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Like A Song: The Troubles

@U2, October 15, 2014
By: Marylinn Maione

 

 

Like A Song[Ed. note: This is the 88th in a series of personal essays by the @U2 staff about songs and/or albums that have had great meaning or impact in our lives.]

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

Sometimes you don’t realize you’re in deep sh** until you’re in the middle of it. Sometimes the demands of your everyday life are such that you don’t have the luxury to sit back and see what’s going on because your hands are too busy to let your mind settle down. And sometimes you know exactly what’s happening and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

You think it’s easier
To put your finger on the trouble
When the trouble is you
And you think it’s easier
To know your own tricks
Well, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do

You start to question yourself, to go over every little detail. What did I miss? Why didn’t I see it coming? Is there something I did to cause it, or something I should’ve done to prevent it? Your mind is a broken record, skipping over the memories again and again, looking for that elusive clue that could’ve changed everything. The only thing is, it was never there. It’s an endless loop of guilt and regret. You blame yourself for making bad choices. You’re smarter than that, you should’ve known better.

I have a will for survival
So you can hurt me
And then hurt me some more
I can live with denial
But you’re not my troubles anymore

You reach a point where you can’t think about it anymore. It’s a waste of time and besides, someone needs you to drag yourself out of bed and go to work every morning so there’s food on the table. Your hands get busy again and you push it all aside, otherwise there are repercussions that could be detrimental to the innocent bystanders who didn’t ask for any of it. Suddenly, your stupid little feelings aren’t so important and you focus your energy on what is. There is little relief but you know it’s the right thing to do, at least for now.

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

You go through your days like a robot; get up, go to work, go home, work some more, get to bed for a few hours sleep before it starts all over again. You grasp for little moments of joy but they are few and far between. The fog you’re in only allows you to see what’s next, never what could be, perhaps an end somewhere beyond your line of visibility.  

You think it’s easier
To give up on the trouble
If the trouble is destroying you
You think it’s easier
But before you throw me a rope
It was the one thing I could hold on to

It’s inevitable that the cracks in the facade start to deteriorate faster than you can fix them, until the whole foundation breaks apart and either you get swallowed by the rubble or you make a run for it. If you stay, you risk life and limb but at least you know what you’re in for. If you go, you risk an uncertain future alone, which can be terrifying. Neither choice is optimal. Your sanity suffers no matter what you decide. In your head, the choice is made, but you hold on for a little while longer, unable to make the words come out of your mouth.

I have a will for survival
So you can hurt me
And then hurt me some more
I can live with denial
But you’re not my troubles anymore

You reach the end of your rope and finally let go. There’s no one to catch you, no friends who could endure the wreckage long enough to stick around, but there’s no going back. There are apologies and promises but how many times can you forgive before you learn that, given time, the promises are forgotten? It’s just a string of words that are repeated like prayers in church -- the sincere ones might be paying attention, but mostly, it’s a rote response and the true meaning is lost. Anyway, it’s not your problem anymore. All this time you’ve been getting yourself out of bed every morning and you continue to do so because someone needs you to be the adult in this situation. So you act like the adult and get on with it.

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

You’ve forgotten how to act on your own, how to have your own thoughts that weren’t constantly interrupted by the worry of each new looming disaster. You don’t have opinions or ideas on anything going on in the world because you’ve spent too much time in your own head, reminding yourself that thinking could only bring more pain. It was easier to just turn it off.

God knows it’s not easy
Taking on the shape of someone else’s pain
God now you can see me
I’m naked and I’m not afraid
My body’s sacred and I’m not ashamed

You can’t stop crying even though you tell yourself you need to be strong. What the hell does that mean anyway? You’re facing down financial ruin, loneliness, fear and the sinking feeling that on top of everything else, you’re a miserable failure. You can’t get over the guilt of leaving the unfinished business behind you, even if it isn’t yours to finish. The innocent ones are looking to you to save them, but what they don’t understand is that they are the ones who are saving you. They look at you with your own eyes that say, “You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault.” And this is where you find your strength.

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

So you let them in, and they bring you back into the light. With every smile, they steal a bit of your sadness, with every hug, you let your guard down a little more. You allow yourself to find friends and experience joy, which is all the more miraculous because it’s been so long and you’ve forgotten how good that feels. The fog is lifting from your head and your heart and at last you can see beyond the clouds but it’s not an end, it’s a beginning.

(c) @U2/Maione, 2014.

 



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