Life I Know

On her latest CD titled SongVersation, India Arie has a track titled, “Life I Know”.  The first time I listened to the song I felt as if she had written the song for me.  Perhaps she and I are kindred spirits; perhaps not.  Nevertheless, I’ve listened to the song repeatedly and this is what it spoke to my heart.  The song begins . . .

I have kept this secret
From myself for far too long
The truth is, I’m confused
About where I belong
I’m not a mother or a wife
And I’m living such a complicated life
And this is the life I know

I’m confused about a number of things, but one thing most earnestly.  First and foremost, I am confused as to why so many good women seem to be alone—without a mate/spouse.  I am not just speaking selfishly, but also for all of my great single female friends, who can’t seem to get a break, can’t seem to find someone to compliment them, and/or can’t seem to enjoy the desires of their heart.  We mean well.  We are capable of loving and caring for a deservedly willing participant.  And we are sincerely desirous about being a supportive mate.  And this is life we know.  


My life is full
In some of the most important ways
But empty in the core
At the end of everyday
I lock the door, turn out the lights
And I climb in bed
And it’s all alright
Cause this is the life I know

There is truth to India Arie’s words.  My life does have a sense of fullness.  I have a career that I enjoy—most days.  There is a sense of satisfaction and purpose behind what I do and I appreciate having the opportunity to do just that—teach.  I have friends and family, far and near, that provide me with comfort, encouragement and unconditional love.  I busy myself with things I am passionate about: reading, writing, being active, learning, etc.  However, there is a pervasive emptiness that resonates when it comes to the love department.  I’ve spent more of my adult life alone (without a companion)—ruminating, reflecting, and re-emerging from love’s disappointing moments.  All too often I climb in bed alone desirous of the time when I will share the space with someone who wants as much to be there next to me as I do him.   When the opportunity presents itself, I hope I’ll be mature enough to not be bothered by his snoring and drooling and vice versa.  Cause this is the life I know.


I cut the grass
Take out the trash
And fill the gas
In this house
I’m the mom, and the dad
What tomorrow brings
I do not know
Yes, I know it’s unconventional
But, It’s the life I know

I too have been solely responsible for household and vehicle maintenance/upkeep.  While many a woman (myself included) throughout history has proven that she is capable of performing the same tasks as her male counterparts, there are moments in a woman’s life when she isn’t trying to compete with a man, but instead desires to be consoled and comforted by her man—should there be one in her life.  And therein lies many a woman’s dilemma.  Too many of us have found ourselves single after years and years of dating.  Yes, we can buy and maintain our own homes.  Of course we can service our own vehicles.  We can make our own money to take care of ourselves, and children if we have any.  However, just because we are able to do those things doesn’t mean that we don’t want a man in our lives who can and will handle the responsibility of those details.  Yes, women desire to be taken seriously and treated with dignity, but we also want to be catered to and cared for because our hearts are delicate despite the defiant demeanor we extol to the world.  But, it’s the life I know. 

We all have a secret pain
We all have a tender place
We were born to want more
And no I’m not meant to live alone
But this is the life I know

Yes, this is the life I know

Yes, there is a soft spot that I shield (and I’m not the only one is this predicament—I am convinced that men do this too).  My heart is tender from emotional turmoil and disappointments.  Yet I yearn to expose that tender place to a man who is able to accept this perfectly imperfect woman.  And no, I don’t think we were meant to live alone.  I Corinthians 7:2 (Amplified Bible), states, “ . . . let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband”.  If this word is truth, then we are not meant to live alone, we are meant to share a life with another individual.  But the life that I know and have known has been one where I take care of myself.  Yes, this is the life I know. 

All my friends
Are having families of their own
I’m still waiting for
The perfect one to come
Almost four decades in

If I’m blessed, then I’ve got five more to go
And this is the Life I know

I sometimes feel like the last unmarried and childless thirty-seven year old woman.  I have friends and acquaintances from high school who married early and now have grown or near-grown children.  And then there is me—still single twenty years later.  Some of these women are even on their second marriage and I haven’t even had an opportunity to make good on the union once.  I feel like a late bloomer.  Moments like this I begin to feel defective.  I sometimes entertain thoughts that I have a cosmic flaw that has inhibited me from knowing lasting love, marriage, and motherhood.  There have been too many days where I have wondered if the opportunity will ever present itself.  Will I ever get myself together so that a man can appreciate the woman that I am?  While time seemingly hasn’t been on my side—per se—I am hopeful of the prospect of the next five decades if they are granted to me.  And this is the life I know.


Sometime it hurts like hell
But I walk away with a song
And a story to tell
And this is the life I know
Yes, this is the life I know

I know the hurt of many years.  I know how it feels to hope and believe in something and someone, but that something or that someone doesn’t come though for you.  After each tumultuous love experience I have certainly walked away with a story to tell—some funny, some hellaciously funny.  I have also walked away with a renewed sense in the power of love.  Yes, despite the fact that I have been disappointed, I cannot help but want to fall in love again and again.  It matters little that I have experienced many a disappointing love experience for I will forever yearn for an opportunity to open up my heart to another human being.  Yes, this is the life I know. 

And this is the Life I know

The life I know has been one of a constant trek uphill.  The life I know is one where I find myself ever-waiting for my perfectly imperfect mate.  And this is the life I know

(A Final Note–pun intended) The Sound Track of My Life

 This is the first of many pieces in this writing category–The Sound Track of My Life.  I borrowed the idea from a teacher friend (Mari A.—thank you!).  She introduced me to this writing activity as a creative and autobiographic mini-lesson during the TBAWP (Tampa Bay Area Writing Project) Summer Institute.  Though I have yet to share the lesson with my students, I am selfishly enjoying the cathartic power of this writing modality.  The Sound Track of My Life affords me with an opportunity to select a song that has made a deep impression on me and make annotations about the joy, laughter, insight, peace, rejuvenation, solace, etc.  Music is truly a universal language that has the power to move us to higher heights, uplift us in times of trouble and settle us when it’s been one of those days.  I hope that you take a moment to think about songs that have carried you through life.  Perhaps you’ll take a moment and listen to them one more time and revel in their transformative power.    

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2 thoughts on “Life I Know

  1. The ever so complicated area of love. At some point we all question whether or not something is wrong with us when we have not had success in the love department. I’ve had this conversation plenty of times and often try to find ways to be better and to be more open to loving someone. The truth is though, not as many people understand or love themselves enough to even think about truly loving someone else. Many people do not know what love looks like because they have not seen it in their lives. This is probably why there is such a high divorce rate among other reason’s. It is possible that one of your life lesson in this life time is to experience the lack of love in order to finally understand love when it finally does come. No way to tell, all that you and I both can do is to continue to progress in trying understand its relevance in our lives. I believe there are many factors as to why some find it and others don’t but thats another conversation but I think it’s more about the other person than it is for us if we know that we are truly ready for love.

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