Brandi Carlile is my BAE

If I had a Bae, her name would be Brandi Carlile. I’ve been obsessed with her new album and on it is a song called The Eye and man does this song get me. I’m sure Brandi wasn’t thinking of any of the things I am currently thinking about when she wrote it but it sits with me where I am nonetheless. Like an old friend on a porch swing drinking lemonade out of a tall glass.

You can dance in a hurricane

But only if you’re standing in the eye

I remember hurricane Gloria like it was yesterday. My Long Island brethren will be with me on this one I’m sure. We had a boat still docked in the harbor because we couldn’t pull it out in time and we were all worried the boat would be demolished in the storm. We were sure it would be smashed up against the pilings or grounded on the beach or carried away in a massive wind gust. The storm rolled in dark and fierce downing trees, knocking power out, howling and beating down on the Island like Mohammad Ali in his hay day. I remember being at first very brave, like I’m not going to cower in some corner of the room, I’m going to watch it come in and stare it straight in the eye and dare it to knock my house down. And then it picked up intensity and continued and I remember asking my parents, when is it going to stop? Make it stop already! And then I remember the eye of the storm coming upon us, the darkness separating, the winds ceasing and the calm settling. My parents put my sister and I in the car and we drove down to the dock to see the damage and to try and keep our boat from becoming bonfire material in the second part of the storm. As we drove we saw trees down all over the roads and some of them were impassable causing us to find new and different ways to get to a place we’d been to hundreds of times. And all the while, the eye remained over us, calm and beautiful. All I could think of was, we better get there fast because we don’t know how long the eye will stay over us before the second half of the storm begins. I was full of worry about that second half of the storm that I was almost wishing the eye away. Just bring on the second part so we can be done with this already.

The eye passed and the second half blew in strong and hard (I’m sure there’s a TWSS joke in there). We held off the boat and  it only sustained minimal damage. We literally would use our feet to push the boat away from the dock. We reinforced the heavy lines on all sides and held them to steady the boat in the relentless wind and waves. Other boats were not so lucky and they were either grounded or flipped or under water. Some were even speared through a piling like a piece of meat at a brazilian restaurant. As I look back on Gloria now, I am not thinking of how strong we were during the storm, I’m thinking about how we didn’t enjoy the eye. The storm was inevitable, so was the eye and you never know how long the eye will last so what do you do? Do you look suspiciously at the eye knowing that it will pass soon and you will once again need to reinforce yourself and be strong against the pounding storm? Or do you dance in the eye of the hurricane.

I’ve often lately referred to what I am going through with my child and with life as being in a storm. Right now it feels like the perfect storm to me and one that has many parts and layers to it. It’s like many different hurricanes with a lot of eyes. I’ve been trying to remain stoic and strong for the damaging elements and hold everyone all together so they don’t break apart into little tiny pieces that can’t be put back together. But I think I’ve forgotten to dance in the eye. Instead I’ve been watching the eye suspiciously, knowing that another part to the storm is right around the corner. When I hear this song, I imagine myself looking up to a cloudless, baby blue sky with my arms and hands stretched upwards, twirling and spinning while the light shines on me and bathes me in warmth and calm. I’m smiling in my whole body.

This is the lesson, to learn to dance in the eye of the hurricane. It is not enough to want to be strong during the storm or even to survive the storm, it is to dance in the calm of the storm. To dance in the eye of the hurricane. This is the lesson I need to embrace and the one I want to teach my children. There will always be hurricanes, there will always be eyes to the hurricane. Dance in the eye of the hurricane.

It really breaks my heart

To see a dear old friend

Go down in the worn old place again

Do you know the sound

Of a closing door?

Have you heard that sound somewhere before?

Do you wonder if she knows you anymore?

I wrapped your love around me like a chain

But I never was afraid that it would die.

You can dance in a hurricane

But only if you’re standing in the eye

Where did you lean to walk?

Where did you learn to run?

Away from everything you love

Did you think the bottle

Would ever ease your pain?

Did you think that love’s a foolish game?

Did you find someone else to take the blame?

I wrapped your love around me like a chain

But I never was afraid that it would die

You can dance in a hurricane

But only if you’re standing in the eye

You can dance in a hurricane

But only if you’re standing in the eye

I am a sturdy soul

And there ain’t no shame

In lying down in the bed you’ve made

Can you fight the urge to run for another day?

You might make it further if you stay

I wrapped your love around me like a chain

But I never was afraid that it would die

You can dance in a hurricane

But only if you’re standing in the eye

You can dance in a hurricane

But only if you’re standing in the eye

-Brandi Carlile

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