The songs of THE STORY OF IT ALL

Posted: February 3, 2015


Maybe it’s just me…but I doubt it. I have always felt as if there were two people sharing this body. One is the child I was and the other is the man I became. Even the word became is a little wrong. Because I have always felt that the child never really went away…he didn’t become the man, the personality of the man was added to that of the child.

I have thought about this often. Why should these two be different? Why should they co-exist? We always talk in terms of one entity changing at different ages and largely, after a certain age, that’s true. But here’s where I think the reality takes an unexpected turn.

It is in childhood that we really shape the person we will be. There are external forces…family, environment, education… but how we are shaped by them seems instinctive rather than logical. In many ways our reactions are pure. We react to things naturally, in ways that make sense to us, not in ways that have become expected or driven by societal norms.

I told my parents at age 9 that I would never have children. I told them at age 10 that I did not believe in god. I had figured these things out for myself despite enormous societal pressure in the opposite direction in both cases. It was normal for people to have children and normal to believe in a higher power – the one chosen for you by the accident of birth. Born Christian you follow the Christian god, Muslim you follow Allah. There were times in my life I tried to talk myself out of these early commitments…but it never took.

Maybe it’s because of these early decisions that would impact the rest of my life that I still feel connected to the child who made them. Because they are both decisions that tend to isolate…

“Here we are again, my friend, still alone together – So many memories of fine and stormy weather.”

This leads me to the second reason I think there are two people inside most of us. The adult world has far more external pressures. We change. Not because we want to but because we have to to fit in. The natural rebelliousness I showed as a young man would have served me very poorly as I climbed the corporate ladder. Many were the times I wanted to tell my various bosses they were talking absolute bullshit. But you don’t do it no matter how strongly you believe it to be true! This also shaped the kind of leader I tried to be when I found myself with people working for me. I encouraged my people to feel totally free to tell me when I was talking bullshit. Some did, and I was grateful. Some could never trust that I meant what I said. Only natural.

This is why the child does not become the man. Inside the man is always the memory of that person who did not have to change or adapt to meet the constraints of a working life. And, frequently, internal struggles develop between the person we are having to be and the pure spirit we used to be…

“We argue and we fight and lie but it never shows – We are bruised and we’re beaten but no one ever knows.”

I’m lucky. I can examine all these thoughts by writing a song about it. I wonder how many of these internal conflicts go unresolved in other people. I have met people who say they hate their lives. But when you have the chance to question them they actually hate their jobs. In the adult world we are defined, far too much in my opinion, by what we do rather than who we are. Some people never reach the point of equilibrium…

“We agree to disagree for each other’s sake.”

“I look in the mirror, who do I see? This stranger in the dark is it you or me? Doesn’t really matter now, I don’t need to know. Here we are again my friend – where you go I go.”

But even then there is still the sense of loss that comes from hearing the voice of the child that can no longer have its way…

“Are there voices in your head just like there are in mine – Do they tell you lies like everything will work out fine?”

So we go on. Some with a single personality that has come to terms with life, some with the battle raging constantly between past and present, between who we wanted to be and who we had to be, between the optimism of youth and the growing pessimism of old age, until the inevitable puts an end to it all either way…

“One thing that’s for sure, there is no curtain call – Like it or not this is the story of it all.”

So, enjoy your personalities…no matter how many you have in there!


OK…this one’s called The Story Of It All…1,2,3,4…

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