through a breakup, we immediately seek closure, but maybe there’s no such thing. We just need time and experience, and maybe we don’t get closure, we instead get lessons. It can be hard identifying toxic relationships, and I typically do well at leaving them once I realize what’s happening. But this one in particular has a lingering effect.
I think no matter how much time passes between relationships, it’s normal to hit the replay button. I wouldn’t say that because here I am making this the subject of my writing piece that I’ve been moping around haunted by rejection, quite the opposite, in fact. It’s funny how my life opened up. All this positivity exploded, and people and new business came into my life, relationships at the time flourished, and somewhat of a rebirth of old friendships happened. It’s true what they say about negativity, and how if you close one door, many more will open. It was easy at first to move on from the relationship. Once I accepted and realized how fixed he was that things between us not continue, BOOM, life happened.
My energy was shifted in a much more positive direction. I think back at all the long-winded conversations we’d have, messages flowing back and forth, never reaching solutions. I’m mad at you, and I’m mad at me, taking endlessly, not a kind word to say. Who has time for that now? I was living the lyrics to that song and not realizing it.
When you have a shameful experience with someone, or a past, there’s a desire to just avoid it all. And as time goes by, maybe you rewrite it a bit and change the bad parts. Or make yourself look better with some fancy editing, until the actual events all just become forgotten. I used to listen to “How’s it Going to Be” and wonder myself “How’s it going to be, when you don’t know me anymore?” And now I know, and it’s OK.
Hindsight is really funny. It’s been 2 years since I’ve even seen this person, but here I am writing about us in an article on lyric reflection for a band that provided a soundtrack for us. We’d take trips to Chicago and make the 4hr drive pass by with 100 Third Eye Blind songs on repeat. The Dopamine album came out weeks before some of my favorite moments of us together. He commented on how quickly I learned the lyrics, and I can still remember his favorite tracks. And I can picture the scene of him saying he loves me as he closed my passenger door one cold December night, Water Landing playing on the car radio. “Muffled I love you through an oxygen mask, on my face… brace, brace.” I put a lot of weight on moments in my life. I have this exasperating need to make everything special. But I truly enjoyed a lot of the interactions we had, and since a majority of his time was spent with someone else, I never knew when the next interaction would occur. So I held on to every moment.
Now as I reflect on those moments, how interesting to think about the person I was when I was experiencing them. It wasn’t until very recently, when talking about the past, something Stephan Jenkins said in an article really resonated with me. When you look back on yourself, years gone by, maybe decades, you look at the person you were like you don’t even know them. You have empathy for them. You see their flaws.
I hope the kind words that I was at a loss for following the breakup will find a way out of my mouth if I ever connect on any level with this person again. It could very well be that not enough time has passed, and if we bumped into each other the conversation could still be, “I’m mad at you, and I’m mad at me, talking endlessly, not a kind word to say.”
I don’t seek connection out, but I hope I can get to a place where we could have a cordial conversation, discovering and sharing who we’ve become during the time apart. It would be refreshing to connect on an unassuming level with zero expectations. There are a handful of things that would need to happen in order to act on a reignited spark, and I can’t deny that being in the presence of him could make me long for that. I don’t know how much time needs to pass for a convivial communication to happen, but I hope one day it can.
I’m forever grateful to Third Eye Blind for providing the soundtrack to my journey through the relationship and the navigation through life when it was over. The meanings of lyrics to me have evolved, and I look forward to new correlations between my life and the words Stephan Jenkins writes.