“It’s Alright”

This was posted in its original form at 3:41 AM, February 5, 2010 at my former Blogger blog.

I love Dar Williams‘ song “It’s Alright,” from her album Promised Land. It speaks to me, somehow. Not really directly, line for line, but it feels right, in that way that music can, for no particular reason. It reminds me — gives me hope — that life will be alright.

I know change is a bad thing,
Breaks me down into a sorry sad thing
Not some iridescent grateful butterfly.
I’ll resist with defiance,
Not the valor of a mystic silence,
I will fight the dizzy spiral of goodbye.

Change is scary. It can be paralyzing. Sometimes, it can be too much. Sometimes, change is trumpeted as this grand, glorious thing — “hope and change,” right? — and yet it’s not always wonderful. Still, I will resist — not change, but the negative effects of change. I will resist the inclination to let the fear of change paralyze me. I will resist being dragged down into the memories of the past to which I’ve said goodbye.

Please don’t say you don’t love me,
Never dangle any sword above me,
With the kind of change that severs me in two.
Give me amberizing glasses.
Could you slow it down like molasses,
As I salvage my old self away from you.
One of the things about life is that it changes. People change. And sometimes, that change means that people grow apart. Sometimes it’s sudden; sometimes it’s a gradual drift, until one day you wake up and realize that someone you loved is now essentially a stranger. You remember who you are without that person and learn how to be that person once more.
It’s a sad and a strange thing.
But it’s time and I am changing.
Into something good or bad, well that’s your guess.
I’m my own sovereign nation,
Dedicated to a transformation,
Marching on with this target on my chest, oh yes,
And it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.

I am changing. Since high school graduation, I have changed a lot — in terms of how I see myself and who I believe myself to be, in terms of my interests, in terms of how I express myself. Since graduation from Bryn Mawr, I have changed even further. I’d like to think that the change is for the better, but who knows, really? I am, however, dedicated to my own transformation, as Dar says. I’m done with just trying to blend in. I know who I am now. When I look in the mirror, and I’m all dressed up in my boyish best, I like what I see. I know, though, that this makes a target of me. The closer my presentation in reality is to how I envision myself, the more risk I am in of being the target of someone’s prejudice. And that is, ultimately, “alright.” Of course discrimination and violence are not acceptable — I will fight for a society in which such ignorance and hatred no longer exist, and people no longer have to fear that expressing themselves will cause them to become the object of someone’s hatred. But I will accept that, for now, there is the possibility of being in danger just for being who I am. Being true to myself is worth whatever consequences may come. And so I tell myself, it’s alright.

And it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.

One response to ““It’s Alright”

  1. Dear Ryan – ALWAYS be true to yourself. In the end, that is all that matters. With much love, Mom

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