but my life, my lover, my lady is the sea

No one saw, which is good.  A tear slipped out when the pianist at Brandy’s Piano Bar sang the last verse of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”

Nobody said it was easy, Oh it’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard
I’m going back to the start

Brett asked, in his outside big boy voice, not if I was okay but, "Is it at all possible to be gay and not have a halfway decent voice?"  This is an excellent question, but another tear slid down before I could respond.  Soundtracks are like scents that way; they evoke, heightening things.   For me, I might as well have had an ex at the table, bringing him into my next relationship.  That’s how real music is for me; it has a past I keep. 

The Suitor did it, pulled the cry out of me when he whispered, “I’ve never doubted us.”  And that was it; I was done.  Tears began to slip into my smile, and I couldn’t hold them in, as much as I tried.  What the fuck am I becoming?  Cry Girl?  Dear God.  But when it was happening, I was in the thick of it, and all I could think was, “I am HARD.”   Hard, and impossible to live with.  My emotions are always on supply, on a sleeve, on a pant leg, on anything you can see.  I know other people like this. I can’t stomach them.  They share too many feelings, are too needy, and just too expressive.  I feel like pushing them into a gym and asking them to overextend themselves, exhaust that anxiety out, for all of us.  I never see myself as that person, the one who uses up all the feeling in a room.  I really hope I’m not like that.  I mean, I hope no one I actually know would describe me like that.  It’s one thing to be that way from time to time, and I can certainly understand if I appear that way on a blog, where all I do is whine and introspect.  But sometimes it’s just exhausting to be around.  I don’t know how it is that The Suitor isn’t constantly asleep beside me.  I exhaust with my questioning of things, with my drama, with my need to feel.  With his need to ask questions he already knows the answers to, to prove some point.  With what I’m doing right here in this paragraph.  It’s show don’t tell time.  I’m exhausting.  Then again, so is he.  He exhausts me with his frenetic logic and lists.  With his yelling rants and pointing fingers.  I’m finally getting to know who he really is, how it will really be.  It’s the crossover.  It has been a little over a year.

There is a certain point in a relationship where everything clicks into place and you can see things differently.  Ah, so this is how it’s really going to be.  I’m going to drive him a bit crazy with my questioning of things.  He’s going to intimidate me, ever so slightly, into being afraid of asking or saying certain things.  But I’ll ask anyway; and on some level, that’s why he chose me.  And he’ll put up with my doubts and worry because he loves the rest.  We see what it’s like, after the layers of polite and like and lust are pulled back, and we’re both still staying. 

“I don’t question us,” he continued while squeezing my hand beneath the wooden table.  We must have had a big fight earlier in the night.  It’s why it meant so much to hear it.  He doesn’t ever question us. Even when I’m fat and difficult and give him the hardest time about the simplest things.  And the thing is, I always question, and he always has faith in us.  But really, deep down, I have just as much.  I just question it, probably to hear what I need to hear, even though I already know the answer.  I pull a Phil.

Baby I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I’ll leave you
Baby, I’m amazed at the way you fool me all the time
You hung me on a line
Baby, I’m amazed at the way I really need you

I don’t know if anything in Manhattan makes me as happy as Brandy’s Piano Bar.  I did know that The Suitor wanted to leave.  I grabbed him and forced him to sway.  “Thank you,” I say.  I know he doesn’t want to be here.  “I so love it here,” I continue into his ear in a loud whisper I didn’t realize was loud. 
He pulls away and shouts back, “And I love you.”
“You’re never coming back here are you?” 
And then he laughs and kisses me, then begins to clap along to Thunder Road.
I love this piano bar.  I feel alive here, in this stage of a bar, belting.

The thing about Brandy’s–no matter how secure or wobbly your relationship—is when you hear “Careless Whisper” chasing “Lost in Love,” you watch the pianist close his eyes to hit the note, and you know no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay.  Because I have me.  I have everything I need within me to be okay.  Piano bars give me that.  They take me back to when I was singing at the top of things.  On the front lawn at six AM, waking the neighbors with a rendition of "Maybe" from Annie.   They take me back to the start.



  1. my first comment. thank coldplay connection. :) reading you makes me feel more sane & not so doomed when it comes to 'suitors'. see you in chicago in july! ;}

  2. I'm not so sure it's going to mean anything, but both of you are packages of attributes. You can hate some of the attributes (the lists, the finger-pointing, etc.) but really love other attributes. Since no one has a package of perfect attributes, you almost have to dislike some things about some people, even those you love.

    It's the same with you. Maybe he dislikes to emotional roller coaster (most guys don't). But maybe that's offset by other really nice attributes you bring to the table.

    Maybe my wife spends too much money, but maybe I'd be living in a shack in the woods with a hole in the roof if it wasn't for her.

    Bottom line-take it wasy on both of you and value the positive more than the negative, in both of you.

  3. Loved this post. My wedding song was "Baby I'm Amazed" by McCartney – love those lyrics.

    I think you have a good thing going here – hey, we're women, we get emotional, we get overdramatic, we want answers to everything. And when he just says the words "I'm always here for you" or "I never doubted us" you just know everything is the way it should be.

    And lol – my husband is the same way – get him out of there!

  4. We all carry the corpses of our past relationships with us everywhere. And all it takes is a song to breath life into them.

    It's terrible and phenomenal at the same time. Like you, music my catapult to days gone by. And sometimes, it forces me into the way I felt then, and makes me fight, in spite of myself and lack of reason, with my spectacular boyfried.

    And I worry. And I question. And then I worry about worrying and questioning, wondering if it's going to push him away. But when he assures me that those pieces of me – even the insecure pieces – make up the whole of me that he loves, it's enough to put me at ease.

    Obviously, I don't know you beyond reading what you write. But it makes me feel better knowing that there's another woman out there who needs the same reassurances I do from time to time.

  5. I've always said in my own pursuit for love…no one is perfect. You're never going to find someone who has every ideal quality that you might want. The trick is to find someone whose faults you can live with.

    Thank you for your wonderful and honest writing. I am always so inspired to live better and be more observant of the world around me after reading your entries.

    Good luck to you and the suitor in Austin.

  6. Its amazing to be able to look so deeply into a relationship and see its inner workings. Its all about balance. Everyone has flaws but being able to accept them and see the bigger picture is what makes for strong relationships.

  7. For every person I've dated, there is a song connected to them. It kinda annoys me really, cause I can't listen to the song anymore when we have broken up.

  8. wow….

    I just read this twice. I could be flattering myself, but when I read the way you describe your feelings and reactions, its like Im reading about myself.

    I envy, that not only do you know yourself so well, but you can express it without apologizing.

    Thanks for giving me that ounce of hope that I needed so bad today.

  9. you have some big changes coming up… a little more emotion is normal. thanks for the song lyrics… 15 years later, I am still amazed that my husband and I get along so well, especially when all around us is the detrius of other relationships. How in heaven's name did I find somebody who could put up with me for this long? I can't even stand me for that long! But there it is, and here it remains. Imperfect in some aspects yet it flows along, and every day I am happy to see him, and he is happy to see me. And we still have things to tell each other, every single day (this is the part that makes it better than just having a dog, LOL). good luck with the move!
    sarah g

  10. Oh, it's so true. The power of music, it can be so brutal. It's almost as powerful as scent. I will have to check out Brandy's. Duplex has an amazing piano bar boy, Brian, on Sunday nights. He sings everything, knows every request and has an amazing voice. I know you are on your way out, but before you go, you should check him out. I can assure you, you'll want to stay until 4AM. Great post.

  11. Music has been a vehicle for me my whole life. I was lucky enough to have my dad introduce me to all of the important groups over the last 50 years. Songs take me back to a moment in time, that I otherwise wouldn't be able to re-live. It brings people into my life that I haven't seen for years, and helps me remember both happy and sad times that have helped me become the person I am.

    I like the entry above that suggests we are a package of attributes. Well said.

  12. The definition of bravery is being afraid, but doing it anyway. Even intimidated, you'll still ask the questions. Because you are you. Because you are brave. Brave, multifaceted, and complicated.

    "I'm complicated, I get frustrated. Right or wrong, love or hate it. It's alright, it's OK, you wouldn't want me any other way. Momma, keep on praying, 'cause I ain't changin'." Complicated by Bon Jovi.

    Nothing is better than being accepted for who you are. Not only accepted, but loved BECAUSE of who you are; for all that you are. My husband tells me, "You might not be perfect, but you're perfect for me." And at the end of the day, that's what matters!

  13. In full agreement on the power of music. It's the most potent preservative on the market, and it doesn't change the flavor of the memory it evokes or leave a bad aftertaste!

    Stephanie, hope you get a shot to sing one of the best piano singalongs before you head out…

    East Side, West Side, all around the town,
    The tots sing "Ring-a-round Rosie, London Bridge is falling down."
    Boys and girls together,
    Me and Mamie O'Rourke,
    Tripped the light fantastic oooonnnnnnnnn…

    The sidewalks of New York

  14. Coldplay at a piano bar would make me weep, too, though for an entirely different reason.

    And many women experience emotional roller coaster syndrome in early pregnancy due to hormone surges. Don't discount this cycle quite yet; it ain't over 'til the fat lady bleeds.

    preempt for Those Hyperreactive Readers of Blog (THROBs):


    Me: Um, I wasn't? I think she's quite slender. I was just tweaking a common phrase to better fit the situation.

  15. I always say that certain songs "speak to me." Sounds like you have ones that speak to you too. Music is what reminds me that we're all human. How else could someone who doesn't know me write the exact words that are in my heart and sing them exactly how I feel them. It truly is amazing when you think about it?

  16. Oh, how I love piano bars myself. I took my new man to his first one in Forth Worth, Texas, last weekend, but unfortunately it's bush country with a capital B and we had a bit of a hard time with the God Bless the USA parts, hand over heart, compulsory patriotism. "Get your ass off the chairs, you liberal shit." Cowboys kicked the floor, glancing at us venomously until we complied.

    Back here in Austin, though, we're back in the blue part of the red state, as you so aptly put it, so no overwrought displays. Thank goodness.

    I'm sure we'll see you there after the 15th. Pete's is the better of the two on 6th. We can scribble "Your Song" on a napkin and later pretend when they play "Shook Me All Night Long" that this was our choice. Pound the table, sing till we're hoarse, and ignore the ubiquitous big-breasted drunk girl who's leaning on the piano and shaking her ass. We'll whisper to Phil or my Kurt, "If I ever start acting like that in a bar, take me the fuck home."

    Then they'll play "Bohemian Rhapsody" and we'll all sing stupidly and laugh.

  17. Stephanie –

    By far my favorite post you've ever written. Every word resonated with the way I am and the way I feel. Today your blog hit me the way Coldplay hit you.



  18. Nah, Sallie, you're right. I am fat these days. And I'm okay with that. I'll be in Austin soon enough, by the pool with the wi-fi. Tennis courts. Sweat. All good. As I've said before, "I try to be thin, just to find someone who'll love me when I'm fat." I found someone who loves me either way. I like me better thin, but… my breasts are bigger when I'm fat. So who cares, really. That wasn't a question.

  19. Any interest in two coldplay tickets for this Sunday (3/26) at Nassau Coliseum? I though it was too much of a coincidence that I am trying to sell my tickets for coldplay (sadly :( )and you are posting about Coldplay, to not atleast offer!

  20. When you mentioned "The Scientist," it made me think of a recent evening I spent crying at the foot of my f**k buddy's bed after he'd tried to make me listen to that song. Every Coldplay song reminds me of my ex. Thankfully, after the FB passed out, undoubtedly exhausted from trying to comfort me, I received a late-night call from a good friend whose voice always manages to soothe me.

    And "Baby I'm Amazed" is one of my all-time favorite songs. I hope someday to meet a guy worthy of it.

    I've had so many great songs ruined by painful breakups, only to have the songs resurrect themselves after the pain subsides.

  21. Ashley, the irony is that I love Coldplay and would take them, except, just as asserted by comments on this post, Coldplay is deeply embedded into emotions for a man I loved and couldn't have for reasons out of both our control. If I had to hear "Yellow" live, I would put any soap scene with Susan Lucci in it to shame. ;)

  22. I have been an avid reader of your blog for over a while, and this post compelled me to comment. I have been where you were that night, I will probably be there tonight, and I too worry that my emotionally draining persona will at some point drive my boyfriend to leave me (therefore proving he doesn't really love me, which in some sort of twisted way would give the satisfaction of feeling that my insecurities have been justified all along, even though I really don't want him to leave).

    On another note, I hope you like living (which is different than visiting) Austin. I live in Dallas now, but lived in A-town for a year. TOTALLY different than New York, but some of it in good ways (at least it is a college town, everything is still open 24 hours). The people there are the nicest people on the planet.

  23. I have long hated Coldplay for all the reasons all the critics have always loathed them; but I'm going to give The Scientist a shot now.

    Great post, and I'm so checking out Brandy's now.

  24. Steph,

    Sometimes I read u, n actually feel glad that I'm not the only one who has this terrible need to feel. Sometimes, I think, mebbe I was better off doing theatre. N, yeah that song, does that to me too. Do you often wonder if these men sometimes misunderstand and think we cry because they might not be good enough for us? That happens to me a lot. But I cry just because I'm overwhelmed, because well…it's like ordering a chocolate sundae..theres no logic behind it. I just feel like it.
    Drop by my blog sometimes. My writing's different from urs, but well..we're similar because we end up revealing a lot, u in the process of being unashamed, n me in the process of trying to hide.

  25. The song that hands down does it for me is John Mayer~Comfortable. I will spare you the details but by the first short instrumental break I am done. "…they asked us if we could leave…break…can't remember what went wrong…" Done as in tears full on nose run ugly cry. that and Aqua Di Gio. I feel a lump just writing it.


  27. I saw Coldplay in Cleveland last Monday and let me tell you, that song gets me the same way every time. That and about 10 of their other songs. Great entry – made even better by the mention of a great band!

  28. Stephanie, i was thinking about going to Brandy's you always make it sound so fun and i have a feeling i would LOVE it, any suggestions on nights to go or favorite singers?

  29. Knowing what you will and won't put up with in the relationship and becoming ok with even the annoying things is sometimes the best part. It's like you can then see the relationship is real.

  30. hey geniuses,

    the song is called "MAYBE I'm Amazed." not Baby. get it right or pay the price.

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