I can see you clutching your pearls at my blasphemy now. But I stand firm in this realization, and will proceed to tell you why.
All you need is love. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s utter bullshit.
There are a lot of head-scratching Beatles songs. And some of those were brought to amazing cinematic life via a little movie called Across the Universe.
But those boys really sucked the blunt when they wrote All You Need Is Love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done…
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung…
Okay, I can roll with that.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…
It isn’t easy. Life is NOT easy, and love is NOT all you need to navigate it successfully.
Maybe I’m making things too complicated. Maybe I’m not being spiritual enough. But the last six months have been kind of the worst, and I’m tired of not admitting that.
Before we made the 14 hour drive moving back to my hometown, life was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect – I mean, I would have liked a bathtub and a double sink to wash dishes in and a regular job, but hey #firstworldproblems. My husband had a great job laying floors with his dad, and I was finding enough work to get by. We always had enough.
And then, things sorta crashed and burned. We lost our baby. I couldn’t take the city and its crowded loneliness anymore, so I persuaded Steve to leave the only home he’s known for mine.
I got a job at Starbucks and lived in a friend’s basement while Steve packed up our bungalow and looked for places to live. That’s how little we planned our move. People said we were crazy, that we were running away from our problems, that we wouldn’t succeed. But we took a note from t-Swift about it, and shook those hay-hay-haters off.
I was enjoying Starbucks immensely, and after 3 weeks of being separated, Steve and I moved into our new little home, complete with bathtub and double sink. And second bedroom. And closets, oh my.
We were living the dream. We had plans; I would support us until Steve found work as a floor layer, we would pursue our music, we would heal from our wounds.
It almost worked, too.
Then a couple of weeks before Christmas, I unceremoniously lost my job.
New Years rolled around, and we each made beautiful resolutions to start fresh, keep pounding the pavement for work, investing in our relationships with friends, family, each other.
Less than a week later, Steve came down with the chicken pox.
You heard me: my 36 year old husband caught the motherf’ing chicken pox. For 6 weeks.
For 6 weeks, I waited hand and foot upon this man, 24/7. Getting him better was my job. With each day that passed, our money dwindled. And we became a tad…tetchy.
Because, yes, we were in love. Yes, we had taken the leap of faith to make our dreams happen. Yes, we had enough to eat. We didn’t look broke. But the rent was due, and living 30 minutes out of town was burning fumes in our pockets. We hardly spoke or touched; when we did, we were ridged with tension. Dishes were tossed, doors were slammed.
Had our haters been right?
One day, the landlord came over to plough our driveway, and I literally hid in the bathroom for 20 minutes so that he wouldn’t possibly be able to see that I was home instead of working.
Every time I looked at our bank account, I saw the word homeless on our horizon. I embraced the panic and the shame of our failure. I doubted every decision we’d made. I blamed myself, because if I hadn’t been so weak, would we have made these decisions to begin with?
I began to reach out to people; I couldn’t help myself. It’s the most awkward thing in the world, sharing money problems. Being broke is relative, and how do you share your struggle without making your friends feel like you’re subtly asking for a handout? Which, you’re not, but you’re at a totally vulnerable enough place where it wouldn’t even slightly rankle your pride to accept one?
People can say money is the root of all evil, that money doesn’t buy happiness, that it only corrupts. But it’s a lot easier to believe that when you have enough money.
Through facebook and friends’ inquiries, I started picking up nannying jobs around town. Steve was getting stronger, and had become able to function on his own.
And then, a miracle happened.
We remembered our music.
Because of our “down time”, we were able to start singing and playing instruments together again. People started asking us to play sets of 9 or 10 songs at art galleries and cafes around town. We might even play a big festival this summer.
We are living the broke musician life, and while it’s not glamorous, it is fulfilling.
Every single set, we include this particular song. It is our anthem.
Because, while living an “all you need is love” kind of life would be nice, it’s not real.
This? Most definitely, assuredly, and heartbreakingly is.
We made this video 2 years ago, just barely out of the marriage gate, having no idea some of the obstacles we would overcome.
Today, the snow is melting, the sun is shining, I’m a full-time nanny, and Steve has a brand new job starting tomorrow morning. (Send him a good thought, would you?)
Take my hand; we’ll make it, I swear.