Rabbit Fur Coat, the first post-Rilo Kiley album by Jenny Lewis (with the Watson Twins, and other album-collaborations) came into my life while living in Chicago. It was a birthday gift from a fellow music obsessive. I was in the midst of life-changing chaos, the kind that takes pieces of you that you are never quite sure you’ll get back, and this album was there for me while I tried to sort out what to do next. Sometimes music provides like that, and I so needed it at that time. I devoured every song, finding solace and answers and confusion and hope with every listen. I’m sure I would have found it on my own. I’m persistent and a survivor. But, it certainly helped some to have these songs to come to.
I have favorites from that time, and favorites that came after, when I revisited the album in a different life, and mindset. This morning, driving to work and feeling rough and sad, “Rise Up With Fists!!” came on. The opening lyrics hit and made me think about cycles, emotions, insecurities, and fear. And, when the chorus came around it reminded me of my own strength and resilience, as well as the enormous pressures I am feeling. Sometimes recognizing where you are at that very moment in life helps, even if no clear answers appear. You keep going, because really, what else can you do? What else would you ever want to do?
“Rise Up With Fists!!” is the first single from the album Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins. It was released March 9, 2006, on Team Love. It was offered as a free single from the Canadian iTunes Music Store. The track also appeared on Uncut magazine’s 2006 year-end Best Of compilation.
The music video (see below), inspired by Hee Haw, features cameo appearances of Sarah Silverman, Jimmy Tamborello, and Morgan Nagler. (from Wikipedia)
“Rise Up With Fists!!” by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
from the album, Rabbit Fur Coat (2006)
Song of the Day
“What are you changing?
Who do you think you’re changing?
You can’t change things,
we’re all stuck in our ways.
It’s like trying to clean the ocean.
What do you think, you can drain it?
Well, it was poison and dry,
long before you came.”
Some of the cycles, the rough days (or nights), the hurt feelings and misunderstandings are due to things that happened long before we ever knew each other existed. The damage that has left scar tissue, patterns and cycles of fighting, of combative reactions, of emotional triggers or rejections, they inform our perceptions, fears, and how we respond to each other. We are hurt in different ways, we react in different ways, and we are confused by each other’s actions, and reactions, in different ways. There are things we need to feel safe, loved, and okay – but those things may be confusing to the other, or at the very least, not something that they need. Patterns that were formed before we became a “we” come into the picture, and then our own patterns are created over them. And then we are here again, hurting, not connecting, not fully understanding how we got here, or what to do to fix it. For me, fear plays a big role. I hear words that were said in anger returning, their sting still fresh and potent, feeding into my own insecurities and abandonment issues. It takes longer than anyone wants to get over the hurt. It takes longer than anyone wants it to to get over insecurities.
At the start, there is more patience with each other. Maybe its the passion that fuels that, or the determination and desire to make it all work. Or maybe its the fact that we haven’t been through any of it yet. Whatever it is, there is more kindness at the start, we are more careful with each other’s feelings, we wake wanting to just hold the other person. We go to sleep wanting to do the same. Time ticks by though, and perhaps it becomes a cycle we grow tired of. We feel misunderstood, taken for granted, or maybe we worry that the other person is growing tired of us, that they don’t want us in the same way, or that everything else going on in our own lives and minds and heads are just more important. And maybe all that should be more important, but what has been built between two people, the relationship needs to be important, too. So, how do you find that balance? How do you make your way back to being patient and kinder? How do you stop the cycles that are doing new damage from happening?
For me, its remembering what that person means to me. I think about it. I write about it. I try to tell that person as much as I can. I try to think what does that person really need today? A little more space? A little less pressure? A lot more love, or passion, or affirmation that they matter? Or, do they just need some silence together (silence still scares me to my bones, but I’m trying). Or perhaps the pain from the past, the disappointments, and loss, the loneliness, the fighting, the hurt that came before us, needs to be put back there. In the past. Maybe I’m just too raw and vulnerable. Maybe the shutters I feel trying to close a little are a good thing. Is that the only way to stop being so sensitive? I can’t help but think it is my over-sensitive vulnerability and rawness that is causing this cycle to reoccur. It’s tricky though, finding a balance of not losing my open self that led me to fall so deeply in love, but shutting just enough to stop being the catalyst to these rough days (or nights). I do not want this to not be the right relationship for us. Especially since I know that we can be more than the right relationship, and then some.
I know we are rare and wonderful, and I know it we mean everything to me.
“Rise Up With Fists!!” (live, 2009) by Jenny Lewis