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Climbing in to Climb Into My Heart

Maybe the most important thing I’ve been working on in the last *mumble* years has been accepting relationships as they are and not as I wish they would be. We’ve all had that person we thought we should be best friends with, or that crush we thought should see the potential we saw, or that family member we wish would reach out to us more. In my experience we harbour an expectation of how that person should view us, and when reality conflicts with that vision we’re left feeling confused and let down. Some of us look inward, feeling we must have done wrong or worry we weren’t enough, while others might feel it was the other person who let them down, that they’re missing out on something that could be great.

In college I met a woman through a friend who I became immediately and completely enamoured of. Nowadays I would describe myself as a pragmatic romantic but back then I was all heart. It was actually a good thing that we lived in different cities when we met because the only thing I wasn’t silly enough to do was move to Montreal for a girl who, despite our rapport, showed no romantic interest in me. But god damn she was beautiful, and intelligent, with a unique sense of humour that glued a permanent smile on my face whenever we were around each other. Each time I saw her it got worse and over time I went from a ‘fun guy to visit in Toronto’ to an awkward, besotted guy who was clearly falling apart when we were together (super attractive aura, 10 out of 10 would recommend).

As years went by we came and went. I had girlfriends or big projects on the go where she wouldn’t be on my mind at all. Then, every once in a while, we would pop back into each other’s lives. Someone would set a skype date and I would be right back to square one. One such time when we were both single she visited me in Toronto and I ever so casually suggested that we try pretending at dating for a weekend, just to see if it would ever work. You know, for fun. Totally not weird. No stakes, just for shits and giggles. Haha. Ha ha. Ha.

For some reason she agreed and, to be honest, it actually felt natural and nice (in the way our friendship had always felt natural and nice) until the prospect of physical intimacy came up and then it was a 3-ring shit show. I was a bubbling disaster, she was a guarded mess. When I think about it now I get a good giggle going, but in that way where your shoulders won’t quite relax because they remember. Shoulders always remember.

It took nearly a decade of this nonsense for me to start to hit on some basic truths:

1) You don’t know what a relationship would be like with someone until you’re in it. Romanticizing and fantasy can be fun, but when you start to believe your own hype as prophecy you are losing touch with reality. We don’t know the future.

2) One person can’t decide what a relationship will be. In the end, relationships work best when no one person is trying to give it a course, but where both parties let it naturally develop into what it is. Something they mutually want.

This doesn’t mean relationships can’t advance into a new territory because one person offered it, but both people have to agree that’s what they want and mean it.

As for the song, Climb Into My Heart was written with that clarity starting to brew. While at its core it’s a love song for her, the bridge reveals the reality of what kind of love we’re looking at.

I’m building a dream around you, a layout in my mind
I’m building a dream around you, and in it you’re perfect, and in it you’re mine

I was starting to understand the fantasy I was indulging. And as it continues I acknowledge that what I envision is not really connected to her truth and is really just my own ego and immaturity.

I’m holding a love that’s precious, untainted by the truth
I’m holding a love that’s precious, and with it I’ll savour everlasting youth

I could be embarrassed by how long it took me to understand what our friendship was and would always be, but alongside learning to accept relationships as they are I’m also learning to forgive myself for not being perfect. I am, and will always be, a work in progress. And this song helped me get to that truth.*

As the years march along we still drift in and out of contact. I’ll probably send her this blog post and we’ll have a chuckle remembering mid-twenties James for the dork that he was. A part of me still lights up for her and probably always will, but in my thirties now it’s tempered by something I want more than a fantasy. A real friendship that we both agree on.

*Also, I needed an excuse to rip off this country feel I had been really into.

music & lyrics by J. Everett

Climb into my heart and open up my eyes
I haven’t felt a light like this in quite some time
And haven’t tasted lips, tasting so divine
Tell me what am I to do?

Searchin’ for excuses just to stick around
Makin’ jokes I’m only tryin’ to make you smile
And if an open heart could tether your desire
You’ll find my heart is true

Oh, and I hope that you find your way up here
Oh you know cause I’ve been lonesome
And I know, that you know that I’d wait a thousand years
To live inside your charms

I’m building a dream around you
A layout in my mind
I’m building a dream around you
And in it you’re perfect, and in it you’re mine

I’m holding a love that’s precious
Untainted by the truth
I’m holding a love that’s precious
And with it I’ll savour everlasting youth

Climb into my heart
And open up my eyes

Tell me what am I to do?

Climb into my heart and open up my eyes
Took some time before I came to realize
With all this dreaming I might’ve possibly gone blind
Tell me what am I to do?

And if it makes me crazy, crazy will be me
‘Cause this is only how I’ve taught myself to be
And maybe that’s the only way that you be free
And find your heart is true

Oh, and I hope that you find your way up here
Oh you know cause I’ve been lonesome, lonesome
And I know, that you know and we both know that I’d wait a thousand years
To lay inside your arms

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